As 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!