• Andrea Jones

Does your food make you angry?

We have been on a health journey over the last 6 years that has been both rewarding and challenging, but I have shared with very few people some of the more personal challenges pertaining to our oldest daughter who will be 7 this month!

Our oldest daughter, A, has always been prone to illness. She had croup 4 times in the first year of her life. She seemed to get colds every other week, which meant that we then got her colds. She seemed to be very sensitive to certain foods and would easily vomit, and when she did vomit, it was for at least 24 hours at a time. It was horrible.

When she was about 2, we had cut gluten out of my husband and my diet because he developed dermatitis herpetiformis (basically really tiny blisters under the skin of the hands and feet that itch like CRAZY), and it was easier for both of us to cut out gluten than to prepare two sets of meals. Subsequently, we cut out gluten for our daughter as well and noticed that she wasn't as hyper as before. Her stools were more regular, etc. We had already cut out dairy because she had eczema as a baby. I didn't notice that I was intolerant to gluten until I reintroduced it back into my diet. I gained 5lbs within a week, started having insomnia and broke out on my face immediately.

During this time, I had been reading and researching like crazy how gluten affects your thyroid because the gluten protein is almost identical molecularly to the thyroid hormone, and so your body begins attacking your own thyroid which can lead to thyroid disorders, etc. I decided after having such a negative response to gluten upon reintroducing it, that we would just cut it out altogether.

We had officially become "that family" that had to bring their own snacks and treats to parties and events. This can feel surprisingly isolating! I don't usually take it personally, but it is hard as many people don't realize that there is gluten in sauces, seasonings, and the minutae of recipes.

Back to A. She has been gluten free and dairy free for as long as she can remember, and we noticed that she got sick less than her peers, but we still were having behavior issues that caused a lot of stress on us as parents. She has always been strong willed, prone to tantrums and emotional instability (as most 3-4 year olds are). And while she was slowly growing out of that, I noticed a hyperactivity and defiance emerging. She couldn't control herself. She seemed to need to be perpetually moving. She was constantly asking to be tickled and wrestled and touched and it was FREAKING EXHAUSTING. Especially because I am NOT a touch person. OMG. I though I was gonna die some days of overstimulation.

I had started taking her to play therapy because I thought maybe it was behavioral. After all, what ELSE could we eliminate from her diet if we wanted to see improvements? I didn't see much improvement in the play therapy department. She still was utterly defiant and it was making home life extremely difficult.

One night after therapy, I sat on the couch and just asked God to bring me or show me a resource of what she needed. I was familiar with the term Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), but would have never described her as such. Well, right then that term popped into my head and without thinking, I googled "healing ODD naturally." A blog popped up and the woman who was writing about her son was describing my daughter TO A TEE. I  couldn't believe it! She found that in addition to gluten, he would become defiant and have angry outbursts whenever exposed to corn or corn byproducts. Which, if you don't know, are basically in everything. Corn is a huge filler as is soy.

I cut out corn immediately, and within 24 hours, A had relaxed. She was no longer hopping and bouncing and angry. She was no longer asking me to wrestle every 2 minutes or tackle her to the ground or to tickle her. She was REASONABLE when I would converse with her or ask her to do something. I didn't realize how much stress this had caused until the pressure was gone and WHEW. I could breathe.

This was only step one of the process. With food allergies, there is usually disruption of the lining of the gut. This means that the gut is now open (permeable) to allergens, proteins and other viruses that can cause significant problems. So step two, after removing the source of the inflammation, is to begin healing the gut. This means repopulating it with beneficial bacteria, and adding supplements to further remove the inflammation. For us, that means fish oil, magnesium supplementation (which she canned for on our Itovi nutritional scanner), hefty doses of probiotics, plant based antibacterial/antiviral, and supplements to help her body get rid of the bad bacteria. It has been expensive but not as expensive as having a difficult home life and having to pay for therapy that would not help her!

She essentially eats whole foods with very few exceptions, and we do spend a little bit more on groceries because of this. But guys... she has not been sick one time since we cut out corn! NOT ONCE! And for an elementary school kid who is in contact with germs on the daily, and as a kid who was sick every other week last year- this is HUGE!!! This is because her body is no longer using all of it's energy fighting the inflammation caused by bad diet, and can now work in a healthy capacity to keep her well.

She isn't fully healed yet- but we are seeing steady improvement in her gut health! And we are now at a place where I can take her to the naturopath for further adjustments and improvements!

Do you know anyone who has struggled with this? If so, send them to this blog and feel free to comment with any questions!

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