If you or someone in your family is suffering from food allergies – don’t fear! Trish Barbara from The F.E.A.L.L Good Network is here to help.
So the kids are back at school, you’ve probably returned to work or working at home as a stay-at-home Mum; you’re getting back into the swing of things for another year and you’ve been thrown a curve ball! Your child has food allergies or you may suspect there are food allergies – how the heck do you manage that, especially putting together a lunch box that is food allergy friendly? Sandwiches and packaged snacks are so easy, yet wheat and gluten are now off the menu. What on earth will my child eat when dairy is no longer an option? Peanuts are out, food additives are a problem and don’t even talk to me about eggs! You may sometimes feel alone and isolated – thinking that you’re on your own and nobody else understands how much you worry for your food allergic child with every bite of food they take; with every exposure to the allergen, especially when they are away from your home and your care?
Were you aware that around 1 in 20 children in Australia are living with food allergies? That translates to 1-2 children per classroom – so actually, you are not alone in this, and there is growing understanding and support available.
Where do food allergies come from?
“All Disease begins in the Gut” said Hippocrates (The father of modern medicine) more than 2000 years ago. He knew back then the importance of nutritionally supportive food and good gut health to support overall health and quality of life. You can read more about Gut Health here.
Modern food processing with the inclusion of chemical food additives, modern agricultural practices including the use of pesticides, herbicides and hormonal additives plus the introduction of GE (genetically engineered) & GMO (genetically modified organism) foods, have had an incredibly damaging effect on the collective human health.
The rise in food allergies is impacting individuals and families around the globe to the point where it leaves the allergic person and/or their carer feeling overwhelmed and lost; where their relationship with food deteriorates to the point of being so fearful of eating, that food becomes the enemy and they barely know what to eat at all, resulting in further nutritional and health issues.
Modern medicine, especially the overuse of antibiotics has also played a part in the breakdown of a healthy gut and Digestive System, which is vitally important in supporting the Immune System. The fact that food allergies and eczema are conditions of the immune system means that optimal health of the Immune System is crucial in overcoming or living successfully with food allergies. You can read more about the immune system here.
Yes, there is a difference between a Food Allergy, Food Intolerance and Food Sensitivity.
Food Allergy is an aggressive Immune System reaction that occurs soon after eating (or exposure to) a certain food and will usually occur immediately or within half an hour to an hour after ingestion or contact. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food ingested (or airborne) can trigger life-threatening symptoms also known as Anaphylaxis.
Food intolerance and Sensitivity, whilst not life threatening, is extremely wearing on your child’s health and well-being where the Immune System is regularly going into overdrive at a perceived threat and becomes chronically stressed, often resulting in chronic fatigue among other life disruptive symptoms.
Common Allergic Symptoms and Responses
Lesser Understood Symptoms of Food Intolerance and Sensitivity
Other symptoms of intolerance and sensitivity you should look out for can include how your child is feeling; our body mind and emotions are intrinsically connected. Food affects our mood and behaviour – it can be nurturing, comforting, supportive and warming as much as it can be harmful, detrimental and damaging when not received well by the body.
It is very interesting to take note of the mental and emotional changes that can occur when a food or beverage is ingested that does not sit well in the body; for example, symptoms such as exhaustion, bloating, flatulence, anger, depression, low self worth, melancholia, lethargy, itchy ears/nose/throat/eyes, heartburn, nausea, bunions, Rosacea, unpleasant body odour, bad breath, metallic taste in mouth, weird smell in back of nose, aggravated eczema, aggravated acne, aggravated psoriasis, gout and joint pain are all indicators of Food Intolerance and/or Sensitivity.
If a food you are eating is giving you negative feed back at any level – that is your whole body talking to you and asking you to listen.
As a parent, guardian or carer, you need to pay close attention to your child’s feelings around food, their behaviour and emotional state; teach your child to communicate how they feel physically and emotionally after eating. Keeping a food diary with your child will help you pinpoint the problem foods.
Ok, so You know that Your Child has Food Allergies/Intolerance/Sensitivities – What now?
As a Parent you know that change needs to happen, you just don’t know where to start. Unfortunately most doctors don’t usually tell you what to do next. They usually just send you home with a list of things not to eat or do.
You’ve been through the testing and the results have shown up some severe allergies, some not so severe or may even have come back with a low positive reading to which your doctor says it is nothing to worry about! Whaaat – the fact is you do worry.
What if your mealtimes were more relaxed and enjoyable? What if you spent less, yet more productive time in the kitchen? What if your whole family was eating and feeling a lot healthier? Importantly, what if your allergic child was feeling more confortable with food and had more vitality and joy. What if your allergic child was able to talk more freely to teachers, friends and classmates about their food issues without shame or embarrassment, rather excitement about their yummy lunchbox items?
As a Food Coach I like to concentrate your energy and time on what you CAN eat and do. I call it my CANdo Eating Plan. It’s much more beneficial to you, your child and your whole family to be focused on what they CAN eat and the abundance of healthy whole foods that are available for you all to enjoy.
You won’t ever hear me use the word ‘diet’ as that word conjures up fear in most people regardless of their relationship with food, allergies or not! You will however, always hear me talking about your ‘Eating Plan’.
Janet, Mum of 2 gave birth to her first child and immediately recognised signs of food allergies and eczema (which by the way go hand in hand). She was aware that food was a key area to focus on and after finding out through regular testing the foods causing the problems she set about focusing on foods that her daughter could eat, that were nutritionally supportive; at the same time teaching her daughter what was good for her and what made her itch.
By the time her Daughter started school she had her condition under control and her child in good health, She felt much safer sending her child off to Kindy and was able to clearly converse with the school and teachers about her daughters Eating plan. Her daughter went to school feeling confident and supported.
When you start to re-think, re-create, re-invent your relationship with foods that are nutritionally and emotionally supportive – your health and happiness levels can only increase whilst you stress levels decrease.
What will this food relationship re-invention require from you?
I never lie to my clients and tell them that this is going to be easy, because it is not. It is going to take you out of your comfort zone, it will challenge you in areas you never realised and it will take you on a journey that you never expected. With a little help you’ll start to uncover tips and tricks that will get your creative juices flowing and even reduce your time in the kitchen with practices such as pre-preparing and cooking in bulk and freezing food. “The Freezer is your Friend” ~ Jamie Oliver.
This re-invention will require you to focus on what your child CAN eat; perhaps you could take a few Gluten/dairy free, raw food or vegan cooking classes; invest in some great food & cooking books designed for food challenged people.
Vegan can equate to dairy & egg free; raw food classes can open up a whole new world of fruit & vegetables that you may never have thought about; Gluten Free Cooking classes, well that is self-explanatory. You don’t need to go all Purist about which system to follow – use these kinds of resources as guidelines and create your CAN do Eating Plan.
You may be surprised how much you can learn in these classes that you can take home to your own kitchen and as you start to re-think your relationship with food it can be more creative, positive and fun. As a matter of fact, you may find that as you start implementing these changes your whole family will start to naturally move toward a healthier and happier life.
Here’s a few of my personal favourite recipes and ideas to help you on your way to reinventing your healthier, food friendly life. These links are resources that I use myself and always recommend to clients and friends alike. They are not affiliate links nor do I receive any monetary compensation – I know these people personally and they are simply good people out there doing good work to help restore health and happiness in the world we live in.
If you’d like to receive my Monthly Healthy Happy Musings into your email inbox you’ll get Health Tips, Kitchen Tricks, Lifestyle Hacks and Allergy Friendly Recipes that will make your allergic life a lot easier, healthier and happier, click here.
How to make your own Almond Milk + a delicious Fresh Raspberry Muffin Recipe (using the left over almond pulp) that is gluten, dairy, egg, peanut, corn and soy free >> Click here
Ginger Almond Cookie Recipe (GF, DF, EF) >> Click here
Gluten & Dairy Free recipes from Gluten Free Chef Angie Cowen – www.lovelifeandglutenfree.com/recipes
Unique range of cooler bags by Noelle Sadinsky- especially good for school kids – www.fridge-to-go.net.au
Natural Stress Management (especially good for parents) – www.inhalelife.co with Romina Di Federico.
Healing with Whole Foods – Paul Pitchford
4 Ingredients – Gluten Free | Lactose Free – Kim McCosker
The Chemical Maze – Bill Stratham
Anatomy of the Spirit – Carolyn Myss
Yours In Good Health
Food Coach and Healthy Living Advocate, www.trishbarbara.com
The FEALL Good Network
Freedom from Eczema & Allergies through Learning & Lifestyle.