When I started having kids, I envisioned a life full of morning snuggles, play dates, trips to the park or the zoo, birthday parties with pastel colors and balloons. Those wonderful days came, and they happened often! What I didn’t see coming were the seemingly endless sleepless nights. the projectile vomiting infant, the toddler with chronic eczema, the elementary school- and middle school-age child with chronic stomach aches all the way through to the college student who lost 25 pounds her freshman year.
The culprit? Food! Both of my children have severe food sensitivities.
If you think your child may have a food sensitivity or allergy, an elimination diet may help in determining what foods to steer clear from. In an elimination diet, you exclude the common triggers for a short time, then reintroduce each food one at a time to determine which ones are or are not well-tolerated.
The Elimination Diet
Things to avoid include milk/dairy/eggs, wheat/gluten, corn, soy, citrus, peanuts, hydrogenated oils, caffeine, fish/shellfish, added/refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, packaged/processed/fast foods.
- Maintain the elimination diet for 1 month.
- After 1 month, reintroduce one food.
- Watch for a reaction over the next 24-48 hours.
- No reaction? Serve it a second time and wait again for 48 hours.
- Continue this for 1 week. If there is still no reaction, feel free to reintroduce that to your child’s regular diet.
- Reintroduce the next item and follow the same steps.
- If the symptoms return, eliminate that food again. If after eliminating the second time and the symptoms clear up once again, you should mark that food as a trigger.
This is a lesson in trial and error and most of all patience. In the end, however, you should have a clear picture of what foods you or your child should avoid.