Food Intolerance 101

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Hi!  Welcome to MyKidHasWhat.com!

When we first discovered that my children had food intolerances, our world was turned upside down over night.  Suddenly, all the tips and tricks that I had learned didn’t work any more.

That’s why I started MyKidHasWhat.com and wrote Your Kid CAN Eat This!  It’s a 7-day meal plan and shopping list to help you find a little bit of peace as you learn to navigate the confusion.  It’s completely free, and you can find it by clicking on the picture below.  It will open in a new tab, so be sure to come back and keep reading.  I have more to share to get you started on your journey!

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Understand YOUR Condition

Not every patient is the same and your child’s reaction may not be the same as another child with the same allergy or intolerance.

There are several forms of food allergies and even more forms of food intolerance, all of which can be caused by a dizzying array of different reasons.  Be sure to work with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis if possible.  Use your doctor’s input to determine your best course of action.  Be sure to ask questions – lots of questions.  Ask what condition they suspect and what the protocol is for a diagnosis.  If your doctor won’t answer these questions, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.

We identified our food intolerances thru a food log and therefore, the cause and diagnosis are vague.  This has made it difficult to pursue treatment options for them beyond avoiding the trigger foods.

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

Food allergy is a serious life-threatening condition that causes the body to have a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.  Food intolerance generally does not cause anaphylaxis, but can cause symptoms that are quite severe, but usually not life-threatening.

Allergy

Allergy usually develops during infancy in approximately 6-8% of children.  It is characterized by a quick reaction, usually beginning with 2 hours, and affecting the skin, digestive system and/or airways.

Intolerance

Intolerance can develop at any age, and occurs in 45% of all people.  It is characterized by a slower reaction, even up to 72 hours after exposure).  Symptoms can include bloating, joint pain, Irritable Bowels Syndrome, tiredness, eczema, depressed mood, headache, weight gain, and many other symptoms.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a serious life-threatening allergic reaction that is most commonly caused by foods, insect stings, medication and latex.  It is a reaction that requires immediate medical treatment, including an epinephrine injection and a trip to the emergency room.  It can be fatal.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

The warning signs of anaphylaxis come on quickly (usually within 5 to 30 min) and typically affect more than one bodily system.  Here is a list of possible symptoms

  • red rash, usually itchy with hives/welts
  • swollen throat or other areas of the body
  • wheezing
  • passing out
  • chest tightness
  • hoarse voice
  • trouble swallowing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramping
  • pale or red face & body
  • feeling of impending doom

Know what you Can and Cannot Eat

You have probably already had the realization that many of the common food allergens are in most processed foods.  For that reason, I have found it simplest to just stick with whole food ingredients to keep my family safe.

Of course, there are those days when time is short and I want to reach for something easy.  So, when evaluating what is worthy of space in my pantry I make sure that it is also free of all the hidden forms of both milk and soy.  Many things have more than one name on food labels, and some ingredients have just been made from an allergen. (For example, caramel and caramel color are often made from milk.)

If you don’t already know the hidden names for your allergens check out this list.

Know Where to Get Good Information

I do not know everything.  And every person is unique and will react differently.  If you need more information than I provide here on my site there are many reputable sources to learn more.  Here are three that I can personally recommend.  Of course, you should also discuss all your medical decisions with your doctor.