Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The almond/coconut experiment - Day 1

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and picked up some coconut milk ice cream (Purely Decadent vanilla flavored) and almond milk (Almond Breeze chocolate flavored). Although Ainsley was nervous about the impending at-home food challenge, when I explained that I would be putting it on her skin first and would only feed it to her if her skin showed no reaction, she felt more comfortable with it.

After we got home I smeared some of the coconut ice cream and almond milk on Ainsley's arms (where her elbows bend in - I picked that place because her skin gets a little cracked there and the food can seep under the skin slightly, which usually produces a bigger reaction). After 20 minutes, the coconut arm looked exactly the same as when I had smeared the ice cream on, and it did not itch at all. The almond arm, however, looked slightly irritated (it was a little bit red and bumpy where I had smeared the almond milk) and Ainsley said it itched. So I decided not to do anything more with the almond milk until I called the allergist to see what he thought (I honestly don't care to give her almonds anyway - there is so much cross-contamination between different tree nuts that I'm afraid to).

Since the coconut seemed like a go, I gave her the tiniest taste of the ice cream. No problem whatsoever. An hour later, I gave her a bigger spoonful. This time, after a few minutes, she said that nothing itched but her tongue hurt a little "like someone was poking it." I had no idea what to make of it. As I have explained before, Ainsley has turned into somewhat of a hypochondriac so I wasn't sure whether to take this complaint seriously. She went to the bathroom mirror to look at her tongue and then came out and explained that her tongue "was red in the middle." I inspected the tongue and said it looked normal to me. I then stuck out my tongue and she noted that it looked "just like" hers, so apparently that made her feel better, although she decided she didn't want to have any more of the ice cream that night.

I think I'm going to give her a couple of spoonfuls of it tonight. If she has no symptoms, I will proclaim victory over coconut.

I have to say, on the subject of the ice cream, that I had never had any made with coconut milk before. It was soooo tasty! I ate quite a lot of it during our experiment. It's pretty expensive, though - $5.99 a pint (good thing I had a $1-off coupon). Not something we'll buy every week, but still, it would be nice to be able to get it as a special treat.


Jennifer said...

Yay on the test numbers going down. I don't blame you about the almond! Our allergists (we moved three times since Max was diagnosed) have all said if you test positive for one tree nut to avoid them all. They are the same way with shellfish. If you're positive for shrimp, then no lobster, etc. I hope she likes the coconut ice cream. Max liked it OK, but he'd rather have sorbet, which suits my pocketbook just fine. We do use unsweetened as a sub for dairy in several dishes though, and that is great!

Anonymous said...

Good about the coconut. My allergist also said we could try the nuts for the ones that test at zero or very low. But we haven't yet. I like the idea of trying skin contact first.


Anonymous said...

Hi! I found your blog doing research for my own blog. My son is allergic to peanuts, all tree nuts & coconut. Amazingly I find the coconut one very difficult to manage.

My son has chemical sensitivities and we've been trying to adopt a more natural lifestyle as a result. When I started moving away from conventional cleaning products and foods, I find coconut oil in everything!

I'm so happy for you that your daughter appears to have outgrown this!! People have no idea how difficult a coconut allergy can be!!


Leigha said...


You are so right! I have not been able to buy many natural cleaning products because most contain coconut oil. I guess I can do that now! Coconut oil is also in lots of gummy candy - for instance, some gummy vitamins have it. I agree - it's much harder to avoid than most would think.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought I was layed back with my son's multiple food allergies, but this is crazy. Yes, I did do kind of the the same thing with milk because I already new my son did react to milk when there was skin contact. However, he has no reaction when his skin comes into contact with peanut butter, but he is severly allergic to peanuts. He accidentally ingested just crumbs of a peanut butter cookie and his lips and tungue began to swell. Luckily we were near his allgergist's office when this accured at a whole foods. If I eat peanuts or other nuts and I speak to my son in close proximity he will break out in hives.

Leigha said...

Please recognize that I only did this at-home challenge with the complete blessing of our (very conservative) allergist, and only because Ainsley had a 0 to almonds on the blood test and practically a 0 to coconut, which he said is not a "highly reactive" food, meaning kids with such a low # to coconut almost never have serious reactions to it. I would NEVER attempt this with any of the allergens to which she has higher numbers or to which she has previously had an anaphylactic reaction.