The gluten episodes

Our youngest kiddo, "Little C", went through a rough patch this past summer and we didn't really know what was causing her issues at the time.

She had been a difficult baby. She screamed a lot and was extremely constipated. I eliminated gluten from my diet (I was breastfeeding her) and Little C's bowel movements normalized and her screaming totally went away - our baby became normal.

As time went on, Little C started eating solids and we did our best to keep gluten out of our diet.

Things were going well, until one day, we experienced a totally crazy tantrum from our sweet little girl. Little C was almost 2 when she began having tantrums that seemed too bizarre to blame on the terrible two's.


We didn't know why...

This past summer I hadn't been diligent in taking gluten-free snacks for Little C to eat when she was in the nursery at church and sometimes I assumed everyone knew about her 'allergy'. It wasn't so. There were quite a few times where Little C was given goldfish crackers because someone in her class didn't see her allergy sticker - or I'd simply forgotten to put one on her. The first time she ever had goldfish crackers it was reported that, "She really liked them!!" (as in...she ate a ton).

With Little C's gluten allergy, and mine as well, the side effects aren't immediate and they last for about 2 weeks after we've eaten gluten. Well, 1-3 days after church, Little C would begin having quite crazy, hair-raising screaming fits. Her eyes would go blank (as if nobody was home) and she would belt out the most terrifying scream I've ever heard. This screaming would go on for 30-45 minutes straight. There was no consoling her. She threw herself on the ground if we tried to touch her. Her whole body would go completely stiff if we picked her up. Talking to her was like talking to a wall - there was no reaction, no less screaming, it was like we weren't even there.

It was frightening.

We weren't always sure if she had eaten goldfish at church, and these tantrums seemed like more than a simple allergic reaction. It had been a long time since the days of our  'scrying baby' and it seemed we got a little lax in our food monitoring.

When Little C was having her episodes, the thought of her being autistic was front and center. I started researching, and you know what? Quite a few articles correlated un-diagnosed food sensitivities as being a leading cause of autism.

Wow.

We had always blamed her fits on gluten, but after a while, it started to seem silly to attribute her behavior to food. I felt like everyone else thought I was a loony mom who was making up excuses for my kid's bad behavior. I didn't know what to do. My child had a problem.

It was not easy to figure out the source of Little C's tantrums. Our doctor had us document her food intake, and we kept detailed records of her tantrums (including videos our doc could watch). After a couple months of record keeping, the answer became quite clear.

The research I had read and the words our doctor spoke were reassuring to us that gluten DOES cause our child to behave in a way that seems out of her control. Gluten is the culprit. My daughter has a delayed food sensitivity (this phrase was so foreign to me before all of this).

I wish we knew why Little C's body doesn't agree with gluten, but for now, we will continue to be those annoying parents who hover near the food table at a party, just to make sure our child doesn't sneak up and grab something off-limits to her body.

Also see: Gluten Intolerance Symptoms | My Story
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Does your kid have behavioral issues that are beyond the normal spectrum? Have you ever considered how food might have an impact on mental health? I'd love to hear - share below!

What's wrong with me?

I've been feeling horrible. My body is tired. I have the shakes during the day. I'm nauseous at night (no, I'm not preggers). My temper is short. My hormones have been all out of whack (I almost totally broke down crying in church today). I'm kind of a hot mess.

We're trying to figure it out.

My doctor has two ideas at present, either my mono (which I had when I was 18 or so) has kicked back up, or my adrenal glands are out of whack for who knows what reason. I'm thinking it's my adrenals, but once I mentioned the mono thing to my husband, he claimed that it must be mono because he's been feeling so horrible for so long too (so tired and always feels like he's getting a cold).

This has been going on since November. I've been trying to hide it in my day-to-day life, but why? I don't feel like myself.

We are tired. So very tired. My husband was so kind to come home a bit early one day last week - just so I could lay on the couch and rest. It makes me want to cry just thinking about how much I love that man and appreciate his support - even when he's not feeling well...

This pic of my man and my 1st born makes me smile like crazy...so I wanted to share it with you. I just love it.

But anyway. That's why it's been quiet here. I'm tired. I'm out of it. I don't have much energy for anything. I have a ton of draft posts, but no real content. My brain is mush. I'm tired (oh sorry, did I say that already?).

I'm taking a bunch of supplements in hopes of things improving, so please send a little prayer that it helps. 2 days in and I'm not feeling better (call me impatient...). Doctor's orders are to get more blood work done in 2 weeks if these supplements don't help. At this point, I just really want an answer - and to be filled with energy again.

I want to feel better! I'm tired of this!

There you have it. My feelings. My honesty...right here on the wide open internet. Hope I'm not complaining too much. I just really want to feel better.

 

Gluten Intolerance Symptoms | My Story

My daughter, Little C, wasn't happy when she was a newborn. In fact, she didn't poop for a 4 week stretch (weeks 2-6). Almost every day during those 4 weeks we would see a little trace of poop in her diapers (a teeny orange streak) and we kept assuming the next diaper would be a blow out. But it didn't happen.

After another visit to the doctor at 6 weeks old, we got on a schedule of sorts. We were giving Little C suppositories every 7 days - forcing her to have a bowel movement. We also gave her a ton of probiotics several times each day. Prior to the doctor visit, we'd used a lot of gripe water and gas drops and continued using gripe water as it at least helped calm her down. Her tummy was distended and she screamed and screamed. We actually named it "Scrying" because it was a scream/cry combo (loud and annoying too).

Long night after long night and several doctor appointments later, I eliminated gluten, dairy, chocolate and coffee from my diet. The switch to remove all these items right around Thanksgiving time was difficult, but my diligence paid off when Little C's disposition changed and she started having bowel movements naturally (oh, and she started sleeping a bit, that was nice). I was feeling pretty good too - I took up running and was actually enjoying it!

About 4 months after removing gluten, I made a plea to my doctor and she told me I could try gluten again in hopes that Little C had outgrown her sensitivity. I missed those pumpkin scones from Starbucks and was dying to have a treat! I hadn't expected it, but gluten proved not only a problem for Little C, but for me as well.

After I had gluten I became extremely lethargic. Then, a couple of days later, I experienced severe intestinal cramping. The pains brought me completely out of my seat writhing in pain. I gave birth without the mask of drugs and honestly, the pains I experienced after ingesting gluten were comparable to the extremely difficult contractions I had during the end of labor (the part where I thought I was going to die). They were severe and I cried over them at times. The pain would shoot down to my anus (sorry, I hate that word... just writing the facts). I didn't leave the house for a few days - I felt horrible. My poor husband felt helpless as there wasn't much he could do to help. The pain woke me up in the middle of the night and happened off and on throughout the days. I became constipated. Extremely constipated. My brain function slowed and my vision was fuzzy. My skin was sensitive. It felt like my whole body was bruised. My joints felt weak and I became extremely grouchy. I. was. so. tired.

It took my body about 2 weeks to recover.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance are VERY common.

I slowly began to realize that my life long 'weighted limb' feeling was not actually normal. My weak immune system was probably in part, due to gluten. My extremely low iron levels during pregnancy (which required weekly injections in addition to 6 horse-sized pills/day and lots of spinach eating) were not just a fluke, I was not able to absorb iron properly due to my gluten intolerance. My frequent, heavy flow periods were more than likely due to my gluten issues (this one is still being evaluated as I'm still pretty new to 'gluten free' and the cycle has only just kicked back up since weaning my youngest).

I've always been gluten intolerant - I just didn't know it.

Discoveries I made by going gluten-free:

  • I don't actually hate running as I'd wholeheartedly believed all my life. In fact, now that I have energy, I love it!

  • My disposition is much brighter day in and day out.

  • My foggy head cleared up and my vision, though not perfect, is much better.

  • My baby knows how to do something other than scream! (I think this is my favorite discovery - screaming babies are not very cool.)


It's so freeing to know the source of my life long aches and pains - and to have an answer.

Celiac Disease Facts & Figures | NFCA

Do you have a gluten intolerance? Do you have symptoms like I described, but have not been diagnosed? Talk to your doctor! If you don't have a Naturopathic doctor, I highly recommend you get one - they will take time to listen to you and are more inclined to look at what's going on with your body and help you a more natural way (natural remedies first, drugs last).

My gluten intolerance discovery changed my life for the best, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have and would love to hear your story - please share!