..Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something.”
– Mich Ehrenborg
I never realised just how daunting food could be until we embarked on our dietary journeys with our children. It might sound ridiculous, but having achieved such a resounding success from M’s move to the elemental diet, the prospect of food reintroductions caused my heart to beat a little faster, my palms to grow a little sweatier and several middle-of-the-night awakenings to contemplate just how the whole process would work. A big part of the problem was the lack of
useful any information from the dietetics team about…well about anything I wanted to know. I like to have a clear plan to follow and needed to understand how we would choose which foods to start with, how each food should be prepared, how much to give and how often. The vagaries of sweeping statements such as serve M “a portion”, with no hard and fast details of the specifics drove me insane, but with lots of discussion, frantic e-mailing and a move back to our old and trusted dietitian rather than the one I’d had run-ins with during M’s admission, we finally got the answers we were after.
The decision was to begin with rice, commonly considered to be hypoallergenic and therefore a great starting place for M. Whilst many children reintroducing foods following the elemental diet might trial potato first, this was one of the known triggers for M’s allergic reactions and so we needed to find a basic food that was likely to be safe. Despite being told that we could comfortably start with a “portion” of rice, I chose instead to take things slow and M had just 1 tablespoon of plain, boiled rice on that first night. He enjoyed his mouthful and, looking forward to having more the next day, carried on somewhat oblivious to the anxious monitoring I was trying desperately to hide. The evening passed without event and we all went to bed happily – well, the rest of the family went to bed happily, I went battling the usual Mummy-paranoia that accompanies anything and everything that involves my children and their welfare.
Since that day, around 4 weeks ago now, we have been able to gradually increase the amounts of rice M eats each day and have branched out to include rice milk, rice cakes and gluten-free rice cereal – a veritable feast! This week I even managed a rice batter, using rice flour and sparkling water and made some deep-fried rice balls to tantalise his taste buds. M has shown an occasional atopic reaction to the rice as it triggered a rash across his shoulders and back, although the hives have now calmed down as his body has become accustomed to eating once again. Despite this rash, we have seen no reaction in his bowels and are able to count rice as a “safe” food for him. Even better, we have also been able to add chicken to the mix and this week have been trialling pineapple, though the jury is still out as to whether this may be causing a mild behavioural reaction akin to the one we’ve seen him experience before to soya. Assuming all is well with the pineapple, we have plans to trial pork, cucumber and carrot over the coming weeks and may even have time to squeeze in another carbohydrate before we head back to GOSH in April.