by guest blogger Amber O'Neal
As always, when I sit down to write my thoughts are running through my head faster than I can spit them out. In this case my thoughts are consumed with Gluten. Yummy, delicious gluten imbedded in everything we consume. You know, gluten: the protein found in the seeds of certain plants, notably in wheat, rye and barley, and in foods made from them. Now imagine changing direction completely. Suddenly gluten is a poison to your system, and for some it can be life threatening. Welcome to my my son’s new world! The land of Gluten-free.
Bryant is a very active fourteen year old finishing eighth grade. Overall, he is very healthy and very involved in soccer. Since infancy he has struggled with severe acid reflux. At the tender age of six months his pediatrician strongly suggested an adult medication to aide in his recovery. After some research I found that studies had shown that medication to infants on this medication can cause slower brain development and it was not suggested he stay on it for more than three months. I could not bring myself to test those theories so we simply switched to a soy formula which helped a bit for a brief period of time.
Throughout his toddler years and childhood he suffered from chronic sinus infections, one after another. He was constantly on antibiotics and seasonal allergy medicines. A few years ago he began waking up in the middle of the night, always on the hour at 1:00 AM or 2:00 AM. He would vomit, then be completely better - this was diagnosed as having severe acid reflux. His pediatrician prescribed an over the counter medication and suggested that foods that irritate his digestive tract should simply be avoided. Easy cheesy right?
No! That was simply not good enough an answer. I asked over and over what foods should he avoid, often times he eats something new and it has adverse reactions. The pediatrician would reply, “well that would indicate another food to avoid”. I began to feel like an idiot and slinked out of the doctors office as though I should know these facts. A year has gone by with him on Zantac, once daily in the evening before dinner. It has worked however other symptoms began to appear. Fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea and (he will be mortified for me saying this but) diarrhea. I thought about taking him to an allergy specialist because our pediatrician’s expertise he was no longer giving me clues. Not long after, my sister-in-law told me about the BioMeridian Scan. Her daughter, who is two years older than Bryant, had it and the results came back with an intolerance to Gluten among other foods. Ever since she eliminated her "intolerable foods," her symptoms, some similar to Bryant’s and some different, have subsided. I was on the phone lickety split making an appointment for Bryant.
So, back to our space ship…..Bryant tested off the charts for intolerances to Gluten and numerous other foods that had become a part of his daily food intake. His large intestines and esophageal tract are inflamed from eating the foods that stress his organs and body out. The nutritionist was so kind in taking the time to explain every step to Bryant and to me. He was alarmed he had been on Zantac for a solid year especially being he is only 14 years old. (He is too young to be having these health issues!) So began our journey back to Mother Earth, immediately.
Bryant has been taking some supplements to aid in the healing of the inflammation of his intestines and esophageal tract and has a new list of foods that are to be avoided, forever. (Side note: I equate many moments in my life to SNL skits because there's always a laugh when you need one. At the moment the nutrionist is telling us all the foods to say “Buh Bye” to, I was envisioning every passenger on the David Spade SNL flight skit as a food: bread, diet coke, pasta, Bojangles Cajun Filet Biscuits, Baskin Robbins chocolate-peanut-butter-ribbon ice cream, pizza, pancakes, waffles, whole wheat pitas, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, anything with blue dye and many, many more….”Buh Bye”.
I realized quickly that we cannot just eliminate these foods from our child’s diet alone; we have to embrace it as a family. I know, I know - Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have fabulous Gluten-free sections, and we will venture there when we have progressed past the 30 day cleanse of Gluten and other hazardous foods. Thanfully, there are a lot of good foods out there that are now gluten free.
Keep an eye out for Amber and Bryant's progress in the coming weeks! Thanks Amber!