Saturday, November 27, 2010

Really, who is allergic to barley??

Apparently my daughter is. Barley was one of the allergens she tested in the "low" category. The doctor believes a lot of these low allergens are cross-reactions to things she is more allergic to. So, she might test positive for barley but it is merely a cross reaction from her higher allergy to oats. We've been slowly reintroducing the low allergens and seeing if she has a reaction.

Lately, though, I've been enjoying her so much (and not enjoying my third pregnancy) that I haven't been very diligent in testing new foods. So I was a little blindsided when she started having behavior problems again.

We spent Thanksgiving on the opposite coast at my parents' house. They had the big name-brand raisin bran and Bethany wanted to try it. I couldn't see anything in the ingredients that she couldn't have, so we let her try it. She loved it and ate it the whole trip with no problems.

When we came home, I promptly restocked my pantry and bought some raisin bran - same brand. Bethany started having behavior issues that day, but since we had just spent a week in a time zone with a 3 hour time difference, and had several late nights and skipped naps, I just assumed she was worn out. By the 3rd or 4th day of nonstop whining and a few crying jags where she would tell me things like, "I'm just so sad, I don't know why," a red flag went up. She also started refusing to do things herself, like get dressed or use the restroom. The only thing I knew that she had that was not part of her normal diet was the raisin bran, but she had had it the entire week of Thanksgiving with no problems. I was stumped. In any case, I checked the ingredients again and noticed one ingredient I knew nothing about: malt flavoring. When I googled it, I noticed it was most often made from barley. We took her off the raisin bran right away and I contacted the company to see what they used in their malt flavoring.

A few days later, with my daughter's demeanor restored, I received a reply that said they sometimes used barley and sometimes used corn for their malt flavoring. So, that might explain why one box was ok and the next box caused problems. And now I know she can't have barley. Or malt flavoring.

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