Countless nights were spent, restless, praying for an answer. Were we bad parents? Were we being too lenient? Were we being too tough? Were we going about parenting the wrong way? My husband and I wanted nothing more than to figure out what was causing our toddler to act out. We were at a loss as her tantrums became more severe and more frequent. In tears, I often found myself prayerfully seeking the Lord's direction. Through counseling and parenting classes we sought wisdom to make sure we were doing our best to raise her right and appropriately control her fits of rage.
Since she was born, London has always lived her life to the fullest. When she is excited, she's the brightest ray of sunshine. But on the opposite side of the coin, she wears her frustration on her sleeve. This little girl's zest for life is contagious. But it broke my heart to watch these episodes come over her.
People would often say, "Oh, she's just strong willed. She'll grow out of it.” It was always so frustrating to me. These people never saw who she became in these, at times violent episodes. Throughout this season we changed our schedule and social calendar to accommodate what London was going through. Usually these episodes happened at home so very few people outside of Noah and me ever saw her act out like this. Our punishments didn’t seem to help, time-outs led to longer and stronger outburst, and any consequences were ineffective.
In an attempt to find answers I began my own research. Online research can often lead to an endless labyrinth of misinformed confusion. But my curiosity lead me to begin researching her symptoms. Realizing the affects food has on our body, I began researching the way a child's diet can affect their behavior. I came across an article that talked about children and gluten intolerance. It listed several symptoms that were an exact match of London's.
– stuffy nose
– chronic cough
– waking with bags under his eyes
– red ears
– respiratory issues
– bouts of diarrhea
– constant fatigue
– light sensitivity
– noise sensitivity
The article went on to include the following behavior problems:
– "rage" fits. They are like 10x worse than your basic tantrums!
– physical – hitting, kicking
– general unhappiness/sadness
– easily "set off"
I've always been very conscientious of what we feed our girls, so their diets were already pretty clean. But I knew I had to at least give it a try and see what a gluten-free diet would do for her. The worst case scenario was that it would be something we could rule out. Best case scenario — we might see some reprieve with our little girl's behavior. I knew it wouldn't be easy to eliminate gluten, but as a mother it was undoubtedly worth it!
Noah and I agreed to immediately remove gluten from London's diet. I know it comes across to most as overly inspirational, but it was like a switch was flipped. Whether that switch was turned on or off, she became a new girl as soon as the the gluten had been filtered from her little body. Her out of control tantrums stopped almost immediately and completely. She seemed more clear minded and once again became so much more pleasant. I had my little girl back!
According to Dr. Axe "Gluten can actually cause significant changes in the gut microbiota — a big problem considering that our overall health depends heavily on the health of our 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."
Everything we eat impacts our body. And food’s affect on our body is POWERFUL. I’m so thankful I discovered London’s gluten intolerance. Has it been easy? No. But I can unequivocally say it has been more than worth it! London still has temper tantrums from time to time (what four-year old doesn’t?). But they are FAR less severe and much less frequent. I have my sweet little girl back and I am so thankful for it!
If your child is having behavior issues or chronic allergy issues, please explore the possibility of food sensitivities, environmental sensitivities, etc, instead of a bunch of medications. Wouldn’t you rather know the CAUSE instead of just trying to treat it?