When a child has a reaction to food – our story

Back in the fall of 2015 I shared this story. I’ve since been getting inquiries about it and wanted to share it in a permanent location here on my blog. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who is going through something similar or has young children.

For the last 3 months we’ve been going through something with our youngest child. In case anyone is still wondering about the power the food we eat has on our bodies, I have a story to share. In early Sept. he started grabbing at his butt. Like all the time. Like every couple seconds. There was no rash, redness, nothing. He’s 5 years old, so he’s able to articulate that it just itched inside. Over the next 8 weeks we went to the urgent care, tested for pin worms, tried yeast infection medication, every over the counter anti-itch, vaseline, triple antibiotic oinment, bordeaux’s, everything. A presciption for an anti-fungal. 4 doctors, no medical reason could be found why this was happening.

Then around early October he developed a facial tic. He was scrunching his nose and raising his brows dozens of times an hour. For a few weeks he also started moving his shoulders up and down in a tic sort of way as well. As a mom it is heartbreaking to watch this sweet boy going through this, trying to explain to his teachers that yes, I know it’s happening. Yes, I’m still trying to find the answer… So thankfully it appears we are almost through the strom and I wanted to share what has worked.

A bit after the facial tics started I talked with my cousin who is a pediatrician. She was the first one to suggest removing wheat from his diet. Not just gluten but ALL wheat. Ironically I had just finished reading wheat belly because I was noticing myself dealing with inflammation after eating wheat as well. So I gladly decided to jump on board with her suggestion. After thinking about it, this all began since he had started school I began making him toast for breakfast everyday. Thinking that because it was organic it would be fine. Apparantly it wasn’t okay.

For the next 3 weeks he ate no wheat, no bread, crackers, etc. Pretty much no processed food either since so many things added in. After 1 month of doing this there was about an 80% decrease in his itching/grabbing. The tic was still there however.
The 4th Dr. we visited is the one who actually verbalized that he was having tics. Before that I had just been saying he’s scrunching his face a lot. So he didn’t have many answers, suggested I could give him benadryl if I need him not to itch for a short time but otherwise suggested doing some research on tics. So here is what I found: milk can be a trigger for tics. Lightbulb – Aspen rarely had dairy milk growing up, and when he did it was the hormone free or organic. He had breastmilk until he was almost 2, then rice or almond milk for the most part. I was trying to be a laid back mom and go with the flow when he started school so I agreed to just let him have milk everyday while there. I also read a lot about food colorings in foods causing tics as well as ADHD syptoms. Have you ever looked at how many foods have colorings? Almost anything in a package.

Side note – I was in total disbelief that the doctor and nurses still ALL wanted to give him a flu shot at this visit. Just from a scientific perspective; if you are trying to dissect what is happening in his body and remove things, get to the bottom of what is happening. WHY WOULD I EVER ADD MORE THINGS IN? This goes against all I know scientifically. Sigh… Trust your gut, don’t be afraid to delay or avoid.

After hours of scouring every article I could get my hands on and trying not to be terrified of the super extreme cases parent’s faced; we cut out all foods with the colorings (including the go-gurts he was having at snack time at school that I had never bought before then, as well as other candies, fruit snacks, etc. We also cut out 95% of sugar and no more milk at school. I had to instruct the teachers that he’s not allowed to have ANYTHING from school. I send an organic apple sauce with him each day. So we could have a controlled element in our observations of him.

We also did an at home allergy test (still hundred of $’s but WAY cheaper than going in and getting him tested.) We are still waiting on those results also to hopefully validate what we’ve been doing as well as make us aware of anything else. Update: His testing showed no allergies. This just goes to show that even if there isn’t a technical allergy that our bodies can still be overloaded or have reactions.

So fast forward. Almost 3 months since the start… and his tics are gone. His itching/grabbing is 99% better. Hallelujah! My hope would be that no one else has to go through this, but I wanted to share just in case. m&m’s, licorice, fruit snacks, gatorade, colored pops, and mac ‘n cheese. All have this crap in them that can cause our kids bodies to have all sorts of reactions. If your kids seems super hyper after eating them or has some of the same things Aspen went through it may be worth expirimenting with eliminating them for a month and paying attention to the results. We’ve also been able to buy organic, grass fed cows milk from a local farmer and so far so good with no reactions to that. He doesn’t drink it often but since we’ve added it back in he’s seemed to be fine (we alternate with almond milk) He doesn’t seem to mind goats milk either. So fingers crossed that things will continue to get better. Thanks to those of you who have known what he’s been going to and sent prayers and well wishes for him.

Update: It’s been 6 months since this all started. I wanted to share that we are still avoiding food colorings. I’m very strict on this. We have experimented with him having small amounts of wheat. A homemade burrito here and there. We still avoid enriched pasta, bread and other wheat based things. So far so good. It’s been helpful to cut it all out and only add back in months later in small amounts to observe.

I’ve since heard from so many other parents who have had similar reactions in kids. I must say also that we see the chiropractor on a regular basis (our biggest health secret) and thanksfully at 5.5 years old Aspen has never had to take antibiotics or take other medications. So the more natural foods are helpful in that way as well. I’m by no means an expert on this but I have found that by talking about it and being vocal about our struggle that it’s opened up communications that have been incredibly helpful.