My oldest was almost three when he was diagnosed with leaky gut, I believe his cesarean section birthed played a part in that as well as the higher risk of autoimmune diseases because of family history. I was shocked though when I was told all the foods we would need to eliminate while we worked on healing his gut – peanuts, soy, dairy, grains, gluten and lowered sugar intake. I was gluten free because of my autoimmune disease but all those other things, they were all in our house, frequently consumed.
At first I was worried about what we would be paying in grocery bills, healthier options seem to have a higher price tag at the grocery store for some reason, and what were we even going to eat with all of these things missing from our diet?
Then I had a breakthrough in my thinking about food. Instead of thinking about everything we couldn’t eat, why weren’t we looking at what we could eat? That broadened our horizons immensely and gave me a much better attitude about the whole thing.
We eliminated the foods that my son was testing allergic/sensitive to and saw great results within just a couple of months. Now he is able to eat almost all of the things that we removed with just a few exceptions- gluten, dairy, and corn.
If you have just found out that you are dealing with food allergies or sensitivities here are a few suggestions that may make your life easier as you make this transition to a different diet.
Steps to Transition Diet
1.Go through your kitchen and toss EVERYTHING that your child cannot eat.
Even though you may not need to follow the same diet as your child on super busy nights when you want to just grab something you may make something they aren’t supposed to be eating. If your child is older and not yet used to having food restrictions they may accidentally grab a snack that they aren’t supposed to have.
By getting rid of everything that your child is not supposed to have it will be easier to make the transition because you don’t have any “bad” food options in the house.
2. Stop thinking about what your child cannot eat, instead look at all they can eat.
Use this time as one where you and your child can go on food adventures. Try different vegetables or fruits that you have never eaten, borrow cookbooks that have recipes from other cultures, create your own recipes, etc.
Sit down and make a list of everything that your child can eat. From there google recipes using those ingredients, you’ll be amazed at your options!
3.Plan basic meals and snacks for the first couple of weeks.
Yes, you will find absolutely amazing recipes using the foods that you can have, but it will probably be easier to plan simple and basic meals for the first two weeks to a month. Start your meal with a protein, a red meat or poultry selection, add a safe carbohydrate such: as sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat, squash, etc, lots of veggies- roasted, steamed, raw, salad, and add dessert at the end in the form of fresh fruit. You can find more ideas on creating simple meals here.
For snacks offer fresh fruits, veggies with hummus, lunch meat, safe nuts and nut butters, smoothies, etc. Using real, whole food will help heal your child’s gut and kick start their healing process.
4. Give your child a high quality probiotic.
Talk to your care provider about adding a high quality probiotic to your child’s daily regimen. The probiotic can help adjust gut bacteria and flora that may be off balance because of your child’s food allergies or sensitivities.
5. Introduce your child to bone broth and soups.
Bone broth has been shown to help heal the gut that may be injured by food sensitivities and allergies. Bone broth contains high amounts of gelatin, collagen, and glutamine which help repair the damaged intestinal wall.
You can drink the broth by the cupful or make lots of yummy soups with the broth. Using the broth to make soup can also be very good for a child who has food sensitivities or allergies because they may have leaks in their intestinal wall and not be able to absorb nutrients from their food properly. The combination of broth, cooked meats, and cooked vegetables is soothing to the gut as well as healing.
If you are dealing with food allergies do not add foods back into their diet without approval of your doctor; please work with your care provider as you work to heal your child’s gut and boost their immune system. Child food sensitivities and food allergies are serious and some can be life threatening, and though you follow the above suggestions this does not mean that your child will be cured of their food sensitivities or their allergies. These are just tips that we have found to help our family after finding out we had multiple food sensitivities.
Rebekah Thompson writes at Surviving Toddlerhood. She has been married for nine years and is momma to four little boys ages eight, five, three, and eight months. She is the author of The First Six Weeks: Thriving Naturally On Your Postpartum Journey and a certified birth doula through DONA International. She enjoys good coffee and tea, dark chocolate, running and learning as much as possible about healthy pregnancy/postpartum and fitness. You can check out her blog at www.survivingtoddlerhood.com