Food allergies, intolerances and behaviour

Nikki - posted on 10/10/2010 ( 32 moms have responded )

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Have any of you had any experiences with food affecting your child's behaviour?

My daughter has been a nightmare recently,taking hours to get to sleep, waking every 30 minutes, aggressive, violent, tantrums and she is only 11 months old, we went to the natropath, he put her on a dairy, sugar and meat free diet, and I can't believe it but her behaviour has changed drastically! I have my angel baby back! Thank god.

I find it interesting however food intolerances were not something I thought could be the problem, it hadn't even entered my mind that it could be food related, I was taking her to the chiropractor and he just happens to be a natropath who obviously saw I was about to have a nervous break down and started asking questions about her behaviour.

Just thought I would share, I found the whole experience interesting!

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Caitlin - posted on 10/11/2010

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Dana - that`s REALLY important, and just so you know, in Canada, you can get an epi-pen over the counter if you talk to the pharmacist and tell them you will be getting a prescription for one, but would like to have one in the meantime just in case. at our pharmacy, it costs us about 98$ for one Jr. Epi-pen, and you can get yourself a free trainer and video from epipen if you register on their site (really useful for showing care givers or family that may watch your child). http://www.epipen.ca/CONSUMERS/English/R...

Nikki - I`d really suggest some form of testing if you can swing it, but in my mind, if it only caused eczema to flare up, it`s not really an allergy - tomato does that to my daughter (uncooked) but she's not allergic to it.

Nikki - posted on 10/11/2010

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Take 3, which I will copy!!

I understand you concern regarding the term allergy being thrown around when your child suffers with a fatal allergy, however the problem is that the definition of allergy is a hypersensitive state, whether that be topical or fatal, I describe my daughter as allergic to dairy because it causes eczema.

When I was working, I was a childcare Director and I had the same issue with the term therefore we used the term anaphylaxis or fatal allergy when it came to children with sever allergies.

I can imagine it would be really difficult to leave your child in someone else's care if they had a fatal allergy. I am not sure where you live but in Australia food serious allergies are taken very seriously in childcare centres and schools. Action plans are in place, all staff are aware of these and are trained to administer an epi pen if required. In my centres I would go as far as ensuring my staff checked every lunch box if there was a child in the room with a fatal allergy.

Has your daughter started school or care? if it were me I would probably get some of those serious allergy t-shirts made up because unfortunately it's generally not the staff you have to worry about but the arrogant parents who refuse to comply with allergy plans. If I had a dollar for everytime that a parent packed a ban food into a lunch box even though they had been thoroughly informed, it drove me nuts, I was such a bitch about it, it irritates the shit out of me that they are so arrogant they are willing to put another child's life at risk just so their child can enjoy eggs or peanut butter for lunch!

Caitlin - posted on 10/11/2010

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Lol - I always copy my response before I click submit, because my response gets devoured so often!

Caitlin - posted on 10/11/2010

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*ugh*.. I kind of resent this.. IT'S NOT AN ALLERGY! I agree with what you feed your kid impacts behaviour quite a bit, but NEVER call it an allergy. When people do that, it makes people disbelieve those kids who have real allergies! Unless the food causes your child an actual allergic reaction, please STAY AWAY from that term..

*Sigh* Sorry, I get all up in arms about that, because when I say my daughter has a dairy allergy (among others) about 80% of the time I get "oh, she's lactose intolerant!" NO! not the same thing. Dairy can kill my daughter, and when kids start school and parents start listing 20 food as "allergies" because they don't want their kid to eat those foods, then it leads teachers and caregivers to be less cautious about what is handed out, which can be a FATAL mistake..

/rant..

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Amanda - posted on 06/02/2012

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Hey, I see lots of people are talking about soy and goat milk. I don't know that I would use goat milk, I've been told that it is not a good option for milk allergies because you can be allergic to the protein in that as well! But in my case, I couldn't even breast feed! However, we are finding that we give her soy to drink but we cook with Hemp milk.... because it tastes soooooo much better and has more omegas.

Amanda - posted on 06/02/2012

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Nikki, I agree with you on this. I see where Caitlin is coming from, but there are so many ways an allergy can affect someone. There ARE debates about behavior and allergies. I know I used to work with children with disabilities... and it was a miracle to see an autistic kid on a gluten and dairy free diet.... totally different child. Also, there are debates that ADHD is linked to allergies. But it makes sense really... if you don't feel good... you aren't pleasant to be around. I am actually in a debate right now with my ped. My daughter has exzema, loose stools, and broke out in welts. The doctor told me she thought it was a sensitivity... we are still waiting on the results. HOWEVER, she told me that regardless... you treat symptoms. We removed dairy from my 3 year olds diet... she def feels better and the syptoms are resolving (as we learn to read labels) and her behavior HAS changed... likely because she feels better. I don't know that it is fair to say that allergies only cause certain reactions... everyone reacts differently to allergies... just as they do to anything else. Yes... some children have severe allergies and the allergies are life threatening... but in reality... teachers and caregivers should be taking ALL allergies seriously (but trust me... I know they don't always do that... which is how I ended up in this thread!).

[deleted account]

Yup, soy is in pretty much EVERYTHING! We've definitely had some struggles adjusting but I think we're all happier and healthier for it. I'm a HUGE fan of Hellman's mayonaise and now I don't even buy it!

Jacqueline - posted on 10/13/2010

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ugh soy has to be so hard! even though they peanuts and egg are serious they are relatively easy to avoid ( minus the sweet stuff) Just ordered some special goodies for halloween :)

Jacqueline - posted on 10/13/2010

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She's allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, peas, and strawberry. Also allergic to penicillin. Eggs, peanuts, tree nuts are life threatening. She is also contact reactive to the eggs and nuts so we have to be so careful about what she touches and who touches her. As you can imagine I get some eye rolls from people we don't know when I say please don't touch her.

Jacqueline - posted on 10/13/2010

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I agree with Caitlin. The term food allergies is used too loosely by many people. My daughter has life threatening food allergies and people just don't get it. I guess unless they live it every day no one ever will! As far as behavior being related to food I do agree. My daughter has Ige related allergies as well as non Ige and both severely affect her behavior. I have found having a medic alert bracelet has made people take her allergies more seriously. People sometimes just see me as an overprotective mom chasing after her kid with wipes, not realizing that the simple act of her touching a toy that is contaminated can kill her!

[deleted account]

I can't wait to find out. I think all children should at least have the blood test done from an early age. While allergies are sometimes life threatening, intolerances or sensitivities can degrade the quality of life so much. It's super frustrating. I hope you get everything sorta out quickly.

Give Isobel smooches for us.

Nikki - posted on 10/12/2010

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Tasmania is slightly different you have to pay here (you get some back from medicare) so they always take the cheaper option if it's not an emergency. I could have insisted but I didn't really believe that food was going to be the problem before trying the elimination diet, so I didn't bother. However now I am very interested to find out so I will insist we go ahead with the tests now.

[deleted account]

YES! My oldest step-son doesn't do well at all with sugar, food coloring, artificial flavors, etc...Pretty much anything that is not natural will make him have a hard time with focus

It's incredible.

[deleted account]

Thanks Caitlin. Nikki, Roxanne had some simple blood tests done initially and doesn't cost a dime. From there they can determine which skin/scratch tests to do. Don't you guys have a similar healthcare system to us in Canada? You shouldn't have to pay.

Nikki - posted on 10/11/2010

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Because it's expensive, so because she hasn't shown serious allergies they offer the elimination diet first.

[deleted account]

Haha! I was just wondering why they haven't tested her yet. It's a simple test....well at least intitially it is. And this reminds me. I need to look into getting Roxanne an epi-pen.

Nikki - posted on 10/11/2010

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Thanks Caitlin, I have an epi pen!! I am one of those mums!! lol She has only been on the goat's for a couple of days but so far her eczema has really begun to clear (not sure which food to equate that too, she is on a full on elimination diet, I thought it was washing power of skin products to begin with, but it turns out it's not), she is having some allergy tests to work out exactly what food triggers it next week, I agree I have seen children who have had mild food allergies turn into fatal allergies, probably why I am so anal with any kind of allergy; after you have to give a child an epi pen it's a big wake call to how serious things can get when people are not vigilant about these things.

Caitlin - posted on 10/11/2010

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We use soy - because we are out of luck with the dairy allergy. There is only one protein of difference between cow's milk and goats milk, so it may be something else causing the eczema. Even with our daughter on dairy free foods - she still has eczema flare ups. These are usually caused by enviornment, or by high histamine foods, like tomatoes or strawberries.

The problem I find is that while staff at daycares and schools are mostly well trained, there are those people that don't understand the difference, and attribute "allergy" to be something like hay fever. Eczema is common in young children, and isn't always connected to food. Most of the time, a skin test or blood test would be wise to confirm your suspicion, because if it is an allergy, it can become more severe quickly, and getting an epi-pen would be wise, if it isn't an allergy then you don't have to worry so much, and if you choose to avoid it because it agravates eczema, then it's more of an intolerance.

[deleted account]

I was able to find goat's milk yogurt AND cheese in our local grocery store. If you talk to your local market you might be surprised that they'll be able to get it in for you.

I'm really glad things are finally getting sorted out with Issy! I'm here if you need to chat.

Nikki - posted on 10/11/2010

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Deeennnnaaa I put her on soy to begin with then I did some research, holy shit, I had no idea about the bad side of soy. Therefore I changed her straight over to goat's, unfortunately she refuses to drink real goat's milk, she will only drink it in formula form, but she can have that up until she is 2 so hopefully by then I can slowly introduce the real stuff. The most annoying part is that she LOVES yoghurt, but she can't have it anymore, I have tried to find a goat;s milk yoghurt but I am having no luck!

[deleted account]

I have to agree with Caitlin on this one. Having an allergy is MUCH different than having an intolerance to certain foods.

Nikki - posted on 10/11/2010

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grr, I just typed up a huge response to you Caitlin and it just disappeared!!

I will re write it in a minute!!

[deleted account]

That's what I've been saying for years, especially after discovering Roxanne allergies. Chad had food allergies as a kid and his mom attributes a lot of his behavioural issues to the foods he chose to eat once he was no longer her responsibility

Nikki - posted on 10/10/2010

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Loureen when I first quickly read your post I thought you meant they gave him redbull to drink!! I haven't heard of tomato's being a problem, I will keep that one in mind. I agree with the no junk food thing JuLeah, I have always been quite strict with what Isobel eats, I like to make sure she is eating natural, non processed foods, I have had weight issues my entire life and I don't want her to have to go through that. (I swear mine are caused by the TERRIBLE foods and drinks I was allowed to have as a child) Funnily I didn't think she was eating sugar until I found out my mum gives her sweet biscuits! grrr

I will also keep her dairy free I think, after taking to this natropath he made a lot of sense when he said that cow's milk is for cow's not human's it is too dense for our nutritional needs therefore leads to weight gain, digestion problems and skin irritations in a lot of people. When I was pregnant I was ADDICTED to full cream milk, I would drink 3-4 litres a day, I put on 30kg, so it's enough incentive for me to get my family off the stuff. Issy is now on goat's milk and I am trying soy, taking a little to get used to but we will get there!

Charlie - posted on 10/10/2010

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YES .
A child at my school was erratic all the time like had drank ten cans of red bull so his parents put him on an elimination diet MY GOSH the difference was amazing , all of a sudden he was a calm and focused child you would be amazed at the foods that set him off .

Anything tomato related , wheat , oranges , preservatives , food colourings , sugar .

JuLeah - posted on 10/10/2010

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Yes Yes Yes

So one expert suggested my sister take her daughter off all known allergiens .... milk (diary of all kinds) wheat, sugar (read labels it is in everything) food colors and dyes, hormones, artifical sweenters, corn syurp, trans fats (again read labels, compainies are sneeky) - doc told my sister to take the kid off of anything she could not pronunce.



The child's behavior changed so fast! She went to seep well, slept through the night, did not have meltdowns and tantrums, did not throw up or complain her head hurt, she was more focused at school listened better at home .....



So, the doc suggested my sister introduce the foods (or non foods) one at a time and see what was causing the trouble.



In the case of this kid, it was dyes and food coloring, but why bring back sugar, trans fast, corn syurp, hormones and all the rest



? My sister brought back diary (orgainic only) and wheat in very limited amounts (it has been so modified your body doesn't really see it as a food)



My point is, food impacts our mood and behaviors - so take care what we put in our bodies and into the developing minds and bodies of our chidlren.



NO fast food.



People say, "Well once in a while, just for a treat"



But, substances your body views as a toxin and your liver goes into overdrive in an effort to remove, are not actually a treat.

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