Healing Gracie Gut interview

I connected with Mel, an amazing fellow allergy mom on Instagram. We hit it off instantly as we share a similar journey with our little ones, both having an extremely difficult road to diagnosis with allergies. Although Mel is not a doctor, she has great knowledge in the area and having Hashimoto’s herself, she is a firm believer in using holistic ways and nutrition to heal the body. She also has a great blog with many amazing allergy-friendly recipes you should check out: http://www.healinggraciesgut.com/

I thought that by
sharing her journey, it might help other allergy moms gain the support they need.

Here’s Mel:

1. Mel, thank you for your time and sharing your journey. How did you discover Gracie has food allergies/intolerances?

We had quite a bumpy start to parenthood as I had medical complications that prevented my breast milk from fully coming in.  I had to mix feed Grace from two weeks old as she wasn’t thriving (much to my upset) and then fully formula fed at around seven months.  Around the 12 months mark, when we started to transition her to cows milk,  we noticed faint red marks on her arms that became worst and then the constipation started.

I initially took her to my local GP who didn’t think her skin was ‘bad enough’ to warrant referring her and he wasn’t too concerned about her constipation either.  He said it could be dairy and suggested stopping cows’ milk for a couple of weeks and put her on HA Toddler Milk.  Well that was probably the worst mistake I made, her skin was slightly better but her constipation became horrific.

Eventually I found a Pediatrician who had a more holistic approach and through her we did the basic allergy testing as well as other tests, everything came back normal!  We did make some progress but again we plateaued and I became frustrated and decided to research to find someone else to see. In the meanwhile I came across a reputable place in Sydney that did comprehensive Food Intolerance testing.

The Food Intolerance testing results didn’t come back as too much as a surprise  – the top things were dairy, egg whites, rice and oats as well as other things that she had slight to moderate intolerances to.

2. So her allergy testing was all negative but the food intolerance testing was positive. That’s interesting… What kind of food intolerance testing? What did it entail and how is it different from the allergy testing that were negative?” 
I found a place in the city that was reputable for Food Intolerance testing. It was a finger prick test (was painless!) and it tested 220+ dairy, grains, nuts, fish/seafood, and fruits.  So it was a very specific test and the results came back in a table format and they had a number next to each food to give an indication of the severity of reaction.  The results were a shock, in the sense there were a lot of things showing up but as expected all forms of dairy came up with a high reading.

3. What are her allergies and what symptoms did she have?

Grace was diagnosed as having Leaky Gut Syndrome caused from having numerous food intolerances.  Her main symptoms were and are; hives, eczema, chronic constipation.  Overall these issues have affected her sleep and also her behaviour at times as well.

4.  Was it easy to get the help you needed?

It wasn’t easy at all, everything we’ve done to help Grace has been through our own research to get answers.  I dread to think where we would still be if I had listened to the advice my local GP initially gave me.

5. Gosh, that sounds like what happened with me! Mainstream doctors were not able to help me either! What were the early days after diagnosis like? How has your life changed?

The early days were confusing and tough.  Shortly after getting her tested for Food Intolerances we got an appointment with Integrative Pediatrician, Dr Leila Mason.  Dr Mason advised us to immediately stop feeding her anything on the list that came up with a reading so her gut could heal.  This initially put me into a spin as it was a very restrictive list, I was also scared about stopping giving her dairy even though it was the main culprit as all you hear is  children need dairy for strong teeth and bones.   It definitely took a while to get into the swing of things, do further research and change my mindset.

It has changed our life forever and the way we look at food.  We are still careful what we give her to eat and have reintroduced some foods.  Socially it has been difficult, I watch Gracie like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t eat anything she shouldn’t and children’s parties are especially difficult.

5. What kind of food intolerance testing? What did it entail and how is it different from the allergy testing that were negative?” 
I found a place in the city that was reputable for Food Intolerance testing. It was a finger prick test (was painless!) and it tested 220+ dairy, grains, nuts, fish/seafood, and fruits.  So it was a very specific test and the results came back in a table format and they had a number next to each food to give an indication of the severity of reaction.  The results were a shock, in the sense there were a lot of things showing up but as expected all forms of dairy came up with a high reading.

6. How is Gracie now?

Gracie’s eczema has completely cleared and hasn’t returned – yay!!  Her constipation was much better than it was, but had recently plateaued on the current supplementation she is on.  However a few weeks ago she had a really bad bout of Gastro and since then her constipation has been the worst it’s been in several months so we can’t wait for her review with her Integrative Pediatrician next month.

7. What made you start your blog Healinggraciesgut?

After slowly recovering from my own health issues and dealing with all Gracie’s I realised how lonely this journey actually had been.  I wanted an outlet to chronicle our journey and find a way to connect with like-minded people.

8. What are the top resources you could recommend  to other allergy moms?

For me personally Instagram has been a really powerful resource to connect with like minded mums (including yourself!), there are many fantastic support groups on facebook as well. I created one on facebook called Healing Gracies Gut – Support & Chat group, to support other parents going through the same thing as me.

7. What advice would you give to a fellow allergy mom?

Talk to other allergy mums, the journey is stressful and can be very isolating.  It makes a world of difference being able to connect with other Mums who are going through the same thing as you day in day out.

8. What’s your favorite family meal?

My favorite family meal is Spaghetti Bolognese as you can use bone broth as a base and hide lots of vegetables in it. You can also serve it up so many ways and it’s always a winner with kids!

Want to try these delicious vegan spelt gyoza? Check them out at Mel’s blog:

Vegan Spelt Gyoza

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