Our Personal Food problems
I was raised in a family that pretty much ate meat and three veggies for most meals and I never suffered any food problems or food intolerance symptoms as a child.
I don’t recall any conversations or education from my parents on the benefits of foods for their nutritional value. I don’t blame my parents for this, as they probably didn’t know much about food themselves aside from the basics they would have been taught.
We were often told that fruit and vegetables are good for you and that meat contains a high iron content so should be consumed but that was about the extent of it.
Mum was big on lamb’s fry because her doctor had recommended it (he was always put on a pedestal that I never understood) but it was something I hated eating and will never touch again for the rest of my life. Animal organs for dinner? NO THANKS!
As a young child, my parents owned a general store for a short time and every Sunday after church we were given ten cents to go and buy something which was usually a bag of mixed lollies which were all one or two cents each at that time. Am I showing my age? ha ha! Then, every Sunday we had a roast with one bottle of soft drink to share between 5 children for dinner. No more, no less. That was about 3/4 a cup each.
Water was our main beverage and I loved water. I didn’t crave for cordial or soft drinks which is just as well as these were not on offer at our place anyway. Often as children, my younger brother and I would play outside contentedly until near dark only coming inside, puffing and panting looking for a big glass of water in between games. How lucky we were that drinking water was encouraged. Water has a huge positive impact on your health.
So, I grew up on a fairly healthy diet and chocolate was only something we ate occasionally as a family on the weekend, and only when we were older. I don’t know whether it was the fact that I was one of five children and that chocolate was only something we could afford on occasion or whether it was just that my Mum knew that it was only good in small quantities.
Food and I have not always been friends.
My food problems or food intolerance symptoms started some 14 years ago when I suffered severe stomach, ulcer-like symptoms. The doctors I consulted could not tell me what was wrong with me, not even after a gastroscopy. After conducting my own food research, I learned what not to eat to make the food problems go away. I was still a bit baffled as to what was causing the food intolerance symptoms but the fact that I no longer experienced pain, was enough to keep me ignorant and happy for some time.
Being a sales representative at the time, I was always chewing gum or had a mint to keep my breath fresh. I was very social and enjoyed dining and drinking. This along with my diet was contributing to my food problems.
When I stopped consuming food and beverages high in amine; a naturally occurring chemical, such as chewing gum, eating anything with mint, bananas and cut back on wine and chocolate, I found I could function normally. I only experienced occasional food intolerance symptoms such as stomach pains.
Eventually, because of the problems I was still experiencing, I was interested to find out how I could stop this stomach problem altogether. I eventually came across a book called Friendly Food written by the people at The Royal Alfred Allergy Unit in Sydney, Australia. Click here read my review of The Friendly Food cookbook. This was the beginning of an amazing journey with much to discover about food.
Issues With Food Run in the Family, Mum.
Further health issues were encountered when I had my second child, a beautiful boy. By 2 & 1/2 years of age, he had severe tantrums that were interfering with functioning on a daily basis and he also had very runny stools. While I cannot say for sure if vaccinations were part of the contributing issue given that he was fine with food when he was younger, I do wonder if this had some impact on his leaky gut.
My intuition told me that something was not quite right with my son and what we were experiencing was not normal for the age. Some of the symptoms included sloppy stools, tantrums about putting clothes on, putting socks on, putting shoes on, having to stop playtime, having to go to bed and too many more to mention. Sometimes tantrums would be violent and last for 1 hour each time. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting and I found myself walking on egg shells around him, afraid of the next tantrum or outburst.
Using humor was out of the question because any joke was considered NOT funny and would result in a tantrum. He would not settle to bed at night but when he did, he needed more sleep than a child of that age. He had dark circles under his eyes related which is a common sign of food intolerance and he would often fidget, jump around like a monkey and make silly noises for no reason at all. All of this behavior was encountered even though we were additive and preservative free. Remember, I’m talking about beyond the usual silly behavior for the age group. He simply could not sit still and he was not at peace within himself. I just knew that what my son was experiencing was a result of food intolerance.
So, our first stop was with a dietitian to do a food elimination diet to work out what was causing all this behavior. I was already familiar with how to do a food restriction diet but because of my son’s age, I wanted to make sure he was getting the proper nutrition. For those wishing to do a food elimination diet, you need to keep a food diary. With each food trial, you can link the food intolerance symptoms to the food based on behavior and bodily functions. I was also very aware of the impact of naturally occurring chemicals in food. Amines and salicylates do impact a body that needs repair and this is common for those suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome.
What We Did About Our Food Intolerance
One of the initial steps I took was to watch a DVD by Australian author Sue Dengate called “Fed Up With Children’s Behaviour”. I found this helpful to show to your family and friends so they can understand what you are going through.
The reason I say this is because it is not uncommon to be criticized for your approach to food problems and food intolerance symptoms. Keep in mind that you know your child and you are the person who can best help your child or yourself.
Others show care through ridicule but they will not have the education you have relating to food intolerance symptoms. It is like trading the stock market. Some people call it gambling because for those people, without an education in the stock market, it is.
For those educated on a chosen subject, you are taking steps to minimize risk and therefore have more knowledge to proceed with care. Treating food intolerance symptoms is the same.
After completing the food elimination diet we modified the diet of the whole family and were seeing some great results. The only issue was that my son was not getting the nutrients he needed because the diet was so restrictive. After a few more conversations with a few more people, we consulted a naturopath who supplemented us to the max. After doing further research, I don’t believe in supplementation but we can only learn from our mistakes and move on. What was beneficial from this process was the tests that were conducted. We were able to identify that the food problems were a result of leaky gut syndrome. After going through a process of two vitamin shakes every day and finally being fed up with the process, we stopped.
These may have all had some impact on my son’s health but to what extent, it is hard to know. I believe the biggest impact came as a result of reading somewhere that food is not the problem, the body is!
So, the best thing I could do was to look at healing the leaky gut naturally, through the use of food which had, to date, been the number one enemy. I also removed red meat from our diet which seemed to also have a positive effect on the bowel, given that meat sits in the bowel and is constipating.
After further searching, I consulted a man who I believe to be an absolute food and healing guru and I purchased his eFDR (e Farmacist Desk Reference).
I came to know that to heal the leaky gut, I needed to put him on fermented products. We now have him eating nearly every fruit and vegetable that he is prepared to eat. (yes, I did say “prepared” to eat and we all know how fickle kids can be sometimes).
We do not use supplements and we are moving toward a diet that encompasses higher raw food content. We have started incorporating raw food by introducing dehydrated food along with the usual fresh fruit, which he has been able to eat as a result of introducing fermented foods. I also have my children taste, or drink green smoothies along with water kefir drinks that I make myself.
All the food problems we had were masking the fact that we had a very compassionate, sensitive, very bright boy who was already reading at the age of 5 (had not started school yet), was comprehending grade 1 mathematics and is naturally talented at sport.
It has been a very trying journey to get to this point but if I can offer one pertinent word of advice that was offered to me, it is this; your child, or your body if it is you, is teaching you about food through food symptoms.
He or she is showing you a way to a healthier lifestyle and I have to thank my son for showing me the light and teaching me through some very hard lessons.
I hope my story helps you understand your own situation with food problems or food intolerance symptoms a little better and gives you some tools to work with so you too can move toward healing your body.
There is a way to heal; you just have to apply foods to help in that healing process so that you can return to a normal, healthy diet.
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I’m no medical expert and information contained on this blog is written through my own experience with the aim of furthering your education on health. It is your responsibility as to how you use this information and I cannot be held liable for any misinterpretation or misuse of the information provided.