About Me

Michelle, Manimal, Lil Z

Michelle, Manimal, Lil Z

My name is Michelle, and I am the mother of two beautiful boys, Lil Z and Manimal. I live in the Kansas City area and have been married to my best friend Mike for almost 12 years. By day I am a stay-at-home mom, and by night I am an interior designer, blogger and writer.

Both my boys were born intolerant to several foods. I started this site in 2009 to chronicle the challenges of raising (and cooking for) a child with this problem (you can read more about how it all began here).

Both my boys are gluten and peanut free. Lil Z has outgrown several of his food intolerances (or should I say, he can better handle them), and Manimal continues to have problems with dairy and soy. Unfortunately, both boys often have adverse reactions to certain foods (and I can’t always pin-point which ones!). Food coloring makes my boys go nutso, so they only get that in small amounts, also.

All the recipes on this site are gluten free and peanut free. Also, most will be Top-8 free (wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shell fish – although my kids can have eggs now, so I may post a few of those…). Because I know corn is a big problem, I also note when I have a corn free recipe.

Four years ago when I started this site, there were few resources for mom’s in my situation. Now that I have “survived” two children with this problem, I want to be a help for other parents struggling with this issue. Thanks for reading!

11 thoughts on “About Me

    1. Michelle @ Raising a PIC Post author

      Thank you so much for visiting. I am waiting anxiously to hear more of yours… Although my children are not anaphylactic (praise God) I know the sick feeling and the worry that comes with children with food allergies. It always seems to be an uphill battle.

  1. ohraby

    I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have found you and your blog! I am just beginning the journey of food intolerances with my 3 month old and feel lost. Our GI told me our son was allergic to my milk, not what I ate, but my milk. I have been doing a lot of research and am finding that so hard to believe (he’s growing and is not small!). I have been on the Dr. Sears total elimination diet for 9 days now… I’ve already cut out rice from the TED as I think he’s intolerant to that as well as dairy, soy, and corn and who knows what else. Can I ask how you figured out what your boys were sensitive to? Thanks so much for all the help you’ve already given me. It’s so nice not to feel alone in this. 🙂
    Thank you!

    1. Michelle @ Raising a PIC Post author

      Oh, hang in there! You are at a really rough stage with your baby right now. I ended up doing the elimination diet mentioned on the Dr. Sears Web site and I did it pretty much like Mrs. Sears recommends (I started with organic rice and organic turkey seasoned with only salt, pepper and canola oil). I worked my way through the allergenic foods list and added one item every four days(I think I added squash 2nd and pears 3rd, and peas 4th).

      One thing I’ve learned, which I wish I had done right away, is the importance of probiotics. I’ve been reading that many food intolerances are related to a lack of proper gut flora (i.e. good bacteria, which your baby inherited – or didn’t inherit- from you). I haven’t had a chance to write much about it, but I would suggest you put your baby on a good probiotic immediately. Several moms have reported on various message boards that once they put their baby on probiotics, their food intolerances significantly improved about 3 months later). When my boys were younger I gave them Phillips Colon Health because it was top 8 free, but now I give them Garden of Life Raw Probiotics (which are a much better probiotic, but have a lot more ingredients that may bother baby’s gut).

      Did you find that your baby doesn’t tolerate rice, or did your doctor suggest it? The reason I ask is that rice is one of the lowest allergenic foods out there, but it is definitely possible to be intolerant to it, but it’s rare outside of rice-centric countries like Japan. I don’t know a ton about it, but I have read that some people never tolerate grains well, and there is a huge group of people who will say that humans are not meant to eat grains. Whether there is much scientific backing to support that I don’t know; I do know that I have cut out all gluten and eat a lot less grains and I am so much better for it, and when I eat grains I get heartburn pretty quickly.

      It doesn’t surprise me that corn bothers your baby. I believe it is in the top 10 of allergenic foods, and it’s very genetically modified, which is why I believe it’s becoming such a hot button for many people (similar to wheat/gluten). You didn’t mention wheat; if you haven’t cut that out, I would cut it out immediately.

      Have you seen any improvement in your baby since you’ve modified your diet? If you don’t mind my asking, what have you been eating? Ultimately, it might be that your baby just never tolerates your breastmilk, but that’s pretty rare(you might want to peruse the FPIES Web site http://fpiesfoundation.org/) and see if your baby shows any indication of that.

      This stage of food intolerance is so frustrating and may last for quite awhile, especially when you start introducing solids down the road. It feels like a big guessing game and you will ultimately worry that anything you eat/feed your baby will harm him/her. Sorry to paint such a bleak picture. The best advice I can give you is pray lots and don’t beat yourself up if your baby reacts to something you introduce(easier said than done!). Also, don’t let all the other voices/and advice deter you from what you feel is best for your baby – if you are committed to breastfeeding and your baby gets better when you modify your diet — wonderful. If your baby never improves you might have to look at elemental formulas. Just keep in mind that formula is not always a solution, and some babies never tolerate anything and end up on feeding tubes (but this is pretty rare).

  2. Lindsey

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. As a mom who is very new to the world of allergies and intolerances, it is so nice to know that I’m not alone. Can I ask how you determined what your children’s intolerances were? I am 9 days in to the Dr. Sears TED and I’m trying to figure it all out. Our GI pushed us to formula (Alimentum), and our son had a terrible reaction to it. They switched us to Elecare and he would scream after 1 ounce. All that to say, I did a lot of research and am continuing to breastfeed, praying for his diarrhea to stop. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have found you and your blog. Thank you.
    PS I tried to comment earlier, but I don’t think it went through. If it did, and I’m posting twice, I’m sorry. 🙂

    1. Michelle @ Raising a PIC Post author

      No problem on commenting twice – I’ve done that so many times! 🙂 Your poor baby! I hope you can get to the bottom of his tummy issues fast. I remember the screaming — such a hard thing for everyone to experience!

      1. Lindsey

        Thank you so much for your sweet reply! I know I said this before, but it is so comforting to know that I’m not alone in this. I have read so many of your posts now, all of them amazing. The verses that you shared in your post about breastfeeding a protein intollerant baby hit my heart powerfully. All that to say…thank you. Thank you for sharing your heart and how the Lord has carried you through all of this. Your journey has been a long one and I’m so thankful you’re willing to share it here.
        You response above is awesome. I just wish I had gotten to your blog sooner. I started the Dr. Sears TED with all the things they listed at once. It makes so much sense to do it the way you did – one food at a time. I so wish I had done that. I cut out all dairy, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish completely 4 weeks ago today. A saw a tiny bit of improvement at the end of 2 weeks, but that was when she put him on formula and he had the worst few days of his life. Then I started the TED with turkey, lamb, squash, pears, brown rice, millet, potatoes and sweet potatoes. A few days in, I discovered organic brown rice crispies and I may or may not have had three bowls of it in the following 12 hours. It was amazing! I also found some organic brown rice noodles that I had the next evening. Well, Max was super sad the next few days. No real symptoms. Maybe more gassy, and looser stools, but no mucous. He had also recently started Ranitidine, which I think has helped him immensely and may have prtected him from the rice. His poo had gotten to a mushy state. No mucous, and much less green. I’m guessing that’s an improvement and not a bad thing??? Since I had to cut out rice, I decided to try oats – also a low allergic food. My milk supply has drastically gone down and I’ve read oats can help. Well, the mucous returned today and brought lots of reflux with it. Its so hard not to feel discouraged. I would start over and start with one or two foods like you did, but my milk supply is so low, I’m afraid to. Do you think I should wait for him to be mucous free before I introduce another food? I’m thinking about trying avocados. Any milk supply advice? Also, did you take vitamins while eliminating foods? I was taking a pre natal vitamin, but I quit for fear of what’s in it. The amazing part is that he is growing. And two days ago he rolled both ways (he’s not even 4 months yet. I feel like the Lord has given me glimpses of hope in the midst of all of this, and I am SO thankful. Thank you for being one of the the things He has given me to show me hope. And thank you for reading this entirely too long post! 🙂

  3. Michelle @ Raising a PIC Post author

    Forgive me for taking so long to reply. I didn’t realize you had written this. Thank you so much for your kind words. I love hearing that kind of feedback! That’s why I do this blog.

    If your baby has mucous in his stool, he is not tolerating something (or he could have a virus, but with everything you’ve described, I doubt it). I wouldn’t introduce any new foods until the mucous is gone. Regarding oats – your baby might be intolerant to oats or to gluten. See, oats are often contaminated with gluten (i.e. transported and grown next to wheat), so unless you buy certified gluten free oats, they will most likely have gluten. I have also read that many people who are intolerant to gluten never tolerate oats – even ones that are certified gluten free. Heck, I guess some celiacs never tolerate any grains…

    My milk did dry up a bit with my firstborn, especially because m my diet was so limited. I was advised by Z’s pediatrician to drink fenugreek tea, which I did. It tastes horrible, so if you can find pills, you might have more success with that than I did. Also, I was home FT so he nursed constantly… I didn’t take vitamins, but I wish I had. But every vitamin I found had soy in it, and I felt like it hurt Zs tummy. I eventually found a Hy-Vee health market calcium supplement that was top 8 free when I was nursing Manimal.

    I eventually figured out that the foods I needed to avoid were dairy, gluten (wheat, barley, rye, and regular oats), soy, peanuts and eggs. I didn’t figure out that my kids could have tree nuts til Manimal (baby #2) was about 3 months old, so before that we drank rice milk (we now drink almond milk because it’s a lot tastier). I wish I could say, just avoid the top 8, corn, sulfites, food coloring, MSG and your baby will be a lot better… that might be the case but I don’t know. Some parents find out their baby can’t tolerate pork or beef… who knew, huh? This is why this stage for you is sooo hard. I know your milk is drying up, so I know you need to eat more food… I hesitate to tell you what I would do if I were in your shoes because I will be so sad if it hurts your baby, but… I will anyway. I would cut out all grains, at least for a couple weeks, except rice if you’ve figured out that baby can tolerate rice. I would eat lots of meat, potatoes, lower allergen vegetables and fruits (avoid tomatoes, strawberries and citrus) and eat a ton. Slather it in lots of oil (canola/olive) and snack on things like sunflower seeds and olives. If you have a hankering for ice cream eat peach sorbet (since peaches are a lower allergen food). I would hope baby can tolerate this diet, but some babies are just super sensitive. And also, definitely put baby on a probiotic as soon as you can. Eventually, I would introduce anything made by Enjoy Life (because their products will help you stay sane when you can’t eat anything at the holidays). With that said, how is your baby doing? has he improved at all sine you posted this? Has your milk supply been OK?


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