Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Joy of Allergies

So...finding a recipe for a dairy-free cake may be harder than I thought.

Rolo's birthday is only a couple of weeks away and lame-o that I am, I've waited until now to really give his cake some thought. While it's not essential, of course, that a one year old be able to eat his cake, there is the traditional let-him-smash-it business and I'd like to be able to let him do that without having to have a paramedic standing by.

I've found that people seem to mistake a milk allergy for lactose intolerance. Boy, do I wish it was lactose intolerance. But no, Rolo has both milk and egg allergies. His reaction to the skin testing was severe enough to believe at least in theory, that were he to consume a product with either of these as ingredients, he could have an anaphylactic reaction. Not good. It's possible he'd just get hives, some nasal problems, bowel issues, etc. But it's not the kind of thing you can really test out. Once they test positive for an allergy, just about every doctor you talk to would tell you you're crazy for even trying to give your kid anything that includes an ingredient to which he's allergic.

In fact, because 30% of babies with a milk allergy also have a soy allergy, we have to get Rolo involved in a "soy challenge". He didn't test positive for a soy allergy, but there's a high false-negative rate with infants, so to be sure, he's undergo a 6 hour testing, where he'll be given increased amounts of soy formula at regular intervals under surrvelience. Does 6 hours of testing sound like a good time? For a baby? With no naps?

The whole allergy business is a huge pain in the ass. We can't give Rolo table food when we're out, because we're not always sure how it was prepared. If he didn't have an allergy, I'm sure I'd give him pieces of bread, or pieces of pizza, or some of my ice cream (well, maybe; not sure I want to share my desserts) when we're out.

Anyway, back to my cake dilemma. I've found some egg-free recipes but they seem to substitute with some sort of milk. Sometimes coconut milk. Does the milk allergy apply to coconut milk? I have no idea but I don't think I'm willing to find out. Then there are some recipes that might be okay from a dairy perspective, but they're chocolate-based. Yeah, that's another thing: you're not really supposed to give your kid chocolate either until he's like 2? I think? So I need a cake that doesn't involve eggs, milk (for now that includes the soy version) or any dirivitive of these: whey, lacto-anything.

At any rate, I was planning on having two cakes: one for everyone else, and a small one I made for Rolo. Worst case scenario, he just won't have cake. I'm going to see if Whole Foods has any store-bought dairy free versions. And I'll continue to search for recipes. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

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