National Eosinophilic Awareness Week is May 13th-19th this year! I have challenged my friends and family to try to eat like Jack for just one day (May 14th), to get a glimpse into what will likely be a life long struggle for Jack, and to help raise awareness, compassion, and understanding for all those individuals affected by Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGIDs). Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn more about EGIDs.
Now it's not enough to just avoid milk, eggs, wheat, soy, rice, oats, apples, coconut, beef, pork, and chicken. Nope, You also have to read labels. That favorite pasta sauce of yours? I can almost guarantee it has soy in it. Mmmm, turkey bratwurst! But wait... it's wrapped in pork casing. Alright then, well I'll just have Corn Pops in Almond Milk....ah, but Corn Pops are manufactured on equipment with items containing wheat, milk, and soy and some almond and hemp milks contains rice syrup. By the way, anything containing 'vegetable' oil almost surely contains soy. What the heck, WHAT CAN YOU EAT?!
Well without having everyone go out to specialty stores and buy ingredients they probably will never use again (like Daiya Cheese, Nutritional Yeast Flakes, or Wheat Free bread), here's a list of things to get you started. Every time you think "There's nothing to eat!" remember that for you, it's just today. For people with EGIDs, this feeling never really goes away.
Again, make sure to read labels!
Oscar Mayer turkey bacon
Nathan's turkey hot dogs
Hormel Turkey Pepperoni
Butterball turkey cutlets and ground turkey
Jenni-O ground turkey and ground turkey breakfast sausage (which is good in pasta sauce)
non-breaded fish fillets
Zatarain's Southern Fish-Fri (I recommend this on fish, or on turkey cutlets cut into nugget sized pieces!)
Slap Yo Mama! spicy fish-fry
Almond Breeze almond yogurt
Almond Breeze or Silk almond milk
lentils and beans of all kinds
fruits other than apples
all veggies (try roasting fresh green beans with a little olive oil and garlic salt for 20 mins at 400 degrees, yummy!)
Ghirardelli Twilight Delight dark chocolate
Corn chips such as Fritos or corn tortilla chips (read labels!)
some corn tortillas
some hummus, or make your own!
non battered french fries (no seasoned curlies, sorry!)
some brands of hashbrowns
Kirkland, Bertolli, Classico pasta sauces (other than those containing cheese)
corn or corn/quinoa pasta
vegetable broth (read labels)
Bush's Grillin' Beans in Southern Pit BBQ, Bourbon and Brown Sugar, and Steakhouse Recipe
Idaho instant mashed potato flakes (prepared with just water and salt, or vegetable broth)
Corn Chex, regular Kix, Honey Kix and Berry Blast Kix, some corn flakes maybe
Condiments, Seasonings, Etc: French's (and some other) mustards, Heinz ketchup, pickle relish, some syrups (butter flavored ones can contain milk), Stubb's bbq sauce, honey, McCormick Cocktail sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, A1 Steak Sauce, some Italian or vinaigrette salad dressing, sugar and spices, herbs, and extracts (no taco seasonings or chili starters, but you can make your own)
I will add more as I think of things that are available at a typical grocery store, and you can always browse around this blog to find ideas. You can also search for vegan, wheat, rice, oat and soy free recipes online if you are feeling adventurous! (You don't have to eat vegan, you can eat turkey or fish, but if it's vegan you can be sure it also doesn't contain egg or milk or hidden meat by products). Thank you SO MUCH for participating!!!
Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders are rare allergic diseases in which an individuals immune system attacks specific parts of the digestive tract in reaction to food proteins. A difficult part about EGIDs is that those affected can literally be allergic to anything, and generally children affected by EGIDs have multiple allergies. Eosinophils are white blood cells that usually help your body fight infection. In typical food allergies, the body mistakes certain food proteins for harmful intruders and attacks them. This causes runny noses, itchy eyes, swelling of tongue and lips, and even breathing trouble. But with EGIDs, the attacks occur, not systemically throughout the body, but in one specific place. Each of the diseases are named after the area affected:
Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)- the esophagus
Eosinophilic Gastritis (EG)- the stomach
Eosinophilic Enteritis (EE)- the small intestine
Eosinophilic Colitis (EC)- the large intestine
The effect of having large numbers of eosinophils present is chronic inflammation, pain, and eventual scarring and atrophy of healthy tissue. When not aggressively treated, EGIDs can lead to malnutrition, growth restriction, and in some cases eventual loss of ability to eat by mouth.
Treatment for EGIDs includes swallowed topical steroids, allergy and reflux medications, avoidance diet (avoiding the specific things you are allergic to. It is not rare for kids to have only 1 or 2 'safe' foods), elemental diet (removing all foods and relying soley on a special formula for nutrition), NG and G tubes (tubes that put liquid foods directly into your stomach or intestines), as well as routine eondoscopies and biopsies done under general anesthesia which are invasive and generally no fun.
To find out more about EGIDs and what you can do to help, please visit Apfed.org and CUREDfoundation.org.