Little B’s food journey
I’ve alluded many times to the fact that Little B has a unique diet.
But I’ve never gone into much detail about the path that brought us to where we are today, and the positive results that we’ve witness along the way.
Prior to Little B’s arrival, I was eating what I felt was a very healthful, balanced diet.
Lots of whole foods, fruit and veg, a balance of meat and non-meat proteins, wheat-free grains (spelt and kamut), limited refined sugars, some organic dairy products, and minimal packaged/processed foods.
When Little B was just a few weeks old, I noticed that he was experienced a lot more digestive distress than my older son did as an infant. B’s diapers were sometimes mucousy, he curled his legs up to his chest a lot, was quite gassy, and was developing a diaper rash. I knew that although these symptoms were common in babies, they were not ‘normal’ or optimal, so I began to look at my diet. Research and intuition led me to consider DAIRY as the culprit, especially since my intake of, and desire for dairy increased during my pregnancy and postpartum. I cut all dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream) out of my diet, and saw improvements within days. (Due to the fact that dairy and soy sensitivities usually go hand-in-hand, I also removed all sources of SOY from my diet.) He was a happier baby, and his tummy was much calmer.
By the age of 2, his sleep remained very restless, and he developed an eczema patch on his arm. I began to suspect that another food might be at fault, and this time we trialed GLUTEN. I adopted the Paleo style of baking, which guaranteed no gluten (instead using almond and coconut flours), dairy, or refined sugars. Immediately the eczema patch cleared up, and his sleep showed improvement. We did, however, continue to buy some of B’s favourite foods in gluten-free versions (tortillas, bread, and crackers).
My next eye-opener was at Christmas time, when we made some gingerbread houses. In addition to the some healthier decorations (raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips), I bought a very small amount of candy from the bulk store. While decorating, Little B sampled one of the bright strips of candy….and proceeded to act like a wind-up toy. He talked a ‘mile a minute’ and ran in circles until he eventually crashed from exhaustion an hour later. So, we added FOOD DYES to the ‘no’ list!
When he was 3 year old, I was dismayed to see the eczema coming back. He had new patches on his arms, plus a few on his tummy and back. Unlike the previous eczema flare-up, these patches were raised, raw and itchy. And when the redness started to fade, so did the pigmentation of his skin. A referral to the Pediatric Dermatologist gave us the diagnosis of “Vitiligo”, a condition that is thought to be autoimmune in origin. The Dr’s only suggestion was to use an immunosuppressant cream, which had at best, a 50% chance of working. And of course, it came with potential side effects.
In the meantime, Bennett’s moods were becoming more extreme. He would often get ‘stuck’ in an angry state, asking the same question repeatedly, and at times getting violent. His highs were very high, his lows were very low, and he had days when he had trouble focusing or staying still. He was able to control his moods while at school, but they would burst forth on his days home with me.
At this point, I suspected that he was still experiencing some inflammation and gut imbalances. Along with increasing his gut-healing foods, I decided to go GRAIN free, removing the rice– and corn-based products that we were still consuming on occasion.
As of today, Little B’s moods are much more balanced. He is able to flow from one emotion to the next without getting ‘stuck’, and his lows and highs are less intense. The perseverating and repetition of requests has decreased, and while he still has boundless energy, he is better able to express it in positive ways. His eczema has healed, and some of the vitiligo spots are fading. He is no longer bloated or complaining of tummy aches, the dark circles under his eyes have faded, and his sleep is much more restful.
Along the way, we have also used various supplements and complementary healing modalities (homeopathy, energy medicine, Osteopathy, essential oils) that have, without a doubt, aided our journey.
And it still that, a journey.
We don’t yet know if he will need a restricted diet for the long-term, or with time (and gut healing), he will be able to consume some of these foods occasionally.
But for now, we have found our ‘groove’.
In the beginning stages of each elimination, it was definitely challenging; I liken it to learning a new language. Now, we have our go-to products and recipes. I know how to read menus and food labels to search for the tricky ingredients. Bennett knows to ask before eating something, and has grown comfortable with the idea that his school lunch looks different than his peers’. He is eating a variety of healthful, tasty foods, and does not feel deprived.
And what I know for sure, is that the time, effort, and cost of his current diet is absolutely worth the positive outcome.
Little B is a happy, healthy, thriving, amazing little boy. ♥
(Please remember, you don’t have to face this sort of journey alone. It is *exactly* why I do what I do. I want every child to have a chance to be their ‘best self’, and am here to help parents find their own groove…minus the overwhelm and stress.)