Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Salicylates Challenge = FAIL

Over this long weekend we did our sals challenge. And we failed :(

According to the challenge guidelines, for a sals challenge you must consume at least 6 serves of salicylate rich foods per day for 7-10 days or until you see a reaction. Each serve is the equivilent of 1 cup of sal-only fruits and vegies (so no tomatoes, spinach, grapes, etc that contain aminies and glutimates as well), 150 mL unpreserved apple juice, 1 tbsp honey or curry powder, 1 cup strong tea.

The girls were very excited to do the challenge and actually get to eat fruit again, so on Saturday our food diary looked like this:

10am: 1 cup watermelon each, 150mL nudie apple juice each
11am: (girls only) 1/2 royal gala apple, 1/6 granny smith apple
12.45pm: (Em and I, Z took one bite and didn't like it!)Homemade cream corn on toast (2 cups corn cooked, 1/2 tub philly cream for cooking - blitzed in the food proccessor then toasted in a sandwhich press - pepper on mine)
1pm: (girls) 1 cup watermelon
5pm: Failsafe dinner (leftover chicken alfredo)
6.30pm: (girls) 1/2 royal gala apple, 1/6 granny smith apple
7.30pm: (girls) 1 cup each coles organic sweet and salty popcorn
9pm: (Me only) English breakfast tea

So over the course of the day Z and I had 6 serves and Em had 7.

Besides one tanty at the shops by Z that was diffused in about 5 minutes, Saturday was a really good day. The girls were listening, playing nicely and overally being nice to be around. That night I was awake until 3am. Not sure if it was the sals or caffiene in the tea, or just the fact that I was still doing things until that time.

Things were looking promising - I even started looking at my cook books to see what recipes I could add once we had finished the challenges . . .

Then came Sunday.

Shan had been fishing the previous night and got home about 9am. Before this time the girls had been playing nicely, even walking out of their bedroom in the morning hand in hand. Then things went downhill. We had had 1 cup of watermelon and 150mL coles cloudy apple juice before Shan had gotten home.

Shan has a tendency to stir the girls to get a reaction. Well he got one. Crying, yelling, running around like kids gone crazy, jumping on the lounge, hitting each other and Z bit Emily. Em's cheeks became very hot and red too. Out came the caltrate.

At this stage there was no reaction with Abby or I, so I kept going and had a big serve of apple juice (400 mls, so nearly 3 serves) and some salad vegies at lunch (butter lettuce, carrot, cucumber). I had a couple of episodes of tinnitis, which I had only had one since starting falsafe but it was after Abby did a poo that I knew it was time for me to stop too. Her bottom was raw and bleeding. Game over.

We've since gone back to straight failsafe eating and it will be interesting to see how the next few days pan out. Over Monday and today, I have already had several more tinnitis episodes, the big girls are very teary, fighting a lot and not going to bed. We were terribly late for school today because Em would not get dressed and at the time that her classmates were going into class, she was sill in her pjs and hadn't had breakfast - and we still had to walk to school. I was very tempted to keep her home but I don't think I could have handled her today. Thankfully one of my friends was also running late and drove past when we were trying to finally get out the door and was able to drive Em while I walked Z to kindy.

Abby is now covered all over her tummy and legs with ezcema. Her bottom is healing with the help of a lot of nappy free time and liberal amounts of calendula cream. When I showed Shan her bottom his response was "It's because she isn't used to those foods" well der!!!!! That is the whole point!!! We have also discovered that Abby reacts to synthetic fibres, so have to be careful with what she wears and lays on - we can't pop her straight on our carpet without her rashing up.

Shan still doesn't think that the diet is working, and thinks that maybe the icecream that they had last night before one of their beating-each-other-up bouts was the cause of the fight. *sigh*

Hoping to get back to baseline now in time for the June school holidays which are just under 2 weeks away so that we can do the amine challenge when they don't have to go to school.

Six week catch up (slacker I know!)

Six weeks today since we started this failsafe journey!

The sickness I mentioned in the previous post turned out to be the flu - with all of us wiped out for nearly 2 weeks. While we were all hit, Em was by far the worst afftected. She was still sick on her birthday and didn't even want to get out of bed to open her birthday pressies! Finding her crashed on the floor like this was a common event. Thankfully she recovered in time for her first ever "friends" birthday party :D

I am very pleased to be able to say that there were no complaints about the food (by anyone but my husband that is - "You can't use beetroot juice to colour the icing!!") and the party went off without a hitch! We served marshmallow crackles, fairy bread, fun sized milky bars, werthers original cream candies, red rock plain chips and parkers pretzels, magic cordial, water and, of course, cake! As an alternative to party bags, each guest took ome a giant bubble stick. What kid doesn't like bubbles, right?

I am getting a bit frustrated at the lack of support from Em's school. On the first day back at school after neary 2 weeks off, we arrive and it is 'Bear Hunt Day' where all the prep classes get together and do 'bear' related activities to finish up their work on the story "Going on a Bear Hunt" We had brought in a plate of marshmallow crackles for Em to share with her class as her birthday treat since she wasn't there on the day itself.I saw that one of the activities was making honey sandwiches. I specifically tell Em's teacher "Please don't allow Emily to have any of the honey sandwiches as we cannot have honey. There are sandwiches in her bag that she can eat at the same time" Get told that this is not a problem at all so off I go (walking home because my car is still not back - but that is a different gripe!) That afternoon Em tells me that she didn't eat the honey sandwiches, but she had 3 honey joys (ingredients: homebrand canola spread (antioxidant 320), honey and cornflakes (both sals!))So frustrating!!! I spoke with her teacher the next day and was told that Emily said that she was allowed to have them, so she gave them to her!!! Apparently ME telling her that morning that we cannot have honey is over-ridden by a five year old. Awesome. Not only that, but the marshmallow crackles (that Em could have eaten in place of the honey joys) were put out for all of the 114 prep kids, not just Em's class of 22 and Em didn't get one. Poor Em :(

If anyone has any suggestions on how to get a school to take an elimination diet seriously, I'd LOVE to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Week 3: Round in circles

That is what I am doing right now, going round and round and round in circles. This week I have done everything by the book and we still have not reached baseline. Instead we are all disgustingly sick with head colds (Em's including a fever on and off up to 40.4 degrees) and the girls are being whingy whiney little brats - not helped by the fact that I am sick too so just want to lay on a couch and do as little as possible.

I really thought we'd be there by now. Even through this bout of sickness where every fibre of my being is screaming out for cold and flu tablets for me and dimetapp and a 'nice' tasting paracetamol for the girls, I have still stuck to failsafe and it has gotten me no where :(

We are halfway through my self imposed time frame in which to see a difference. We have the added stress of not having a car which can fit the 3 kids in it (apparently a month isn't too long to wait - and they still haven't figured out what the bloody problem is) and now being sick, so I am trying not to get too down on it today or else I might just go out and down a bucket of KFC and a bottle of moscato . . .

Thursday was an absolute write off for Z. Tantrums, spitting, tears . . . the whole works. My diary (where I am recording what food and any symptoms) says "Horrible horrible day" and that about sums it up. Caltrate and bi-carb baths barely touched the sides (no more macca's milkshakes for her!!) This has continued until today, getting gradually better until today's catastrophic day where she will not listen to a word anyone says, tried to put her doll's stroller on Abby's rocker (while Abby was in it) grabbed hold of the rocker while I was carying it to another room (again with Abby in it), poking Abby in her eye (deliberately), hitting and smacking both Em and I numerous times.

Em seems to be getting a bit constipated (something I am having a little trouble with too) and constantly wants someone with her. her attention span is virtually non existant.

I am feeling very angry and argumentative and had an episode of tinnitis in my left ear for the first time since starting failsafe (it used to be at least every second day).

I am feeling very despondant at the moment. Am I even doing the right thing trying the diet. Am I just bringing out the worst in us whenever we eat the 'bad' things, rather than bringing out the good when we don't?? Hmm maybe that doesn't make sense. Are our symptoms worth the feralness that comes out when we stray from a purely chemical free diet even the smallest amout??

I just want to get to the challanges so we can hopefully start to introduce foods back or make the decision to throw it all in . . .

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Week 2 roundup - Live and Learn

So many stupid mistakes this week with things that I thought were failsafe (some I have no idea WHY I thought they were in the first place!!) but I will start with the good.

- We are still without a car, so walking to and from school each day (Zoe twice a day with me) and for the past 2 days we have gotten there in good time without Z complaiing the whole way or sitting down on the path not moving!! A whole lot easier I tell you!! :D

- After nearly a week of Em coming in and sleeping in our bed with nightmares, we have had 3 nights in a row that they have both gone to bed nicely and stayed there all night!! That is HUGE!!!

Okay, now the things I have learnt this week that are NOT failsafe even though I thought they were:

- Vanilla shakes from Maccas - why the heck did I think these were FS?? Thay have 211 and 220 in them.

- Crossaints from Coles (I will check woolies again tomorrow) - these have whey powder in them, which is cultured from Calcium propanoate (282) and used in bakery products as a preservative.

- Coles Pears in Syrup Snack Packs - the 'syrup' in these is thickened pear juice (with skins) so contain sals. The big tins (not at our coles, but our woolies stocks them) are still fine.

- Sour cream and yogurt - just off the list as a fermented product - so contains amines.

We have had some success with meals this week. We've had Creamy Chicken and Cabbage Alfredo again as well as Fried Rice and made the Chicken Casserole (failsafe cookbook pg 75) as chicken pot pies which went down well. The mix would also be good on rice I think.

I have discovered that I cannot make mayo (after 3 ill fated attempts lol) but I have made mighty mayo from the Fed Up book and will be using that on our burgers tonight.

My localchemist is ordering in plain toothpaste for me (regular toothpaste contains at very least sals from flavours if not colours and artificial flavours and preservatives)

It shouldn't be this hard to know what we are putting into our bodies . . .

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week 1 Round Up

I am not coping very well at the moment. After a very promising start to the week with Abby's rash getting a lot better and only waking once after the second day, we then went downhill. I knew to expect it (all the books say that from day 4 up to 10ish are the worst but I didn't expect it to be so bad.

Abby was waking 4-5 times a night (was only 2 last night but not banking on that keeping up!) and still rashy. Z is incredibly lethargic and so whiny!!! One of our cars (the one that can fit all 3kids in it of course) is out of action at the moment and so we have to walk to and from school - but the 700m walk is taking nearly half an hour with Z dragging her feet, throwing tantrums and screaming that she is "NO GOOD AT WALKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" She threw up on Saturday (just once with no cause that we can see) last night wet the bed for the first time since toilet training over a year ago.

Em is in hysterics over nothing, seems to be more sensorally (is that even a word?) aware, crying that the anti slip stuff on the bottom of her socks was hurting, then the next pair of socks had a pattern on it and where the colours changed underneath had some loose threads, which apparently hurt too. She had a nightmare on Friday night and is 'scared' to be by herself (which meant that she was in Z's bed when Z wet it - argh!!)

Both of the older girls are not listening to a thing that either I or Shannon say and neither time out nor smacking their hands has any effect whatsoever, which is putting both Shan and I in bad moods with each other too :(

As for me, I'm not craving coke as much as I thought I would be. The first 2-3 days I had a bad headache, but seem to be past that. Thursday night I had some nasty leg cramps and I still feel like I am walking around with my head in a cloud, but that could also be from the lack of sleep (sleep deprivation is a type of torture for a reason!!) Friday had me feeling very agitated and flustered too.

Slip ups during the week:
- Em wasn't given her snack pack of pears for fruit break on Friday, so the teacher just let her have apple and banana instead (but ate her pears later so she didn't think to tell me!)
- Shan gave the girls each a bottle of 100% orange juice on Saturday - they didn't drink it all themselves, but had a decent amount each.
- On Saturday and Sunday we had bbq chicken which had been seasoned and stuffed. We only had the white meat, but apparently this is a no no?
- I have been having a small glass of Schwepps unpreserved lemonade each day (supposed to limit to 150mL per WEEK while in full elimination - I just need some flavour dammit!!)
- On Sunday we were at Caloundra for Mother's Day and had icecream cones. We had vanilla 'all natural' icecream, but it was very yellow, so might have had annato? And in a waffle cone. I asked to see the ingredients list but they couldn't find them, and by then all the other people we were with had already bought theirs and so I just gave it to them.
- On Saturday Z was bitten on her hand by something and by last night (Sunday) it had puffed up like a blown up glove, so I gave her some Polaramine syrup which is heavily flavoured and coloured. Today when she needed another dose, I have quartered a colourfree polaramine tablet (which is the equivalent of 1.25mL of syrup and a 2-4year old dose is 1.25 - 1.75mL) and given it to her in some golden syrup.

I need to lean to be stronger and say no, but at only 1 week in I am sick of being the bad guy already. The one who says no to sauce and chocolate and cake and chips. The one who has to tell my husband's Mum that no, the girls can't have sausages or pasta salad or juice - so when she made us a special meal I couldn't tell her that we aren't meant to have the BBQ chicken.

It is frustrating that every day has to be so planned out because we can't really eat out at all. Dinner at the MIL's place was a spur of the moment decision and could have stuffed everything up.

Emily has a birthday party tomorrow afternoon and I have to take Z too (no car so we are walking) but I am already dreading having to say no when she wants everything. I'm bringing fairy bread, a packet of chips and a cupcake for each of the girls but I know that there will be other things there that they are going to want.

So overwhelmed at the moment that it is just ridiculous!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 2 - 3

Abby is already looking so much better! It is hard to believe that only a couple of days ago she was in so much pain. That said, when nappy free she will still scratch her bottom until she bleeds, but the rest are almost dried out now :D

The first night we had potato and leek soup - which was a bit bland (edible, but wouldn't want to very often lol) but last night we had the chicken and cabbage alfredo and it was YUM!! Even if it turns out that we can tolerate all other foods, I can see us going back to this one. Even Shannon went back for seconds!

We have already come up against hurdles. Yesterday a girl in Em's class brought in cupcakes for her birthday, so straight home I went and now have a batch of iced cupcakes both at home and in the freezer in the classroom for the next birthday which comes around. Em has also received a party invitation for another friends birthday next week, so I have spoken to her Mum and have arrange to bring a cupcake, some failsafe fairy bread and some plain kettle chips. I'll also make sure EM has her drink bottle.

There are so many little things that I hadn't thought of before, like my friend watching the girls while I have my market stall tomorrow night asked what they can eat for dinner. I don't want to put other people out, but don't want the girls to miss out either :( So they are having a roast chicken (they already do no seasoning or stuffing) and roast veges (the girls will have potato only). I will provide some bread and homemade mayo if they'd like a 'sauce' with it.

As a plus, I have since discovered that the bakery made bread at Coles is Failsafe - yay!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 1

We are finally here! The last week has had me nervous but more than anything just wanting to get to it.

So far so good, although I have had a cracking headache since about 1pm (damn you caffiene!!) Zoe is her 'normal' tantruming self, and Em is being sooky - so nothing new really!

I have undertaken the Great Pantry Cleanout today, removing everything not suitaly for the elimination diet. I have kept most of it for when we start challenges but the difference is a bit depressing really!

I look at what is left and start to wonder how the heck we are going to get through it. Is it all really worth the huge effort? And then i look at Abby, who is covered head to toe in a horrible rash (worse in the nappy area) which has mainly come out since I went a bit crazy on the Sunkist and had several cans over the period of a few days (when I am normally a Coke girl).

This is something real. You can't put this down to "having a bad day" or "it's an age thing" It is breaking her sleep and the poor little bugger is scratching until she bleeds. I need to fix this!