Ever since I posted last week on What is a Salicylate Allergy?, I’ve had about a dozen moms email me about the possibility of a misdiagnosis for their child. The issues they mentioned ranged from kids wetting their pants, chronic bed-wetting, OCD in a 6-year-old and even schizophrenia in a 9-year-old. Reading their stories and corresponding with them makes me believe we are “mislabeling” our children much too often. I shake my head when I hear about very young children having suicidal thoughts. Might this be a side effect of the powerful drugs they are taking or eating the wrong foods for their body chemistry?
In my opinion, the connection between food sensitivities and mood disorders is not looked at closely enough. It goes along with the lack of mental health care we don’t have support for in the United States. You see, when I read about another child with a gun in schools, I don’t automatically think about stricter gun laws, I think of how our health care system is failing. I think of the brokenness of the child. I think of bullying. I ask what happened in the home, the side effects of the mental health drugs they were taking, and their diets. It is so very sad to me that no one thinks about these possibilities.
Doctors are now “specialized” and trained to treat the disease where it begins. So if one of us has a heart attack, we see a cardiologist, right? Often doctors forgot that the father of western medicine, Hippocrates, stated, “All disease begins in the gut.” But I will continue to repeat that we must begin looking at our food supply: the chemical laden foods (food dyes, food preservatives), the ways we grow our foods, they way we raise our animals for food, the lack of education to read food labels, how we watch cooking shows rather than cooking a homemade meal. If you think I am the only one that questions the mood-food relationship, you can read one mom blogger’s story on Diet and Mental Health. She is embarking on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet for her anxiety and depression and is feeling normal. She makes some great points from other alternative health care doctors.
We must also look to our guts and gut bacteria. I recently learned that we have more DNA in the gut bacteria than our entire bodies. What does that mean? That means our guts control every cell in our bodies in how disease occurs. Dr. Mark Hyman wrote an excellent blog on this subject in which he states, “this bacterial DNA controls immune function, regulates digestion and intestinal function, protects against infections, and even produces vitamins and nutrients.” I encourage you to read his entire post on this subject here.
I realize there are small changes happening in the way doctors are treating patients, and they are now looking to nutrition and treating the gut. Dr. Hyman is one of a few. They are beginning to understand the imbalances in our bodies, brains, hearts, lungs and joints are caused by our diets and our gut bacteria that comes from the overuse of antibiotics, lack of nutrients from tainted soils, eating processed foods and taking other medicines.
Yes, the medicines. Those medicines we take also cause vitamin deficiencies, often the very vitamin we need to help treat the disease. Taking oral contraceptives depletes our bodies of folic acid, as do antibiotics, antacids and anti-inflammatory drugs. (If you want to see which other drugs cause vitamin deficiency, you can see a list here.) This is just an example, so if you are on any type of medication, look for what key vitamins and minerals are being depleted from your body by taking that medication.
One mom asked me, “Where can I begin? What can I do?”
If you are thinking your child has a salicylate allergy, remove all fruits (that includes avocados and tomatoes), food dyes, food preservatives such as BHA and BHT (think processed and packaged foods) and MSG in any form and change your cooking oil to Safflower oil only. It is an easy start. If you are on a dairy-free diet, eliminate coconut or almond milks and change to hemp or rice/quinoa milk. My son does better on the rice/quinoa milk combo. Try it for a couple of weeks and note any physical and emotional changes, such as better behavior, better sleep, no night terrors, less bed-wetting, less defiant behavior, less squirminess, more organized behavior, etc.
After a couple of weeks, add some fruit into the diet for a day and wait a couple of days to see what happens. Being sensitive to fruit can mean an inability to properly absorb fruits (fructose intolerance) or it can mean a salicylate allergy. You would have to go on a complete salicylate-free diet to determine if it was or wasn’t a salicylate allergy, but that can be confusing and very overwhelming.
My goal is to make as many families as I can think differently about our bodies, our foods and our health care and to be agents of change in how we are treated by the medical community. If we can truly let “Food be thy medicine,” we will be much better off. We must take that time to invest in our health now to save the health of future generations.