You haven’t heard from me in a while. And that is with intention.
I don’t know exactly when or why it happened, but it did. Brody stopped reacting. He stopped having eczema breakouts and itching spells. He stopped waking up itchy and bleeding in the middle of the night. He stopped being sensitive to gluten and dairy.
How? Why? WHAT?!
I know, I am as confused as you must be, and it didn’t happen overnight. But the realization, however, did hit me overnight. One morning, I woke up and realized I hadn’t seen Brody itching for a while. I asked him about it, and he said he was fine. I checked his body up and down, front and back, and nothing. Not a bump, not a patch of itchy skin, not a gentle red rash anywhere on his body — not on the inside of his arms, not on the back of his knees, not on his torso — NOT ANYWHERE! As clean as we eat, he still always has some tiny little patch of something on his body. But not this time. Normally when his body is super clean, I let him “cheat” a little. I let him indulge in a piece of pizza made with a real wheat crust. I let him have a quesadilla with organic corn tortillas and real organic cheese. He indulged, and still no reaction. So I let him have a little more and a little more. Still nothing. No reactions.
I started remembering back to the times that his eczema was ever completely gone, and that has only been a few times in his life — the two weeks we went to Spain in September 2011, the month we went completely raw/vegan in December 2011, and the month we spent in Santa Cruz in July 2013. So I started thinking — maybe it’s our house, and not just the food. And that’s what finally clicked for me. We hired a new housekeeper. And I mean a legit house cleaner. Every time we’d hired one before, it was the cheapest one we could find, we used her every now and then, and she didn’t do a really great job, but at least she cleaned our house, and I didn’t have to do it. Finally we decided to hire someone who would really clean our house — as in moving the furniture around to get under it, lifting up the carpets to clean the entire floor, cleaning all the window sills, blinds, and baseboards. Yes, she came with a premium that cost us double what we were paying before, but I thought she was worth it.
Low and behold, I found a direct correlation. After only two weeks of hiring her, that was the first time I noticed Brody’s symptoms disappearing. After only two weeks, I was able to start giving him foods he’d been craving for years. That’s about the time I stopped blogging because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was enjoying the new found simplicity of life WITH gluten, wheat, and dairy. Sure, we are still egg-free, nut-free, and peanut-free (due to proven skin tests, blood tests, and anaphylaxis and Epi-Pens), but a whole new world opened up to us, and we enjoyed it in full force! It’s been eight weeks since this cleaner has entered our lives, and it is a very different life now (and I’m not even mentioning how freakin’ fabulous it is to have my house immaculately cleaned every two weeks)!
What do I think it could have been? What was the game changer? Who knows, but obviously something in our house must not have been cleaned well enough. Was it dust mites? Pet allergens? Indoor mold? I have no idea, but considering we have hardwood floors throughout our house, and my son has three twin-sized fleece security blankets that’s he’s literally dragged on the floors throughout the house for the past seven years, maybe it really was dust mites. But how does that explain the fact that his symptoms disappeared when we went raw/vegan? It does explain why his symptoms went away when we went out of town, though. Some people say he grew out of it. Just one day he grew out of it? Maybe… He is almost 8 now, and he should have grown out of it by now. But I don’t think it was that.
Back to reality… here I am, in the present day and time, a mother of three children whose entire existence over the last seven years has been serving a child with special needs a very special, very limited diet. And I thought I found my calling — creating an allergy-free cooking curriculum in his school, becoming a support system to so many people dealing with allergies, creating this blog and finding that there are followers who understand, love, and accept me and our special diet, and being surrounded by friends and family who accommodate us so well. But now I don’t really have to do as much of that anymore. So where does that leave me?
It’s taken me eight weeks to write this, to decide what my stance is, to decide where I want to go and what I want to do. And what did I decide? Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? After all this time, I’ve decided that I actually like my lifestyle. I like sharing all of the healthy food and safe product knowledge that I have. I know that we eat the cleanest food possible, I love not eating processed foods even though my son doesn’t react to it anymore, and I love not eating things that don’t sit well with our bodies. Will I start adding gluten and dairy to our house every now and then? Maybe. But I still don’t believe gluten is good for you — especially all of the overly processed, heavily advertised “gluten-free” products on the market — cow’s milk is made for cows not for humans, and soy is terribly hormone-driven and bad for you in most forms. We are still allergic to nuts, eggs, and peanuts, so those are still completely ruled out. And meat? We still just prefer not to eat it.
Today I dropped off my son at camp, and I checked the snack. It was goldfish, graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. These are foods I would never purchase for my home and never give to my son. However, aside from the chocolate, I know he’s not going to react, and I know he’s not going to die. And all this little guy wants in the world is to BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. He wants to eat what they eat. So I had to suck it up and let him eat it. I had to let go of the control and power I’ve had over all of his food for the last 7 years and let him make the choice for himself. The glow on his face was priceless. He was so confident and proud and happy he didn’t have to sit in the corner and eat his homemade snack while the other kids had crackers and s’mores. It won’t always be like this, but today, all these sacrifices and revelations have made it worth it. Every little thing food thing I’ve learned, every choice I’ve made, was for my Brody, yet now it all continues for the health of our entire family.
I appreciate all of you, for letting me rant and rave and talk and work through my thoughts. I look forward to continuing my blog posts, keeping them allergy free, and sharing more and more of my tried and true recipes that will keep our bodies, our kid’s lunches, our dinner tables, and our bellies nourished, full, and complete.