Food allergies have been an ongoing issue at our house. If you would have asked me years ago about food allergies my thoughts would have beem minimal to none. Just the other day my husband and I were discussing the surprising difference that just changing our diets has made on our health, at the same time confiding in me his prior thoughts on food allergies and intolerances. Basically, he thought they were just another way to explain away a person’s prefereces or aversions for certain foods. Having gone through a lot of lab testing to make us believers, we have both come a long way in our thinking on this issue.
It really wasn’t that long ago that we started consulting a Naturopathic Physician in an effort to figure out what in the world has been plaguing our family with different aches, pains and upsets that we couldn’t always explain. At our first visit he suggested something that no other doctor had done after years of specialists’ visits and multiple treatments. He suggested that many different things going on with our bodies could possibly be explained by food allergies. The bedwetting problem of an older kid could be related to a food allergy, the seemingly made-up and constant complaints of a belly ache in an elementary age child and even extreme bloating and excess gas, nausea or GI (gastrointestinal) distress might be explained by food allergies. Hmmm… It all seemed a little hoaky to me. Afterall, we’d been seeing multiple doctors for more years than I have fingers on one hand and not oncee had anyone suggested that food could be a potential problem. Actually, never once had anyone mentioned nutrition or food in any way at all. But we were paying for a new opinion from someone with much more education than us, so allergy testing it was!
|Photo courtesy of Don’t Mess With Mama.|
Little did I know, clear across the country in California, another family would be going through a similar set of tests. Like Tracey from Don’t Mess With Mama, our family would be collecting samples at home to send in to a lab far, far away for detailed testing. We set reminders and collected samples of saliva and stool at multiple times throughout the day and sometimes for more than one day at a time. No, you don’t have to rewind to be sure you read that right – I said saliva and stool samples. Samples that needed proper storage until they could be brought to the shipping facility. Proper storage meant the fridge. Like Tracey at Don’t Mess With Mama, my reaction was… less than thrilling. I didn’t really want that stuff next to the food. I tried not to think about it and just get it to the lab so we could get the results.
In addition to all of the samples we mailed in from home, we also did bloodwork and urine samples. Over time our results came in. Ridiculously long story short, we found out that between the four of us, we had more allergies than we could juggle! Things we regularly ate like milk, wheat, oatmeal… heck, even bananas were causing undesirable physical symptoms. Basically, our bodies have been turning it’s warning system on full blast to let us know something wasn’t quite right, and we were ignoring it as often as it warned us. In the end, allergies included everyday things; gluten, dairy, soy, bananas, shellfish, oats and more. The craziest part about it is that we had a small heard of dairy goats (eight in all!) living on the homestead in an effort towards better health. And everything we had read about goat’s milk had us convinced it was the way to go; raw, nutrient-rich goats milk is healthy for everyone. After all, those who can’t tolerate cow’s milk do great with goat’s, right? Sadly, one of the most thought out and well-meant decisions turned out to be one of our worst. Our youngest son was allergic to dairy in all varieties and his numbers for goat’s milk were off the charts!
It’s been enough time that I know our choice to investigate foods as potential problem was a good one. Our days of cloth diapering laundry has vanished as all bedwetting issues have been resolved, there are no more regular complaints of stomach upset and severe gas pains, severe bloating that caused such a difference in size that clothes could not be fastened, even skin disturbances and behavior concerns have slowly melted away. I am still amazed, every single day, that no one ever mentioned food allergies, but were all too happy to prescribe a medication to relieve our issues and send us on our way.
Now that things have gotten better and we know we are headed in the right direction to improve our health, I’m reminded of our allergies again. Having a handful of problems that haven’t fully resolved, we find ourselves consulting a professional once again. One of the first things discussed was that food is still a possible culprit. The boys were poaked and prodded for a quick second, once again, in a search for answers. I’m hoping that when the results come back, they reveal another possibility towards health. While possibility may not seem fitting, I find it best to view all of the testing and doctor’s visits in a positive light. Instead of viewing the results as one more thing we can’t have, I find it best to view them as one more piece of information in a healing journey.
For another family’s perspective on food allergies, read Don’t Mess With Mama’s post on Food Allergy Testing.
Do you have food allergies or do you have a loved-one with food allergies? How has your life changed since changing your diet?