In a recent conversation with my niece, we talked about common symptoms of hidden food reactions. She, of course, knows our family history and knows how we eat and often eats with us, so she was curious about this topic.. how do I KNOW that this is what is wrong with kids? (it also applies to adults).
Great question I said… Here is how (this isn’t the ONLY way but this is how it starts and in 1-1 practice I also identify the body imbalances to help too).
When the doctors says there is nothing wrong …
This was the first thought she mentioned… what if a doctor says there is nothing wrong with someone who might have this?
This is usually a SOLID indicator (although there are certain medical conditions that are also indicative of food sensitivities) this is food-related and nutrient imbalance. This indicates that for medical purposes they are not finding a malfunction on their end. Medical criteria and what I do with nutrition and food are NOT the same thing. This is very important. I work with people to identify nutritional imbalances, that have led to body imbalances that can be corrected through food and supplement.
Well, then how do you KNOW she asks again… (smart girl).
Here is what I SEE first (and you tell me – does your child – or you – have these symptoms?) – Intake is the next part of the process and food journals.
Head: Headache, sinus issues, migraines, feeling full in the head and more.
Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat – THIS IS A BIG BIG ONE I SEE ALL THE TIME – Water eyes, bloodshot eyes, runny nose, stuffy nose, excess mucus, earache, fullness in the ears, itching ears, recurrent ear infections, sore throat, swollen tonsils, frequent “colds” (or what appears to be that), chronic cough, gagging, canker sores, itchy mouth, recurrent sinusitis and more!
Heart & Lungs: Heart rate fluctuations, asthma, bronchitis, chest congestion, hoarseness, yawning and more.
Blood – abnormal blood work levels, in addition blood sugar issues and more.
Glands – less focused children but still an issue.
Mouth – another big one! – Coated tongue, bad breath, cracked lips, swollen and red lips, ulcers.
Gastrointestinal – stomach aches, reflux/GERD type of issues, nausea, vomiting, belching, diarrhea, constipation, and MANY more.
Skin – hives, rashes, hair loss, acne, dark circles, bags, and eye swelling.
Mental – Anxiety, depression, aggressive, irritable, poor concentration, poor self control, poor memory, confusion, hyperactivity, AND MANY OTHER behavioral issues.
Other signs can also include muscle pain, joint complaints, cold hands and feet, restless leg, bedwetting, and MUCH more.
So you are right did I say ALL of these things to my young niece?… NOT ALL of them. But it’s what got me thinking about this post. I told her about all the kids I see who come to me with frequent “colds” but the doctors says “no nothing wrong,” they come with frequent ear issues, they come with coughs, and a lot of stuffed up noses and throat clearing and more. I asked do you know kids like that? Of course, she did.
Well what can you do about it then and how do you know which food it is – she asked…
This is where working with an NTP 1-1 is important as I use food journals, and intake on symptoms to help guide me to your specific case, but here are three things to try now (because that is what she wanted to know what could a kid do now).
1- Get rid of wheat and gluten.
This is the NUMBER ONE irritant in children (close up next is dairy). This is in most products, and your child’s sensitivity probably goes beyond JUST wheat, and it’s probably more toward all grain, but that’s something you sort through with a practitioner.
You can start by eliminating products from your home and routine that are gluten-based products. She was curious what foods those might be…
* White bread, white pasta, wheat pasta, whole wheat bread
– These are HUGE ones for children. They often start the day with a bowl of wheat/processed cereal (also doused in MILK the next up of problematic foods for kids). Then they snack on packaged baked foods, or packaged dry “fish” also containing the SAME ingredients. They move to lunch which consist of PBJ, Mac and cheese (filled with more than just wheat and gluten), more packaged snacks with the same ingredients (all lacking in MOST nutrients for the day), and move to dinner. This is typically a noodle dish with butter, or red sauce from a jar (all the same ingredients as earlier in the day), and maybe a meatball most likely grain fed traditionally-raised. The diet typically lacks in vegetables all day – lucky if one gets in. There will be a snack of fruit usually somewhere.
In this scenario – breakfast needs to ditch cereal and be whole foods, snacks should be fresh fruit, or veggies and properly made/sourced dips (or nuts!). Lunch needs to be a meat, with nuts, fresh fruit or veggie, and any other small sides like properly sourced cheese (if tolerable), clean source pickles or other fermented foods. Then dinner should be a properly sourced fish, or other meat, with 1-2 vegetable sides, and some rice or potatoes. This can be done in a kid friendly way. Burger, (veggies can be shredded in or on the side with a really tasting dressing or sauce, potatoes are homemade french fries (no frying can be baked). And lunch can be made to look like a lunch-able just homemade. But where to start – start buying non wheat and gluten breads, skip the pasta, and properly source for cleaner ingredients (read the ingredients on the package and only items you know – things you can’t read means skip it).
2- Eat more vegetables and fruits
These will help the body get macro and micronutrients it needs to help with the underlying deficiencies the child has creating the symptoms and imbalance. In addition, these aren’t usually (some exceptions) the main issues. There might be some sensitivity to a few of these, but those are worked out during 1-1 sessions. These help the digestive tract in addition and help rebuild mucus linings throughout the body – which as you can see above would be a great thing with a lot of the issues these kids have. They also help build back the immune layers in the digestive tract we need to maintain a proper immune response. (Always looks like they are sick right? Is that a proper immune response?).
3- Drink at least half your body weight in water and more for active kids daily.
One of the MOST overlooked things ALL BODIES need is water (and in kids, people think it’s not that necessary). Their body functions are the same as ours – so indeed they need water daily. It’s so important that many of the issues I see with kids come from not drinking any water almost daily. All they have is juice or dairy – it’s hard to drink other things if you are full up on those liquids daily. Your body does NOT need juice NOR milk drinking. It does need water to survive. Water helps produce stomach acid, it helps digestion, and helps with nearly EVERY body function. Better stomach acid production and better digestion also helps with asthma (as well as eliminating sensitive food items) from the diet and cleaner airways.
It is possible to add supplements to help BUT the biggest takeaway here that I told my niece is you HAVE to stop eating the offending foods. If you don’t know what they are and you don’t know how to replace those with more nutritious better foods to help resolve these symptoms – that is why I am here. That is EXACTLY what I do. As I told her – this is my job!
(And how smart is this kid to ask such great questions!?!).
Don’t think that your child’s constant chronic symptoms are “nothing” or just “seasonal allergies” (that last in every season and never subside no matter what you do on the external not related to food.) If you have been told the chronic symptoms your child has, that most other children around them don’t have, are “nothing” or mean “nothing” – let’s talk – grab a consult. No commitment.