At this point last summer, we were racking our brain and exhausting Google searches trying to find out what was wrong with our Beaudozer. On top of his usual respiratory and eczema issues, he began frequently choking and vomiting. Six months later, an endoscopic biopsy confirmed he had Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE).
We began with a natural treatment plan by placing him on an elimination diet of the top 8 allergens (wheat, eggs, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish). We were praying for a clean scope after a few months of this diet, but unfortunately his eosinophils level lowered only slightly. So we began swallowed steroids two months ago and also placed Beau on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet, which naturally helps to fight inflammation.
It’s been a long two months trying to fill up our little guy up with meat, fruit and veggies. And like most kids, we’re limited on the amount of green veggies he will eat. The AIP diet seems like a very hard long-term diet, especially for a child, but we are hoping to see a big decrease in his count during his next endoscopy.
Autoimmune Protocol Diet for EOE
In a nutshell, the AIP diet is a stricter version of the Paleo diet and is highly touted for addressing inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases such as EOE. For Beau, we layer the top 8 elimination diet on top of AIP, which means we also eliminate fish and shellfish. The AIP diet attempts to reduce inflammation and help heal the immune system and the gut, and is basically the next step for those who don’t respond to the top 8 elimination diet alone.
So what CAN Beau eat?
- Quality meats: We buy organic grassfed beef and organic free range chicken from Costco and have purchased a month’s worth of AIP meals from PaleoOnTheGo.com for last-minute meals. Processed meats aren’t encouraged, but we buy local homemade sausage or natural bacon and sausage that is nitrate-free. I also purchase Applegate hotdogs and deli meat for easy lunches.
- Limited fruits: AIP suggests that fruit is limited to about 20 grams of fructose per day. But this is sooooo hard because so much fruit is in season in the summer and because Beau’s diet is so limited. I do give him avocados almost daily because they have less sugar than most fruit and the higher fat content keeps him fuller longer. He simply carves them out with a spoon and eats them plain.
- All veggies except nightshades: Nightshades include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant etc. Thankfully Beau will eat sweet potatoes, so he doesn’t miss white potatoes, but I miss cooking with tomatoes. And lately Beau has asked to eat sliced tomatoes or guacamole with tomatoes and it’s heartbreaking to tell a kid no to healthy vegetables.
- Certain fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and bacon grease from quality bacon (no nitrates or additives)
- Coconut products: Coconut oil, coconut flour and flakes, coconut butter/manna, canned full-fat coconut milk and cream (without guar gum), coconut aminos, homemade coconut milk yogurt (I have yet to make it) etc.
- Non-seed herbs
- Vinegars: Apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar, balsamic vinegar, etc. Just no added sugars.
- Arrowroot powder and tapioca starch: Thickeners similar to cornstarch
EOE Food Substitutions and Superfoods
No-mato sauce: Beau loves most all foods, and of course ketchup is at the top of that list. Though I’ve found several no-mato ketchup recipes using beets, carrots or pumpkin, I haven’t taken the time to make Beau his own special ketchup just yet.
Coconut aminos: I did purchase a three-pack of coconut aminos right when he started the AIP diet and we call it his Beau sauce. Whenever someone else pulls out a condiment such as ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, steak sauce, etc., we bring out the Beau sauce so that he doesn’t feel to deprived. I also use it as a substitution for teryaki or soy sauce when I cook.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory superfood for EOE. I often use turmeric as a replacement for cumin (which is seed-based and off limits on AIP) in AIP taco seasoning. I’ve also pinned a couple recipes with turmeric that I plan on trying soon:
- Turmeric Morning Smoothie
- Turmeric Chicken No Noodle Soup
- Anti-Inflammatory and Healing Turmeric Gummies
Ginger: Similar to turmeric, ginger also has many anti-inflammatory properties. There is a lot of buzz about EOE patients taking both ginger and turmeric capsules, but for now I am simply incorporating these superfoods into my cooking. I made this AIP meatball recipe that uses fresh ginger for our last RV trip everyone gobbled them up.
Grassfed Gelatin: There are many versions of gelatin on the market, but AIP supports grassfed, pasture-raised beef gelatin. This is a product I need to experiment with more. I made some pancakes using a gelatin egg and they came out very gummy. But I also used a gelatin egg when I made AIP donuts and they turned out pretty good, especially if you try not to compare AIP donuts to regular donuts.
Kombucha: Though other probiotic foods such as fermented vegetables and fruits are recommended on the AIP diet, kombucha is the only fermented food he will eat. We call it fizzy juice. James and I used to brew our own kombucha, but for now we buy it
Natural Supplements and Superfoods
Besides the AIP diet, we are also giving Beau natural supplements and incorporating superfoods into his diet. Every morning, I mix probiotics, aloe juice and slippery elm into a small cup of watered down juice. We’ve also heard good things about DGL licorice (soothes inflammation and stimulates repair) and Glutamine (rebuilds intestines), but am holding off until after Beau’s next endoscopy in a couple weeks. We also have the name of a integrative/holistic doctor who I will reach out to after we know more about his levels and the effect of his AIP diet coupled with swallowed steroids.
I will be following your progress. My six year old was born with esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula. He was diagnosed with EoE at 2.5 after an EGD when he was getting stuck and throwing up more frequently than he had in the past. This behavior is typical of kids with his birth defect, but we are finding that many of the EA/TEF kids have EoE as well. We have been eating paleo since 2011, but 2 weeks ago we started AIP for an unrelated case of acid reflux and IBS with my husband. Just now got around to thinking this could have a profound effect on our son. Thanks for posting your experiences, and like I said above, will be looking forward to updates on B!!
Thank you for connecting! Any thoughts as to your husband having EOE? Just wondering since feelings of reflux and stomach issues are also symptoms of EOE. And there is a hereditary component. We think my husband has EOE. He got food lodged in his throat often in his twenties, but he eats a clean diet now and only has issues about once a year. Just a thought! Yes AIP is hard for kids, or at least mine simply because he doesn’t eat tons of veggies. He will eat sweet potato and broccoli, so we have that often. We did add in gluten free oats to his diet because after three months on AIP and a scope that was delayed 7 more weeks, we felt he needed more calories and something more filling. He loves avocado and coconut butter/coconut manna, so that helps. We have another scope next week so hoping his numbers are really low between AIP and swallowed steroids. We are planning to cycle off the swallowed steroids though after this scope just because we are concerned about a drastic drop in height and weight recently. I’m sure I’ll blog about it at some point when I get time 🙂 If you have found any great kid-friendly AIP recipes please share! I’d love to try them.
I know what you are going through and can relate tremendously. I’m sorry to hear that your little guy is so young and going through this at such a young age. I was diagnosed with EoE in March and it has been such a long journey. The diet helped a little but the next step are the steroids as much as I hate it. It has been so hard for my poor mom trying to make recipes and things I can eat. It’s very frustrating because there is no cure and doctors are trying to cure the symptoms, since this is a fairly new disease. I wish your son and family only the best.
Hi Litsa. I just think it’s crazy that there is such an upswing in EOE, from young children to adults. Steroids helped lower my son’s counts but I am also worried about long-term side effects especially his growth rate. It’s so hard to know what to do. It seems like when you fix one thing you break another. Best of luck to you on your EOE journey!
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My 18 yr old son has EoE. He was sent to a dietician. She never said anything about avoiding fruits, sugar or nitrates. She only told us to stay away from the top 8 allergens for the next 8 weeks until his next biopsy. My son lives on campus of a college that does not employ a dietician. We have found this journey to be quite difficult since they cannot guarantee the food that is available that is allowed on his diet won’t be cross contaminated. Do you have any recipes that are more interesting than a slab of protein on a plate with a couple of veggies? I have been looking for a stir-fry recipe that doesn’t contain soy, but still has flavor. Do you have any interesting recipes for a single working mom that won’t take hours to prepare?
Did this work for you? I am currently doing the same thing.
Hi, Unfortunately this was not enough for my son. He has yet to get a clean scope. He just started Dupixent a month ago so we are praying that it helps.