Friday, June 21, 2013

Leaky Gut and Food Sensitivities - The lucky Ones

This is my third and final post on my daughter's food sensitivities and leaky gut. Well for a while anyway. Go here and here to catch up on my first two posts on the matter. I will be back in full recipe mode next week if that's all your after.

I am sharing her story in case it can help someone else out there that has a child that they suspect might have a weak digestive system (colicky baby, skin problems, sleep issues, behavioral problems, etc, etc) that is possibly triggered or made worse by certain foods.  And to explain why I'm going to be sharing recipes for foods/meals that are dairy, egg, gluten, soy, cane sugar and peanut free. Some of which I can't even eat but I'm making for my daughter.

Even more so to stop someone from incorrectly and unfairly labeling their child as a poor learner, poor sleeper, BAD, sensitive, mean tempered, etc, etc, etc. Attributing their behavior or characteristics to a personality trait. It could be that their system is being poisoned by the food they are eating. And it can cause havoc in unexpected ways. My daughter never had digestive "problems". She wasn't gassy as a baby, she always had regular bowel movements and never complained of stomach aches. So I didn't originally think any of our "issues" would be linked to her digestion. And I did incorrectly and unfairly give her all sorts of "labels". I can't turn back the clock on that but I would if I could.

Quick recap - my first daughter was colicky, got lots of ear infections and numerous flu's and fevers, has a chemical sensitivity to chlorine, has low tolerance for extreme temperatures, had poor sleep habits as an infant/toddler and has recently had a bout of night terrors. And we have dealt with some pretty severe behavioral issues at times and she gets really super duper hyper sometimes after a meal.

We had IGG food sensitivity panels run which confirmed she has severe leaky gut and as the naturopath  said "a dramatic number of food sensitivities even given her skewed population of people getting tested". This girl has a poor stomach lining.

To see her she looks healthy. She is really TALL for her age. She is gaining weight. She is bright and reading well. And she is happy and funny most of the time.

But looks can be deceiving. I know first hand that you can get used to your own normal and learn to live with it and make a really good show for everyone else that things are great. You can even think things are pretty great because you don't know any different. But things can be better - lots better.

So I know some people could be thinking 1) this chick has been duped/brainwashed by a Naturopath and they are taking her for pile of money and 2) maybe your kid is just bad.

I just don't agree (except for the pile of money part).  And I got proof on Wednesday that my instinct was right and that there is something to all of this.

I got my daughter's blood work back. I cried. Really cried. Because this is real. No more cheating. No more following the diet when it is convenient. No more partly believing the IGG tests are hocus pocus so I can let her have a cupcake at a birthday party. This is our life. Its going to be hard. I have to be "the heavy". I have to take away tons of food that my daughter loves.

And my poor sweet girl will probably have to deal with a weak digestive system her whole life. It sucks. She is just LIKE ME. In ways I don't want her to be. And lots of other ways that I do. We are kinda the same person.

So what did the blood work show.

She has severely low iron. Almost as low as mine when I could barely stay standing straight because I was so dizzy. She has low B12. And she has a Vitamin D insufficiency.

Why would a kid that is growing and appears healthy to 99% of the world (including her pediatrician) have such a significant vitamin deficiency.

Because of her LEAKY GUT AND FOOD SENSITIVITIES. It causes mal-absorption. Just like her MOM. Damn.

We are committing to changing her diet. We are giving her iron and Vitamin D supplements. She is drinking a high dose vitamin shake daily. And she is on a very high quality probiotic. And we are trying to rotate even her non-trigger foods as much as we can. If we overdo it on a non-trigger food her leaky gut will eventually result in it becoming a trigger.

We are going to fix her as best as we can. Its going to be hard. I keep saying that but I need to be realistic about the journey we are starting. This is not going to be a walk in the park.

I will get flack every time I turn around. Many people will think I'm just a health nut pushing my beliefs on my kid.  They will be focused on what I am taking away - an ice cream cone at the beach, a slurpee on a hot day, one of baba's home-made perogies. Not on what I am giving her. The chance to be the best, most healthy, energetic version of herself. One that has a mom that loves to cook and experiment so she will still get lots of tasty whole real foods. Just not the same ones everyone else is eating.

I fluctuate from:
1) Being grateful for having the resources, access and education to be able to have tests run. To afford high quality supplements and real food. To be able to make the changes that need to be made; and
2) Holding a "poor me, poor her, how are we going to do this" pity party. Sorry. I'm not perfect. I cry. I get edgy. I feel sorry for myself. And then I get busy. I get researching. I get cooking. And I get over it.

If you don't have the resources or access to the tests you can try and figure out the food sensitivities using an elimination diet. This would be hard and I'm not sure it would have worked for us given the volume of food sensitivities we are dealing with. But my daughter and I are rare and unique creatures - most people are dealing with less triggers which makes it easier to nail down. And some people see a direct cause and effect relationship with their food triggers. Drink a glass of milk - get congested. Have eggs - get bloated. You might be able to figure things out without the tests if you just listen to your body.

Just know that you do have options out there to help you figure things out. And know that although its not easy to change diets, for adults or kids, it can be done. I have done it for myself and I am thriving. And you can do it for yourself and your kids.


So that is my daughter's story. Not the end of the story by any means. We are just starting a new journey. A journey to heal her gut. A journey of eating good clean, healthful, whole foods.

Have a great weekend! I've gotta get shopping because I have to find something to replace yogurt.........because that girl can not live without a breakfast parfait.

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