It's an interesting thing, dealing with food allergies. Our youngest daughter, almost 4, has intolerance to some foods, dyes and preservatives. Once we got our daughter's allergies figured out she became outgoing and happy all the time. Before figuring them out she would scream all the time. This isn't an over-exaggeration. I stopped going places at night because, as an infant, she screamed horrible screams the entire ride. She cried almost constantly. She fussed all the time. She was a very unhappy baby.
As a younger toddler, 18 months-3 years, she was extremely clingy and refused to go to Nursery class at church almost every week. Most kids love being able to go play with toys and have snacks, but she didn't care. After many months, she finally got more relaxed and comfortable just before she turned 3. Once she was 3 she was able to go the Sunbeams class. That required that she sit through a 10 minute spiritual lesson called Sharing Time and about 30 minutes of singing time. She was the ONLY child that did not adjust after a few weeks. She constantly ran around the room. She refused to participate. She climbed on my lap and snuggled. She would dance and twirl, which sometimes sparked the other little girls to get up in front with her to twirl their skirts around. It was cute and yet embarrassing too.
We had already figured out that she couldn't have gluten, food dyes, and dark colored clothing. We also knew that she couldn't use soaps and lotions with dyes or gluten. I switched to a calendula based diaper cream because the petroleum based creams caused her severe pain.
One day a friend sent me a link to a blog post about petroleum based food dyes and the preservatives that are also petroleum based and cause similar symptoms. I read that and gasped! The "treats" that we thought were okay might actually be causing problems. I had to test it out; remove the preservatives and see how she responded.
When we eliminated gluten she became more happy. People said she was like a new child. When we removed food coloring she became even more happy. Again, people were shocked at how different she was. Then we removed the preservatives TBHQ and BHT. The results were awesome! Just awesome!
I didn't think she could be any more happy, but I was wrong. All of the sudden she was talking to people at church instead of screaming at them. She climbed in peoples' laps instead of hiding behind me. She smiled at people instead of growling at them. It was fantastic! Again, she was a NEW child! Or, in reality, she was allowed to escape her painful prison. A prison no one knew was there.
Recently we had a few weeks where she became very sad and grouchy again. There had been about 3 Sundays where she refused to go to class and she cried most of the time. She became clingy and cranky. I kept trying to link it to the weather because it had been rainy. The problem with that became clear when she was grouchy even on sunny bright beautiful days. I was at a loss.
I began praying to know what was causing the problem because I have learned, over the years, that our moods can be directly linked to the foods we eat. Food has a HUGE effect on us. The answer to my prayer came as I pondered what we had been doing differently for food in the more recent past. The Gluten free macaroni and cheese that I had been giving her from Walmart popped into my head, She was begging for it almost daily. We purposely ran out of the macaroni and cheese and I told my husband that I was going to do an experiment to see if it was the cause. I thought maybe it was the annatto coloring. I noticed that the annatto coloring was also in the Earth Balance butter that we use. She had never had a bad experience with that before so before going crazy we just decided to see if it was something in the mac and cheese.
After about a week without this particular brand of mac and cheese her mood began to improve. It took approximately 2 weeks for the offending substance to leave her body and she began to be happy again. We continue to use the Earth Balance butter with no issues. What a relief!
I still don't know which ingredient caused the issue. The list of ingredients on the Walmart Gluten free mac and cheese is rather long. I didn't recognize MANY of the ingredients. I should not have purchased it at all, but was trying to save money. Ha! This is why I don't like "crappy" ingredients or "junk" in my food. Many of these ingredients aren't even food. That's why I tend to purchase items with natural and minimally processed ingredients. Ingredients that I can actually read and understand.
And the joys of food allergies continue....