I'm increasingly hearing stories of kids who, despite gentle loving parents, are angry, hyper, and acting out in violent ways. In so many cases, the parents change the diet of the child and the behavior dramatically changes as well.
Here are a number of case studies...
What makes this confusing is that the food the child can't have isn't usually, technically speaking, an allergy. More often it's a sensitivity. The results can be disastrous none-the-less. "A food allergy causes an immediate reaction which signals the body to produce histamine. In some cases, this IgE reaction requires prompt medical attention. A food intolerance, on the other hand, results in a delayed IgG reaction" The "delay" might be mere hours to days. But the food causing the IgG reaction most often won't show up on an allergy test. To learn more, check out the "food allergy" link in this paragraph from which this quote was taken.
Some common culprits of food sensitivities are artificial flavors and colors, corn syrup, wheat, dairy, and corn amongst others. An elimination diet, while difficult will usually show you the culprit pretty easily. Most folks find immediate results with cutting out artificial flavors and colors and corn syrup and sometimes preservatives. Beyond that, wheat, dairy, or corn are usually tried. Sometimes it's more complicated and eggs or another common healthy food is the issue. Sugar is a trigger for many kids as well and is hidden in almost every packaged food you buy. Please read ingredients on every food you buy!!
Here's someone's personal experience with elimination diet and food sensitivities:
Feingold diet has some excellent info on helping people to identify natural components of food that can cause reactions in some children/people. I'm not a huge fan of them because they still promote a lot of packaged junky foods rather than a gut-healing, whole foods diet. But they can be a great resource to begin with and a lifesaver when you need to buy something quick and packaged.
Omega 3 fish oil supplements from a reputable company such as Nordic or Green Pastures are invaluable for any emotional and/or behavioral issues! Please, please don't buy cheapo omega 3 or fish oil from your local big box store. They are infamous for their supplements not being what they claim to be. Additionally, there are issues with purity in fish oil that need to be accounted for and are accounted for by Nordic or Green Pastures.
What are omega 3's? They're an essential fatty acid - meaning the body can't make them and they MUST come from diet - responsible in part for the healthy functioning of the nervous system which includes the brain, the hormones, the emotions, healthy child development and so on...
What foods contain Omega 3 fats? Omega 3's come in two forms: a vegetable form found in things like walnuts and flax seeds that the body must convert to usable form. The body can't make this conversion, however, unless it's already in peak healthy condition. The second form comes from oily, wild-caught fish; 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef and dairy; eggs from hens that have access to green fields and bugs; chickens who had access to green fields and bugs and so on. Needless to say, these food are mostly 100% absent from our diets today.
The other tricky issue is that we need Omega 3 fats in correct ratio to Omega 6 fats which are in all vegetable oils: corn oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil and all the other oils our processed/packaged foods today are full of! (Again, read ingredient lists!) The proper ratio is about 1:3 Omega 3's to Omega 6's. Even better is a 1:1 ratio. Yet the average American diet contains about a 20:1 ratio !! That means 20 grams Omega 6 per every 1 gram of Omega 3.
And if the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fats is not correct, if there are far more Omega 6's, then the body can't even use the few Omega 3's it ingests!!
This is why I almost always recommend people take an Omega 3 supplement! Most Americans are not getting enough. And research is finding supplementation helpful for everything from halting schizophrenia to ameliorating ADHD.
Another great resource for people with behavioral problems in their children is Dr S. Newmark's book ADHD without Drugs. I don't agree with all of his behavioral modification techniques, but his dietary info is excellent! I've seen dramatic turn arounds in children's behavior after parents have adopted some of the simple advice in this book!
We live in a world where a small handful of companies own the majority of the food in that is produced. Our world is full of toxins and increasingly children are unhealthy. One thing we have to remember is that our body is made, developed, grows, heals, - or gets sick - in response to nutrients. If we don't get nutrients we will pay either now or later (with the exception of a few lucky individuals that we all probably know at least 1 of). It's estimated that 1 in 3 people will get cancer in the coming years and that this generation of children will be the first in generations to not outlive the lifespan of their parents. Maybe I'll post later on the rampant rise in diseases...
This info is not meant to scare us, only to make us realize that health really is important and we can't just go along with the standard American diet - SAD - if we expect to be healthy. We do have to go out of our way to make changes, to heal our guts (another post on that later), to eliminate toxins wherever we can. Again, not living in fear, but in awareness, not motivated out of fear but out of a desire for health and harmony.