Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Symptoms of Food Sensitivities/Allergies

Many people ask me what happens if I eat a food to which I'm allergic. That's tough to answer because each allergy causes a different reaction. And it's different for everyone. I do have reactions that are approaching anaphylactic, but that's rare for me.

For all those who are wondering why I choose to refrain from the amazing goodness of breaded cheese sticks and marinara sauce (Oh, I miss you!), here is a list of possible side effects created by Margaret Evans of Dynamic Choices.


  • itching—any body part
  • eczema
  • recurrent hives
  • fungal infections (athlete's foot or yeast infections)
  • excessive sweating particularly at night
  • acne
  • family history of skin problems
  • skin problems as a baby

B ) Nervous System

  • headaches
  • migraines
  • difficulty sleeping
  • excessive tiredness
  • sensitive to cold or heat
  • nightmares
  • mood swings
  • negative, apathetic attitude
  • difficulty learning sequential concepts such as telling time
  • poor memory
  • weak organizational skills
  • unexplained crying spells
  • angry outbursts
  • restlessness
  • short attention span
  • unusual twitches or tics
  • outbursts of foul language
  • unusual repetitive behaviours
  • learning disabilities
  • hyperactive behaviour
  • excessive sensitivity to being touched
  • diagnosed with autism by physician

C ) Eyes and Vision

  • increased sensitivity to light
  • excessive blinking
  • excessive rubbing of eyes
  • tired, watery eyes
  • itchy or red eyes
  • dark circles or bags under eyes
  • difficulty following moving objects with eyes
  • difficulty keeping place when reading
  • crossed eyes

D ) Ears

  • chronic ear infections
  • decreased ability to hear
  • increased sensitivity to noise
  • ringing in the ears
  • repeated courses of antibiotics
  • date of 1st dose of antibiotics

E ) Nose

  • chronic stuffy, runny nose
  • repeated rubbing and itching
  • excessive sneezing
  • repeated sinus infections
  • reduced or heightened sense of smell
  • nose bleeds
  • pain from blocked sinuses

F ) Mouth and Throat

  • bad taste in mouth
  • bad breath
  • chronic tonsillitis
  • hoarse voice
  • persistent and recurrent canker sores
  • constant clearing of throat
  • swollen, red, cracked lips
  • excessive thirst, particularly for carbonated drinks
  • sucking on fingers or clothes

G ) Lungs

  • persistent cough, particularly at night
  • family history of asthma
  • asthma (diagnosed by MD)
  • recurrent croup as a child
  • recurrent bronchitis
  • recurrent pneumonia
  • taking asthma medications

H ) Digestive Tract

  • bloating and excessive gas
  • recurrent hiccoughs
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • itchy, red, area around anus
  • recurrent diarrhea
  • recurrent constipation
  • chronic stomach aches
  • tendency to become overweight easily
  • underweight for age
  • soiling of underwear with feces
  • hemorrhoids
  • history of colic as an infant
  • family history of digestive complaints
  • chronic esophageal reflux

I ) Muscles and Joints

  • swollen feet and legs
  • cold hands and feet
  • muscles cramps and spasms, particularly at night
  • muscle stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • sore, aching muscles
  • muscle weakness on exertion
  • numbness in fingers or toes
  • fibromyalgia

J ) Urinary and Genital Tract

  • frequent need to urinate
  • bed wetting past age 3
  • wetting during the day past age 3
  • urgent need to urinate
  • history of recurrent bladder infections
  • red, inflamed genital area
  • itchy genital area
  • heavy or irregular menstrual periods
  • increase or decrease in sex drive
  • genital sores
  • recurrent vaginal yeast infections
  • HIV positive

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Do You Help Your Food Allergic Child Resist Temptation?

Food allergies are tought to deal with. Especially, when you are trying to protect your child. Munchkin is allergic to peanuts. She's young enough that she mostly just accepts it if I say she can't eat something. But I know it will get tougher on her, and me, as she gets older.

Besides the obvious difficulties (she has to avoid certain foods and she will never eat Moosetracks Ice Cream) are the emotional difficulties. Eventually, she will feel different because of her food allergy. Eventually, she will feel restricted by her food allergy. Think about it. It's your first date and your so nervous you can barely eat...but, you have to make sure you go to a restaurant that doesn't cook with peanut oil and then order something that has no possiblity of being contaminated with peanuts. That's a lot of pressure when you're trying to keep up a conversation with the amazing creature who turns your brain into mush!

And then, many people around your child will try to convince them to eat the food they are allergic, too! It's crazy, I know. But for some reason, people don't believe that food allergies are serious and they try to get you to eat what you shouldn't. And they poke fun of you for your diet. This happens to me a lot. It's not mean-spirited, but it would be tough on a young child and harder on a teen.

If you're wondering how to help your child deal with food allergies, here is a great comment I found posted at BabyShrink. It was written by Margaret Evans of Dynamic Choices.

Addressing food allergies and sensitivities is worth every minute you spend figuring out how to do it! I am a nurse, a life coach and a mom of 4 grown children who faced these challenges. Their health, their happiness and their behaviour were transformed when I removed the offending foods from their diet.

They did follow the diet through their school age and adolescent years and continue to make healthy choices in adulthood. How do you do it:

1. You make an unwavering commitment to it as a mother and resist the temptation to give in.
2. You connect to what you value and what is important to you and this is what you focus on when the going gets tough. You do the same with your child.
3. You help your young child to role play the various experiences she might come up against so she has a repertoire of answers for other people’s questions and comments
3. You create delicious and healthy alternatives so your kids don’t feel deprived. There are loads of resources out there to do that. Giving them carrots sticks won’t work!
4. You enlist their participation in cooking and in creating alternatives for birthday parties etc.
5. You offer empathy for their circumstance and give space for their feelings but you don’t allow them to turn it into a long sob story. Everyone has challenges so help them find the resilience to manage theirs. This builds life skills that stretch far beyond the issue of food.
6. Find support. It might be your friend, your mother, or someone else in your kid’s class facing similar experiences. This topic is now very common in the world so find someone to talk to.

I have loads of experience and wisdom on this topic and am delighted to share it. Please check out my website at for some downloadable ideas. Print off the signs and symptoms sheet and see how many things on the list you tick off! I coach people one on one and in groups to identify the offending foods and to remove it in a way that is successful in the midst of their busy life.

How might your life and the life and potential of your child be different if you removed that offending food in a positive way?
I challenge you to be creative and find the way to do it - your child’s health and happiness will be profoundly impacted.

Margaret Evans R.N., B.S.N., C.P.C.C.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Waking Up with the T-BOW

In early January, I decided to exercise every morning before work. (No, the decision had nothing to do with a New Year's Resolution. I have learned to reject that particular guilt-inducing practice.) It was great--for two weeks--and then I got sick. And then Munchkin got sick. And then I got sick, again. And the cycle repeated itself, over and over. Finally, a month later, I worked out before work.

It's been torture being sick, because I had a new bright orange T-BOW calling to me. "Come on, Holly. You know you want to try me." I did preview the videos. But this morning, I got to workout on the T-BOW.

I chose the Wake Up routine. It was only 16 minutes long. I was pretty confident I could handle that, even after a month without exercising. I whipped through the workout and decided to try a second. Apparently, the routine energized me. But, I chose the next workout which was only 15 minutes and just happened to be stretching and relaxing. And that worked, too. I was relaxed, and sleepy, when I finished it. Note to self: save relaxation workouts for evening.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tinkerbell, Tinkerbell, Tinker All the Way

Munchkin made up her own song around Christmas time. Of course, the song was influenced by the season and her obsession with Tinkerbell. Over the past couple months it has evolved (with her dad's help). Tonight, they taught the words to me.

Tinkerbell, Tinkerbell,
Tinker all the way.
Oh what fun to laugh in play
In Pixie Hollow all day.

In case you're bad with tunes (like me) this lovely song is sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells."