September 29, 2021 6 min read
I Googled everything I could think of to try and find an answer as to what was going on with London, my toddler at the time. My once sweet little girl wasn’t the same: she was angry, irritable, and at times, uncontrollable.
We prayed — a lot. My husband and I sought counseling.
But nothing seemed to work. I was about to call the doctor to talk about medication...and if you’ve been around the blog or Instagram, you would know I see medication as a last resort. I’d much rather do everything else before resorting to medication, but I was desperate.
Her rage fits continued to escalate while we were on a family vacation in Florida with my parents. London had become even more unmanageable and angry. I vividly remember sitting on the floor with her, holding her arms, as she screamed and tried to hit me. This lasted a couple of hours.
These episodes had become my new normal. This was the first time anyone other than my husband or myself had seen this behavior in her. But we were staying with my parents and there was no way to hide these explosive episodes.
Searching for a solution
As a family, we had intentionally been pretty isolated until this point. No one really ever saw her act out. Sure, my parents or my husband’s parents might catch a small glimpse from time to time. But they identified it as her being “strong-willed.” I knew in my heart, it wasn’t just that.
And I’m so glad I listened to my intuition because I was right...it wasn’t just her strong will.
That night, after an exhausting day with London, I once more reached for Google as a lifeline. But this time I searched for something I hadn’t previously thought of: the effects gluten has on behavior. I don’t think I had ever considered it until this point. So I clicked on a few articles and that’s when I found it.
There it was, in glowing lights, the answer that eventually changed our lives. It was an article that talked about children and gluten intolerance. Every listed symptom was a match of what London was experiencing:
Stuffy nose, chronic cough, waking with bags under his eyes, constipation, and easily "set off" just to name a few.
Finding the solution
My mouth hung open. It was the first time I felt some glimmer of hope. I immediately told my husband we were taking gluten out of London’s diet. He completely agreed with the plan. And we went cold turkey the next day.
For some, this might sound crazy, but within a few days, I noticed a huge difference. And within two weeks London had completely changed. It was honestly like a switch had been flipped. She seemed happier, less irritable, her tantrums were normal (no longer violent and uncontrollable), and her eyes were brighter.
Food is so powerful and I experienced it first hand with London. Gluten can actually change your gut microbiota. And that’s a problem because your overall health depends heavily on the health of your gut.
Research has shown that gluten intolerance (and celiac disease) is more than just a digestive problem. Gluten intolerance affects almost every cell, tissue, and system in the body. The bacteria that populate the gut help control everything from nutrient absorption and hormone production to metabolic function and cognitive processes.
A word of encouragement
If you have a child who’s struggling, whether it’s allergies, behavioral issues, educational issues, or you’re not even sure and you’re still in the dark, I encourage you to keep searching for the answer.
Society will often tell you just to give them medication. But that’s often not the best solution. I encourage you to be your own advocate: you know what’s best for your family. Secondly, be your child’s advocate. Do your own research and seek community. Avoid isolation even though it might be the natural tendency. But there is strength in community and it’s also where you often find answers.
About the author/author bio:
Kara Swanson is a certified nutritionist and the founder of Life Well Lived and Stuck to Thriving. She is married to her best friend and the proud mother of three. Her passion is to help women who feel stuck and frustrated achieve their goals through sustainable habits and simple nutrition.
Just because your child’s allergies seem complicated doesn’t mean the snacks have to be. I’ll admit, it can seem like a daunting task trying to figure out snacks for a child with allergies. But I want to give you a few things to keep in mind to make it easier along with several simple snack options.
When it comes to snacks, there are a few things I like to keep in mind.
1. Keep it simple
Try to avoid Instagram-worthy snacks. Have a couple options on hand you can easily grab throughout the day. As every parent knows: snacking on-the-go is a regular occurrence. So make sure you have something that will travel well.
2. Maintain balance
If your kids are anything like min, snacking is a favorite pastime activity. They would snack all day if I allowed them. But I try to limit their snacks to two per day. The first one is fresh fruit of some kind. Whether that’s a banana, an apple, or a cutie – find a fruit your child enjoys.
3. Try different things
This is true of all foods, not just snacks: your kids may hate a particular fruit one day and love it the next. But it’s important to encourage them to try different things.
4. Be prepared
Have fruit out for them (and yourself) to see. And also keep veggies cut and ready. This will make healthier snacking a more natural option.
Now, when it comes to the actual snacks, I like to have snacks that we can grab when I’m short on time or we’re heading out the door. I also like to provide snacks that are less processed but require little prep time.
I want to give you a few of both options: snacks that require minimal preparation along with a few grab and go options.
Snacks with minimal prep
Veggies and hummus
Choose their favorite veggie and introduce them to hummus. There are several different kinds of hummus you can choose from.
My kids love roasted chickpeas. The entire batch is usually gone within a couple of hours. And the best past, they’re so easy to make. Grab the recipe below.
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix all ingredients together and spread evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until crispy.
Chia Seed Pudding
If your kids like regular pudding, they’ll love this. Unlike the box or pre packaged pudding you find in stores, chia seed pudding provides a healthy dose of fiber and other healthy nutrients for your child. This is another snack that only takes a couple minutes to make. You can grab the recipe here.
As far as other healthy, allergy-friendly snacks options go, you can combine fruit with their favorite nut butter (i.e. banana with peanut butter or apple slices with almond butter) or chocolate chips and mixed nuts.
I’ve listed my four favorite snacks that you can easily carry in your purse or diaper bag.
Larabar bars (or any date-based bar)
Applesauce pouches (great for on the go!)
Freeze dried fruit and cashews
Whether it’s an applesauce pouch, freeze dried fruit, or popcorn, always try to find one with the fewest ingredients. And if possible, look for one that doesn’t have added sugar.
Kids and snacks go together like peanut butter and jelly (unless your child is allergic to nuts…). So, instead of worrying about what allergy-friendly options to provide, these snack ideas will make your job as a parent much easier and ensure your child doesn’t go hungry in between meals.
About the author/author bio:
Kara Swanson is a certified nutritionist and the founder of Life Well Lived. She is married to her best friend and the proud mother of three. Her passion is to help women who feel stuck and frustrated achieve their goals through sustainable habits and simple nutrition.
We want to thank Kara for sharing her story with us and some amazing snack ideas. I will definitely be trying out some of these snack ideas with my boys. The chia seed pudding sounds delicious!
If you like to learn more about Kara you can visit her website here or find her on Instagram.
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