Monday, December 13, 2010

Take Over Tuesday's Guest Blogger Laura. The Food Challenge

Meet Laura, a mom of a beautiful little boy with multiple food allergies. I've been getting to know her thought this blog and e-mails, and am so happy to have done so. We actually got to meet in person at the FANN Walk for Food Allergy this past October. She has a passion for cooking and a degree from the Culinary Institute of America. She has recently started a blog called Treats 4 Me 2 with some yummy allergen free recipes that she has made for her son.

The Food Challenge

My name is Laura and I am the mom of a 2 year old with multiple food allergies. We first discovered the allergies when I was nursing and had Jack's blood work drawn at 9 months old. Fast forward to July 2010 and we were given the green light to sign up for a soy food challenge at Mt. Sinai's Food and Allergy Center in NYC. I was told that we would receive a call in a couple weeks from the food challenge nurse to schedule. Two weeks passed and I was very anxious so I called and was told it is a 4 month waiting list for food challenges. My initial excitement was followed by short term disappoint by having to wait so long to have our test taken. We scheduled the first available morning appointment on Nov 23rd. 2 days before Thanksgiving! A huge food event in every Americans' home I was hopeful for additional foods to add to our meal plan.

My next "challenge" was to find foods containing soy to bring to the challenge that my picky 2 yr old would eat. I spent countless hours on the internet and in the grocery store aisles looking for things my son might eat. We packed soy chocolate pudding, instant miso soup packet, soy milk carton, soy milk yogurt and I panicked the night before and ran to the health food store and found soynut butter.

Tuesday morning arrived and I packed my soy food and hungry son in the car and we were on our way to the city by 715am. We arrived right on time to the appointment and waited less than 5 minutes before we were ushered into the food challenge room area. There were 3 rooms for challenges from what I could see and 1 nurse appointed to administer the challenges. Each spacious room was equipped with toys, table and chairs, flat screen tv. There was one little girl ahead of us so we had a wait several minutes for the doctor and nurse. I didn't mind because I thought this would make Jack even hungrier for breakfast which he normally has eaten by 730am.

The doctor arrived and asked how Jack was feeling health wise. Has he taken any meds or Benedryl? Everything was good so far. The goal of the challenge was to consume 5 ounces of soy without a reaction. The first food we were going to try was oatmeal mixed with soy milk. It took a little coaxing, but Jack had 2 spoonfuls and then it was time for a 10 minute break to watch for a reaction. The doctor and the nurse left the room and we were to get them if anything happened. The nurse did pop her head in to see how things were going. After the time lapsed the nurse came back and asked Jack to eat some more oatmeal. Again he didn't want to, but I think the hunger helped. 3 more spoonfuls and it was time to watch and wait. Jack coughed a couple times and the nurse asked if he had a cough, I told her no and she decided we should wait a few more minutes before we give some more oatmeal. I agreed and told her next time she could add some more soy milk to change the consistency. This time we asked Jack to finish the bowl and he did. At this point, Jack had had 3 ounces of soy milk without any problem. I really don't think the cough was related, but we will never know for sure.

The next food we were going to try was chocolate pudding. I really thought he would love it and it would be that easy. Forget it, the tears started rolling and the protests began. We begged, bribed with offers for new toys, we ate it ourselves to show him how good it was. I tried to push a spoonful in his mouth and it only made things worse. He took turns crying on my husband's lap and crying on mine. The nurse tried to give him a cracker with the soynut butter and he wouldn't even look at her. She offered him soymilk which looked identical to his ricemilk carton we brought and he wouldn't take a sip. I didn't even bother offering the yogurt if he didn't want the chocolate. It lasted almost an hour when the doctor finally came back in the room to say it was over and she didn't want to upset him any further. He was flushed and exhausted from crying and we wouldn't be able to notice a reaction at that point. The doctor thought the amount of soy consumed was sufficient to continue giving him the 3 ounces and increase it after a couple of weeks at home if there was no reactions. After the challenge finished we still had to sit the room another 45 minutes to make sure there was no reaction. In total we were there almost 2.5 hours. I was so mentally tired after the visit I couldn't imagine how Jack felt. The nurse offered us the opportunity to schedule a challenge in a month for yellow mustard, sunflower or wheat. I passed on all of the choices. If he wouldn't eat pudding there was no way Jack was going to try a teaspoon of yellow mustard or sunflower. I told the doctor Jack has been eating Cheerios with wheat all along and I started giving him saltines with no reaction. She told me I could try a small amount of whole wheat pasta. We haven't tried yet.

That same evening Jack got a fever. I don't think it was related other than the exhaustion and dirty city. I didn't call the doctor and it only bothered him at night. I think it was just an annoying coincidence. I haven't given him anymore soy milk because he barely drinks his rice milk (which is very bland in comparison). I got what I wanted from the soy challenge. Confirmation that we can give Jack foods that contain soy or where processed on equipment with soy.

It will be a very long time before I schedule another challenge for Jack. Our next visit to the Food and Allergy Center is July 2011. Jack will be blood tested for the first time in a year. It will be very stressful for him, but I am hopeful that his scores will come down and there will be a future challenge for dairy or eggs. Nuts will just have to wait and see what research is completed.

Guest Blogger Disclaimer: The information shared by the guest blogger does not represent the opinions and policies of No Nuts For My Peanuts and it's creator. As always seek proper medical attention for any issues, medicine dosage's or questions you have regarding your health and allergies. Always read labels before eating or serving any food to anyone who has food allergies.



  1. This was an interesting read, as we are taking Michael to Mount Sinai for a food challenge in March and I didn't know what to expect. Did Jack test positive for soy through blood tests and skin tests? We are going to be testing for Dairy, he had an anaphylactic reaction two and a half years ago and has since tested positive through blood tests and skin tests.

  2. Jack's skin test in July was negative, but positive in the blood test. The results had come down dramatically from the previous test results. The doc said because it wasn't a double negative we should do the challenge. Jack's skin reaction to wheat has always been pretty bad, but he is tolerating Saltines and animal crackers with no issues. Good Luck in March.


I love hearing what you have to say!