What’s Eating Your Kid?: How to Identify Food Sensitivities in Your Child

Source: Stuart Richards, flickr

Bitter morning coffee wakes you up. A crisp salad makes you want to go outside. A heavy turkey dinner makes you want to sleep.

Food has such a sway on how we feel during our day to day lives. For a large percentage of us, some food makes us feel downright awful. Nearly 80% of the population suffers from some sort of food sensitivity. Children, especially, suffer from food sensitivities because they often lack the knowledge of dietary needs and the ability to express their symptoms.

Food sensitivities are not to be confused with allergies. 5% of the population is estimated to suffer from a true food allergy. If your child has a true food allergy, you will probably be able to identify it fairly swiftly. Perhaps your child’s tongue swells up after eating a peanut butter sandwich or they get a rash after eating some strawberry shortcake.

Food sensitivities, however, are a bit more difficult to notice and identify, although they can cause as much harm as an allergy. Sensitivities can present themselves in your child as restlessness, depression, mood swings, or even aggression. If you suspect that your child is suffering from a sensitivity, here are some steps you can take to identify it.



Allergy Test:

A doctor will take and test blood to determine whether or not your child is suffering from a true food allergy. There is also a ‘prick test’ in which a doctor will inject small amounts several allergens in a patient’s back and verify whether or not a bump develops, indicating a sensitivity. A true food allergy cannot be diagnosed through a prick test alone, though food sensitivities can.

Pro: These tests bring results fairly quickly, which will allow you to begin treating your child sooner.

Con: These tests have a fairly high false positive rates, especially for patients with eczema, asthma, or other allergies. Prick tests can be painful, especially for a child.


Elimination diet:
Avoid a suspect food for 3-4 weeks and then slowly reintroduce it and monitor the effects. If symptoms reappear with reintroduction, it is likely your child has a food sensitivity.

Pros: This diet is easy and virtually free. This can also be an empowering way to take control of your child’s health.

Cons: This diet is not always effective. If your child is suffering from sensitivities to more than one food, let’s say gluten and chocolate, eliminating only one might not alleviate symptoms to a point where sensitivity can be confirmed. In addition to this, you may have to try several foods before you can pin down a sensitivity. This can be an extremely time consuming process, during which your child may be suffering. Furthermore, even though a food may have caused your child no problems a year ago, food sensitivities can develop at any age, which means you must always be on alert.


Energetic Assessment:

Frequencies to foods are introduced through the skin and a stress response is recorded.

Pros: This test is non-invasive and results are immediate. In one sitting, you can be assessed for how your body responds to food at an energetic level.

Cons: Energetic assessment results not in a diagnosis, but instead a lifestyle recommendation. Well, maybe that’s not really a “Con.” Following the suggested lifestyle based on energetic assessment has historically shown to be a beneficent way of keeping food sensitivities at bay, although this test is not commonly covered by insurance.



In the end, only YOU know what is right for your child. If you are having trouble deciding which action to take, please contact me or comment below! While I can’t perform an allergy test, I have experience with elimination diets and energetically assess clients at my office quite frequently. I’d love to help you help your child live each day as best as they can.

5 Ways to Help Your Child Stay Healthy This Year

Public schools can be a hot spot for germs. When your child sits down in math class, they have no idea who may have been sneezing on that desk just minutes earlier. It is inevitable that your child will be exposed to millions of bacteria this year. Here are some ways to support your child’s body to help them stay as healthy as possible this year!



1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

This must be a no-brainer to you. Your child’s body needs support in order to function properly and fight off infection. Skip the sugary breakfast cereals and instead opt for a handful of fruit thrown into hot oatmeal or a milk and frozen fruit smoothie. Check if your children are eating the veggies that come in their school lunches. If not, supplement their diet with an extra veggie option at dinner time.



2. Play outside

Never underestimate the power of sunshine. Over 3 million Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. It’s very difficult to get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D from food alone, but luckily you can get your daily dose by spending 25 minutes in sunshine each day (sitting by windows doesn’t work!). Sure, you could take a supplement, but why spend money when the sun is giving away the stuff for free?

In addition to this, playing outside is a good way for your child to get exercise. With obesity levels rising, it is important to instill good habits and hobbies in your child so they can carry their health with them beyond their childhood.



3. Keep hands clean, but don’t abuse hand sanitizers

You should set up a hand washing routine for your child. Tell them a good rule of thumb is to wash their hands after each time they use the restroom as well as before and after each meal. Teach them to keep their fingers out of their mouths, nose, and eyes throughout the day. This will cut chances of ingesting some germ.

In public schools, hand sanitizer is nearly always available for students to access. While sanitizer works magnificently to kill germs, I recommend limiting your use of this product. Overuse of sanitiers can promote bacterial resistance and breed super bugs. Unless you have absolutely no other choice, opt for old fashioned soap and water. It is healthier in the long run.



4. Set a bedtime

Studies show that going to bed and waking up at around the same time each day is the optimal way to get the most restful sleep. When the body is rested, it is stronger and more effective at fighting off infections. When setting a bedtime, you will have to find the perfect balance for your family’s routine. On weekends, though it will be tempting, don’t allow your children to sleep beyond two hours of their weekday routine or else you risk resetting their sleep schedule!


Credit: Anna Gutermuth

5. Stay home

Imagine your child gets sick. They stay home from school for a few days and, even though they aren’t feeling 100% better, they say they’re ready to go back. Maybe they are scared of falling behind on homework or missing a test or a field trip. Unless it has been 24 hours since their fever broke, keep them home! When fighting infection, a body is left even more vulnerable. If your child returns to a germy environment before their body is strong again, it is very possible they can catch another virus, which might do even more damage.