Monday, March 19, 2012


MSPI - Milk Soy Protein Intolerance.

I bet you have heard of it by now. More and more babies are being diagnosed MSPI or other food allergy type intolerances. I believe (STRONGLY) that babies have always had food allergies. I don't think this is ANYTHING new. I think food allergies used to be called colic. And little was done.

When Adam was first born, something was wrong. He had incredible reflux. Like failure to gain reflux. He had eczema that started on his legs and arms and eventually moved to his face. His diapers were always weird. Mucusy. Green. Runny. Loose. Frequent. (Mmmmaybe I should have warned you not to eat while you read this...) The biggest symptom of all in babies with MSPI or other food intolerances is crying. They cry and cry. They arch their backs. Their tummies may feel hard. They just look uncomfortable. Adam rarely cried. But when he did - it was so obvious it was because he was in pain and that the pain was in his bowels.

Moms have to be pushy often in the food allergy department. After weeks of trying to get my son to gain weight and feel better and look better, I decided to get rather assertive. I marched into the pediatrician's office and told him I wanted Adam's issues addressed that day. And I marched into our local breast feeding support organization where I had an appointment with a pediatrician who specializes in breast feeding medicine and told her the same thing. Our specialist assessed Adam, tested his stool, took a history, and made a plan for us. Eliminate dairy. Keep an eye out for other food allergies, like soy or the top 8. Keep a food journal. Switch to a dairy/soy free supplemental formula. I think she saved Adam from a failure to thrive diagnosis or other more invasive testing. She and our lactation consultant became our guardian angels.

Over the next couple weeks, by journaling my diet and then journaling Adam's reactions... I learned that he was quite sensitive to dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, citrus, and avocado. (The avocado part was the hardest!) I joined the support group for mom's with children who suffer from food allergies and started learning about reading labels, new recipes, and all sorts of other tidbits. I watched Adam's reflux subside a bit, allowing him to gain. His rash lessened. His diapers started to look better. He didn't act in pain.

Some of my friends and family couldn't understand why I'd continue to nurse. Besides the fact that the new special formula we were on ran about $400 a month, breast milk is best. And a diet change? A TEMPORARY diet change? I can do that. I thought about Celiac's who make a permanent diet change. Or other people who permanently have such serious allergies or health conditions. This was a no brainer for me. It wasn't easy. But it wasn't a difficult decision. Those who questioned my sanity generally were asked, "Are you going to give me $400 a month for formula?" That usually did the trick! But truthfully, I did it because it was the right thing for my family, for me, and for my baby. And I'd do it again.

I AM doing it again! So many times, future siblings have similar or worse food allergies. Its not always the case - but it seems to be overwhelmingly so. So, to give Matthew a good start, I decided to cut out all dairy, soy, treenuts, and peanuts from my diet about 4 weeks prior to delivery to give all those proteins time to leave my system and clear my milk supply. If Matthew can go a few weeks without showing any telltale signs of a food allergy I'll happily start adding food back in! Its so easy this time! I'm serious! I know what food to eat. I know what recipes are good. I know so much now. I have lots of support. I don't feel deprived. I feel lucky!

In case you stumbled on this post searching for mspi help... let me link you up!

A printable, wallet sized list of dairy to avoid:

Great info on food allergies:

Food Allergen Scale:

Soy words:

Recipes Blogs:,

Common MSPI questions:

SOOOO many recipes that you use on a weekly basis or see on a daily basis - are easy to adapt. I have several recipes pinned on pinterest too. Look for the ones labeled MSPI friendly.

There's an adjustment for the diet. But its very doable. The hardest thing about it is very little is quick anymore. You can't just swing through the ol'burger joint for lunch without checking an allergy menu. Most meals require some planning and prep and you learn to shop differently. You learn to read labels. You become very aware of what's in your food! But that's ok! We all should be!

Lots of restaurants can accommodate you with a little head's up notice. And many chains post their allergy info online making it easy for you to plan accordingly. Ultimately, though, you are responsible for what you put in your mouth. Chipolte is my go to! Love them and they are great to work with. They wipe down the counter for me and put on clean gloves. Cheesecake Factory is also easy! Pasta with Meatsauce all the way baby! Qdoba is easy too but the only protein there that is milk AND soy free there is the shredded pork - which IS delicious!

My favorite butter substitute is Earth Balance Soy free. But Fleischmann’s Unsalted stick margarine is another popular one. If I'm baking, I generally sub crisco for the butter. I use rice milk in place of milk in recipes. Buttermilk can be subbed by adding 1 Tablespoon of vinegar per cup of nondairy milk. (rice, hemp, oat, flax, coconut, almond, etc.) Health food stores are great places to find items that are dairy/soy/etc. free. And usually the staff is very helpful! (Thanks Whole Foods!) 

This is doable! Its just a learning curve! You can have your chocolate cake and eat it too! (I am eating some right now!) 

Here's a list of food I have in my freezer right now that is all MSPI friendly and waiting for the sleepless nights stage of newborndom.

Meatballs for spaghetti
Pulled chicken - ready for enchiladas (no cheese - but sill awesome!), soup, sandwiches, bbq, etc.
Crunchy breaded pork chops
Bean dip snacks
Sausage and root vegetable bake
Beef enchiladas (no cheese) get the recipe here! I have to tell you - I didn't miss the cheese! I didn't!
Pulled BBQ Pork for sandwiches
Pulled BBQ Chicken
Lots of chicken stock
Marinara Sauce
Meatballs with Gravy

I'm happy to send out recipes! Email me or comment if you want more info!

Lastly, most moms who go on the MSPI diet wonder about soybean oil and soy lethicin. These are considered fats and generally are safe to eat while on the diet. Adam did great with them and I'm assuming Matthew will too. But there ARE kiddos who are so sensitive to soy that even these fats bother them. That's where the journal comes in handy!

Think of all the food you can eat! Fruits and Vegetables! Meats! Grains! All you have to watch is the dairy department and the add ons and processed foods.