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Emotional health and gluten...?

Posted by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:57 AM
  • 10 Replies
Just a little background...
My son is 3.5 years old and since he was just over 1 he has had these terrible meltdowns. I have tried everything from ignoring, distractions, and punishing and nothing has help. He cannot control himself in the midst of these meltdowns. He goes into a whole different zone. He used to have a lot trouble with constipation and sometimes he will complain of a stomach ache.

Now...
I have done a lot of research on different things because the rage he sometimes has in the meltdowns are just plain over the top. He is super intense in pretty much every emotion but most especially when he is mad.

So...
Has anyone had an experience or know if gluten has had this effect on a child? As I said I have read a lot about this and I feel like this may be my next step. 2 years of this is enough and tells me it not "just a phase." He has an appt on July 8th to talk to the doctor about this. I want to get it under control because he starts preschool 2 days a week in September.
by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:57 AM
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Replies (1-10):
clairewait
by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 3:37 PM

I never really have bought into the whole gluten-free craze that is sweeping affluent countries right now. I don't know. I think SUGAR probably has more of an affect on emotional wellness than gluten, specifically. I also could be on board that there is something wrong with feeding our kids red dye #5, etc.

I think the best thing to do for kids and emotional balance is create a rigid routine. This means a good schedule but also means a tidy house and routine eating habits. Eat at the same times every day. Feed them a well balanced diet. Limit sugars, sweets, and treats but don't ban them altogether. I don't allow "snacking" all day long - even on healthy foods. We have meal times and we have snack times. And eating takes place at the table as often as I can help it.

Based on experience and observation alone (and I was a teacher and therapeutic counselor for at-risk youth for many years), I can tell you there is a direct correlation between regular sit-down family dinners and behavior and emotional health. Actually, I think there is plenty of statistical evidence to support this as well.

If I was in your shoes, I'm not sure I'd jump to any diet extremes until I established a very regular eating, sleeping, and organization routine.

alysson99
by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 4:06 PM

I don't know about the behavior, but it is worth a try for the physical. I do know I have a friend who's son has always had horrible eczema, and for several months has had horrible stomach/constipation issues (he is 6). She has put him on a gluten free diet, recommended by a specialist, and it has really helped with the stomach and eczema. I do know that it does take a few weeks for the body to get gluten free, so it isn't an immediate change, you have to keep going for at least a month. Wait and see what the doctor says, and see a specialist if you need to (allergy maybe). I don't know about the emotional, does he act like that with other people as well? It doesn't sound like a phase to me. For a little kid, a phase lasts for a week or a couple of months, when it goes longer it has become something else. I would see a specialist on that too, maybe a behavioral specialist.

sahm111
by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 5:29 PM
He has been having the meltdowns since before he turned 2and he has had aczema since he was a baby. He will randomly say "my belly hurts." So I'm thinking it will probably be worth a try though very hard! My boy likes his pizza, pasta, and bread! So if anyone has tips I am open!

Quoting alysson99:

I don't know about the behavior, but it is worth a try for the physical. I do know I have a friend who's son has always had horrible eczema, and for several months has had horrible stomach/constipation issues (he is 6). She has put him on a gluten free diet, recommended by a specialist, and it has really helped with the stomach and eczema. I do know that it does take a few weeks for the body to get gluten free, so it isn't an immediate change, you have to keep going for at least a month. Wait and see what the doctor says, and see a specialist if you need to (allergy maybe). I don't know about the emotional, does he act like that with other people as well? It doesn't sound like a phase to me. For a little kid, a phase lasts for a week or a couple of months, when it goes longer it has become something else. I would see a specialist on that too, maybe a behavioral specialist.

sahm111
by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM
We actually do limit sugar and he eats a well balanced diet so I really don't think it is that. We eat as a family and we have a good routine! He has good days and bad so we will see what the doctor says! Thanks for your input!

Quoting clairewait:

I never really have bought into the whole gluten-free craze that is sweeping affluent countries right now. I don't know. I think SUGAR probably has more of an affect on emotional wellness than gluten, specifically. I also could be on board that there is something wrong with feeding our kids red dye #5, etc.

I think the best thing to do for kids and emotional balance is create a rigid routine. This means a good schedule but also means a tidy house and routine eating habits. Eat at the same times every day. Feed them a well balanced diet. Limit sugars, sweets, and treats but don't ban them altogether. I don't allow "snacking" all day long - even on healthy foods. We have meal times and we have snack times. And eating takes place at the table as often as I can help it.

Based on experience and observation alone (and I was a teacher and therapeutic counselor for at-risk youth for many years), I can tell you there is a direct correlation between regular sit-down family dinners and behavior and emotional health. Actually, I think there is plenty of statistical evidence to support this as well.

If I was in your shoes, I'm not sure I'd jump to any diet extremes until I established a very regular eating, sleeping, and organization routine.

alysson99
by Member on Jul. 1, 2014 at 3:03 PM
1 mom liked this

They have all kinds of gluten free packaged bread, pasta, and pizza, but you could also make your own to save money and make it healthier. There are so many options now, and all kinds of other grains that you can do with meals to replace those kinds of things. Also, with the son of my friend, he had allergy testing and didn't come back allergic to gluten or wheat (or have celiac disease), it's just a sensitivity that messes with his body. So it's worth giving it a try even if you don't get allergic test results. If it doesn't work out, your ruled out that specific issue and can move on with other things. Good luck.

Rota
by Member on Jul. 1, 2014 at 7:25 PM
1 mom liked this

I am a wellness nurse and without knowing all the details, I will give you some suggestions. You sound very intellingent so you may have already tried some of these.

1. eliminate artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Even children's vitamins have some of these nasty things in them. Flintstones has formaldehyde for example. many children are highly sensitive to these things. Most doctors are clueless about nutrition, food additives and their effects.

Make sure that your child is getting top quality vitamins. Many vitamin deficiencies can be manifested as behavior problems. Most of the vitamins that you get form Walmart, drugs store, discount stores, and even many health food stores are artificial. Again- you want to avoid artificial anything.

Most packaged foods are not real food. If you need further explanations about this - let me know.I won't go into details because you said you eat healthy.

Eliminate fruit juice since it is mostly sugar and offers very little nutrition. Make sure that the child is getting a probiotic and omega 3. Going gluten free may help. Ususually it takes at least 6 weeks of completely eliminating all gluten foods to assess changes in health- physical as well as emotional.  remember that substituting one grain for another may not be the best option if carb overload is a consideration.

Let me know if this doesn't help.

 

SeventiesChild
by on Jul. 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM

I have to agree with this. So many delicious options out there!! There is a gluten free bread by Samis bakery called "millet and flax". The others i have tried arent very good. Almost every morning i make extremely delicious gluten free panakes. It is so worth the effort . (Takes me only 5 minutes now) I used to be sad walking down the groery store aisles realizing i couldnt eat about 90 percent of what was on the shelves, but i am over it now because i feel so good. (I only have a wheat intolerance, not allergy but i still prefer to stay off wheat as it helps decrease a physical ailment i have)

Quoting alysson99:

They have all kinds of gluten free packaged bread, pasta, and pizza, but you could also make your own to save money and make it healthier. There are so many options now, and all kinds of other grains that you can do with meals to replace those kinds of things. Also, with the son of my friend, he had allergy testing and didn't come back allergic to gluten or wheat (or have celiac disease), it's just a sensitivity that messes with his body. So it's worth giving it a try even if you don't get allergic test results. If it doesn't work out, your ruled out that specific issue and can move on with other things. Good luck.


Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
SeventiesChild
by on Jul. 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Even if the Dr says it isnt gluten, i would still give gluten free a try. Doctors are very minimally  trained in nutrition. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Go with your instincts.

Quoting sahm111: We actually do limit sugar and he eats a well balanced diet so I really don't think it is that. We eat as a family and we have a good routine! He has good days and bad so we will see what the doctor says! Thanks for your input!
Quoting clairewait:

I never really have bought into the whole gluten-free craze that is sweeping affluent countries right now. I don't know. I think SUGAR probably has more of an affect on emotional wellness than gluten, specifically. I also could be on board that there is something wrong with feeding our kids red dye #5, etc.

I think the best thing to do for kids and emotional balance is create a rigid routine. This means a good schedule but also means a tidy house and routine eating habits. Eat at the same times every day. Feed them a well balanced diet. Limit sugars, sweets, and treats but don't ban them altogether. I don't allow "snacking" all day long - even on healthy foods. We have meal times and we have snack times. And eating takes place at the table as often as I can help it.

Based on experience and observation alone (and I was a teacher and therapeutic counselor for at-risk youth for many years), I can tell you there is a direct correlation between regular sit-down family dinners and behavior and emotional health. Actually, I think there is plenty of statistical evidence to support this as well.

If I was in your shoes, I'm not sure I'd jump to any diet extremes until I established a very regular eating, sleeping, and organization routine.


Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
SeventiesChild
by on Jul. 27, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Something to consider is that refined flours are simple carbohydrates! Which means, they  turn to sugar in the body! So even if you limit sugar, you are still getting sugar in the form of bread, cereals, crackers, pasta........

michiganmom116
by Bronze Member on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:55 AM
1 mom liked this

Food Renegade has a LOT to say on this.  check out her site foodrenegade.com for more info. 

Your son's issues...yeah, I'd dump gluten.  I was told by my mainstream-thinking physician that I didn't have a gluten allergy, but then had a holistic doctor tell me otherwise.  I was tired all the time, had a skin rash for years, horrible mood swings and multiple digestive issues.  I decided to drop the gluten foods and everything disappeared within 30 days.  I did the same with my kids:  one son's chronic migraines and tummy aches disappeared....DD's mood swings leveled out....and acne issues calmed down a lot.

I don't use gluten-free processed foods.  They're often full of more crap and less nutrition than the typical food you're trying to replace.  I make everything from scratch and use coconut flour and/or almond flour to cook/bake...they have a lot more flavor and I know what's going in my food.  I have recipes for bread, quick breads, tortillas, muffins, etc.   I also sub veggies for pasta.  I find the veggies to taste better AND I'm adding nutrition and fiber to our meals.  Cauliflower works great as a sub for elbow mac, and shredded cabbage cooks down nicely in spaghetti sauce.

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