Signs Your Kid Might have a Food Intolerance or Allergy
These days, it’s really not uncommon for kids to have food allergies/intolerances. I don’t
remember many kids having any food issues when I was growing up, and I really don’t remember anyone having them in high school… but that doesn’t mean that no one had them.
Food allergy awareness is on the rise thanks to the internet and social media, yet so many people are still so unaware of the severity of it. Recently, I stopped going to a local juice place because they had been lying to me about the ingredients in their acai bowl. I asked almost every time "just to make sure" that there was no cane sugar in their acai bowl because I have a strong food intolerance to cane sugar. They reassured me and reassured me, but I still thought it tasted way too sweet. My husband went again to pick up some acai bowls and this time he asked. The young guy behind the counter said, "I don’t know, but let me check our ingredients binder." Sure enough, there was "just a little but of cane sugar syrup" in the acai! I couldn't even believe it! They (the owners) had been lying to me the whole time. What if it was a serious allergy that required an EpiPen? Thankfully I don’t have that kind of food allergy/intolerance.
One influencer who is really doing an amazing job of bringing awareness to food allergies and food allergy education is Kathlena, The Allergy Chef. She is even going on a journey across the U.S.A. doing live cooking and baking demonstrations. They are making over 30 stops between June 17th and August 13th from California all the way to New York and back. The Allergy Chef will also be sharing information about some amazing food allergy friendly brands and even handing out coupons and information from those amazing companies! You can check out AllergyExpedition.com to learn more about this wonderful journey they are taking and you can also check their schedule to see when they are coming to a city near you! Kathlena knows a thing or two about food allergies as she has over 200 allergies, and just about everyone in her family has a different allergy as well. She will also be delivering allergy friendly baked goods and fulfilling orders along the way! You can order from their website or send her an email to find out more information. Find out how you can get involved!
If you don't have a food allergy, you might know someone who does. If you have children in school, your child might know someone who is allergic to something. People have all different kinds of reactions: a minor cough to a rash, breakouts to an upset stomach, diarrhea to vomiting (sorry for the visuals), and all the way to anaphylaxis requiring an epipen.
Food Allergy - A real food allergy causes immune system reaction that affects many organs in the body. It can range from minor symptoms to severe or life-threatening that requires medical treatment or an epipen.
Food Intolerance - A food intolerance has less serious symptoms which range from something as minor as a cough or bloating, but not as life threatening as the symptoms of a food allergy.
In my experience, people do not take food intolerances seriously, but as soon as they hear food allergy, for the most part, they pay attention. My food allergies are technically intolerances, and you can read more about them here. I tend to call them food allergies because that is what my Naturopath doc initially called them and it stuck. I have also learned that, for example, when eating out, the chefs/waiters typically take allergies seriously. Most of the time if I say “I can’t have…” they don’t listen, and that’s when they sneak butter into the dish or they aren’t as cautious with my meal in general. It’s a shame, but I mainly blame it on the lack of education. Thankfully more and more places are becoming aware and equipped to handle food allergies and intolerances.
Sadly, food intolerances get undiagnosed and are often untreated, which can damaged tissue over time. William Sears, MD, of San Clemente, CA, says that kids are developing what used to be called adult-onset diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression and even acid reflux. He goes on to say that dairy and wheat are still the biggest culprits, but new factors can be contributing to the rise in food sensitivities like synthetic additives such as partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and genetically modified foods. (Delicious Living)
Recently, my husband and I have been watching the show, Parenthood. Yes - I know we are a few years late on that one! In the show, Jabbar (a young elementary school kid) is seen visiting the pediatrician because he has been having lots of gas and has rashes on his legs. His parents, Crosby and Jasmine, are told by the doc to remove all gluten in his diet for 30 days and to keep a journal of everything that he eats (food, drinks and even snacks). Jasmine is totally on board and Crosby thinks that going gluten-free is a little weird, but they do follow through with it to help their son. I was excited to see a mainstream TV show (even though this was on TV a few years back) touch on food allergies because people are still so unaware of them.
How do you know if you or your kid has a food allergy or intolerance? If you think your child might be reacting to something that they are eating, do not let it pass by or get swept under the rug. Being proactive is one of the very best things you can do.
My husband started to notice that he would cough after he ate anything with almonds in it. It could be anything from almond cookies to almond bread to almond milk. He knew that it was only after eating something that contained almonds, so when we got his results we weren’t shocked. It only confirmed he couldn’t have almonds anymore.
No matter what, make sure you talk to your doctor or your pediatrician if you suspect that you might have a food allergy or if your kid has a food allergy.
There are many clues to look for with your children:
Spitting up could mean an intolerance to casein which is a dairy protein. It’s found in dairy products.
You could, remove dairy from the child’s diet (if nursing, then the mom’s diet as well) for at least 7-10 days. Calling the doc and scheduling an appointment is your best bet.
Chronic Diarrhea could be an intolerance to gluten or lactose. Having “the runs” is your body’s way of removing the problematic substances.
You could remove gluten/lactose for at least 30 days and keep a journal of all food intake, snacks included, just like Jabbar in Parenthood. While diarrhea might clear up within 5-7 days it could take a few weeks for the gluten to be fully removed from the body. Calling the doc and scheduling an appointment is your best bet.
Eczema and itchy skin rash can be either gluten, casein, eggs or a few other foods.
It’s best to call the doc and schedule an appointment.
Hyperactivity could be a sensitivity to sugar or artificial colors. Did you know sugar is in everything these days? The amount of sugar a kid should have is far less than what the average kid intakes.
You could remove all artificial colors and diligently read every label to remove the following: Blue 1 and 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3 and 40, Yellow 5 and 6. Remove all added sugars, and look for words such as high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, fructose, cane sugar and syrups that indicate added sugars. Calling the doc and scheduling an appointment is your best bet. Be careful that your child isn’t misdiagnosed with something in this category.
Crankiness could mean a gluten intolerance, which could be linked to neurological symptoms that can range from moodiness to chronic headaches to ADHD.
You could eliminate gluten for a month to see if there is a connection with their mood and food. Calling the doc and scheduling an appointment is your best bet.
Picky eaters could mean any number of allergies. Perhaps your child doesn't like something not because of the taste but because of how they feel after they eat it. They might even be too young to communicate how a specific food makes them feel.
Calling the doc and scheduling an appointment is your best bet. Chances are, they could have an intolerance and it's best to find out rather than forcing them to clear their plate.
You know your children best and it’s important to not overlook odd behavior with your children. If they tell you they don’t feel well or are acting differently, consider getting a food allergy and sensitivity test done. It wouldn’t hurt and finding out what is causing it could mean all the difference in the world.
I highly recommend a naturopath doctor for food intolerance/allergy testing. After talking to a few different doctors about my allergies/intolerances as well as my mom’s, many MD doctors aren’t trained in intolerances only allergies. This is just my opinion based off of what we have experienced. Do what is best for YOU and your FAMILY!
Go with your gut. Pun intended.