Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Isabella's allergies 

Isabella has this ongoing case of eczema. For a while it was minor so we didn't think anything of it, but recently she has been itching a lot. Thing is, we've cut down to foods that she's had for a long time and she still seems itchy. It seems to me that she suddenly became more sensitive to lots of foods.

We took a blood test and found out that not only does she have a peanut allergy (which we knew about), but also has a slight reaction to garlic, peas, and egg whites. She also had a lighter reaction to sesame seed, wheat, oat and soybeans; and a tinge allergic to milk and tuna.

The peanut reaction is the one that is a little concerning, as the doctor recommended we get her a medic-alert bracelet and even have an epi-pen around in case she gets a severe reaction. We would of course avoid all peanut products but sometimes you just don't know what restaurants do if you go out to eat. They might fry something in peanut oil for example. It is also possible with how allergic she is, that if a pan was used previously to cook a peanut dish and wasn't washed properly to cook her dish, that she could get a reaction from that too. Oy!

The other stuff was more minor, but it might be enough to flare up the eczema. So we're going to try to avoid them and see if the rashes clear up. The list of things that she is reacting to is so long, and they are in everything, so it is going to be challenging to fulfill her nutritional requirements with the right foods that minimize her reactions. If they are minor, we may have to live with it so that she can have a well balanced and varied diet.

Egg white is a huge one because egg is in EVERYTHING. To avoid eggs, you have to avoid all of the following:

* baked goods - breads and rolls, pancakes, cakes, cereals, cookies, cream-filled pies, meringue, French toast, waffles, doughnuts, muffins, crackers, pretzels, baking mixes, and dessert powders; the shiny yellow glaze effect on many baked goods is achieved by using eggs or egg products
* breaded or batter-fried foods - breaded meats (such as chicken nuggets), meatballs, meatloaf, sausage
* commercial egg substitutes - many of which are made with egg whites
* desserts - chocolate candies filled with cream fillings, marshmallow candy, fudge, icing, custard, pudding, ice cream, sherbet, gelatin desserts
* pasta - egg noodles, vermicelli, macaroni, spaghetti
* salad dressings and sauces - béarnaise sauce, hollandaise sauce, Newburg sauce, Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, cream sauces, tartar sauce
* soups - clear soups and broth, noodle soups, consommé, Chinese egg-drop soup
* beverages - eggnog, beer, root beer, Orange Julius, Ovaltine, wine, coffee, latte

Candies, hot dogs, meatballs, and salad dressings can include egg derivatives as well. There are also many products and food ingredients that contain egg products, but whose names don't always include the word egg. Eggs may be used for a specific function and be listed as "binder," "emulsifier," or "coagulant." Here is a good link to help those with egg allergies.

(Egg is also disguised under these ingredients: albumin, globulin, livetin, lysozyme, ovalbumin, ovoglobulin, ovomucin, ovomucoid, ovotransferrin, ovovitella, ovovitellin, silici albuminate, Simplesse, vitellin)

Here's another site I like:

For each egg, you can substitute the following:
1 tsp baking powder, 1 T liquid, 1 T vinegar
1 tsp yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
1 T apricot puree
1 1/2 T water, 1 1/2 T oil, 1 tsp baking powder
1 packet plain gelatin, 2 T warm water; don't mix until ready to use

Foods that may have a peanut protein:
African, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese dishes
baked goods
egg rolls
hydrolyzed plant protein
hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Monday, June 20, 2005

Is this a midlife crisis? 

Who says that once you get married and have kids that everything has to become boring and fuddy duddy? So instead of buying a minivan which would be practical, we went the opposite extreme. Can you believe that there is a 4WD sports car convertible which fits a baby??

June 2005 – 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet
Car Count: 6
(See previous blogs on our car owning history here and here.)

Well, according to Rich, this is actually a very practical purchase, with our baby very much in mind. Instead of buying an old car which is Rich's passion, he rationalized that a newer car would be less likely to break down and leave you stranded or have you boiling without AC (imagine either scenario with a baby - bleah!). In addition, a newer car would have better gas mileage than an older car (25 v. 8 mpg); a 4WD would be very safe to drive in inclement weather; the car has a back seat, so it would fit all 3 of us. And, what a thrill Isabella will get having the wind blow through her hair!

Sadly, that means we are saying goodbye to the SVX. I admit that despite how ugly I think the car is, even I’m sad about it. It is Rich’s college dream car, and he loves it so much. But Rich decided we don’t have enough garage space for it so it’s on the market. Now what am I going to use as a butt to all my jokes? :-)

BTW, since *I* am the one who bonged buying the Lexus Hybrid SUV, is it Rich who is having the midlife crisis or me?!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Take my own advice 

I hate to say it, but ever since the baby has been born, Rich and I have been arguing much more. Ugh. Earlier this year my friend Kristine asked us to provide some "sage words of marital advice" for bride-to-be Margarita. Here is the list I came up with. You know, I should take some of my advice sometimes.

Never be afraid to admit that you’re wrong

Take accountability for things that didn’t go right

Respect the other person’s right to do his/her thing once in a while

Always let the other person follow their dreams (and don’t belittle their dreams either!)

No need to get jealous – you’re married and you own him now

Even if things get busy, always make time to spoil yourselves

Make personal traditions to follow and remember

No matter what happened during the day, end the evening with “I love you” and a kiss

Marriage probably won’t really change anything, but definitely go out like crazy and have lots of sex NOW before kids come but they will change EVERYTHING

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Cleaning icky sticky baby stuff 

A helpful article I read:

High chair

- get gunk out of chair's crevices with dental floss and a wet wipe, or with a cotton swab dipped in a mouthwash containing alcohol.
- disinfect the chair every few days by wiping with hydrogen peroxide.

- Wash plastic toys when they're new in the top rack of dishwasher
- Wipe with hydrogen peroxide, especially if guests visited or your kid is sick
- Stuffed toys have dust mites so machine wash them in a pillow case or surface clean with a mix of water and mild detergent. Airdry in a sunny spot indoors, then put it in a plastic bag in the freezer overnight

Changing table
- Clean every few days with mild detergent and warm water
- Disinfect if have diarrhea with 1 T bleach in 1 quart water. Let stand for 10 minutes, then scrub the whole area with a cloth and rince well with water
- Wash changing pad in hot water

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

More food ideas 

I'm always looking for new ideas of nutritious foods to feed very picky toddlers. Here are some ideas that came up among my Mom's group. (a very minimally edited cut & paste)

- make wonton/dumplings and rice porridge with different vegetables and meat over the weekend. (add less and less water to the porridge to meet child's needs)
- rice, noodle, green-onion pan cake, BBQ pork buns
- oatmeal with fruit (try quick oats); try adding some cheerios to it too
- freezed cubes of vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, carrot; veges from your plate;
- fish once or twice a week (live tilapia, live black bass or salmon
- string cheese, plain yogurt and fresh fruits for snack, shredded cheese to go on top of dish
- peach, banana, apple, orange, mango, papaya, kiwi, lechee, cherry, strawberry, Kiwi, pear, apple, grapes (new for him, and he loved), cherries, watermelon, mangoe
- fruit followed by an organic cottage cheese with cheerios or half slice of
- yogurt mixed with rice cereal
- brown rice with chicken or meat, some brocolis, carrots, peas… or brown spaghetti with cottage cheese and provolone; black beans; fruit as a dessert
- breakfast: eggs (add sometimes tomatoes, cheese or other vegetables that your child likes), pancake, yogurt w/ cereal or cereal with milk and chunks of fruits, raisins
- Tofu w/ favorite vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes, soy beans)
- chicken w/ yellow curry
- rice, beans, pasta w/ meat sauce
- serve what you eat, except adjust a little bit to meet your child's needs, like cooking vegetable a bit softer (to save you time, cook only foods that can be diced or sliced or is already bite sized, so your child can serve herself with her fingers (carrots, squashes, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, celery, beets, peas, corn,
beans, potatoes, pasta, meat, ...).
- vegetables steamed with a little salt, or try sauteeing them with onions and even garlic
- bread with some nut butter and/or jam on it
- rotissarie chicken, especially the softer meat from the leg.
- salmon and shrimp, just sauteed in the pan with salt and pepper - but some kids like the browned crust removed, since it's a) crusty and b) contains most of the salt
- scrambled eggs (with veggies & cheese mixed in)
- toast with cream cheese (a pancake for a special treat once in a while
- steamed carrots, peas and green beans
- chicken, diced and stir fried with a little soy and maple syrup and sometimes other spices
- gnocchi in a red sauce with cheese (such as pre-packaged version from Trader Joes the best)
- meat Lasagna
- breaded cod
- a snack of cheese and crackers
- cottage cheese

Toddlers have very strong likings and dislikings that change periodically. For a few days, your child will eat so much mango that you may get worried. Then, she won't even take one bite of mango for a while. This behaviour is totally normal. So, if she refuses the cherries that she ate a quarter pint of yesterday, offer a couple of other fruits to see if she likes one of those today. You should be firm with your meals however. Otherwise you would be cooking twice which might become exhausting. But if you make a veggie you know she won't eat, e.g. because she can not finger-feed it, make some carrots for her instead. Some kids have a preference not to eat any mixed foods. If so, serve all foods separately. i.e., no casseroles, no pasta with meat sauce etc. For lunch, instead of a sandwich, serve the bread and the lunch meat and the cheese all in 3 separate little piles. Serving foods side by side rather than mixing them also might be a good idea for "picky" eaters, so they can pick what they want and don't refuse the entire dish just because they do not like one component of it.