Behavior Problems! Gluten/Dairy Free Questions! Need Suggestions! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I am hoping this is the right place for this!
 

My son has been having some serious behavioral problems (mainly out of control anger and aggression) for about 2 1/2 years.  He's now five years old, and we are facing putting him on anti-psychotic meds, which I don't want to do unless I absolutely have to do.

 

Several people have suggested removing gluten and/or dairy, and I have been reluctant/scared to do so because . . . .

 

1) It seems overwhelming.  I am a single mom who works a lot, and I hardly have time to cook or do anything, so I feel like "How can I even do this!"

 

2) We are ovo-lacto vegetarian, so our main food groups ARE gluten and dairy, along with fruits and vegetables.

 

3) I am afraid of causing even worse rages and tantrums in my son by removing everything he likes to eat.  His favorite/main foods are mac and cheese, pizza, spaghetti with cheese, grilled cheese.  See a theme?  All gluten and dairy based.  I would like to find a way to replace some of these items with suitable GF/DF items that would be passable for him.

 

So, can you help?  I have a couple of questions.

 

1) I am thinking of removing ONE first (not BOTH gluten and dairy at the same time) so I can see if this helps me identify whether it's one or the other, or both.  Do you mamas have any advice about which one (gluten or dairy) you would remove first?  Any advice about which causes behavioral problems more often?  I am thinking gluten?  I have read a lot more about gluten causing emotional problems (psychosis, etc). Do you agree?

 

2) Any good suggestions for VEGETARIAN meals that are dairy and gluten free?  I think trying to think in terms of making lists of what we CAN eat would help me a lot more than focusing on what we CAN'T eat, which is what I have been doing.

 

3) How long does it take before I would be able to notice a difference?  Days? Weeks? Months?

 

4) I am not sure if we are allowed to recommend specific products on here, but if you have any gluten free or dairy free products you love (or hate!), can you PM me?  I've heard some of the GF products are awful, but some are good.  I don't want to waste money! 

 

5) Any other suggestions about going down this experimental path?  I am really desperate to find something to help my son, as he is spiraling downhill.  It's just he and I, and right now we are down to almost having no good times together whatsoever.  It's just constant fighting and aggression from him.  (And yes, we are in therapy of many kinds, so we are taking care of things on that end as best as we can.)

 

Just FYI, my son doesn't have any other health problems (like intestinal problems, skin issues, etc) aside from the serious emotional/behavioral ones.

 

 

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#2 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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I saw your other thread talking about all the issues with your son. Hugs to you, mama. Your son is lucky to have you.

 

We were lacto-vegetarians and have removed dairy and gluten over the past month and a half. There is a learning curve, I'm not going to lie to you. But I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a handle on it. I think you're right to say that focusing on what you can eat is the way to go. And the good news is that if you eat eggs, you're going to have a lot more products and recipes accessible to you than we do. So here are some thoughts that I have about the questions you asked.

 

1. We removed dairy first, simply because I hadn't yet decided we were going to remove gluten. I would do it the same way again, though, because I feel like getting rid of dairy is easier, and it's better IMO to start with the less challenging thing first. I have also heard about gluten causing emotional/behavioral issues more than dairy, and FWIW that was our experience when taking things out of our diet. Taking out dairy helped with DD's eczema, and then taking out gluten helped with sleep and anxiety. We saw results fairly quickly in both cases, within the first few days actually.

 

2. Here are some easy meal ideas:

-GF pasta with tomato sauce (and fake cheese if you want)

-Pasta stirfry--cook extra pasta when you're having it with tomato sauce, then save the extra for another meal. Stirfry some veggies and chopped garlic, add the pasta, and add a sauce. I just do tamari and brown sugar for the sauce.

-Soup/stew/chili and baked potatoes. This one is even easier if you have a slowcooker and can get the soup/stew/chili started in the morning before work.

-If you bake some extra potatoes, you can have another meal where you fry chopped onion and red pepper, then add the cubed leftover baked potatoes and fry until hot and crispy, to make kind of a breakfast potatoes thing. I make buckwheat pancakes to go with them, but I think there are frozen GF waffles that you could have with them to make it quicker.

-Sunshine Burgers (these are made from brown rice and sunflower seeds and as far as I know are the only GF veggie burger) with sweet potato oven fries. You can get some GF bread for the burgers, or just eat them plain. We like them with a bit of ketchup or barbecue sauce on top (check your condiment labels though, not all are GF)

-Corn tortillas with stuffings of various kinds make for an easy meal. We've done fajitas (with stir-fried veggies and refried beans out of a can) and that was quick and easy.

-Breakfast was one of the hardest things for me to figure out when we went GF. What's working well for us is hot cereal. We're using Bob's Red Mill GF hot cereals, but there are also plenty of GF cold cereals that you could have with rice milk, almond milk, or hemp milk. I also tried instant oatmeal that was GF, and it was tasty, I just can't find it anywhere around here. I think the brand was Gluten Freeda or something like that.

-Our favorite snack lately is popcorn, popped on the stove with coconut oil and then topped with melted Earth Balance and sea salt. Yum! DD loves it.

-I think the key for me, no matter what I'm eating as a GF/DF vegetarian, is to make sure I'm getting plenty of fat and protein. Otherwise I start feeling way too hungry.

 

3. Like I said above, we saw some improvement within days. We also have seen continuing improvement over several weeks.

 

4. As for substitutions, if your son really likes cheese, you can trying subbing with Daiya "cheese." It's the best brand of fake cheese I've tried, and it's free of gluten, dairy, and soy. It does melt and stretch like real cheese. (Well, sort of like real cheese. lol.gif) My DD loves it. So far I've only managed to find it at Whole Foods, but it should be easy to find in your neck of the woods. And I saw an ad the other day for an Amy's product that was GF/DF mac and cheese (frozen, so you'd have to look in the freezer case rather than by the boxed mac and cheese).

 

5. As for other suggestions, it might be a good idea to keep a journal of what your son eats and how his symptoms are doing. I wish I'd started food journalling earlier. It's really helpful now that I can look at my spreadsheet and see what DD ate every day and how her sleep, skin, and behavior are doing. It helps me not feel like I'm nuts for going down this path. Every time I start thinking I'm just making it all up, I can look at my hard data and realize that every time I have made a change in her diet, things have gotten better.

 

Good luck! I really hope that this dietary change is helpful for your son. hug.gif


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#3 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! I appreciate this so much!  Thanks for putting so much detail into it!  REALLY appreciate.  thumb.gif

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#4 of 20 Old 12-08-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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You already have an AMAZING answer to get you started.  But I did want to make one note: although your child may not be manifesting any intestinal problems, if you see results from removing casein or gluten, it's because the digestive tract isn't properly functioning.  If you want to To this end, I reeeeeeeeally reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally recommend the Body Ecology Diet or Gut and Psychology Syndrome book.  Both are AMAZING!

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#5 of 20 Old 12-09-2010, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!!!  I appreciate any help I can get!

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#6 of 20 Old 12-09-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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Have you thought of testing him first before you eliminate? I found the ALCAT test helpful for me in identifying my sensitivities. ENTEROLAB is another one I have heard of. (google them) There were a lot sensitivities at first, because of leaky gut syndrome,  but gluten was my main problem (caused major chronic fatigue) and yellow dyes (migranes). After the initial elimination diet I was able to add other foods back in. My nutritionist also suspected that I had an imbalance of GLA (omega 6) and so also took supplements for that. Try and get a consultation with a nutritionist, since you are already limited (by vegetarianism) and will be limiting it further, so you can tailor supplements.

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#7 of 20 Old 12-09-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Is he free of food dyes?  It was a trigger for my DS when he was younger, especially red dye.

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#8 of 20 Old 12-09-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! I appreciate this so much!  Thanks for putting so much detail into it!  REALLY appreciate.  thumb.gif



You are so welcome. Let me know if there's any other way I can help or if you have more questions. I'm far from an expert, but I'm doing my best. winky.gif


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#9 of 20 Old 12-09-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

Ok, I am hoping this is the right place for this!
 

My son has been having some serious behavioral problems (mainly out of control anger and aggression) for about 2 1/2 years.  He's now five years old, and we are facing putting him on anti-psychotic meds, which I don't want to do unless I absolutely have to do.

 

Several people have suggested removing gluten and/or dairy, and I have been reluctant/scared to do so because . . . .

 

1) It seems overwhelming.  I am a single mom who works a lot, and I hardly have time to cook or do anything, so I feel like "How can I even do this!"

 

2) We are ovo-lacto vegetarian, so our main food groups ARE gluten and dairy, along with fruits and vegetables.

 

3) I am afraid of causing even worse rages and tantrums in my son by removing everything he likes to eat.  His favorite/main foods are mac and cheese, pizza, spaghetti with cheese, grilled cheese.  See a theme?  All gluten and dairy based.  I would like to find a way to replace some of these items with suitable GF/DF items that would be passable for him.

 

You may see an uptick in behavior stuff at first.  The first day I, as an adult, was gfdf, I felt a bit jittery, sort of edgy.  Not horrible, but not what I expected, and I know some kids react much more strongly--though for my kids, I didn't see anything at all.  So there's wide variability. 

 

So, can you help?  I have a couple of questions.

 

1) I am thinking of removing ONE first (not BOTH gluten and dairy at the same time) so I can see if this helps me identify whether it's one or the other, or both.  Do you mamas have any advice about which one (gluten or dairy) you would remove first?  Any advice about which causes behavioral problems more often?  I am thinking gluten?  I have read a lot more about gluten causing emotional problems (psychosis, etc). Do you agree?

 

I'd agree that you go dairy-free first just because it's easier.  But for us, we had a couple, I think separate, reactions to dairy (and I think only one to gluten), so be open to changes in multiple, somewhat unrelated areas. 

 

2) Any good suggestions for VEGETARIAN meals that are dairy and gluten free?  I think trying to think in terms of making lists of what we CAN eat would help me a lot more than focusing on what we CAN'T eat, which is what I have been doing.

 

We're not vegetarian, but I agree with the PP that if you eat eggs, meals become easier and prepared food/baked foods become easier.  Also, I'd think if you look to a cuisine that's vegetarian and low/no dairy, I'm thinking East Asian, Southeast Asia, for meal inspiration, you'll find dishes that taste well put-together.  For us it wouldn't work because of the tofu issue (and depending on how things go, if you add in a lot of soy and see issues, just be aware that dairy and soy are very cross-reactive--but it's not an issue for everyone, so you can certainly ignore it at first and just tuck it in the back of your mind).  I did a lot of lentils and rice early on, a lot of Indian food tastes very good w/o dairy, or if you have a good vegan cookbook (or you can look for ideas in the Veg forum), there should be good ideas out there.  There's actually a long thread in the Vegetarian forum that is gluten, dairy, and soy free--it was multiple pages, if you Search for it you should see it--well, the new search engine seems odd, but look for threads with lots of responses. 

 

3) How long does it take before I would be able to notice a difference?  Days? Weeks? Months?

 

I felt better in < 2 days, my DD showed some improvement within a few days and all the improvement I saw was within a month, but strangely my son didn't show any change til about 3 months out (and I was giving him vit/min supps that helped).  I think most people see changes w/i a month for dairy and the usual rule of thumb is longer for gluten.  Also consider going gluten and dairy free yourself--if _you_ notice changes in yourself, it may be a clue that it'll work for your son as well, but he may need more time.  And look for seemingly unrelated stuff--my DD started staying dry at night, for example, and her tonsils got smaller--odd stuff. 

 

4) I am not sure if we are allowed to recommend specific products on here, but if you have any gluten free or dairy free products you love (or hate!), can you PM me?  I've heard some of the GF products are awful, but some are good.  I don't want to waste money! 

 

5) Any other suggestions about going down this experimental path?  I am really desperate to find something to help my son, as he is spiraling downhill.  It's just he and I, and right now we are down to almost having no good times together whatsoever.  It's just constant fighting and aggression from him.  (And yes, we are in therapy of many kinds, so we are taking care of things on that end as best as we can.)

 

Just FYI, my son doesn't have any other health problems (like intestinal problems, skin issues, etc) aside from the serious emotional/behavioral ones.

 

 


Good luck! 

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#10 of 20 Old 12-10-2010, 06:57 AM
 
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  Also, I'd think if you look to a cuisine that's vegetarian and low/no dairy, I'm thinking East Asian, Southeast Asia, for meal inspiration, you'll find dishes that taste well put-together.  For us it wouldn't work because of the tofu issue

 


We are also severely limiting soy, so I do cook a lot of East Asian-style food, but I sub various kinds of beans for tofu in those dishes. For example, kidney beans are delicious, way way way better than tofu, in Thai coconut curries. eat.gif


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#11 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 02:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In general, yes, he is free of food dyes as we eat a 90% organic vegetarian diet.  However, I have allowed him to have treats at school or with friends or things like Halloween candy.  It's not something I would BUY for him, but I didn't prevent him from having it.  But after Halloween when he had a few days of having a little candy (not a ton, but 4-5 small pieces) he had some horrible outbursts of uncontrollable hyper and angry behavior.  So I am done with letting him have food coloring!  I will have to figure out how to handle things like Halloween though.  That's a bit tricky! 
 

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Is he free of food dyes?  It was a trigger for my DS when he was younger, especially red dye.



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#12 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by flightgoddess View Post

Have you thought of testing him first before you eliminate? I found the ALCAT test helpful for me in identifying my sensitivities. ENTEROLAB is another one I have heard of. (google them) There were a lot sensitivities at first, because of leaky gut syndrome,  but gluten was my main problem (caused major chronic fatigue) and yellow dyes (migranes). After the initial elimination diet I was able to add other foods back in. My nutritionist also suspected that I had an imbalance of GLA (omega 6) and so also took supplements for that. Try and get a consultation with a nutritionist, since you are already limited (by vegetarianism) and will be limiting it further, so you can tailor supplements.


Ok, so since my son is having some major behavioral problems and psychiatric meds are being suggested (and I am hoping to AVOID these if possible, which is why I am exploring ALL options), I decided to have some blood work done to see if there were any other problems.  (That was NOT fun, by the way.  Poor baby!)

 

My son's doctor tested him for gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, peanut, and shellfish allergies, and he came back negative for any allergies.  So does this mean that this is not a concern and that I shouldn't even try the GF or DF route?  Anyone know more about this????  I am clueless.  headscratch.gif

 

She also tested him for lead poisoning, which was also negative.

 

I told him, "Guess what, honey?  All of your blood tests showed your blood was healthy and nothing is wrong!"  I thought he might be relieved or something.  He said, "Why did you do that to me then? That was dumb!"  Oh, the logic of a five-year-old.  Ummm, well, we had to do the tests to make sure you were ok!!!  Poor guy though.  It was VERY hard for him to do the blood draw.

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#13 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 02:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the post Tanyalynn!

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#14 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 05:40 AM
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I would only remove 1 at a time!  The first reason being that in people w/ sensitivites to gluten and casein, they can have an opiate effect in the brain.  So removing them is like going through drug withdrawl.  So it may be difficult on more than one front (not only bc he's missing his favs but also b/c it can be like drug withdrawl).  Removing both at the same time can be too much as far as withdrawl plus you don't know which one is his worst offender.  For us, it was casein.  My son (at age 2) would body slam himself, act like he was getting sick he was so grumpy and whiny, and throw stuff at my hubby while he was driving (from his carseat) when on casein.  He is a different child off of it it.  Now that he's older, he can have an infrequent treat if he has a digestive enzyme to go with it (plus we've done NAET therapy which has helped).  I have never noticed a huge difference taking him off gluten.  So even though I don't eat gluten, he does.  Here's the catch.  His blood tests showed sensitivities to wheat, casein, tomato.  He's been CF and tomato free since age 2.  But his NAET showed sensitivies to dyes (which he's not really had much of), CORN, and all dairy.  He used to beg for a bowl of frozen corn and gorge on it.  I told the NAET person this which is what prompted her to test him for it.  Removing corn has helped even more.  Right now, he's more corn free than gluten free. 

 

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#15 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 05:45 AM
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Also, the NAET person told me that corn is huge for persons w/ ADHD and autism.  She's taken 80% of her ADHD patients off their meds after healing their corn issues.  And she had one nonverbal autistic child who's speech therapist fired him he began talking so much after healing corn issues.  I don't get down to avoiding maltodexron (sp?) - that is in every prepackaged broth at Whole Foods.  But I don't cook w/ corn anymore, try to avoid gluten free products w/ corn starch, and have switched son from torilla chips to whole wheat crackers.  Plus, I know we'll keep up on his NAET therapy. 

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Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

 

My son's doctor tested him for gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, peanut, and shellfish allergies, and he came back negative for any allergies.  So does this mean that this is not a concern and that I shouldn't even try the GF or DF route?  Anyone know more about this????  I am clueless.  headscratch.gif

 


Food intolerances are different than allergies.  The PP mentioned ALCAT and maybe something else--those are looking for intolerances.  My kids and I don't have any true IgE allergies, our reactions wouldn't be validated by traditional allergy testing, but foods can do weird stuff to us. 

 

If you do remove one food at a time like the other PP mentioned--don't add it back in before eliminating something else, at least not for the most commonly problematic foods.  I don't think that gluten would've shown up as a problem if we hadn't also been dairy-free--and it could be any combination for other people, but the cumulative effect of these things can prevent seeing an issue with any one.  People can have multiple types of reactions to a food, and some can be more subtle. 

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#17 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 08:45 AM
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I would be interested in the method of testing.  Check out Great Plains Laboratory and read up on how IGG allergies affect behavior.  IGE/IGA usually test for immediate reactions - like eat a peanut or strawberry and can't breathe or drink milk and vomit (immediately).  IGE tests for more subtle and delayed reactions - such as behavior, bed wetting, etc. 

 

Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

 

My son's doctor tested him for gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, peanut, and shellfish allergies, and he came back negative for any allergies.  So does this mean that this is not a concern and that I shouldn't even try the GF or DF route?  Anyone know more about this????  I am clueless.  headscratch.gif

 


Food intolerances are different than allergies.  The PP mentioned ALCAT and maybe something else--those are looking for intolerances.  My kids and I don't have any true IgE allergies, our reactions wouldn't be validated by traditional allergy testing, but foods can do weird stuff to us. 

 

If you do remove one food at a time like the other PP mentioned--don't add it back in before eliminating something else, at least not for the most commonly problematic foods.  I don't think that gluten would've shown up as a problem if we hadn't also been dairy-free--and it could be any combination for other people, but the cumulative effect of these things can prevent seeing an issue with any one.  People can have multiple types of reactions to a food, and some can be more subtle. 



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#18 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 08:48 AM
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Also, according to the dr that did my son's IGG testing, it takes 3 weeks for casein to be fully eliminated from your system and it can take up to 6 mos for gluten.

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#19 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

 

My son's doctor tested him for gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, peanut, and shellfish allergies, and he came back negative for any allergies.  So does this mean that this is not a concern and that I shouldn't even try the GF or DF route?  Anyone know more about this????  I am clueless.  headscratch.gif

 


Food intolerances are different than allergies.  The PP mentioned ALCAT and maybe something else--those are looking for intolerances.  My kids and I don't have any true IgE allergies, our reactions wouldn't be validated by traditional allergy testing, but foods can do weird stuff to us. 

 

If you do remove one food at a time like the other PP mentioned--don't add it back in before eliminating something else, at least not for the most commonly problematic foods.  I don't think that gluten would've shown up as a problem if we hadn't also been dairy-free--and it could be any combination for other people, but the cumulative effect of these things can prevent seeing an issue with any one.  People can have multiple types of reactions to a food, and some can be more subtle. 

 

Ok, this is what I wondered about.  I wondered if it could be a problem even if it didn't show up as an allergy.  I think I will still experiment with altering his diet!

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#20 of 20 Old 12-11-2010, 12:24 PM
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Some people don't show up for allergies but some drs (usually autism drs, I think) will do peptide testing. 

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