Friday, January 18, 2013

Food Issues Diet In Progress

My older son is having issues with food affecting him. He has symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia, but only when not eating for 5-6-7 or more hours. He may also be having food intolerances (food allergies) again.

In the past he has had problems eating wheat and dairy. The diet to eliminate those resulted in adding in soy which he then reacted to. After three years off all that (ages 3-6) we added back the dairy in moderation and the wheat (lots) and saw no problems per se. One could argue that perhaps his immune system was taxed by an offending food and thus he fell prey to contracting Lyme Disease multiple times, as well as mono at age 12, then chronic tonsillitis which ended in 2012 when they were surgically removed.

At moving time in August of last year my son was getting picky about eating and got down to dairy and wheat again, the thing he did when younger which resulted in bad things happening when eating those foods. This is probably all related to leaky gut due to NOT eating a more balanced diet. Also that month he began daily antibiotics for acne, which can kill off good bacteria in the gut that can lead to leaky gut and/or food intolerances/allergies and/or to candida overgrowth. With teens you have to pick your battles and after the stress of the move and my own health problems such as extreme fatigue from severe anemia and low vitamin D I was not up for doing battle.

Well this is day six of the diet. What is happening is my older son is on the candida diet, since he has multiple symptoms of candida overgrowth, something that some feel is controversial or perhaps in and of itself is a sham. We are treating this 14 day candida diet like a detox cleanse. In solidarity my husband and I have joined him. I have removed all the offending foods from plain sight or thrown them away so we are not tempted. Basically all we can on this diet is meat and vegetables, nuts and wild rice. No dairy, no sugar, no fruit, no alcohol, no vinegar, which rules out most condiments and many salad dressings. Most flavored drinks are out thanks to either the sugar or the dairy restrictions.

So how are we faring?

My husband feels no different.

I feel a stable energy level all day and a stable happy mood. Things that formerly would have angered me or made me irate are rolling off of my shoulders. Something bad that happened failed to rouse my usual anger levels. Bad news reported by the media and political events are not affecting me negatively. I have no headaches or cravings. I do miss the chocolate though.

My son does not want to admit any positive change as he loves his wheat and wants it back. He says he misses the rush and the highs he got from eating sugar or wheat, that he likes the rush up and doesn't care about the plunge down. (The fact that he now admits he feels those is a red flag that something is wrong.) In reality his ability to learn was made difficult from bad moods, negative self-talk, low energy levels, being so tired that he could not read, and "brain fog" / cloudy thinking which impeded memorization or remembering anything such as what assignment was due, so forth and so on. What we observe from our vantage point is a happier, more talkative kid like the one we used to know before the change which we attributed to being teenage angst or "teen moodiness". My son is laughing with me, talking with me, and being affectionate again. I am thrilled to have my old son back.

The plan is on day 15 to reintroduce wheat and see what happens. If the food offends his system he will see it plainly and we hope he will choose to acknowledge this fact. The counselor is working with him on learning to trust his own body and to make decisions on his own rather than being Mr. No to anything the parents say such as "It's time to eat dinner with us" and "Instead of eating an enitre loaf of bread with butter for lunch you should have some meat on a sandwich with some fruit or a vegetable".  Anyway...on another day dairy will re-enter. On another day, fruits and natural sugars.

My son was curious to see what happened as he knew he was feeling low in energy and that food made his behavior change. He willingly entered this diet although he kept postponing its start date and was lured mostly by a big monetary prize which awaits at the end if he finishes the 14 days. Meanwhile he is taking vitamins and probiotics in order to heal a leaky gut in case that also exists.

I hate restrictions for me and for my kids. The hardest part of the diet for me is being in the real world and being surrounded by food that I cannot eat (even if it is for 14 days only). I hate being in a restaurant and not being able to eat all that comes with that meal, or the idea of not being able to have a sandwich on bread or a roll with my hamburger. And I miss chocolate. Oh, I already said that, right?

I'm sharing this story just to check in and let you know how we are faring. I am so happy to see in my son the great kid he used to be. I thought I'd lost that part of him in the change from boy to young man.

The pediatrician does not believe in candida overgrowth or food intolerances. The pediatrician does not feel an endocrinologist consult is warranted after the easy fasting blood sugar overnight came back normal. I wonder if the hypoglycemia should be checked out with an endocrinologist anyway. I am undecided about that. I wonder if my son is just very susceptible to insulin rushes and if he is somehow in a pre-diabetes stage. I don't think it is normal to feel an energy rush after eating two slices of bread. Plus, if you could see what happens if he goes 6-8 hours without eating you would want to get some kind of help, trust me. I honestly think he has reactive hypoglycemia since recent experiments with eating every 2-3 hours with protein at every snack or meal helped keep those rages away.

Truly I am sharing this story on the Internet because I know other parents struggle with food allergies and food intolerances and hypoglycemia.

Link: Hypoglycemia FAQ


Deborah said...

It took 20 years for me to recover from possible leaky gut caused by gluten intolerance...I had apparent reactive hypoglycemia from a quick but never dangerous drop in blood sugar. My mom thought she had candida overgrowth, but spent years on nystatin without apparent improvement, so I suspect it was something else...especially because she insisted that y.o. must be my problem too, because I had so many of the symptoms! One of my kids has had thrush on her tongue that caused scarring, related to Type 1 diabetes, which was fixed with an anti fungal medication. Having seen that, I would guess that systemic candidiasis would be obvious. IF your son has gluten intolerance (if my experience is similar), if wheat is continued in the diet, it can take years to recover. I DO NOT have celiac (according to the blood test), but the gluten grains damaged my health. Meanwhile, no doctor ever suggested that diet could be causing problems: one even suggested I see a psychologist, because (he said) my anger was causing physical symptoms. I wasn't angry, but I wasn't happy either because I felt SO HORRIBLE all of the time, for an almost continuous period of about three took over 20 years for me to feel "normal" most of the time. It can be hard to diagnose food intolerances because there are so many variables, and it can be hard to stick to what works...because wheat is so very very tasty, for starters. Good luck to you all!

Ahermitt said...

Ugh... you just reminded me that I never made my daughter's endocrinologist appointment that was suggested 6 months ago. I just hate it when doctors start PRACTICING medicine on us and would rather make dietary and exercise changes, but since my daughter is resisting, It looks like I have no choice. She may have PCOS at 16. I feel like all the new engineered foods are causing these problems in our kids.

Wishing improved health to you and yours.