Meal planning is essential if we want to make healthy choices for our family and easily follow a diet for Autism and ADHD. Set aside an hour a week to plan meals along with a matching grocery list. You will be glad you did!
Meal planning is essential if we want to make healthy choices for our family and easily follow a diet for Autism and ADHD. Set aside an hour a week to plan meals along with a matching grocery list. You will be glad you did!
The first article in this series discussed the difference between true food allergies and food sensitivities or intolerances. The second article outlined the various test available for determining food allergies and intolerances and now we’re turning the focus to test accuracy.
If you are going to spend your money on expensive testing, you will want to know how reliable they are and why you should do it.
The Problem with Food Allergy/Intolerance Testing
Now that you know all about the possible tests available, which ones are used for which type of allergy or sensitivity and intolerance, the simple truth is that these tests can be unreliable!
There are instances that false positives are given and people follow a diet that is too restricted. On the other hand, it’s also possible to get false negatives and continue to have persistent symptoms because you are not avoiding a food that you should be. At the same time, they could very well be accurate and truly confirm your suspicions.
So what good does all this information mean for you? Why should you bother with food testing if it could be unreliable? The simple answer is that they can help you focus on the foods that cause your body problems and speed up your results with knowing specific foods you should be eliminating. If you begin with eliminating only one or two items you suspect but don’t see the results you are looking for, a test might help you pinpoint additional foods that are also contributing to the problems.
All in all, you don’t NEED to do any testing. Even if you do test for a food allergy, the ONLY way you know if that test is accurate is to do an elimination diet and confirm with your symptom results.
Whether your symptoms are related to a true food allergy, a food sensitivity or intolerance, the only way to avoid the symptoms is to avoid the offending food(s). There is no prescription that can cover the symptoms and allow you to eat these foods.
Controversy surrounds the idea that you can eliminate certain foods for a period of time and then be able to eat them again at a later point in time. This may be the case for milder intolerances, but not for true IgE severe reactions. People tend to develop sensitivities to foods that are eaten often. For example, rice allergy is common in Japan, but not in America.
A rotation diet is helpful to build tolerance and reduce sensitivity to some foods. The ALCAT test is one that promotes a rotation diet based on the level of sensitivity tested for each item.
In the end, whether or not you choose to test for food allergies, it is a personal decision and there is no “one size fits all” answer or recommendation. The only thing that IS sure – elimination diets work.
The only way to heal your body from the myriad symptoms possible is to completely avoid the food that is the root cause of it all.
Management is all about learning to cope with a new lifestyle and creating a new routine. Learn all you can about your food intolerances, what to avoid, and what you can substitute. Most importantly, create a plan that will keep you from getting in a bind and resorting to eating a food you should avoid because you aren’t prepared.
You have a choice with your food. Do you want to live with your symptoms (or your child’s symptoms) OR are you willing to live without certain foods? Whether tested or not, recovering from the symptoms and struggles you have due to food allergies or intolerances is possible.
Don’t be overwhelmed!
If you are at a loss with the thought of trying an elimination diet and avoiding specific foods in your diet, there is help…
Visit Food Elimination Made Easy to read more about this learning and support program, delivered via audio, video and written materials so that you can learn in the way that suits you best.
Stop struggling and get started on your path to health and healing!
If you suspect that your child has food allergies or intolerances, there are several types of testing options available. (See part 1 of this article for information on the difference between allergies, sensitivities and intolerances.) Whether you have true allergies or other intolerances will determine the type of test you need.
To diagnose a food allergy, a doctor will usually do the following:
Detailed Patient History – including what food you think you are allergic to, when and how you react, what other foods you eat, how you prepare the food, how often you eat it, etc… This means you must already have a good awareness about the foods you eat and your reactions to them.
Physical Exam – to identify or rule out the possibility of other unknown medical problems
Food Log – you will then go and record everything you eat for a few days, when you eat it and what reactions you have. This helps with consistency in symptoms and provide your doctor with a clearer idea of the pattern.
Elimination Diet – you stop eating suspected or tested foods, if the symptoms go away, a diagnosis can be made. If you eat the food again and have a reaction, the diagnosis is confirmed. This confirmation cannot be used in the case of a severe IgE allergy, as it would be too dangerous to eat the food again. It would simply be eliminated completely.
Initial Testing – Once a diagnosis is suspected or has been made, a doctor can use standard tests to measure an allergic response. This can be a skin prick test, RAST or ELISA test, as well as other options like ALCAT test.
IgE Mediated Reactions (Acute Allergy)
Skin Prick Test – A diluted substance or extract is put on skin, a small prick is made just enough to let the substance enter the epidermis (outermost skin layer), usually skin on the forearm. Redness or swelling would indicate a localized reaction. It’s quick and easy, but sometimes false positives occur – the patient reacts to skin test but not to the actual food. The doctors go by patient history and skin test to give a better diagnosis.
RAST Panel – (RadioAllergoSorbent Test) Blood sample is taken by the doctor and sent to a lab. Detects multiple allergies at once by measuring the amount of antibodies found in the blood.
IgG Mediated Reactions (Intolerance with Delayed Symptoms)
ELISA (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) Blood test that measures levels of IgG antibodies for commonly offending foods. It clearly identifies those foods that may be causing health problems.
ALCAT (Antigen Leukocyte Cellular Antibody Test) Blood test that measures food sensitivities or intolerances in over 350 foods, additives and environmental chemicals. It measures the inflammation produced due to the reactivity of leukocytes (white blood cells) in whole blood.
Other Test Options
Stool Test (Fecal Matter) This test measures IgA reactions and is known as the most accurate test for Gluten intolerance.
Energetic Testing – (NAET, kinesiology, SCIO, electrodermal screening) These various testing methods are the most alternative, involving principles of energy, muscle strength and various other controversial techniques.
Saliva Test – One of the lesser expensive tests available, but also one of the least accurate and least recommended.
**There are more that could be discussed, but these are the most common options.
Discussing Allergy Testing with Your Doctor
If you choose to go to your medical doctor, you may be met with opposition. Because most allopathic (regular MDs) doctors usually think of actual IgE allergies only, they might not be familiar with the other options or try to convince you they are unnecessary.
The medical establishment likes neat cause-effect-remedy type problems to solve. Strep bacteria causes strep throat sickness, for which an antibiotic is prescribed. The doctor has done their job by using a prescription drug to get rid of the problem. There is no money to be made with pharmaceutical drugs by prescribing an elimination diet.
Beyond the 1 single course in nutrition during medical school, there is no education for medical doctors on this issue. The pharma companies ensure that doctors are offered continuing education on all the latest equipment and drugs manufactured because it will bring them profit if the doctors prescribe the drugs and use the fancy equipment. On the other hand, if the doctor does not personally understand the benefits of diet and food sensitivity elimination diets, you will most likely get dismissed when you bring it up.
It is rare to find a regular MD with this knowledge and who will to follow this plan. This is why you often need to find a Naturopath or a doctor trained in biomedical autism intervention to follow this course of treatment under the supervision of a medical professional.
There is a whole new area of medicine developing, called “Functional Medicine” with standard MD’s who understand and acknowledge the “whole-body” principle and who recognize the value of nutrition in health and in exploring food allergies and intolerances or sensitivities. This developing information will help guide parents on the differences between allergies, sensitivities and intolerances.
Do you know you’ve got food issues and either have been tested OR want to dive right into the food elimination diet to be sure? Need help with how to run an elimination diet? Food Elimination Made Easy is a program I created to break it down into easy to manage pieces. With video, audio and written versions of the content, you’ll learn in the way you like best. It includes 10 topics with information on specific foods, hidden ingredients, diet plan, recipes, how to shop for new foods, how to read food labels, avoiding cross contamination and much, much more. It’s the last place you’ll need to look for help and resources managing your food elimination diet!
Guest Post by Connie Hammer:
April is Autism Awareness month, a designated time to concentrate our efforts on raising consciousness about Autism Spectrum Disorders but what about the rest of the of the year? As a parent consultant/coach that works with parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder I am constantly advocating for and trying to raise awareness about Autism all year long.
What else does a parent coach do? I understand why you may ask this because parent coaching is a relatively new field. Many people still don’t understand what a parent coach can do for them.
What are the benefits that a private coach provides a parent?
In today’s challenging world and mobile society, parenting literature and family connections may not always be enough. There is an abundance of books, magazines, websites, TV shows, videos and podcasts available to parents and they all offer oodles of useful information but . . . as amazing as these resources are, they do have some limitations.
The main shortcoming is that they often deliver only temporary results. It is easy to read a book or an article but when it comes to implementing what you have read or listened to, these resources can sometimes leave you hanging. Many parents need a little something extra like personalized step-by-step information to help them transform the information they acquired into behaviors, habits and ways of relating that last.
As your personal parent coach I take you by the hand and guide you to implement your new knowledge and make it stick, quicker than you will ever be able to do by yourself.
Parent coaching, by phone/Skype or in person, is not for everyone but it is exactly what some parent’s need.
- It’s exactly what a single mom from Canada needed when she found herself overwhelmed, confused and stressed by the day-to-day challenges of parenting her soon-to-be teen with Aspergers.
- It’s exactly what a couple from Australia needed in dealing with the challenging behaviors their twin sons with Autism engaged in on a daily basis.
- It’s exactly what a grandmother from Florida needed as she attempted to potty train her five year old non-verbal grand-daughter she had recently acquired custody of.
Not only did personal parent coaching help these parents and caregivers, it saved them time and energy because their child’s needs were being accurately addressed in a very customized and time efficient manner.
For those who are not ready for private parent coaching sessions I also create programs that will guide them to take action.
In honor of Autism Awareness month I am giving away one of my digital programs created specifically for parents of children with Autism who suffer from the – ‘I’m-an-intelligent-person-but-I-can’t-seem-to-get-everyone-in-gear-and-where-we-all-need-to-be-without-rushing-in-the-morning’ – syndrome.
I know you CAN resolve this issue on your own. You ARE perfectly capable. But if you want to experience positive results as quickly as possible then please go to www.freeresourcesforautism.com to get your free copy of the Top Ten Secrets to a Stress Free Morning with a Child on the Autism Spectrum.
Thanks to Stephani McGirr’s sensational ten day (April 8 to 18) giveaway during Autism Awareness month: Success Strategies for the Autism Spectrum – Free Tools and Resources for Parents of Children with ASD, you can access my program and many other wonderful resources to help you, your child and your family experience more success.
Connie Hammer, MSW, parent educator, consultant and coach, guides parents of young children recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder to uncover abilities and change possibilities. Hammer offers quality parent coaching services, support groups, digital programs, workshops/tele-classes to individuals, couples & groups by phone or in person. Visit her website www.parentcoachingforautism.com to get your FREE resources – a parenting ecourse, Parenting a Child with Autism – 3 Secrets to Thrive and a weekly parenting tip newsletter, The Spectrum.
April is officially Autism Awareness Month and I’ve teamed up with a few other experts in the field of Autism to bring you some amazing gifts. Yes, we’re celebrating YOU – parents of children with autism spectrum disorders – by literally giving you some of our best information and resources.
In fact, I am hosting this giveaway event, Success Strategies for the Autism Spectrum! I’ve selected and invited the experts, organized the full event and set everything up to deliver you tools you can start using immediately for your family. The official dates of the event are April 8-18th, but you can go right now to http://www.FreeResourcesForAutism.com to pre-register!
I created this event knowing that my own services, focused on nutrition, are but one piece to the puzzle of autism. It was my desire to bring a collection of resources to you, to shortcut your time and effort in a variety of ways to help your children. And to do it at absolutely no cost to you!
Learn from 13 experts who are providing real tools – helpful products, ebooks, videos and more!
Aside from my own brand new complete Starter Kit for the Autism Diet, you’ll also get gifts like:
- Brian R. King’s video presentation on effectively communicating with people on the spectrum,
- Douglas Baker’s legal document template collection for financial and lifespan planning in special needs advocacy,
- Connie Hammer’s video ecourse as a guide to stress-free mornings,
- Shannon Cherry’s ebook on avoiding burnout as a mom in business for those who choose to work at home to support their family
All this and much, much more! Nutrition, environmental toxins, planning, RDI, sound therapy, vision strategies, HANDLE, self-care for moms – we’ve got it all!
And now, you can get full access, absolutely fr.ee!
I know, you’re probably thinking, “What’s the catch?!? What do I have to buy to get all this?”
That’s the great thing about this – there’s absolutely nothing to buy, ever! You get everything simply by registering with your name and email address.
You can get in on the deal early. The doors to the event open April 8th, but register now to be the first to access them! Simply enter your name and email address at http://www.FreeResourcesForAutism.com and be the first on the list to get your gifts!
I’m so excited to host this event for you. If you know anyone else who would appreciate this giveaway, feel free to share!
When avoiding artificial food coloring for the ADHD & Autism Diet, there are easy alternatives to dying your Easter eggs. You can enjoy the fun without the synthetic, harmful chemical food dye versions.
We’ve been dying our eggs naturally for several years now and we always enjoy the results. Instead of writing my own full post about dying eggs, I’ve collected my favorite website links to share here. I have them bookmarked and look them up each year to refresh my memory of all the various natural color options.
My favorite links for natural dyes for Easter eggs are:
- What’s Cooking America, Natural Easter Egg Dyes - excellent overview of color options in chart form with how-to instructions and tips list.
- The Kitchn, Vibrant Eggs, Dyed Naturally - with pictures describing how to make the dye using natural ingredients. I agree with her comment: “Err on the side of more rather than less when creating your dye.” >>You can always dilute if the color is too deep, but you can’t strengthen the color if it’s too light.
- Serious Eats, How to Dye Eggs Naturally without a Store-Bought Kit - another great picture tutorial plus tips on using onion skins with other items to create marbled or mottled patterns.
- Better Homes and Garden Natural Dye Recipes – a quick and easy list of ingredient choices for natural dyes for the more experienced. No long instructions or tutorials.
My favorite ways to liven up the single colored eggs are to:
- Put rubber bands or stickers on the eggs before dipping into the natural dyes. Simply remove after dying and it leaves a design in white where the dye did not touch the eggs. Stickers may be left on as part of the decoration.
- Use a sponge, cloth or plastic glove to mottle the coloring before the eggs dry. Be careful not to wipe too much or you’ll remove all the color.
- Use wax crayons to write words or draw pictures on the eggs before coloring. The dye won’t adhere to the wax and the design will show through after coloring.
Have you ever tried natural dyes for Easter eggs? What worked best for you and what are your favorite ways to decorate them? Please share in the comments below…
Happy decorating and Happy Easter!
When trying to determine if you have problems with certain foods, we automatically think in terms of allergies. There are different ways that foods can affect our body. Besides a true allergy, there are sensitivities or intolerances. The type of problem you have will determine what kind of test, if any at all, you would need to take to be certain of it.
IgE Immune Response
If you have a true food allergy, that means your body has an immune system response and creates antibodies to fight off the foreign invader (usually against proteins). The antibodies are food-specific, so that if you are exposed to those foods again later, the antibodies will recognize the food and attack them to protect your body, just as it would an invading virus. These are IgE antibodies (immunoglobulin E).
When the IgE antibodies are released, so are other natural chemicals in the body, like histamine, which produce the allergy effect. It can show up as respiratory, skin, digestive, cardiovascular symptoms or a combination of these, depending on where in your body the histamine is released. This is what the allergist and other standard medical doctors consider when you discuss the possibility of food allergies with them. This is what they are trained in – diagnosing and counteracting true IgE allergies.
It’s estimated that 5% of children have these types of food allergies. An example of this type of allergy is a peanut allergy. (Other non-food allergies like bee stings and allergies to medications are also IgE mediated responses.) Only a tiny amount of exposure to the offending food can cause a reaction. These reactions of a true food allergy are serious, and can even be life threatening. The typical response time is within a few minutes to a few hours of exposure.
Top 8 Recognized Food Allergens
The top 8 food allergens (and those required to be listed on food labels) are: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. (**Note that gluten is found in more grains than just wheat, but ONLY wheat is required to be listed. Be sure that any food product you eat is truly gluten-free if you are eliminating gluten from your diet.)
IgG Immune Response
There is another type of immune response involving IgG antibodies. This usually involves a milder, delayed response. One might not see reactions for several hours, or even up to a few days! These symptoms sometimes go away after avoiding the food for several months, but that’s not always the case.
Because any type of “allergic” response other than the immediate-type IgE reactions is outside the conventional medical community’s knowledge and understanding, these reactions are generally not accepted as true allergic responses. Often they are given a “food sensitivity” label, although food intolerances and sensitivities involve other processes that do not create an immune system response at all.
Other types of antibody responses involve IgA and IgM antibody reactions. The main thing to know is that IgE are your acute reactions that you can’t miss and the others all involve delayed reactions that are much more common yet not as well understood (or even widely accepted in the medical community).
Food intolerances are much more common than food allergies. The reactions of a food intolerance are not so obvious and in many cases go undiagnosed. They are usually a delayed reaction which could happen for as long as up to a few days after exposure.
Food sensitivities and intolerances are the root cause of many different chronic, incapacitating and common illnesses today – yet the conventional medical community does not recognize most of them. Because symptoms can be long delayed and multiple sensitivities can produce simultaneous effects, this compounds the problem.
One example of a classic, widely-accepted food intolerance is lactose intolerance. There is no immune response with antibody build up in response to lactose (milk sugar) in the body. In this case, lactose intolerant people simply lack the proper enzymes to fully digest lactose and consequently suffer digestive difficulties. The more lactose consumed increases the amount and frequency of the symptoms. The symptoms can be eliminated by simply avoiding lactose, drinking lactose-free milk, or even taking an enzyme tablet that gives them the enzymes needed to digest the milk sugar.
Symptoms of Food Intolerance
Symptoms of food intolerance are many, in the hundreds, but here are just a few to highlight the variety and total-body symptoms that can be seen:
digestive disorders, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, reflux, heartburn, headaches, migraines, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, recurrent colds, upper respirator infections, ear infections, coughing, dark circles und the eyes, bad breath, asthma, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, bed wetting, recurring urinary tract infections, PMS, skin disorders, hives, eczema, psoriasis, acne, arthritis, aching joints, lupus, chronic fatigue, starch and sugar cravings, hyperactivity, autism, ADD/ADHD, behavior problems, learning problems, convulsions, obesity, anxiety, panic reactions, depression, mental dullness, memory lapses, mood swings and irritability, anger outbursts, difficulty thinking, and many more!
This list probably has you thinking that everyone on the planet has some form of a food intolerance! The numbers are definitely higher than currently expected. The only way to tell if your symptoms are related to food is to do an elimination trial.
Part 2 of this article will discuss the various testing and treatment options. Here’s a quick hint and preview: There are specific tests you can take for allergies and sensitivities, but the only way to identify general food intolerances are with an elimination diet to see if you have reduced or eliminated symptoms.
Do YOU have suspected food sensitivities or intolerances?
My program, Food Elimination Made Easy, is a video learning course on how to run an elimination diet. It breaks down the overwhelming information into small, bite-sized pieces that are easy to implement and helps you manage your food intolerances and diet transitions smoothly.
Complete with how-to guide, diet plan, recipes, and detailed information on the major food allergens with lists, hidden ingredients, how to read food labels, avoiding cross contamination and more. It’s all you need to pinpoint your food sensitivities and feel better than ever!
4-5 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup milk alternative (almond, rice or coconut)
½ cup roasted red and green bell peppers
- In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the diced sweet onions. Saute until translucent.
- Add the potatoes and add enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are softened.
- Add milk sub and remove from heat. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
- If you want a smooth soup, use an immersion blender to puree. My family likes it a little chunky, so I use a potato smasher in the soup to crush the potatoes.
- Top with roasted peppers.
Tips and Suggestions
- Serve with a large garden salad and Italian dressing.
- Optional: Top with a dairy free cheese sub. (Daiya is a safe brand.)
- Using a homemade bone broth adds a boost of minerals and is a money saving alternative to expensive packaged broths!
This recipe comes from the list of recipes for the sample menu plan included in our brand new program, Food Elimination Made Easy!
This course helps turn complex elimination diets into simple, easy to understand steps – with all the resources, including a complete list of acceptable foods and recipes, that you need to follow the plan easily!
No matter what your reason for following a special elimination diet, like the ADHD & Autism Diet, this program has everything you need.
Click the picture to find out more now.
Have a favorite allergen-friendly soup recipe? Share in the comments below.