The Food and Behavior Connection with Children (with a Personal Update)

ng_elenaAs many will remember from past posts, we had been dealing with some minor skin and digestive issues with Elena. I recently brought her to our naturopath for a digestive food intolerance test  and  we found out that dairy and fruit and sugar together were a problem for her. Many of you requested that I keep you all updated on the results, so I thought I would share what has been happening.

Dr. Zeff had told us to try just taking out her intolerances for a month, and then if she still had any skin/digestive issues to bring her back. It’s been over a month now and here are  the results.

*Skin: Completely better. She was getting eczema on her arms and a little on her tummy. That went away very quickly, really within days of being dairy free. I think it was  easy to cure because it hadn’t gotten  bad yet. I am very happy with how quickly this was cured.

*Digestive Issues: Improved. This is a hard one for me to figure out. Sometimes I think that her digestive system is completely normal, and other times I think that she is still too gassy for her age (she’s two and a half). It does seem like there are a few other foods she is at least sensitive too. Corn, at least in popcorn form, seems to bother her. Or if she just eats too much of one kind of food, she has slight digestive issues. So still trying to decide whether or not I should try the GAPS diet with her again. It might be overkill, but I would rather nip something in the bud, then have to deal with a bigger problem later. Still seeking wisdom on that one.

*Behavioral: This is where we had an added advantage that we weren’t even looking for. When she began to have eczema problems, she was also starting to be just a bit more grumpy then she used too. She’s really a pretty good toddler, so it wasn’t like she was being really bad or extreme. In fact, she was just acting more like many other little kids I know. But…. she just wasn’t herself. She would cry much more when she wouldn’t get what she wanted, or throw a fit. Like I said, it wasn’t very extreme, but it seemed to come up suddenly. So I was puzzled whether it was just the “terrible two’s” coming out a little more, or whether it was related to her eczema. Well sure enough, as soon as we took her off dairy, she became herself again. She’s certainly a normal little child who needs help doing the right thing (sharing toys, having a “happy heart” etc.), but she became so much happier and sweet when we removed the food that was bothering her.

I think that’s one important aspect of nurturing our children that we all need to be aware of. Food allergies, intolerances, or nutritional deficiencies can have a huge impact on our children’s behavior. It’s no accident that children allowed a lot of sugar, for example, tend to be very hyperactive. That’s easy to spot. Other children are very sensitive to MSG, preservatives, food coloring, and other additives. Taking out these nasty chemicals has proved very helpful for many children.  Sometimes (though not all of the time) with a child who is really acting up a lot, the problem may not be a discipline issue but rather be a food or health problem.

We’ve had this come up several times with Elena. There was one time that I was started on a new supplement while I was nursing (she was probably around a year to a year and a half). It was safe to take while I was nursing, but I ended up detoxing on it. If you detox while breast feeding, the toxins will go into your breast milk, so Elena was getting them. Before we figured out what was happening, we noticed that she was getting much more “willful” or irritable. We wondered, as parents, whether we needed to start being a little more stern with her. But then we figured out that I was detoxing as I was not feeling well. We stopped the supplement, I stopped detoxing and Elena turned back into her cheerful self.

All to say, as a parent, sometimes you need to dig deeper then simply giving more “time outs” for behavioral issues. It could be a simple lack of discipline (which is truthfully often the case), or it could mean that your child is dealing with some allergy/intolerance or other health issues. I think that it takes real wisdom to discern what your child needs, but I am afraid that some parents only  know the discipline side without realizing the effect food has on their behavior.

And by the way, adults can also be very effected behaviorally by what they eat as well!

What about you? Have you ever experienced something similar to this in your family or with your children? Have you ever thought of the food/behavior connection with children? Share your thoughts!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    Absolutely!! We have always eaten a pretty healthy diet very close to the Nourishing Tradition style but just recently have become more “militant” about it especially with our special needs adopted son. He was adopted one year ago at age 3 and had some MAJOR emotional problems. Since putting him on this BE/GAPS diet a month ago he has improved leaps and bounds. Every day he gets better. The little things that used to make him so upset now are easily handled. He is really like a new child. I just recently posted a couple pictures of him on our blog that show the huge improvement he has made this past year.

  2. says

    Oh my goodness, what a question. Yes. My daughter is ADHD and she’s been on the Feingold diet for years. We have to really watch to make sure there are no additives in her foods. To find out more about the Feingold Diet visit

  3. says

    Oh you bet! We notice it not just for our kids, but for ourselves.

    One of my husband’s turning points with embracing Real Food came one afternoon after we had bought a loaf of the cheapest white bread imaginable to feed to some ducks. Rained out of our park adventure, we left the bread in our car and did something else. We were on our way to eat lunch, but our son was *starving* so my husband gave him the bread. It was bread, not sugar, right? It couldn’t be that bad for him, even if it was white bread. Or, that’s what my husband reasoned. Within minutes of my son downing half the loaf of bread, we noticed the change. Our sweet, obedient, mild-tempered boy turned into a whiny, hostile, aggressive little dude. It was like night and day, and the white bread was the obvious culprit.

  4. Jessica O. says

    My daughter was the same way with dairy….it took me awhile to figure out what was going on….finally after much prayer & really watching… I realized it was dairy…My sweet 2 1/2 old became so fussy, crying a lot, not sleeping good @ night & just plain crabby…she had eczema on her arms & tummy too. With in a week of taking her off dairy it ALL cleared up & we have our sweet little girl back. She does not handle sugar well @ all…& we only do the natural sugars… she gets very fussy & does not sleep well….so she rarely gets special treats……
    Jessica O.

    KH: Jessica, I think it’s interesting that she has eczema in the same places as Elena did! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Adam F says

    Actually, sugar doesn’t cause hyperactivity because of insulin takes care of high blood sugar. It causes fussiness, however, because blood sugar goes up, then down a lot which causes mood changes and irritability.

    KH: Okay, so maybe that was more of a “mom” observation.:-) The families I know who eat a lot of sugar have very hyper children, but I wouldn’t say they were moody or irritable, just……high strung!

  6. says

    Our doc calls the intestines the second brain, and it is oh so true. I too have noticed the connection between food and mood, I get grumpy as an old wet hen with too much sugar. Also things like bedwetting, thanks to a rotaion diet we found that “unclean” turkey cause my son troubles. My other son was sensitive to beets and beet sugar. I can’t recommend the book Good Food, Good Mood by Gary Null enough, I just bought my third copy because I keep lending it to people and never get it back:-). It maybe out of print by check ebay, there were I keep getting mine.

    KH: Thanks for the recommendation! I think that there is a definite link from our mental health and our digestive health for sure!

  7. Justin Burrow says

    Very useful artcle….the strange thing for me was how oddly alike your Elena and my Milana look……

  8. says

    here she is…

    KH: Oh really? Is she a quarter Japanese too? 🙂 It wasn’t letting me look at your gallery because I didn’t have permission so I can’t give my opinion yet as to them looking alike. 😉

  9. says

    Before my own food issues were figured out, I was terribly impatient, irritable, and depressed much of the time. I felt as if I were losing my mind as I had never felt out of control like that before. Low and behold, the gluten & soy were removed from my diet and the brain fog, lack of concentration, irritability, and depression went away nearly overnight. If celiac disease and a good allergy had such an impact on me at seventeen/eighteen, there is no doubt in my mind that little ones would go through a similar reaction, too.

    KH: You probably feel like a new person, don’t you! I am so glad that you were able to figure out what was bothering you. It can make such a difference!

  10. jennifer says

    glad to hear you identified the causative agent. i think when we really tap into our kids and trust our mother-sense implicitly, we can learn A LOT. like you said, i know when my kid is not being “herself” and i can even separate it from the usual age/stage related behavioral stuff. and when your kid is acting “not right” for whatever reason (and they may not be acting up or showing a behavioral problem, but just not acting/reacting in accordance with their established personality) you run through the MOM DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST in your head at light speed “when did i first notice this is this age appropriate behavior could she be tired how much sleep did she get last night what has her physical activity level been like today when was the last time she ate something what was it when was her last bowel movement did she see/experience something stressful or disturbing is she overstimulated could she be feeling ignored what have we been doing today have we gotten any sunshine or fresh air or touched nature at all or have we been cooped up in the house or the car running chores and no time for expression or self directed play could she just be frustrated or be feeling impotent have siblings/friends/adults been saying no or thwarting her initiative overmuch…?” etc.

    for my own part, my daughter gets no processed sugar, grains, or unhealthy fats unless she gets them at school or at a friends house. i can pretty much be assured that she will come home from any birthday party and fall apart completely after an afternoon of pizza, soda, chips, cake, or any combination of those. i point it out to her in a disinterested observational tone while i comfort her so she can begin to make healthier choices in those situations when she is ready. this worked with the overtired thing, when she was younger (she’s 6 now) i just pointed out to her that in my observation she was feeling not so happy with life AND she had skipped her nap today or stayed up late. now she will tell me “i need to go to bed so i feel good tomorrow” or “i stayed up too late last night and now i am grouchy, can i have a hug?” amazing!

    KH: Thanks for sharing your success story! It’s great that you are being able to kindly guide your daughter to good food choices. Good for you!

  11. says

    I so so so love seeing another parent who notices this in their children! I just cut out dairy to see if that clears up the eczema in my (breastfed) 4 month old, and it seems to be helping. My daughter was suddenly ‘hyperactive’ when she accidentally got food coloring when she was young, and I know she gets dark circles under her eyes from dairy. She didn’t digest grains well until she was about 2 (which is when our naturopath said to introduce grains…).

    Good for you! I love your blog ♥

    KH: Dairy is unfortunately a common allergen. I hope your daughter’s eczema goes away all the soon! 🙂 Glad you like my blog, thanks!

  12. says

    Absolutely! I have had my daughter on gluten-free, casein-free diets for 6 years now to treat her autism, with a one year stint on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It is amazing how much improved her behavior is when given the proper foods. And when she eats what she shouldn’t we can tell easily.

  13. says

    I am new to this blog and have really been enjoying it. I am so glad that wrote on this. i homeschool my children so I am around them all the time. 🙂 I always notice when something changes in behavior. We are on the never ending journey of healthy diet so there is still much I don’t know. But I keep some of the major stuff out of their diet. I have a 4 yod who I suspect has many food intolerances that I am unaware of. My 2 yod has severe eczema and we just discovered fungal infections (although not Candida which surprised me since I have it systemically in cycles.) But I definitely notice a difference in behavior with certain foods. To be truthful, we turned off the TV as well because I noticed that it seemed to be toxic mostly to my 4 yod. But all of them were effected by it.

    Just a weird observation about dairy. ALL of my children (I have 6 ages 5 mos through 9 yod) write in mirror image when they eat dairy. It usually keeps going until they have digested whatever we previously ate. My 6 yod has something going on that is causing her to write upside down and backwards right now. It’s so bizarre but I spend all day with them. I know their habits, quirks, and most of the time I am in tune with their little hearts. Diet plays a significant role in their behavior.

    Thank you again for this website. I was just getting on to do some research about healing diets. I think God answered my prayers from the past 2 weeks when I read in your blog the GAPS diet. I looked that up. WOW!!! I am off to study. 🙂

    KH: Thanks for the comment and for sharing some of what you have experienced! It’s almost strange how closely connected our brain is to what we eat, isn’t it! The GAPS diet could be a great choice for you. I will hopefully be blogging about it more soon. 🙂

  14. says

    Oh…I just have to share because this is a topic I am passionate about. To make a very long story incredibly short, my two oldest children used to have terrible food allergies. We were on a very strict GFCF diet that was also soy free, corn free, chocolate/caffeine free, etc. My son had a tic disorder, behavioral issues, fatigue/hyperactivity, autistic-type behaviors, and possible Asperger’s diagnosis hanging over the horizon. My daughter, on the other hand, didn’t speak more than twenty or so words at age two and hardly more by three, was extremely lethargic, and cried most of the time. She also had leg pain, digestive issues and an extremely distended stomach after eating certain foods. They were a mess, and I was a slave to their allergies.

    I spent a lot of time doing research and looking not for a way to manage allergies, but a way to cure them. And they CAN be cured. Maybe not for all children all of the time, but I firmly believe that allergies can be cured for most people most of the time.

    My children are completely and totally normal now. Developmental delays and autistic-type behaviors are completely gone. We have experienced a miracle, the grace of God in the extreme.

    I wrote about our journey on my blog and I would love to share the links below. I am constantly helping folks seek out help for healing allergies, so email me if you would like any assistance. I will be praying for your family!

    Here are the pertinent links from my blog:

    Healing Allergies: A Little Background
    Healing Allergies: Big Bad Voodoo Doctor
    Healing Allergies: The Hope of a Little Girl
    Healing Allergies: The Things We Take Away

    KH: Thanks for sharing and for the links. I will check them out asap, as I would love to hear/read about your experiences. 🙂
    (I would read them now, but I have to start dinner, those mommy responsibilities keep going, you know!)

  15. says

    This is completely eye opening for me! I certainly had heard about dyes and sugar and things like that (even soy) effecting behavior and development, but I hadn’t thought about other food intolerances having the same effect. It makes sense, just hadn’t crossed my mind. This is very timely information for me as I am trying to figure out and remove whatever is bothering my four month old!
    So, now I have some more questions for you. As you were removing things from your diet and Elena’s did you happen to notice that the symptoms of intolerance became much more intense as you got farther removed from the offending food. I don’t know if that makes any sense.
    We have concluded (without any intolerance testing) that Caspian is intolerant of dairy, specifically casein, so I have removed all dairy from my diet except butter. When I first started this he had some digestive issues and would occasionally get a diaper rash. It really wasn’t that bad, but bad enough that I was willing to do something if it would help his little tummy. At that time I was eating dairy every day in great quantities organic, but not raw.
    Once I got dairy out of my diet I decided to see if he could tolerate a little if it was fermented. So I drank a little beet kvass made with kefir whey. He immediately got the worst diaper rash and totally stopped pooping for like 6 days! Then he got slight eczema all over his back.
    In addition to all of this it seems like I have developed an intolerance to dairy, as well. I never noticed anything like this before, but now if I accidentally consume something with the tiniest amount of dairy in it I have reactions to it as well–digestive and a rash.
    Now, I finally get to the point of this post. Today Caspian is just not acting like himself. He has been screaming (very weird) for what seems like no real reason and I have just been beside myself all day trying to figure out what is going on. I have also been wondering if there is something I’m doing that is causing a cleanse reaction. What type of supplement were you taking that caused you to detox?
    Don’t worry, I’m not trying to get you to diagnose my problems. I am just hoping this dialogue will clue me in to something I am doing. I have also been really wondering if his immune system is healing that that’s why the reaction is getting more intense or if there is something else I need to eliminate from my diet.

    KH: I would be glad to share our experiences and some thoughts! I have to get dinner on the table, but I will be back to leave a longer comment soon. Hang in there! 🙂

  16. says

    My oldest son has Aspergers and is very very food sensitive. For example he had an oroe at school 2 days ago (given by a misguided supply teacher) and it was literally like he was high when he came home. His eyes were unfocused, he was acting crazy and he just wasn’t in control. By 7pm he crashed and slept for 14 hours and woke up with a pounding headache . I get so upset when people say that there is no connection between food and behaviour. It makes perfect sense that what you put in your body will have an effect on you! My son is sensitive to additives, colours and preservatives and is also lactose intolerant. It’s hard on him and he feels left out sometimes but I always try to provide an alternative and as he is getting older, he is better able to understand why he cannot eat certain foods.

  17. says

    I was just saying this to my husband tonight. We just watched a documentary on the rising frequency of behaviour disorders (ADHD, bipolar) in children. They showed the children eating and I had to wonder if we wouldn’t see a significant decrease in problem like this if the diet was changed! The connection between diet and behaviour seems to be totally ignored by mainstream medicine it seems!

  18. A. says

    Response to ADAM F:

    Just wanted to correct a bit of science –

    Actually, sugar DOES cause hyperactivity in children. You are right that insulin’s job is to regulate blood sugar level in the body. However, think about it this way: food’s job is to give our body the energy it needs to function, right?

    Well, sugar is a very simple carbohydrate that is quickly and easily digestible. So the “energy” you get from eating sugar can be felt much more quickly than if you were eating, say, veggies and meat or whole wheat (complex carbs). Thus, you notice a perceptible spike in spirits and energy after eating simple sugars/carbs – like a candy bar or white bread….creating a period of potential hyperactivity in anyone. (It’s more noticeable with children, who do not know how to handle and contain energy as well as adults.)

    So children can get “sugar highs” that cause hyperactivity the stems from the new energy suddenly released into their bloodstream.

  19. says

    Kimi thanks for this post! We are in the midst of this right now, as our 9mo son’s reflux and gas continues to get worse despite hitting an age where they are supposed to start growing out of this. We are now a GFCF family, still trying to figure out what is wrong. Food RASTS came back negative, but we are going forward with IgG and IgA testing for sensitivites. It seems like his verbal abilities have regressed a bit too, he was saying Mamamama, Dadadada, Up and Vavava and now we get very little of that. We’ve started adding CLO and probiotic to his daily routine.

    I wish I had known about the detox and breastmilk before hand. In January, after the holidays, I kicked sugar and gluetin (had been CF since Aug). I felt horrible for a few days, which was probably “die off”, so now likely the little guy has my yeast via BM.

  20. Hillery says

    Where do I start? I have been there, done that, and am still on the journey!

    My little boy, now almost four, developed severe psoriasis between six months and eight months. Traditional Western doctors say that it has to be treated with steroids, UV therapy, etc. Thankfully we first talked to a friend who practices Eastern medicine and he tested our little one for food allergies. I was nursing him, so I quit dairy, soy, peanuts and beef. The psoriasis healed, and by one year old he looked almost normal again and he began acting happier instead of crying so much. His hair had gone blonde and thin, and eventually came back to being brown and curly like it was when he was born. He also only grew about an inch between 6 months old and a year and a half, when he suddenly took off and grew about an inch a month until he got back up to the normal growth curve.

    His pediatrician and dermatologist that saw him couldn’t believe he was the same child. They say that there is zero link between diet and psoriasis. I completely disagree! He is now a healthy and happy three almost four year old. He hasn’t had a bad breakout in years. He can now have peanuts soy and beef, just NO dairy. But, since he has never had it, he doesn’t know he is missing anything and goes happily along, thinking that pizza is supposed to be breadsticks and sauce!

    KH: Amazing!

  21. says

    after YEARS of health problems with my daughter , leaving drs at a loss and wanting surgery, i went to a nutritionist who said “get her off dairy”. i did, totally. SHE HAS HAD NO HEALTH PROBLEMS SINCE! i spoke to the dr about the no dairy and why he never thought to say that and his reaction- “well everyone knows dairy is bad for you but no one ever wants to give it up so i don’t bother to say anything” ARGH!!!!!!!

  22. says

    After removing gluten and excessive sugars from his diet, my son’s behavior has been dramatically improved. Tantrums are gone. Sleep issues are gone. He’s just able to cope SO MUCH better! I left him with my mom and she bought him a packet of M&Ms (you know, the old “how’s just one going to hurt?” mentality) and he was so upset for days. Any little thing would set him off.

  23. says

    Could you write some more about detoxing while breastfeeding? I’m doing googling searches, and mainly coming up with 100% raw vegan sites, which are not applicable to my situation. 6 weeks ago I went on a non-mucous forming foods diet *and* a candida-controlling diet, to try to figure out what is causing a rash I’ve had for a few months. I’m still EBFing, though, and wondering if detox has to do with my babies extra clinginess and some minor digestive changes he’s had?

    I’ve been seeing a naturopath, but not been totally happy with her view of diet (she likes soy more than me, and doesn’t seem to find soaking grains to be effective???). May I ask what particular test your naturopath gave your daughter, to test for digestive food intolerance? I’m leery of the standard allergen tests (lots of injections down the back), but this elimination diet has been a roller coaster (way longer story than I can go into), and I’m dropping weight.

  24. Aletta says

    In answer to Susan: I was helped much for my daughter by a kinesiologist. It was a bit weird for me, but the results that she got turned out to be perfect fitting.

  25. KimiHarris says

    I wanted to answer in a little more length to Kathy and Susan’s questions. As I know you both know, I am not a health expert, just a mom who can share her own experiences and thoughts. 🙂 So here goes.


    What you experienced with your son being MORE sensitive to something after you have removed it from it daily diet is completely normal during the healing period to my understanding. I definitely experienced that. I would get the worst stomach aches and pains if I had dairy after I had completely taken it out, even though just weeks earlier I had been enjoying dairy without noticing a single thing after consuming it. (I had health issues, but I wouldn’t have been able to connect it to dairy). Now I can have dairy once again without having a strong reaction because I have avoided it for long enough to allow my system to heal. My naturopath’s opinion is that your digestive system will heal a lot when you remove an offending food, to the point that it can even start tolerating it again (though he doesn’t recommend I have dairy ever). His opinion was that it will usually take about a year to heal.
    On the other side, when I took out gluten, I didn’t notice being sensitive to it at all. My body just wasn’t sensitive to it to begin with. When I added it back in I had no reactions. For that reason, I don’t think it’s just that you develop a sensitivity to something you remove from you diet. You already had it, you just didn’t know it yet.
    I hope that helps!

    I definitely noticed that Elena would start to show signs of stress when she was breastfeeding and I was detoxing. In fact, she would usually start to get fussy before I even knew I was detoxing! I don’t think it’s the best thing for the babies, especially for a long period of time. When I was on the Body Ecology diet, there was just a few days were I had a minor detox, but nothing too bad, and then it was done. So I didn’t feel like it would be hard on her system (she wasn’t acting too grumpy or anything). But another time when I started an anti-yeast and anti-fungal supplement (I don’t remember now what the brand name was) that was safe for breastfeeding mothers, it really made me detox, and I felt like it was just too hard on her (she was obviously not feeling well) so I stopped them. So that’s my story. 🙂

    As far as what test we used, it’s not really an allergy test. It’s really unlike anything I’ve heard of before. It’s a test that is supposed to show what food you have a hard time digesting. Since your health is very linked to your digestive system, this is important. Apparently it’s quite difficult to learn how to properly do it, which is why most naturopath’s no longer use it. I also don’t understand how it works and it can point to food that I would normally say is very nutrient dense and good for you, including milk, meat, fish, etc, though some of them are more common (like potatoes and dairy). I don’t know a lot about it except that it was very accurate in pinpointing Elena’s and my sensitivities.

    This link explains the test:

    This link explains the different categories:

    This link tells Dr. Zeff’s journey towards this method:

    This link gives some naturopaths that use this testing method:

    Hope that helps, ladies!

  26. says

    I am new to this site, but I have found so much on here to learn. Thanks! We recently started an allergy elimination diet for my hubby and son. I know there is something that affects both of them. It can be confusing though. We have had two colds during that time and bubby and son definitely had some cravings and withdrawl syptoms in the first week. DS is 4 and DD is only 2. I find it very hard with her to tell if she is tired, having a bad day, reacting to the cold, or if there is a food related issue. But she never had BM prblems before the diet (athough hubby and son did) and she has been having loose stools since we started. DH and DS have not yet had normal stools so I don’t know if it is working or not. DH went to a naturopath but I couldn’t take DS because his insurance doesn’t cover it and we can’t afford it. I really want us to eat well and to help DS behavior problems, tummy aches, etc. (hubby too) Now I am hearing about the GAPS diet on here. The naturopath had us take out wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, and sugar, but not soy or gluten. I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea of eliminating more foods, but I feel like it has been 5 weeks and only 40-50% improvement. Am I missing something? I need some words of advice and encouragement.

  27. says

    Kimi, thank you for sharing this story with us. As an adult I too have difficult digesting popcorn, as does my mother. The naturopath said it was because of the insoluble fibre in the popcorn. As of the past 5 years I also find that dairy is problematic, but as a child I did not have this problem. Did Dr. Zeff say that these sensitivities could come and go in life?

  28. says

    I just wanted to comment on Kimi’s comment. For awhile my husband and I both had bad reactions to pork. We didn’t eat it a lot to begin with, but any time we ate something with bacon or pork with a lot of fat, we got ILL! So, we just avoided it for at least a year. One day my mom made something with pork loin, and we went ahead and ate it. We were fine! We tried pork chops a month or so later, and again, fine. Now we eat bacon once or twice a month, and porkchops when on sale, but I still buy turkey sausage. I guess we just needed to heal before we could handle it again.

    What was strange is that before we didn’t react, then when eliminated it from our diet just because I needed to be frugal, and that’s when we started having problems. Then I purposely avoided it, which allowed plenty of time to heal. interesting.

  29. says

    I would agree with you, Kimi. Not only are we seeing my Caden’s eczema slowly start to improve as we work with his diet and deal with some underlying issues (parasites and heavy metals toxins), but I think that I have seen his behavior simmer down a little as the eczema has begun to decrease.

    During the time when the eczema was extremely bad, the fits he was having were just incredible and actually worried me. In the last couple of weeks, I have definitely seen a decrease in them, and I can’t think of anything else to attribute it to.

    It seems that for him, unfortunately, any dairy that isn’t raw is an issue. I thought that he could handle it as long as it was cultured (so yogurt and kefir only) but it seems that he can’t even do those. Raw milk and raw cheese and butter seem alright, but I am going to have to remove the other dairy from his diet, or else make it from goat’s dairy instead (since I can’t access enough affordable raw milk to use it to make my yogurt/kefir). This is hard for me, because the rest of us love dairy and I use it for most of my grain soaking, etc. Guess it’s time to adapt, though. 🙂

    As well, I do notice that our daughter (who normally eats wonderfully at home) will have more behavioral struggles after eating in restaurants or out with others who serve foods with sugars, preservatives, etc. that we don’t use in our home. There is nothing really extreme, but I do feel that she has a harder time controlling herself and maintaining a happy attitude.

    Thanks for posting on this- keep us updated! 🙂

  30. Samara says

    Just a thought –
    Often it seems that people make themselves and/or their kids sicker by tampering with something that may not be wrong, constantly trying different diets and supplements, etc. Often in my experience, the people that eat the “healthiest” are also the sickest. Those that take the most supplements are often the sickest…Now, that may be because it’s the sick people who try to eat healthiest, but it may also be that the people who are constantly dabbling in new supplements make themselves sick (that’s just my thoughts on putting kids on lots of different diets or supplements – I don’t know if you’ve done this or not, but just in general).

    Also, someone said that sugar doesn’t cause hyperactivity? My friends recently had a 3-yr bday party for their son, and it was a candy hunt with LOTS of candy. You shoulda been there 🙂

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Samara,

      Are you talking about me? LOL, eat the healthiest and am the sickest? Just kidding. Truthfully I have often felt like you. Just eating plain good food works for most people (and in this age, you have to work hard at actually getting “real food”), and once you start trying to to “mess” with their diet, you CAN mess things up, or… can heal them. It takes a lot of wisdom to know how to properly heal a child or adult with diet and supplements.

      I personally really got my “life” back through good care from my naturopath, I will have to share my story sometime. We have seen dramatic results with Elena through taking out dairy. If you read many of the stories here in the comments, you will find that many others have also been able to overcome pretty bad health concerns or behavioral issues that their children had by putting them on a special diet. I recently read through the GAPS book and it’s incredible what it can do for people (they have even totally reversed Autism with it! As well as other, serious mental issues). Diet plays a huge role in our health and well being.

      And that’s why some well meaning parents can also mess up their children health if they do the wrong things, whether it is just feeding them the typical American diet, or putting them on some restrictive diet (like a vegan diet). I think that’s why sometimes you see people who work so hard at being healthy, but aren’t. They are doing the wrong things. I know many people who got into “health” food because eating “normally” wasn’t working for them, and they were having huge problems. They might not be the healthiest people on their “health” diets, but they are often much better than they were before.

      But I understand your point. It’s easy to feel that way, especially if you haven’t personally dealt with major health issues or had children who haven’t either. All to say, your diet is your best medicine, or your worst medicine. And sometimes it hard to figure out where the problem lays if you are having health issues.

      • KimiHarris says

        To All!

        I wanted to make a quick note that I finally was able to get a copy of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and I am really impressed with the science behind the diet. I also love that this diet is based on NOURISHING food. I think it could be a great help to some of you trying to work through some health, especially digestive issues. Just something for you to consider! 🙂

  31. says

    We eliminated artificial food dyes, artificial lard substitutes, artificial sweeteners, and MSG in our son, when he was in 2nd grade.

    He learned to read and now will even complete whole worksheets. Also he generally doesn’t drive us crazy any more.

  32. Loree says

    Hi Girls — Everyone always comments on and wonder how good and well behaved my baby is (now 22 months) and many people say how calm and happy she is as well. Of course, it often doesn’t seem that way throughout the course of the day until I notice her comapred to most of the other children – it is easy to take her happy demeaner for granted. They also often comment on how beautiful she is – I think not because of great looks from her parents, but rather becasue of her skin is so clear and glowy (except when she eats sugar/white flour on rare occasions when traveling). I wish I could reply to all these nice comments that I secretly think the reason she is so good and calm, focused and busy, with nice skin and bright eyes is largely because of her pure whole food, soaked grains, no sugar or white flour (most of the time) diet, and because I am still nursing instead of giving her cows milk, and also because she has not been vaccinated. Because her spirit is still quite fiesty – but rather in good ways. But I never say anything, except “oh…”…because I am still sort of marvelled and humbled by it all as well: how food is such an important thing in every single aspect of our lives.

    • says

      I know this comment is super old- but I have the exact same experience with my 2 year old son- I don’t say anything, but I get comments literally every day telling me how much and well he talks for his age and how clearly he speaks and how smart he is, and I just know it’s his diet and the fact that he’s never watched TV. When we changed his diet and removed grains and all sugars, what he started learning and remembering seemed to grow literally in leaps and bounds, and his behavior really changed where he didn’t have major tantrums like he’d started having right before we changed his diet.

  33. Natalie says

    I have a four year old daughter who has had various issues with tics, I didn’t want medical treatment for fear of her being drugged at such a young age so I tried an elimination diet as suggested in a book “How to End Tics Naturally” by Mary Anderson : first dairy (which I didn’t feel was the culprit since she had no dairy until she was 3, and was showing signs as young as 18 mo.). Next on the list was wheat, now I had never heard of issues with wheat -but do you realize how many food contain wheat? Once I started reading labels I was stunned at what she couldn’t have. So I figured we have to do this right and we made our own bread with spelt and bought Quinoa noodles and we did really good for our trial elimination, within two weeks a big difference. Every single tic is gone!!! Not better GONE. We are now a wheat free house hold, Thank God for information like this. I sure hope this helps some other parents out there searching for information and drug alternatives. This search for recipes to aid our new diet brought me to this website. Great recipes Thanks!

  34. cirelo says

    My daughter had eczema spots on her arms and when we switched to raw goats milk it cleared up rapidly and then came back just as rapidly when we went back to regular pasteurized milk. I’m curious whether it was the raw part or the goat part though that had the effect, but I’m not able to locate a raw cows milk source so it remains a mystery.

  35. cdnskmom says

    I know this is an old post, but I had to answer because it is a topic dear to my heart! The answer is yes yes yes! My son had terrible anxiety, reasoning and coping problems for years, and when I first brought him to the doctor at 10 months, he literally laughed at me. He said some kids are just emotional. My life was consumed by trying to find help for him. Long story, but fast forward until he was almost 6 years old, I finally got a referral to a wonderful pediatrician who suggested I try removing dairy, and it was a miracle. In 24 hours he was remarkably happier and settled… a different person, I remember saying. It has taken 2 years for his brain to heal and his development to catch up, but he is finally behaving and coping consistently age appropriate.

  36. says

    I have a 5 yr old, that has severe eczema and is allergic to every grass and tree along w pretty much every food possible. Now on top of all of that, his behavior has gotten so bad. Im in desperate need of help. What do I do. We have him seeing a therapist , not helping, he get shots for the allergies’ and is on a ton meds for his eczema. I need some advice, on what should I should do. Are the shots making it worse. Please help. I’m desperate. He will start school in August. I’m so afraid he will beat the teacher up.

  37. Lori Glover says

    It’s amazing how many families have issues with food intolerance and how many medical professionals out there ignore it as a possibility. My son was born with a strange rash that our GP couldn’t figure out. The doc blamed it on me because I wouldn’t take a medication I didn’t need. AFter I stopped breastfeeding, our son started crying in the night frequently, being much more irritable, and having loose stools. A different GP said it was just a virus (it had been going on for 6 months!). I felt it might be related to food and finally experimented with changing my son’s diet. He reacts to milk, soy, and tree nuts. He often still wakes up in the night crying with leg and joint pain. For a long time, my husband was angry because he thought it was bad dreams or an attention getter. I recently discovered that joint inflammation is often related to milk intolerance or wheat intolerance. When we took milk, soy, and tree nuts from his diet, he became a new kid, but as I said he still wakes up in pain. He also tends to cry very easily and have melt downs. I’m researching again and thinking he may have gluten issues or sensitivities to other chemicals. He’s a picky eater, so I am not looking forward to taking away more of the foods he will actually eat. Seeing how many kids have had behavioral problems due to food issues gives me hope. I was starting to think that his daily crying was some failure on our part as parents or psychological issues that needed counseling.

  38. Shannon says

    Thank you so much for this validation of something I have experienced with my own daughter, who is allergic to milk, soy, rice, oats, corn, and chocolate. She is usually a very happy, well-behaved child, so when I notice her getting grumpy and whiny, I start look for other food-allergy symptoms and recheck ingredients in her food. This happened just yesterday, and after she stated acting grumpy, I remembered she also had digestive issues earlier and was looking a bit red in the face. I checked the baking soda ingredients that I used in her pancakes that morning and saw the dreaded “may contain” label and found the culprit (milk and/or soy). It is so important to read the labels every time, even on brands you have used before, as the ingredients can change. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

  39. Kiem Goldsberry says

    This was such an interesting read. My daughter has always been a fussy baby. She’s 19 months. We just started gf/cf and waiting to see improvements. Been doing it for a few days now. She’s always been a bad sleeper, very anxious around strangers, kind of mean when she doesn’t get her way. She hits a lot and fights everything I want her to do. Hate getting dressed, hates diaper changes, won’t take a bath, cries crazy the entire time we are doing any of these things. Praying this change helps because I’m desperate.

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