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EP29 - What the Heck Do I Eat? The Allergy Friendly Vegan with Guest Nikki Krawczyk
Episode 2916th November 2021 • I AM MOM Parenting Podcast • Dimple Arora & Shaista Fatehali
00:00:00 01:05:00

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What the heck do you eat and how do you get your protein while being vegan and managing 10+ allergies in your household?  Nikki was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at a young age.  She didn’t realize that she had multiple food intolerances at the time. Changing her diet has put her on the ultimate healing journey with a mission. 

Be sure to listen for: 

·       Nikki’s diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and how she suffered before changing her diet and becoming vegan

·       How she gained awareness that gluten was affecting her health

·       The health symptoms that went away after she changed her diet

·       The difference between being a plant based vegan and a junk food vegan

·       What fruits you can react to if you have oral allergy syndrome

·       What Nikki eats as a vegan with multiple allergies to fruits and some whole foods

·       How legumes are affecting people with autoimmune conditions

·       The role Nikki’s mainstream medical team played in her healing journey

·       How Nikki discovered and manages her child’s multiple food allergies

·       The changes in her daughter’s behaviour once she eliminated the allergens from her daughter’s diet

·       How to tell if you child may be intolerant to certain foods and how to move forward if they do

·       Suggestions to manage public events with dietary restrictions

·       Where does a vegan get their protein?!

·       How Shaista’s chronic low iron levels lead to her celiac diagnosis

·       The importance of teaching our kids how their food ends up on their plate and providing them with choices about what they want to eat

About the Guest:

Nikki is a stay-at-home wife and mother to one daughter.  When she made the decision to go vegan, she recognized just how few resources exist for people with multiple food allergies. Realizing her own passion to help educate others in the allergy community that going vegan doesn’t have to be hard or boring, she created The Allergy Friendly Vegan on Instagram. Here she shares recipes that exclude many of the major allergens and tips for managing a vegan lifestyle.  

You can find her @theallergyfriendlyvegan

About the Hosts:

About Dimple Arora – Founder of Mindful Evolution

Dimple Arora is the founder of Mindful Evolution (ME) — a parenting movement that aims to empower parents and their kids towards positive transformation and life changing results...one thought, one emotion and one choice at a time.

Dimple is an expert in women and teen empowerment and specializes in helping individuals reduce the debilitating effects of stress and anxiety using mindfulness, nutrition, EFT tapping and other energy psychology modalities. Dimple is a Certified Life Coach, EFT and NLP Practitioner, Holistic Nutritionist and Energy Therapist. She holds degrees in mathematics, business, and education and was previously employed in the corporate world and as a high school math teacher.

You can book a complimentary coaching call with Dimple on her website at https://www.mindfulevolution.ca and connect with her on social media. 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dimplemindfulevolution

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dimplemindfulevolution

About Shaista Fatehali – Founder of Thrive Kids

Shaista Fatehali is the founder of Thrive Kids BC where she works with children and families to help nurture connection, empower a sense of self - worth and discover what is needed for individual families to thrive. Shaista is a speaker and the author of the children’s book BACK HOME; which has received accolades nationwide. She is a certified children’s and parent life coach and works with clients to build soft skills such as interpersonal awareness, effective communication, emotional agility emotional regulation, problem solving, transition planning and mindfulness . As a teacher and mother of two young girls, her true passion lies in giving her children, her students and clients the tools to reach their most true authentic selves.

To book a complimentary call with Shaista or to learn more about Shaista and the programs she offers at Thrive Kids BC, please visit her website at https://thrivekidsbc.ca/

 

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thrivekidsbc/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thrivekidsbc

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thrivekidsbc/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaistakabafatehali/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6UbuEK9ErHTqafEZ9ufB8w

 

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Transcripts

Shaista Fatehali:

Imagine being present calm and connected, while creating a family environment where everyone can thrive.

Dimple Arora:

Welcome to the im mom parenting podcast, providing inspiration and actionable steps to manifest the meaningful and magical life you desire for you and your family.

Shaista Fatehali:

We are your hosts dimple, Aurora, founder of mindful evolution and shape that the daily founder of Thrive kids.

Dimple Arora:

Thank you for sharing the I am mom journey with us. Let's get started. Hey, and welcome back. I am super excited to share this conversation with you today. We have been talking about food allergies here on the podcast. And yes, it can be a super tough area to navigate. The list of top allergens keeps growing and more awareness is brought to the allergy free community. So say you've already eliminated some of the top allergens like gluten, dairy, corn, soy nuts, eggs. Can you imagine now adding a dietary restriction on top of that, like veganism? Today we have a mom who is an expert in this area. Her name is Nikki kazik I hope I pronounced it properly. And she manages over 10 different allergies in her household while being vegan. She has an amazing Instagram feed to provide vegan and allergen free recipes, called the allergy friendly vegan. And additionally, we have Shaista, our very own podcast host who's also vegan and has multiple allergies. And then there's myself who's been gluten and dairy free for over a decade now and has a host of allergies myself. So this is gonna be quite the conversation. Nikki, we're so happy to have you here to discuss this complex and possibly frustrating at first world of living a vegan lifestyle with food allergies.

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

Thank you guys so much for having me.

Shaista Fatehali:

We're so excited to have you as well. So vegan veganism right now this is like a very big topic because there's so much involved in veganism. There's vegan junk food, there's vegan lifestyle, there's plant based food. The list is just so endless and it's hard to determine for a lot of people what veganism really is. So Nikki, could you get into your story about what led you into veganism and what veganism means for you?

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

Yeah, absolutely. And I'm glad you brought that up because it is so broad. For me, it was really a health journey. And it started 25 plus years ago when I was diagnosed actually with ulcerative colitis, which is a stomach disorder. And I struggled for years and years with a lot of stomach issues, stomach pains, bathroom issues, the list goes on. And it was really severe. It actually got to the point where they were considering removing a portion of my intestines because they just couldn't get a handle. I was so sick all the time. I was becoming steroid dependent. I was on a whole host of medications, and it just wasn't sticking. As I was growing up, I did get put on a pill form of chemo, which ended up did trigger my remission. So then I was feeling what I thought was good, was more compared to what I was used to. I realize looking back now that it still wasn't very great. But then kind of as I transitioned into adulthood, I kind of looked at all of this stuff that I was putting into my body. And I'm like, There's no way this can be good for me, there has to be another way. And so I began to look at what I was eating because that wasn't really something you know, 25 years ago, that's not really what they were focused on. It was more testing, let's kind of treat the symptoms. The nutrition piece just wasn't there yet. And now we've learned so much. So the first thing that I did is I got into a really good exercise routine. And I changed my diet to more plant based, less processed foods, which you know, we could all do with and then I removed gluten as well. And I realized removing gluten was huge. I had kind of blamed some of my symptoms on a host of other things. Oh, maybe it's tomato, maybe it's a little bit of the dairy. It was gluten. After cutting it out for a while I realized I had I ate a little bit at a party. I was like you know what it's been like three years. I'm just going to have this little bit and I was so sick for the next three days. I was like, Okay, there's more to this diet thing, then maybe I gave credit to before I knew I felt better. But I didn't really realize how much it affected me until that moment. And so kind of from that point, I went, Well, what else can I be doing? Is there anything else because I feel better, but do I feel great? Maybe not. So I began to explore what else I could do. And I actually kind of what pushed me over the edge to make a change as I watched the what the health documentary? Yeah, yes. What happened to me? Yeah, okay. It's such a great resource. And, you know, I was just looking through it as, as I was watching it, I'm sitting here going, Yeah, you know, I kind of already know this stuff. But why am I still continuing to put it in my body? And so kind of at that point, I went, Okay, you know, it's not going to be an overnight thing. But I'm going to change my diet. I'm going to work towards becoming BM. And so I took the steps. And I was like, Okay, so I've got a family to feed. At the time, I was still working full time. So breakfast and lunch, were on my own, like, okay, I can do breakfast and lunch, vegan, and I'll have one animal product during dinner. And immediately, I was like, Man, I feel great. After breakfast, I feel great after lunch, and I don't feel so good after dinner. And on the fourth day, I had dairy, and I was so sick that night. I was just like, That's it, I'm done. So that was February 13 2019. So as of February 14, I did not have any animal products anymore. And I went pretty much overnight completely. And I can't, I can't even begin to describe the differences. stomach bloating, that's gone away, my skin's cleared up. I had these bumps on the back of my arm that my dermatologist told me they were gonna burn off and hope that the skin would grow back. They're gone. It was it was all diet related. So there's just this whole host of differences that I've noticed, and I can't imagine ever eating those things. Again, that just made me feel terrible. Oh, my

Dimple Arora:

god. That's so it's so interesting. I I just echo there a little bit. Yeah, no, it's amazing. The effect that that our diet has on our body, right? Like we, we in order to optimize our human health and our we have to optimize our personal nutrition because I'm also individual. And like you're saying you cut out gluten. And it made such a difference. Like even for me. I remember having gluten after I cut it out. Just one day I went to someone's house and they didn't have anything for me to eat. So I said, let me just have this slice of pizza. And it was gluten and I came home I literally, and I was pretty emotionally stable by that time because I had already been gluten free for a few years. I came home and I cried for hours. Yes hours because I reacted to it. So we don't realize sometimes the subtle effects that food could have on the body.

Unknown:

It's crazy. And you don't, you don't always know how it's affecting you until you take it out either. Because the way I was feeling I thought it was feeling great, because I felt so much better than I did before. But now I'm like, hey, you know what, like the stomach aches and the bloating and the heartburn that are just gone now. And I almost never have were something I had been experiencing daily and just thought it was part of life. And it's just amazing once you actually experienced the other side of

Shaista Fatehali:

it. Yeah, I wouldn't. You know, I remember I think it was I don't know, when gluten free became, you know, a thing or really until I kept seeing it on like shelves like this is gluten free, gluten free. And then even in like body wash and all of that kind of stuff, right? Gluten free, gluten free, gluten free. So I think it became more kind of mainstream, not until I would say five years ago, right like that. That's a very short time right? And to know that you were already implementing this and so aware that it was affecting your body much before the general public did shows a lot about how you are in touch with your body and how you're able to make such conscious choices. And when you're making these conscious choices. I get the impression that that that that is what really did lead you into veganism, particularly because you were ignited that you ignited this flame of veganism by watching this documentary What the hell? What does veganism mean to you?

Unknown:

Well, veganism Has it does have a strict definition of people who do not consume animal products, they do not purchase any animal products or support the animal industry, it is more of an ethical definition, then you get into plant based, where some people will identify as plant based where they don't eat animal products. But that is very much a lifestyle where you only eat foods that are grown. So it's cutting out the process, it's eating really healthy, really clean, we're being vegan, you can be a junk food vegan, you can live off of Oreos, and french fries and ice cream and beyond burgers then, and all of that. So it's not mutually exclusive. So I do consider myself more of a plant based vegan, I try to eat plant based 80 to 90% of the time. Yeah, and that that's what makes me feel the healthiest, I find

Shaista Fatehali:

that it's so much easier to become a junk food vegan now, right? Like you have all these fast food chains that really emphasize the vegan, Impossible Burger or like fast food chicken place that doesn't have chicken it has, I don't know, whatever it has raised you to stim simulate, like, animal products. And so it's so much more easier to lead a quote unquote, vegan lifestyle, but you're absolutely right, where it is even more easier to become a junk food vegan, right. And you're not necessarily putting all of the nutrients that your body needs. Because it is so easily accessible. And so yeah, pletely agree. Yeah. And with plant based, that's what I define myself as as well. And plant based for me is a lot of produce really a lot. And it's also a lot of rights actually afraid.

Shaista Fatehali:

A lot of greed Jaden. From my culture. Rice is like a big thing. So I always have to have rice, and some produce, right? Like, I'll have to have a salad. And that salad has a lot of nuts on there, right and avocado. And that's the thing like really healthy fats. So I'm able to manage it that way. I'm also a really big fan of nut butters. And that is because it gives me the protein and energy I need. But I'm not allergic to those where you are exactly. So I am so curious as to how you manage your lifestyle. And I know your daughter has an allergy to avocado. So how are these healthy fats, these proteins these nutrients that someone without allergies is able to access on a vegan diet or plant based diet that you have to maneuver around.

Unknown:

It definitely makes it interesting. I'll give you that. Um, so we still eat a lot of the Whole Foods. Where it becomes difficult is we're allergic to a lot of Whole Foods. So my daughter and I are both severely gluten intolerant. We can't We can't do it. My husband can he can have his regular bread. That's fine. We keep it separate from ours. I'm like you said My daughter has the avocado allergy as well as carrot. So that's kind of an interesting one as well. And then for myself, I'm allergic to nuts. It started out with peanuts. And as I've gotten older I've noticed, you know, I had some bread that had to make contain walnut and Alice and I had hives and so there's there's that interesting aspect so I can't do any nuts anymore. And then I am allergic to Orchard fruit. So apples, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, kiwis. Cherries. That should be it.

Dimple Arora:

Maybe I'm also allergic to those fruits.

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

Oh, is it part of oral allergy said it's

Dimple Arora:

it's part of oral allergy syndrome. Exactly. And and I believe it comes from the fact that I'm allergic to birch trees.

Unknown:

Yes, that is part of it. And I'm one of the lucky ones who experiences lactic reactions from my oral allergy syndrome, which yes, a very small portion of people who do Oh, I do as well. 1%

Dimple Arora:

for cantaloupe. Oh my gosh, give me a candle. Okay, give me a kiwi. Anything like that. It used to it used to be just an itch in my throat and maybe in my ear, but now it's just gotten more severe cherries, right. So yeah, very interesting thing. So I'm also allergic to carrot.

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

Okay, I but not anybody else with a carrot out.

Dimple Arora:

And so what happened to me is, the carrot showed up in my allergy testing in my adult life, actually, but I've always eaten carrots, and I've never had a problem with carrots. And funny thing, funny enough, I actually do still eat carrots, but not raw. I can eat them cooked. I don't know what the effect is internally, but I'm able to eat them without any outward effect right now,

Unknown:

here it can be part of that oral allergy syndrome. And oral allergy syndrome. So for me, I avoid on cooked or RA. Because once you've had that anaphylactic reaction, it's really hard to force yourself to eat something that has a known allergen in it. But the theory behind it is it's an enzyme in the food. And once it's cooked, that enzyme changes. So you're able to digest it in your body doesn't react to it the same way. But it is a challenge that, you know, that's a pretty hefty list too. And kind of back to the question of, well, what do you eat, and you work around it, so you know our protein and instead of, instead of adding nuts to a salad, I'll do pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, and we do a lot of sunflower seed butter. That's a huge staple in our house. All the time having a smoothie you toss everything. Oatmeal, love it, you know. So oatmeal is another one where we get a lot of good protein and we can do coconut, we get a little bit of the fat and the oil from coconut. So you just kind of find those replacements, you know where we can't do you know, like 10 pe because it's got gluten in it. We'll do tofu. Yeah, thankfully we can have soy. And thankfully we can have beans. You know, that's a challenge to lagoons are huge allergens, that thankfully, even with my peanut allergy, I can still do beans. That would make it much more difficult.

Dimple Arora:

I'm also allergic to peanuts, I can do other nuts. But okay. Some people who are allergic to peanuts cannot do things like chickpeas, for example. Yeah. So it would be very tough for them because it's lagoons. Right but a lot of people with autoimmune conditions. They do have lagoon allergies, and they are reacting to legumes, but they don't even realize it. I mean, yeah, you said you have the colitis. And there are so many conditions that come with food allergies that people are not aware that have come from food allergies, things like autoimmune conditions, thyroiditis, IBS, anxiety, different, different sensitivities, even diabetes, right? Some people don't realize that it's because they've had some food sensitivities or reactions internally, that's causing the increase in histamine and inflammation in the body. Right. So when when you changed your diet, you felt better. Now how was the conventional medicine system involved in this?

Unknown:

Not very great. None of my, none of my doctors mentioned. And actually even my allergist, I've had issues with, um, when I first went after having my first, you know, my lips swelled up my whole face, my throat was swelled up from eating a peach. And I went to see my allergist. And that was the first time I had my oral allergy syndrome diagnosis, and I was 21. I had had symptoms before but I didn't quite, I just thought he gums was a normal thing. You know, I was young, and I didn't really realize what was going on. And then I had that full fledged reaction. And I went to the doctor and he goes, Well, you know, just trying to live your life like you don't have allergies, just try not to worry about it. Like, oh, let me just try not to worry about I'm going to come across a food and I'm going to eat it and I'm going to have a severe reaction. That that's not realistic, that's not supportive, that doesn't help somebody to live a healthy life. And with again, like my colitis, none of my gastroenterologist, none of them mentioned food. So that was something I came to on my own of, I have to find a different way. You know, they kept throwing medication at it. And, you know, now I look back and I go, Well, what damage has that medication done to my body? You know, I was on a pill for my chemo that messed up my immune system for years. And now at this point with my diet, I've been able to completely manage it. I haven't been on any medication in so long, and I feel better than I ever did when I was on medication.

Dimple Arora:

It's unfortunate that the conventional medicine doctors do not have much training in nutrition. And it's so important to work with some alternative practitioner to get the education in that area. Because a lot of childhood ailments like eczema and skin issues psoriasis. says even ear infections. stomach issues that are common in children are due to food sensitivities and food allergies. So you said that your daughter also has a bunch of food allergies. So how did you go? How did you discover your daughter's food allergies?

Unknown:

Yeah, that's a great question. And it's a scary thing to see your child go through food allergies is even being somebody who's experienced them yourself, potentially makes it even a little more fearful. Because you know what the reaction can be you have the knowledge already and seeing your child go through that it's not a pleasant experience. So with her, we started at six months with solid foods. And for me, I wanted to make my own baby food. I wanted her to have Whole Foods, all of that. So right off the bat, I went for avocado, and I blended it up and I was getting ready to package it, put it in the freezer, so it'd be good to go for her to go to daycare. I'm like, hey, you know what, she can just flick the spoon. And I gave her the spoon. And she really enjoyed it. And before she was even finished, Her cheeks were just puffy, they were read. And you could tell she was having reactions. So took the spoon away. And I'm like, and that's not going to be in our house anymore. That's done. So from that point, I realized she has at least one allergy, she likely has more. So instead of the kind of traditional, hey, let's do a bunch of mixed baby food and all that kind of stuff. We did single food introductions, and we did them a week apart. So as we kept going, she did pretty good until we got to carrot. And that one I didn't notice right away. She didn't have the cheeks falling immediately with that one. She does have that reaction. Now she's she's had an interaction with it since then she's got a delayed reaction with that one. It's about a three to five hours, which is long for an allergy. But yeah, it took a while for us to notice that when we did notice she was getting a rash on her back. And then she was never a kid that sped up and she started spinning up and it was red. And we were able to pin it back to the carrot. So that was another one that went out the door. And that that's actually trickier than the avocado carrots, one that hides a lot of things as I'm sure you know, pizza sauce, yogurt. It's used as a natural food coloring now, which is great, but anytime something says natural flavorings, it's an automatic call to the food manufacturer because they they don't list it out.

Dimple Arora:

Oh my god, that is so crazy. natural food coloring is in so many things.

Unknown:

And it's great. Exactly,

Dimple Arora:

exactly. But even in chicken broth or even not chicken broth. You don't eat chicken broth. But any vegetable broth,

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

We cant do vegetable broth

Dimple Arora:

right. So you have to do that homemade. It's a lot of work on you.

Unknown:

It is an you know you get into a routine. And it's not as difficult now as it was at the beginning because I'm used to it. And it's just what we do, you know, we make our own bread, we make our own snack. Instead of getting chicken nuggets, we make chickpea nuggets, you know, so, we, we've adapted, and we've made it work for us. Um, but yeah, then for her gluten intolerance, we had kind of suspected and we have been considering doing an elimination diet with it because she was complaining of a lot of stomach aches at the end of the day. And we got to a point where we had switched everything over to 100% Whole wheat, and we've kind of noticed that it had increased. And we just had a moment one morning where she woke up and she was feeling fine. And then we gave her mini bagel and she just got so sick afterwards. Everything came right back up. And then she was like, hey, guess what? It's out of my system. I feel good. Can I have something different? Like, okay, we're we're done with this. And as soon as we stopped the stomachache, stop, she started sleeping better. Her attitude was better. She's always been a really great kid. But you could just tell she felt so much better. So it's it's been a journey and sometimes, you know, there's a lot of misconceptions about allergies versus intolerances to where allergy you have an outward effect to it. Right you can see it you can see the hives, you can see the swollen lips, or you can feel your throat swell up the itchy gums. There's a physical immediate response. And with an intolerance, it's not it can be your attitude, your sleep, it can be just generally not feeling well. And it's it's different amounts. So some people might be able to tolerate a piece of bread every three days and be fine. And if they have two pieces of bread, now they're affected now they're not feeling well. So there's a lot of misconceptions there to where you can have intolerances and it can be affecting you and you really don't make that connection as easily as the allergies?

Shaista Fatehali:

Mm hmm. Yeah, I think because, as you mentioned, allergies, it's so physical. There's such a physical response there. Now with intolerances. As I'm listening to you, I'm questioning myself, how would I know if my kids are intolerant? You mentioned some things like attitude and sleep. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Unknown:

Yeah. There's a lot of different things. Those intolerances can affect like you said, sleep is a big one. Um, the stomach gate. You know, sometimes people are like, Oh, my kids just saying they have a stomach ache to get out of school. I heard that a lot with my colitis. And it turned out to be a pretty serious thing. So I'm one of those parents who, you know, listen to your kids. If they're telling you something doesn't feel right. If they're getting a lot of headaches and you don't feel like they should be you kind of looked in other things. Okay, well, they're not spending that much time on the screen. It seems like they're getting good night's sleep, they're still getting a headache. They're still seem to have a lot of stomach aches, keep a food journal and start to pay attention. Okay, well, they had a headache on this day. And we had pasta that night. Okay, now they had a headache this day pb&j For lunch. Okay, well, what are those have in common, you can start to get that history. And see if you can find a common pattern, even with the sleepless nights, any kind of thing that you're struggling with, could be behavior, it could be sleep, it could be actual ailments, it can kind of help you connect those dots. And even if it's not food, you might find something else in your routine that could be causing it. So to me, that's the best way to kind of pinpoint what could be going on. But they've linked intolerances to so many things, even, you know, ADHD, they've linked gluten intolerance, sugar intake, certain food dyes. And that's not something that's going to show up on a test.

Shaista Fatehali:

I fully, I can totally see that. And even as in the classroom as well, that it's there between what food intake they're having and some of the outward behavior. So let's say someone is suspecting that they do see this in their child, right? What is the next step,

Unknown:

it's always good. If you have a doctor that you can trust, to bring your doctor into the fold, I will always advocate for that, at the same time advocate for yourself. Doctors, they're not magical beings, they're humans. And like you guys mentioned, you know, they don't have a ton of nutrition training. So for me, it doesn't take that much as a parent to say, hey, let's just try this one food group and see if we notice a difference. And you can do those elimination diets. And what's recommended with an elimination diet is that you are free from the food for six to eight weeks before you try to reintroduce it and pay attention to the changes you notice in your body in that six to eight weeks. And those foods can hang on for a long time. So just pay attention to that. And then at the end of that six to eight weeks, you slowly bring it back in. And if any of those previous issues creep back up, then food could be an issue. And at that point, too, I definitely recommend getting in touch with the nutritionist and whatnot. Obviously, I don't have a medical background, always want to preface that. But doing those kind of experiment experiments by taking something out, I don't typically advocate for putting something in, you know, sometimes with allergies, they'll do food challenges and stuff like that, obviously, do not ever do that without doctor's supervision. But in terms of testing for an intolerance, if you're taking something out to see if there's those behavior for sleep, sleep disorder, or anything like that sleep patterns, if that changes with the elimination of the food, I don't see any harm in taking that out, and then reintroducing it and see if those problems creep back in. And then from that point, you can work with the nutritionist and do research to make sure that the nutrients that they're losing from taking that food out that they get put back in somewhere else.

Dimple Arora:

The the symptoms are so subtle sometimes. Sometimes if a child is having frequent urinary tract infections, or something like frequent ear infections, or even frequent colds, their immune system is being reactive somehow, and they could be reacting to so many things. One thing I want to bring up is eliminating gluten. I love the idea of elimination diets. When people eliminate gluten in order to get a celiac diagnosis. I think shyster you have a celiac diagnosis, right? I was never able to get a celiac diagnosis because when I eliminated gluten back in 2009 I went wasn't aware that when they did do the biopsy of my small intestine, which is the gold standard for testing for celiac disease, because I wasn't eating gluten for so many, probably a year or two by then the lining heals, the intestinal lining is so robust, and you only need to be off of the gluten for about three to four weeks to start seeing, seeing healing in that intestinal lining lining and for those cells to regenerate. So then, you can't get that celiac diagnosis, but I was not. They told me I had to go back on gluten for three months, and then retest with the biopsy. And I was not willing to go back on gluten for three months, because I had spent my entire life at that point 32 years on gluten, right to the point where I was so sick that it was causing me so many problems. I lost my career, I was bedridden. So I would not. I was like, that's not worth it. For me. I just don't care about the celiac diagnosis. Right. It's so similar

Unknown:

to my story, too. We've since found out I do have family members that have celiac. So there's a family history there. But that was diagnosed after I went gluten free. And similar story. I've never been tested for celiac, there's a high probability, especially with all the damage I had for my colitis. But some of that could have been celiac. But they're like, Well, you've been off gluten for more than 30 days. We can't test you. So you have to eat it. And I'm like, Well, I know what happens when I eat it. I get sick. So even if I have the diagnosis, it's not going to change my lifestyle.

Shaista Fatehali:

Yeah. Yeah, one thing we find, though with it with the gluten diagnosis, and celiac diagnosis and being gluten free, when I go out to a restaurant or when I go to someone's house, it's very accommodating, because there's so much foods that are don't have that are gluten free now. But with being vegan, particularly plant based, I still find it really challenging. So if I have to if I go out, it'll normally be like something like Indian food where there's a lot of lentils, or Thai or if there is no other options, like just a salad, right? But how do you navigate that a for yourself and your family and be with your daughter, because I know that she's also primarily vegan. And when you're attending birthday parties and school functions, again, being gluten free, it's so much more accessible, that a lot of people already do make accommodations I find right like, Okay, you're gonna have Sure, gluten free pizza here or not free. But beyond that, I find it really difficult. How do you navigate that?

Unknown:

Yeah, and that's, that's a good point. Because even the gluten free pizzas, a lot of them have carried in the sauce. So it's beyond that it is it is a challenge. When we're going out to a restaurant, one of the things I do is I always call ahead. So I say, Hey, we're gonna be visiting your restaurant, here's our food restrictions. Can you help me navigate your menu? Is there something that I can have here. And sometimes they'll put something together if they know that you're coming in advance, and I always try to make that call, you know, during a non busy time, I don't call during their dinner rush. And that kind of helps prepare, if it's really limited options. Sometimes I'll eat before we go, so I'm not as hungry. And I'll make do with some of the sides. You know, maybe I just order a baked potato. And sometimes I'll bring a little container of my own, you know, something to put on it. Or you could get a side of vegetables put on it. It make your own, you get creative, you make your own little dish, um, in terms of birthday parties? That's a great question. So kind of my goal, when I first started our Instagram account was I wanted to show how you can raise a child with ease restriction. And it doesn't have to affect their life. They don't ever have to feel like they're missing out. That was a really big thing that I was passionate about, because I never wanted her to feel left behind or left out because of our lifestyle choices that to me wouldn't be worth it. So as she's attended birthday parties and whatnot, I just reach out to the parents ahead of time and I say, hey, guess what? We're vegan and my daughter has allergies in order for it to be safe for her to go. What are you guys serving? And I will make whatever they're serving for her to take with her. And I find out what the dessert is. I will make the same dessert. You know, they're having chocolate cake. Alright, we're making a chocolate cake and you'll bring your own slice. And then I just bring it in the containers and the parents serve it on you know through Little seem to play, it's an all of that. So nobody even has to know that it's different. She never has to feel left out. And she can partake in all of those things safely.

Shaista Fatehali:

Yeah, I love that. Really particularly love how you call ahead. And they know like, for example, in our culture, let's say we're going over to someone's house and they're serving something, and you don't eat it. Because either you're, you have an allergy to it, or because you've made that lifestyle choice. A lot of times people will feel offended. Right? And that's another really big question that I know, I get a lot, right, like, well, you know, if you're going to your grandma's sister's house, and she's making chicken curry, and you're not easy to get, she's going to be really upset. And so how, what would you say to that person on how to address a really touchy topic like

Unknown:

that? It can be difficult, especially when families involved and we did deal with that a little bit when we first transitioned, and I just brought my own food. And then I always bring a dish to share. And I try to make it something that's really, really good.

Shaista Fatehali:

Amazing, what a good strategy. I love that.

Unknown:

Yeah. So whether dessert, it's aside, you know, I can make some meat and mashed potatoes, I make these garlic dill mashed potatoes that everybody seems to love. So it's like, okay, we're having Thanksgiving. Let me bring my mashed potatoes. And then, you know, it kind of introduces people to the different lifestyle that hey, you know what, what you eat isn't flavorless, it actually tastes pretty good. And I eat this on a regular basis. But explaining to people it is a touchy subject, I'll never forget one of my first Thanksgivings with my husband's family. And this is before I went vegan, so it was strictly dealing with my allergies. But you know, their heart was in the right place, they made these sweet potatoes, and I could definitely eat the sweet potatoes. But then on half of them, they put pecans. And I can't do the pecans, and they were in the same dish. So it's one of those things where some of its educating other people where they totally meant well, you know, I appreciate that they were thinking of me, and it's a delicate topic, and you just need to acknowledge, you know, I really appreciate the effort that you go through, let me just kind of give you an idea of what an allergy means to me and the effect it can have on me. And you can go that way with the veganism too if it's for ethical purposes versus you know, I get sick from eating it. Or it doesn't make me feel good. It can be this, this is how it affects me. And it's, you know, I just want to share with you why I'm not eating this, it's nothing against you. This is my, this is my why and I hope that you can understand that. And if it's somebody that cares about you, they should be willing to listen to you. And then again, that piece about sharing something, you know, let me contribute, I appreciate what you're doing, I don't want you to make me something different. Don't feel like you have to accommodate me, let me help. And that takes some of the pressure off to

Dimple Arora:

you know, it can almost be embarrassing sometimes. Because you feel a little bit you feel a little bit almost embarrassed or to approach someone be like, You know what, I don't want to bother you. But you know. And so a lot of times, you will feel the need to bring your own food. But I feel like we have to kind of change the paradigm around this a little bit when it comes to hosting because I have an old fashioned mentality about hosting, if I'm hosting someone, I'm going to make sure that if I'm serving food, they have something to eat. And what actually does still irk me to this day is that if somebody knows that I have a certain allergy or somebody else has a certain allergy, why wouldn't you want to accommodate that person and make them feel welcome? And especially when it's a child with a certain lifestyle to make them feel included? It doesn't take much effort? Yes, the parent will bring something for their child. But I feel like the host being hospitable. It would be nice for them to have something that accommodates the person with the allergy if they are aware of it.

Unknown:

Yeah, and I think we're getting to that point. You know, food allergies are so much more well known. Now that I think people think to ask where it wasn't before, you know, it wasn't talked about. It wasn't as widespread allergies have just exploded in recent years, in terms of how many kids actually experienced them and adults. You know, I know my parents as I've worked through Adding in, you know, veganism and all of that they've asked, Hey, is is there any way I can make you know, this? They're already my mom is also gluten free. So like, Hey, we've got this gluten free stuffing, what do I need to do to make it vegan? Oh, okay, we can swap out your vegan butter instead of your other butter, such as simple swab. And now this dish that you're already making is going to taste the same. And it's something that everybody can have. It's just, it's all about being willing to have those open dialogues. And again, at the end of the day, I think if it's somebody who cares about you, I think they're going to be open to that.

Dimple Arora:

Absolutely. And for the most part, people are very accommodating. And I feel like with our family members, just as it takes time to educate them, just as we had to educate ourselves, our family members then need that education as well. And then, like you said, it's becoming so common, the awareness is there, the dialogue is there. And a lot of people are starting to recognize that they also have symptoms that have been brought to their attention that are due to food allergies, right?

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

Oh, absolutely.

Shaista Fatehali:

I really think that the food allergy piece for my experience is so much more into the awareness like even with dairy allergies. But what I find is that people have a more difficult time recognizing the veganism because if you're not eating meat, not because you're you're not allergic to it, it's because you have made the choice not to eat it. So that I find is a lot more tricky to navigate a social situations because, well, you know, if you're not allergic to it, you're not going to get sick. So just eat it. Right? You're gonna be really weak if you don't need it, whatever it is, right? Like their heart could be in the right place, as you mentioned, Nikki, but they're really educating people around why you've made this choice, right, why it's working for you. And ironically, so you mentioned that you do a lot of exercise as well. And I ironically, I so I run a lot of marathons, and my times got so much more better when I became vegan. So that concept of you know, if you just eat fruits and vegetables and beans all day, you're not gonna, you're not gonna have any strength, we're going to be so weak isn't true. Because I know I personally know a lot of vegan athletes who are at their pipeline. There's actually a lot of Olympic athletes who have gone the vegan lifestyle and are winning metals. One question that I have to ask you, because I get this all the time. Where do you get your protein?

Unknown:

Oh my gosh, I get it from everything. He's HER protein, rice, son butter, and like man, one serving as some butter is seven grams of protein.

Shaista Fatehali:

I always tell people a cup of broccoli has the same amount of protein as a steak. Yeah, it's

Dimple Arora:

incredible. What about for both of you? What about things like chia seeds or hemp seeds? Hemp seeds is full of protein.

Unknown:

Oh yeah, um, we do a lot of seeds. I get a three seed mix. I forget what brand it is, but it's got chia, hemp and flax seeds mixed up in it. So we just shaped that over everything. We put it in our smoothies, we put it on our oatmeal. We'll do like rice cakes with some butter and tablet with that. We that in just about everything. But it's amazing. I mean, I made big ZD the other night. And it had 35 grams of protein a serving. I mean it had tofu in it, we use lentil pasta, like that dish was packed with protein. And

Shaista Fatehali:

I think that's so important to know, I remember when so with my celiac disease it was it was a different way of getting this diagnosis because I actually have been diagnosed with celiac, but it's not because I was experiencing any tummy pain or any bloating. I had no symptoms. And even I know I'm still like flabbergasted by this but anyways, I had to get tested because my iron was dangerously low. And that's my hemoglobin was really low. And so I had to go through routine blood transfusions, like once every couple weeks, and it wasn't making a difference. So anyways, I had to go see a bunch of doctors and they suggested going to a gastroenterologist to get a diagnosis for celiac if, if, if it's there. Turns out I do have celiac. And what happened was that the cilia inside of my intestines, or gone, thereby not allowing me to absorb any iron. So guess what the doctors told me to do? Don't be vegan, eat a whole bunch of red meat, oh my gosh, it'll be better. And of course, cut out eat it. So I didn't, I did not listen to that, because I'm not having the right. I am vegan. So I cut out the gluten. But I still continued with my vegan lifestyle, and through iron trend infusions, and all of that it when my iron levels stabilized. But to this day, I still have not been having any red meat as been has been suggested by the medical system.

Unknown:

Well, and it's, it's interesting that you bring that up, because you see these celebrities and whatnot that are vegan, and they, they boast about it, and how they love it and all of this and they get one diagnosis of something. And they say well, I can't be vegan because of this, they're not looking at what they're actually consuming. Um, there was one I won't mention names, but they were vegan, and then all of a sudden had severe kidney stones. And they traced it back to how many almonds they were eating, because they were doing almond milk, almond yogurt, all of this stuff and like their smoothies every day. And they basically traced it back to that. And instead of having less almonds, they brought animal products back into their diet. So it's one of those things, it's, it's not always what the doctor says you kind of have to listen to yourself as well and advocate to yourself and what makes sense. And obviously, if there's something seriously wrong with you, and it's not getting better, you need to continue to evaluate, but kind of what you did you know, you did your process of elimination, determining that you didn't have to add that red meat back in to bring your iron levels that you know, you look at spinach and broccoli and all those leafy greens are so full of iron, and you can get more than enough without doing red meat.

Dimple Arora:

Yeah, do you? Do you have any concerns about Aubree like when she grows up if she's gonna continue the vegan way of eating? Or if she's going to just start eating meat? Do you have any concerns about her? You know, growing up and like for me, I think oh gosh, is my daughter going to eat gluten when she goes up because she has no allergy. She's never been diagnosed with anything. But I know, from over a decade of studying the effects of gluten on the body. I know that I want to continue for her to be gluten free. Now, is that something that concerns you about your daughter when she gets older?

Unknown:

You know, at this point, it doesn't. So for her, she she remembers not feeling well from eating gluten. So the gluten piece, I'm not worried about it, she does have that intolerance, I don't think she'll ever go back to that, in terms of her. Her veganism. And technically she's a vegetarian, she has a little bit of cheese. Um, and that's, that's been her choice. So she was four when I went vegan. And when I went through that process, I wanted to be open and honest with her. She's She's a smart cookie. And kids have this simple intelligence, where they can see things really black and white. And we kind of muddle it as we get older. So I kind of go back to as I was explaining things to her. And as I thought about it afterwards, you know, when kids are growing up, we're so anxious for them to learn about like the lifecycle of a plant. Let's talk about how it starts as a seed and it grows into a plant and it can grow into another one and we can eat the fruits from it. But do we talk about where animals come from where that chicken on our plate comes from? We don't because there's there's a disconnect there. We don't want them to know how that food ends up on their plate. And so we had a lot of honest conversations about this. Is that actually what you're eating and what she actually never really enjoyed meat. She would try to hide it and things and she'd spit it out. She hated it. She would always find it and forget it. She's not eating it. But what really clicked for her as we were talking about dairy and how dairy comes from cows and dairy is. It's a calf milk just like you had milk for me. That calf gets milk from its mother, and in order for us to have the mill, the baby has to be taken away. And she kind of thought on that for a couple days. And then we were laying in bed before bed one night and reading one of her farm animal books, and there was a mother cow and her calf. And she looked at it and she went, I think that baby calf looks really bad. Here's what why do you think it looks sad? Well, I think it's going to be taken from its mother so we can have its milk. And I, you know, I'm a mess over here going, Oh, my gosh, she was to me and whatnot. And she just she just said, you know, I, I don't think I want milk anymore. And so it was it was really her decision. Now her allergies, especially to carrot do hinder that a little bit. You know, things like pizza and whatnot. That's, that's been the one thing she hasn't found a replacement for that she really enjoys us. There's a cauliflower pizza that she likes that has a very light sprinkle cheese on it. And she has that once a week. And she's still looking for a replacement, but she hasn't found it. And I let that be her decision. And everything she up everything else she eats is vegan. So by involving her in that process, I'm really confident that she's going to stick with it because it's been her choice and not mine. And she she understands why she's doing it. It's not just me saying this is what you're going to eat.

Shaista Fatehali:

Yeah. I love what you said there was two things you said. The first is this idea of empathy. And you know, the same thing happened with my daughter as well. And it wasn't so much as the process of torturing animals for us to eat as it was that mommy cow and the baby calf, and the calf has to be taken away. And is screaming whether mommy and mommy is screaming for their baby, and can't be together. I think there was actually a video of this right. And so she saw this on YouTube as well. And that really got to her core as well, right? Because the empathy was there. That's not too bad. The second thing you brought up was this idea of choice. I think that with our kids, if we're sitting there going, you cannot eat dairy, because it is bad for the environment, it is bad for you, it is bad for torturing animals, they're not going to understand it. Right? So by giving them that choice through instilling this empathy is what is going to make it sustainable, right? Because I get that question a lot as well. Like, you know, what happens if my mom wants to eat meat, like, well, it's her choice. And as she's growing up, now, she's like, almost 10, there will be times that she does, right like your daughter, right? Same sort of thing. Like if there's cheese on the pizza, or whatever, or may a little bit of mayo in her avocado roll or whatever it is, right yet. But I think for myself, and it sounds like for you as well, I'm not so concerned, because that installment of empathy and concern for the well being of the planet and life the other life is has already been installed in her right.

Unknown:

I agree. And for me, too, it's understanding back to what we put in our bodies and where our food comes from, and understanding that process and then being okay with what you're eating. So, for her in that moment, she's comfortable with eating it. And she's, you know, she cooks with me all the time. She loves to cook, she loves to bake. And she does look for alternatives. And she you know, we've experimented with some other things and she knows that something that she doesn't want to do long term, but she's okay while she looks for that replacement, and I need to be okay with that. And I need to support her because it's my job as her mother, you know, I need to give her the information and let her figure life out. You know, that's that's kind of what it's all about at the end of the day.

Dimple Arora:

Yeah, and when it comes to our bodies, we can only be empowered when we do have choices. And that is the best way to be empowered is when we are given choices of what we put into our bodies and allergies. We don't have choices sometimes. Right? And it is it's important. I was vegetarian for 14 years of my life. And I have now settled on having meat and I am comfortable with this decision at this point. And I'm happy with it. My daughter we have talked about the cows we have talked about the process, the dairy process, but she's a dairy monster she loves Her cheese and she loves her yogurt. And I'm not going to hinder that, because she doesn't seem to be reacting to it at all at this point, right. And there are so many other things that our bodies can react to, I just want to bring it up really briefly because there are, you know, unknown side effects from from different compounds that that are in our foods. Some people are reacting to things like nightshade vegetables, for example, or some people are reacting to glutamate or high histamine foods, right or something like oxalates. So there are so many different things that people could be sensitive to. And once you dig into it, it gets very, very complex. But the key here, I believe, is to listen to our bodies. Absolutely. Listen to our bodies, and really tune in to what's going on and not accepting that, okay, the stuffy nose is normal, or this frequent infection is normal, or this frequent sinus problem is normal. Just understanding that our body is giving us these very profound messages, and we need to listen.

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

Completely agree.

Dimple Arora:

And teaching our children to do the same.

Shaista Fatehali:

Yeah, and I think that this actually comes from a very young age, right? They're young, they're starting to eat solid foods, right? Like, really? I'm just laughing because so like, with Malaya, like, should I have a baby as well, but she's 18 months. And with her. Now she's seeing also like cookies. Like, she's seeing this around, and she'll be like, because she wants it. And, or she'll see like her dad happy that or whatever. And so, um, I think there there were some times where like, her grandpa or grandma or, like, even me, sometimes I like giving in and that given her like, some cookies, and she will like devour, right? Like, our tiny little thing. And she's eating this cookie, okay. And then I'm like, Oh my gosh, like, no, like, this is not good. Like, now she's gonna keep wanting these cookies, right? And so I then I substituted it right with like, vegetables and fruits like, yeah, healthy stuff. So now when she wants it, I say all done. First, you need to have your whatever it is, then you can have a little bit of cookies. But already that's like played out in her brain. Right? She already know. Yeah, it doesn't have to be like 15 to know, then how your food affects your body. And different types of tastes of food, and how it can also be, you can simulate the same textures, and tastes with food that is a lot better for you. Right, like, blueberries are super sweet. She'll take those down as well, right? Why give her a cookie when she can have blueberries? Right. So you know, that kind of thing? I think it's so important to start that from a very young age. And he also with modeling, right? Like, absolutely. Like for our house, of course, like I eat lots of vegetables and then constantly cutting vegetables. And there is this. I have said this story before maybe on this podcast, I can't remember but my our my older one was three years old. And we were in a grocery store. And she was running around the store crying for cauliflower. He was not like the kid who would go and want cookies and chips and all of that. She's crying for produce. And of course, it was a $10 cauliflower. But of course I bought it because you want to reinforce that. But you know that was because she saw she saw me doing that all the time. And it was her go to

Unknown:

one thing. One thing we do too is we talk a lot about the nutritional value of the food that we're eating. And so if you know if she starts to feel like she's not feeling well, hey, let's grab an orange for some of that vitamin C or she takes dance classes, your muscles are sore, let's have something with some great potassium in it. Let's have a banana or some beans, you know, so we really talk about how food is fuel. And it doesn't mean that we can't have sweets and we have those conversation and we we still eat them and you know, we make them ourselves so we try to make them a little healthier. But there's still a suite and we just have the conversation of well we can have Sometimes, but we don't want to take away from all the nutrients from the other foods, and we just talk about it in terms of fuel that you want to have room for that fuel. So it's okay to eat it, just make sure you leave some room for the good stuff, too. And I found that she's ended up with like a natural kind of limit, where she'll eat a little bit of it. And oftentimes, she'll not finish it. And she's like, it's just a little too sweet. It's too much sugar right now. And it's just interesting how when they know, that kind of process and everything, it seems like they kind of self regulate it. And it's not a constant want anymore.

Dimple Arora:

Exactly. I feel like we don't restrict them from the junk food. But when we explain to them, and get get them to notice the difference of how they're feeling when they have the junk food versus when they have the healthy food options, then they can really start to self regulate themselves. And it doesn't become an emotional eating, or a very big want and desire right there out of that desire phase, which is so, so, so helpful. But I do agree, the education has to start very young. Especially I'd say in the first I'd say from the first mouthful of solid food, the education has to start and the discussions and the dialogue around food has to start and really into the first seven years of life. Right. So Nikki, one last question for you here. Has this fueled a mission for you in any way?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. Just coming from my own experience with allergies, and going vegan, it was so hard at the beginning for me to figure out what I could eat. And it was almost overwhelming. And I figured it out. It took a lot of trial and error, a lot of research, I did a lot of looking into the different nutrients all the foods provided, making sure that I had, you know, a balanced diet, I wasn't missing anything. The daily does an app is a great resource for that it really takes off exactly. The food groups, and it gives you an example of hey, here's the foods in this food group and how many servings you should have each day that was really helpful for me. But kind of through that I really developed resources for myself of okay, well, now I've got my own recipe book here of what I can go to and I've gotten really comfortable with, Okay, well, this recipe that I found has XY and Z in it, I can swap it for this no problem, and it's not going to affect it. And it took so much trial and error to get there that I kind of got to a point where I'm like, Okay, I can't be the only one going through this. And I'd really like to be a resource for other people in any way that I can make that transition easier for them. Whether it is a Health Choice, you know, they just want to cut back on animal products, if it's forced, because of allergies, whatever the reason, there's no reason that they have to feel as overwhelmed as I did in the beginning. And I just want to really be there for other people to make that journey a little bit easier. So that that's where all of this started. And hopefully I can help with that transition.

Dimple Arora:

That is so it's excellent. It's so we're so honored to have you here today to share your expertise, to share your story, to share your mission. I know that it's very easy to become passionate about something that we've gone through. And everyone can find you on Instagram at the allergy friendly vegan. You got it. Awesome. So thank you so much. This has been so insightful and talking about kids and the strategies and what we can do to educate them young to become aware of very subtle symptoms in the body. And to understand that allergies and intolerances do have a difference. It's not always the top allergens that are that are are the culprits right. So thank you so much for bringing light to all of this and the veganism angle. Kudos to both of you. That is it's amazing that you are both so strong, athletic and healthy at this point by changing your diet, which is the key to optimal health. So thank you for joining us. Bye.

The Allergy Friendly Vegan:

Thank you so much.

Dimple Arora:

Thank you for joining us on The I Am mom parenting journey. If you enjoy today's episode, please follow us and head on over to iTunes to leave us a review.

Shaista Fatehali:

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