Could food intolerances be to blame?


Do you ever get frustrated wondering why your child’s behaviors don’t change? Do you do your best with first-time obedience training but still have a particularly disobedient child? Does your child seem to flip a switch, being obedient one minute and then crazy, out-of-his-mind disobedient the next?

Consider whether food intolerances might be to blame. I have done quite a bit of research on this thanks to William. It started from day one, as did the colic.

William cried in pain almost 24/7 his first 6 weeks of life. We had no hope for Babywise (no sleep training for this newborn!). I remember working so hard to get him to go to sleep only for him to wake up 2 seconds after I put him down.

Out of desperation, I researched the top foods babies are allergic to and thought I would eliminate them from my diet (still nursing) one by one. I started at the top of the list with dairy and just a couple days later he was a NEW BABY! I could not believe what a difference it made. He stopped crying!

After about 3-4 days, I went out to eat and my salad came with cheese on it and our dessert had a little butter. I tried to pick around the cheese and only had a few bites of the dessert, not completely convinced that dairy was our problem. Well, the very next morning, he was back to his fussy self. So I got the confirmation I needed.

After we started solids, I noticed some new problems like eczema, so I kept a running list of all the foods we needed to avoid. The list of “bad” foods was longer than the list of “good” foods. Eventually, on the advice of the pediatrician, I added all of the foods back into his diet. He seemed to do okay, that is, until he started preschool. I quickly learned that although his digestive and eczema problems were gone, his food intolerances were affecting his behavior. The intolerances were still there; they were just manifesting themselves in different ways.

Motivated to improve the preschool situation, I researched it with gusto. My food intolerance “bible,” a book called Is This Your Child by Doris Rapp taught me so much. I learned that different manifestations of food intolerances include:

  1. Hyperactivity
  2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome
  3. Red/hot ears
  4. Red cheeks
  5. Sleep disturbances
  6. Dark circles under the eyes
  7. Small wrinkles under the eyes
  8. Congestion, frequent clearing of the throat
  9. Wiggly legs
  10. Nonsense speech
  11. Clicking of the tongue

I even learned that blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids (like William) are susceptible to a dairy intolerance. I started seeing all of these manifestations in him all day every day.

With the help of a naturopath, we ran a specific blood test (IgG) that confirmed several food intolerances. There were a couple on the list that I never would have suspected. Today, he’s on a very specific diet that has him avoiding dairy, wheat, all gluten, soy, eggs, bananas and avocados. Soy, in particular, causes extreme hyperactivity. This is interesting because we had him on soy formula and soy milk when he was a baby and toddler. I have tried adding bananas and eggs back in, but the under-eye circles come right back.

There is a genetic link with food intolerances, and I was allergic to dairy and wheat when I was a baby. They said I outgrew it, but I contend that my symptoms just changed. I have now been off wheat for 2 years, and I’m doing my best to avoid dairy. (That one’s hard for me.)

When I talk to friends about possible intolerances in their kids, I tell them to look for the foods their kids seem to crave. Typically, when kids have intolerances, they crave the foods they shouldn’t be eating. Those foods have an opiate effect on their brains, so it’s almost like a drug in the way they crave these foods. Many picky eaters have food intolerances.

William and I are content with our diets. Do we ever wish we could eat a slice of pizza? Sure, but we both know that we’ll suffer the repercussions later. So for the foreseeable future, we will continue as we have. There are so many dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free alternatives out there.

In addition to improving specific symptoms, William has been so healthy. He didn’t miss a single day of school last year while his brother succumbed to virus after virus. Lucas was so very sick for months on end. Just a couple months ago, I took him off dairy. The last straw was his comment, “Mommy, my tummy doesn’t like cheese.” He’s been so healthy. All of the sickness (runny nose, cough, stomach bugs and nausea) has completely gone away!



  1. Great article! Question: were the blood tests basically allergy tests? We’ve done those for my almost two-year-old daughter and nothing came back positive, just a mild egg white allergy. However, my husband has celiac, and I think I may be seeing adverse reactions in my daughter when she has too much wheat. Any thoughts on that? Thanks!!

  2. Thanks, Nicole. It’s important to realize that there are two different allergy tests. IgE is a blood test that a traditional allergist will do for you. They do that and the skin prick test. Several times, I have seen an allergist only for them to run this test, call it negative and send us on our way. I leave completely baffled! IgE allergies are the ones that send you into anaphylactic shock. Despite all the colic, eczema and other symptoms, my kids have no IgE allergies. To test for food intolerances (not true “allergies”), you need an IgG blood test. I have run into resistance in getting this test ordered. My naturopath will order it without question. She recommends it and knows how to translate the results. But my insurance doesn’t pay for a naturopath, so I have had to ask the pediatrician for it (or pay out of pocket). One doctor refused outright saying the “data didn’t support it” but three other doctors ordered it for me. They just said I would have to take the results to the naturopath to translate it. And the results are pretty clear, so it’s not hard to figure it out.

    If there are wheat issues in your family and you’re seeing adverse reactions in your daughter, I would consider eliminating it from her diet. Check out the book I recommend. It’s so incredibly enlightening. But you might also consider getting an IgG test done. They do have to draw blood (unless you go to a naturopath who will do a finger prick), so don’t take it lightly, but without that test I never would have known the full extent of my kids’ allergies.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  3. I highly, highly, highly recommend the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. It will definitely explain how the gut-brain connection, especially with kids, and help you figure out how to heal your food intolerances, not just deal with them. I’ve heard of so many people greatly helping their kids with autistic and other developmental (and digestive) issues! You can read a lot about it at

  4. Thanks! I’ll have to look it up. I would love to be able to heal our allergies!

  5. Thanks for taking your time to share your experiences and help other parents recognize signs of food intolerance. I hope that I can get Haydon figured out. I know there is something wrong with him.


  1. […] my kids chicken nuggets and we have a very healthy diet. But honestly, it was forced upon us by food intolerances and blood sugar instability. Lucas, whose only intolerance is dairy, has been known to eat a burger […]

  2. […] William has taught me a lot about food intolerances. At the same time that I had William tested, I had Lucas tested as well. I suspected that Lucas […]

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