Can "bad behavior" be food-related? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 11-11-2010, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! I'm new to the forum and struggling to find enough time to read everything I want to read! I'm feeling a little deperate and hope for a little guidance.

 

My DD is 5.5 years old. She's always been "Spirited" and "Sensitive" and we've just thought it was normal. However, now that she's older, her extreme behaviors are clearly not as normal as we thought.

 

I'm wondering if it could be a food-related sensitivity, but I'm not really sure how to figure it out.

 

Is it possible that a food sensitivity wouldn't cause any physical symptoms like rash? She gets gassy with dairy, for sure, but doesn't seem to have any other physical symptoms. But she gets out of control when things don't go her way sometimes, embarrassingly so, and she has an extremely difficult time with listening and focusing.

 

She eats so few foods as it is I'm not sure I can just cut anything out without compromising her diet. She's sensitive to smells and textures and won't try anything new (unless it's chocolate!)

 

Thanks for any insight! I'm getting to the point where I'm nervous to take her out places because I don't know if she'll have a breakdown and lose it and I feel awful!

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#2 of 17 Old 11-11-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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It is entirely possible. There have been british studies on food colorings and addatives and they found behavior correlations.  Also, some autistic kids react well to gluten free diets, caseine free diets, etc. so why not other children? Have you asked about celiac or gluten intolerance testing? Not all symptoms are GI...there are neurological syptoms in some people too!

 

So, depending on the saaviness/alternativeness of your dr, you may be able to get testing through them. But a chiropractor or naturopath may help too. You could also test for food, addative and chemical sensativites through a test like ALCAT (google it)  I got one through my chiropractor (nit covered by insurance, expensive, but worth it) and found out I was sensative to some foods, but also fake sweetners and yellow dyes. I did the elimination diet, and my migranes went away completely. Had a slip up with yellow dye or fake sugar, and I got a headache with in hours.

 

So it could be that a food or substance (either absorbed or ingested) is causeing something in your daughter, it will not hurt to investigate and get testing!

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#3 of 17 Old 11-11-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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#4 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! We don't have any money to spend right now on testing, as much as I'd love to. We need to figure out where to start before this causes any more trouble. It's really a strain on us all greensad.gif

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#5 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 12:03 PM
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YES!  My son used to body slam himself and act like he was on a drug high when he had anything w/ casein in it.

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#6 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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Yep... Ds has a hard time with dairy.  He never really showed any physical symptoms until we cut pretty much all dairy out and now if he, say, has yogurt, he now gets digestive issues.  He seems ok with goat cheese, though, and also with sheep.

 

He also acts out if he has certain kinds of apples.

 

Actually, since we've weeded out some of his issues, I can see that some of the other things he'd been doing that made me crazy are almost exactly what his sister did at the same age, so I'm chalking those up to age appropriate... but I never would have realized that if we hadn't removed the 2 hr tantrums, etc. 


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#7 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jadefaerie View Post

Hi! I'm new to the forum and struggling to find enough time to read everything I want to read! I'm feeling a little deperate and hope for a little guidance.

 

My DD is 5.5 years old. She's always been "Spirited" and "Sensitive" and we've just thought it was normal. However, now that she's older, her extreme behaviors are clearly not as normal as we thought.

 

I'm wondering if it could be a food-related sensitivity, but I'm not really sure how to figure it out.

 

Is it possible that a food sensitivity wouldn't cause any physical symptoms like rash? She gets gassy with dairy, for sure, but doesn't seem to have any other physical symptoms. But she gets out of control when things don't go her way sometimes, embarrassingly so, and she has an extremely difficult time with listening and focusing.

 

She eats so few foods as it is I'm not sure I can just cut anything out without compromising her diet. She's sensitive to smells and textures and won't try anything new (unless it's chocolate!)

 

Thanks for any insight! I'm getting to the point where I'm nervous to take her out places because I don't know if she'll have a breakdown and lose it and I feel awful!


Yes, yes kids can have behavior issues due to food or other, interrelated health issues.  Today was not a fun day with my 6yo daughter, not really sure why, but I am grateful because every day used to be like today.  Tantrums and whininess and not being able to calm herself down. 

 

DD doesn't get rashes, some kids seem prone and some don't.  DD doesn't, DS has gotten rashes for some foods but has only behavioral issues for gluten.

 

Looking at common food intolerances like gluten, dairy and soy (there could be others, but these are three common ones and are easier than the next people may suggest which is corn), and then food additives and salicylates (in things like raisins, berries, many fruits, almonds, an odd variety of real foods), are good places to start.

 

DS is intolerant of chocolate--a lot better now, but it's surprisingly common and I don't understand why but it seems to run in my family--at least 2 people in my extended family figured out they're sensitive to chocolate years ago. 

 

For DD, removing gluten and dairy was good for her health--improved sleep, restarted naps at age 3.5yo, digestion improvements though her digestion wasn't horrible to start with, her tonsils got smaller, but that wasn't enough to change her tantrums and over-reactions.  For a lot of people it is, so many people talk about behavior issues as being related to foods in one way or another, I'd start there, but if you don't see improvement, don't stop problem-solving, just come back for a few more ideas.

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#8 of 17 Old 11-14-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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I saw your post and just had to reply b/c I have a DD that is 5.5 and has behavioral issues along with physical symptoms.  We finally saved up enough for an allergy test that was about $85.   It was helpful in that it narrowed things down for us but we are still going to do the elimination diet to see if there are any false positives (hoping so!).

 

DD acts like a teenager sometimes.  Things like: tantrums, begging for sweets--esp. chocolate (and we are not militaristic about food at our house--you'd think she only has sweets once a year!), saying, "I wish I had another mom", "I hate this house" (really shocking!). 

 

Let us know what you find out. :)


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#9 of 17 Old 11-14-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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My DD is intolerant to Gluten, Dairy, and Soy.  All 3 cause behavior problems but especially milk.  She is just a spirited child to begin with but milk turns her into an entirely different child.  Taking the gluten out of her diet has improved her growth and general health. 

 

  Look at her diet and evaluate what she WILL eat that is main allergen free.  Most children like chicken and rice.  Ta da!  Allergen free meal.  Not exciting but if she eats it then she eats it.  Stay allergen free for a week and when you reintroduce the foods it will be obvious.  Also, take out all preservatives and artificial colorings because those can cause behavior reactions as well. 


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#10 of 17 Old 11-14-2010, 04:25 PM
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If you do do allergy testing, IGG testing (such as through Great Plains Labs) is a much better way of seeing what you are allergic to that would cause things like behavior, bed wetting, etc.  IGA does more immediate reactions - eat a strawberry and break out into a rash, drink milk and vomit, eat a peanut and can't breathe.  But IGG does the more subtle ones that build up in the sytem and then cause things like bad attention span, bad behavior etc. 

 

If you are cutting out things like dyes and preservatives, I'd cut out corn too.  Our NAET person says corn is a big one. 

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#11 of 17 Old 11-14-2010, 04:29 PM
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Also, I would do the testing b/c another thing that set my son off was tomato - BIG TIME.  In fact, my mom talked me into trying the Juice Plus supplement that has tomato in it (saying it wouldn't cause a reaction b/c it was 'predigested'), and my son was HORRIBLE.  It was that prodronal type behavior your kid gets when they are getting ready to come down w/ an illness. I had forgotten we had tried the supplement the night before, and the next day kept saying "gosh, he has to be getting sick!"  Then he threw a tennis ball at my husband while driving.  I finally put 2 and 2 together and remembered the Juice Plus.  Tomato is not one thing I would have thought of as being an issue had we not had the testing done. 

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#12 of 17 Old 11-17-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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I think "bad behavior " can be food related. I have a gluten intolerance and one day decided to take gluten out of my 4.5 yo daughters diet. She would have these periods of tantrums and whining that would most times come out of nowhere. A week later I did notice some changes in the frequency of these episodes. We also had her seen by the chiro that I had been seeing and she muscle tested her. She said gluten wasn't the big one for her, but that we should limit it, and that TOMATO and CORN were more the culprits, esp. corn sweeteners (but we really don't have much of that). It was funny bc we were eating a lot of beans and rice with salsa and blue corn chips. And she adores pasta and pizza. Not long after that there were 2 instances (birthdays) when we let her have tomato, sauce on pizza, and I'm not sure if it could happen this quickly but shortly after eating she was a crying whining tantruming mess. It has been difficult though finding ways to have pizza and gf pasta without tomatoes. I thought it would be hard to take gluten out, then the others, but it's been fine finding substitutes.


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#13 of 17 Old 11-18-2010, 08:41 AM
 
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I just noticed that in the week and a half since we took gluten out of our diets, my DD's intense separation anxiety has pretty much gone away. Yesterday was the first time in many months that I was able to drop her off in the childcare room at the gym without her getting upset and throwing a huge fit. And when I went back to get her, the workers said they noticed a big difference in her behavior--she actually played happily by herself most of the time instead of needing to be held. I guess it's possible that it isn't related to our dietary changes, but it sure makes you wonder.


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#14 of 17 Old 11-18-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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Well, if you dont' have money for testing right now, start with some of the obvious chemicals and manufactured ingredtients: HFCS, fake dyes, nitrites/nitrates in deli and meat products, artificial sweetners, weird preservatives you can't pronounce. Going casein (dairy) free or gluten free without prior testing is asking alot, its not easy and is a real committment and lifestyle change. Stick to basic, whole foods, preferably made from scratch (or mostly) and keep a daily food journal of what was eaten and behaviors observed that day. Keep in mind that some 'reactions' are delayed, so may take hours/a day or two to manifest. You could even go a little further (I recommend this for more accuracy!) and keep the journal along with a regimented rotation diet. Google it and you'll get more info, but a rotation diet is when you assign certain foods to a day and then don't repeat eating those foods for another 4-5 days. So Day 1 would be chicken, rice, broccoli family, and pineapple. Day two would be pork, carrot family, berries, and wheat. Day three whould be beef,  barley, allium(onion) family, apples/pears, etc. Basically you rotate a main meat, grain/starch, a vegetable family, and a fruit family, per day, you can really get into it and also rotate spices, etc.  You will have to get creative with menus/recipes, I reccomend getting books at the library, do your resarch on rotation diets, get some 'allergy' cook books from the library too, so you can plan meals, shopping, etc

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#15 of 17 Old 11-27-2010, 08:22 PM
 
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Food causes huge behavioral changes in my children. Dairy for my eldest and nightshades for my little guy. For those who mentioned tomato, do the other nightshades cause issue? My son changes within the hour of eating any nightshade particularly paprika. Maybe the others (tomato, potato, eggplant) are just easier to identify but when there is a slip with paprika the results are immediate and last for a good 24 hours. Whiny, meltdown, falls on the floor and just cries.

Dairy for my son caused tantrums and rageful anger at a young age. Around 6 he broke out in full body hives after a big dairy weekend and once removed from the diet, the tantruming stopped. Another positive was he started to become interested in many more foods.

Removing any of the foods is a challenge but within a short time you learn how to avoid/substitute fairly easily and life feels so much better for all involved. Surprisingly, I find eliminating nightshades more of a challenge and limiting than the dairy or gluten that I do for myself.

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#16 of 17 Old 11-28-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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How long after removing the offending food(s) did it take you guys to notice a real diff.?


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#17 of 17 Old 12-03-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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My oldest was dairy free for 2 1/2 years after we realized that dairy was a huge trigger for his reflux.  When we re-introduced it gradually, the reflux was fine.  At first, his behavior was fine.  Gradually he had more and more problems.  I was honestly ready to take him to a child psychologist.  He was ALWAYS angry and just looking for an excuse to rage--his rages lasted for 30-90 minutes where he was completely out of control.  This happened multiple times every day.  (While my youngest does have a temper, my oldest child has never really been angry--frustrated, yes--but he is NOT an angry child.)  Dh suggested we eliminate dairy.  Within 2 days, he had a complete personality change--back to the sweet child that I know.  That was one year ago.  He can handle occasional dairy without a problem.  If it becomes a daily thing, it's a huge behavior problem.  He tests negative for allergy.

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