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Thread: You are what you eat.

  1. #1
    UK Hippy Reiki Doula Editor Sarah's Avatar
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    Lightbulb You are what you eat.

    I've started this thread because there are a few interesting topics coming up on a few threads in this forum about food. Food intollerance and food allergy and how this may possibly be effecting our children and us.

    I've been doing alot of reading over the last week or so about the subject and am becoming more and more convinced that a big chunk of health problems suffered, be they psychological or physical, can be attributed to a food intollerance or allergy.

    Several of us have first hand experience of dealing with food intollerance and allergy and to those people.. Stardust, Uma, Earthwhirler, Moominmamma, Gixer (off the top of me head) and anyone else with experience and knowledge please can you post your experiences on this thread... I think we have enough knowledge here to build up a reference and advice thread for us all to benefit from.

    I have stickied this thread because this subject is of massive importance to me and my family at the moment and we aren't the only ones.. I know Uma is heavily focussed on diet at the moment and a few of us have also suggested the notion of food intollerance to Firinne. This thread is really for us all to discuss our experiences and knowledge on food intollerance and allergy and offer support and guidance to each other - I've posted this in parenting rather than health and well being because from my point of view I need the support and guidance as a parent and not actually for myself
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    I will post my experiences underneath this and look forward to seeing this thread build up into a great source of advice for us all.

    Thanks

    Sarah xxx
    If we are to heal the planet, we must begin by healing birthing.


  2. #2
    UK Hippy Reiki Doula Editor Sarah's Avatar
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    Well.. where to start...

    My mum was told when I was a baby that I was allergic to Lactose. A doctor diagnosed on basis of my infantile eczema and asthma and I used to have goats milk instead of cows milk mostly.
    After another bad flare up of eczema in my late teens, my Dad made an appointment for me to see a Homeopath who conducted an electronic allergy test and diagnosed that I was allergic to dairy products, wool and tomatoes. When I was in my early twenties I saw another homeopath who again diagnosed the allergy against dairy and as I was vegetarian at the time I became vegan for three months and totally eradicated dairy from my diet. Nothing made sense to me at this stage - my physical symptoms improved but never went away totally.
    After having Charlie aged 24, my hormones did the usual post natal flip about and I became completely covered in eczema. All my life until 18 I had used a topical steroid based cream or ointment to put on my eczema and then at 18 stopped using them. My eczema became so bad that I had to have a two week course of oral steroids to bring it back under control. At this time I was also suffering digestive system problems. To begin with I was horribly constipated and then this gave way to chronic dioarhea and excrutiating stomach cramps.
    I went backwards and forwards to the doctors and every time was sent away being told I had IBS. After two bouts of gastroenteritis in as many months I saw a locum doctor who sent me for a complete set of blood tests and ruled out coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis and crohns disease. I'd read a book prior to that appointment and had started to keep a diary of food I ate and symptoms I exhibited - mental and physical. Encouraged to stick with it by the locum I attended an appointment with a gastroenterologist, clutching my notes and with an enthusiasm that he would refer me to a dietician - after shoving a camera up me bum he declared that I had IBS!! He also completely dismissed my claims that my symptoms were caused by food intollerance.
    Around this time me and my friend Ruth did alot of comparing notes of our chronic eczema and dodgy stomachs. We decided that it was entirely likely that the same things that caused our skin to flare up could also cause internal flare ups.. that it was entirely possible that we could be suffering some sort of internal eczema which would cause our symptoms. I continued my exclusion diet and soon worked out that I wasn't just intollerant to the few things that other people had suggested. By carefully monitoring my symptoms I realised I was highly intollerant to wheat bran and a bit less intollerant to wheat in general. I also discovered I was highly intollerant to all dairy products and especially things like flavoured yoghurts that contain artifical sweeteners. Ever since I have carefully monitored my diet and I know how much of my dodgy food stuffs I can get away with. I cannot eat anything with wheat bran in and can only eat a minimum amount of other wheat products. I don't eat yoghurts and eat a minimum amount of cheese. So I have been pootling along for the last few years happy in my body and fairly symptom free.. thats the obvious eczema and IBS type symptoms anyways....

    Over the last month or so my attention has been drawn to the links between food intollerance and allergy and symptoms of autism in children. This is all because of what is going on with my son and a few people have recommended the Gluten Free and Casein Free diet. So I've done a lot of reading about this diet and also about food intollerance in general and have come to observe other more subtle symptoms in myself from eating dairy and wheat. Like I always get a bit bloated and do a stinky fart after eating bread...and I tend to get a bit of a shooting pain in my head after eating cheese. My skin will itch and I get wheezy if I have a glass of milk - only slightly mind but now I am paying attention I have come to realise that these are all symptoms of allergy. How this all effects Charlie is that I am now starting to realise just how subtle the manifestation of food intollerrance can be. Food intollerance as opposed to an immediate food allergic reaction are two different things.. we all know about the kids who can't go near peanuts and they suffer Immediate onset food allergy. What is less known about and even dismissed in the vast majority of general practice medical circles is the slow onset food intollerance and how this can manifest through the mind and body.
    There is so much I want to say about this topic yet I lack the terminology to discuss at great length. Food isn't just food - its such a complex mixture of vitamins, minerals, proteins, acids and fats that it makes complete and total sense that the very fine balance that is required for a healthy mind and body can be easily and quite horribly tipped so that our bodies come to crave certain elements.... Gluten for example, a protein that is in almost everything and can cause our bodies to treat it like Heroin if introduced too early into a diet... and how many of us gave our babies breadsticks?!?!?! and the symptoms of gluten intollerance range across a whole display of behavioural irregularity aswell as physical symptoms.
    So my experience and knowledge is deepening rather rapidly at the moment and I have only just scratched the surface of understanding about food intollerance and allergy. We are almost 100% convinced that Charlie is allergic to Mono Sodium Glutamate and a range of artifical colourings, preservatives and other additives because he exhibits ADHD like symptoms when he has these things. We also are pretty convinced that he is intollerant to gluten and caseine and are going to gradually exclude these from his diet and keep the exclusion going for 6 months to see if we can help his body fix itself a bit. I read that children who didn't get breast milk for very long quite commonly suffer an intollerance to caseine and also if they had wheat introduced into their diet too early it can cause gluten intollerance... well Charlie was breastfed for three weeks and was having wheat products as soon as he was weaned
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    This is why I have started this thread because if I had known what I know now when he was a baby I wouldn't have ever allowed him wheat products. I stuck my foot down with the health visitor when he was a baby though and as soon as he was 3 months old he went onto goats milk instead of cows milk formula....goats milk still has caseine in it though
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    Anyways I can't think of anymore right now but will keep this thread updated with how we are getting on at home with the GF/CF diet - time for a reading list.....

    The New Allergy Diet: The step by step guide to overcoming food intollerance. Dr. Jo Hunter with Elizabeth Workman and Jenny Woolner. ISBN 009182074-X published by Vermilion.

    Hidden Food Allergies: Is what you eat making you ill? Patrick Holford and Dr. James Braly. ISBN 0749926023 published by Platikus.

    Easy Gluten-Free Cooking: 130 recipes plus nutrition and lifestyle advice Rita Greer ISBN 0007103190 published by Thorsons.

    The Best-Ever Wheat and Gluten Free Baking Book: Over 200 recipes for muffins, cookies, breads and more. Mary Ann and Mace Wenniger. ISBN 1592331319 Published by Fair Winds.

    The AiA Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook. Compiled by Marilyn Le Breton. ISBN 1843100673 published by Jessica Kingsley.(AiA = Allergy Induced Autism - UK Based charity dedicated to identifying the underlying causes and biochemical effects of autistic spectrum disorders)

    These are the books I own and have read about intollerance and GF / CF diet. I've also ordered A User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HD by Luke Jackson.
    If we are to heal the planet, we must begin by healing birthing.

  3. #3
    Heavenly Creature
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    i read all of that! proud? it's quite interesting and enthralling that you managed to keep a diary of everything you ate and stuff.

    can you develop allergies later in life due to too much or too less of them?

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  4. #4
    Heavenly Creature Anusha's Avatar
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    Unfortunately we live in a time where not only are a lot of our foods processed..but even the fresh produce we eat are often subject to harmful chemicals so food allergies are rife... i dont think many of us can say with all honesty that we dont have an intolerance to at least some foods..

    i have an intolerance to dairy food..and yet i still eat cheese in moderation...i can manage halloumi and thats about it...and i only discovered that because i couldnt digest hard cheeses... milk and eggs i've long since given up on.. Bread is another no no for me...although i have no idea what ingredient in bread i'm intolerant to..i just know i feel bloated and so uncomfortable after eating it. strangely i dont have the same problem with flatbreads... i'm not fanatical but i do wash all veg in citricidal in an attempt to rid them of chemicals..i dont even trust organic foods to be honest. I do the same with veg i grow myself because of all the airborne pollutants.. to me nothing can be truly organic anymore...

    I'm asthmatic but cant blame that on any food allergy...i've been tested and i'm allergic to animal dander and particularly dogs... oops Kobi...

    Food allergy and intolerance is something that most of us have to live with..a lot of it i'm sure undiagnosed as such.. we are what we eat is very true...but just how far do we go in eliminating or even discovering exactly what it is our bodies cant handle?

    On a slightly lighter note...
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    i'm so much darker skinned than the rest of my family...i blame that on my addiction to strong black coffee...
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  5. #5

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    Originally Posted by Lozi
    can you develop allergies later in life due to too much or too less of them?
    I'm not sure about allergies but yes, the body can become intollerant to foods. It's simply that sometimes your body might not like something but can deal with it. But the more you have, the harder it becomes to eliminate from your system so the body starts to display signs of physical stress, e.g. spots breaking out, rashes, etc or psychological symptoms e.g. irritability, headaches etc. It'll just continue to get worse (slowly or quickly) until the body is cleansed of that food.

    Most people don't help themselves. Water is the most important of the diet and we simply don't drink enough. Years of this robs the body of dealing with toxins efficiently and can affect all manor of physical, mental and emotional parts of our lives.

    Aaargh, will post more later........

  6. #6
    I love my bus stardust's Avatar
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    as an adult, i don't really have any food intollerances any more. occasionally if i drink loads and loads of ribena i can go a bit loopy, but that's about it.

    as a child, however, i suffered hugely with allergies from when i was a baby right up until i grew out of them in my early teens. when i was a baby, dairy used to make me bright red and was quickly cut out. i don't really know much else about the early stages of my allergies, and my mum's on holiday so i can't ask her! i will just share with you the experiences i can remember.

    my biggest allergy was to dairy. as a baby it made me red, but as i got older it affected my behaviour. as did any artificial colours, preservatives, flavourings, etc. those were the things i was constantly allergic to, but other allergies would come and go. if i started craving a food really badly it meant i was developing an intollerance to it and it had to be cut out for at least a year.

    whenever i had eaten something that disagreed with me i would turn into the child from hell! this happened fairly frequently coz i was always sneaking off with food i knew i wasn't allowed coz i craved it so badly!when i was younger it would mostly result in screaming and crying. really uncontrollable tantrums, which went on well beyond the age that most children have tantrums at. all sorts of effort went into trying to calm me down but i would be inconsolable. as i got older, my reactions became more violent. i was constantly getting in trouble at school for attacking the other children. sometimes the teachers had to call my mum into school because i was just out of their control. this was made worse by the fact that my class mates soon cottoned onto the fact that they would have an afternoon of easy lessons when i was like this, coz the teacher would spend all her time with me, so they would feed me all sorts of things to see what reactions they got. as for my behaviour at home - i'm surprised my little sister hasn't had to have therapy! i used to absoloutly torment her and was always very violent towards her. she was terrified of me and i still feel very guilty about some of the things i used to do to her!

    when i had eaten something i couldn't tolerate, i was sort of aware that my behaviour was unacceptable, but just couldn't control myself. i remember being held down in the playground to stop me from seriously injuring another child, and i was so angry that i just wanted to tear this other kid to bits. (i don't even think he'd done anything to me - i'd just been given some juice by another kid that had way to many E numbers in it) it was really powerful and i hated that i was doing stuff that would make all the other kids hate me, but i just really couldn't help it.

    all this was going on in the early 80's, when not alot was known about allergies. my mum took me to various doctors, some of which were very unsympathetic. one told her outright that allergies didn't exist and were just her excuse for bad parenting! she tried all sorts of different approaches, but there was very little support available for her. we went to a private specialist in the end, and i went into hospital for three weeks where they tested me for every known allery under the sun. it turned out my mum had been right all along - there was a huge list of foods that i just couldn't tolerate.

    once it was diagnosed what i was allergic to, i was given an injection which i had to have daily. i don't really understand how it worked, but basically it heped my body cope with things i previously couldn't. it had a huge effect on my life, because all of a sudden i could eat all the things i'd previously not been allowed and i was like a different child. i remained on the daily injections right up until i began secondary school and they vastly imroved my life.

    once my allergies were under control, the physical side of them no longer affected my life, but i believe that there was some emotional damage. i had very few friends as a child, as no-one wants to be friends with someone who is fine one minute and smacking the shit out of them the next for no reason. it left me with very low self confidence as i was always being told what a horrible child i was (which was very true!) i found it very hard to make friends, and when i did i was always so desperate to please them and make people like me that i ended up acting in a way that just annoyed them instead, because i was trying so hard.

    even as an adult, although i have a much better understanding of human interactions, i still find myself trying too hard to hang onto people. if they say the slightest little thing, i take it very much to heart and assume that they hate me and will never want to know me again. i can then quickly go into a downwards spiral where i assume i'm hated so try even harder to hang onto my friends, pissing them off even more, unsure of how to act in any social situation and then withdrawing completely. there may be other factors contributing to this behaviour aswell, but i think the bottom line is that because of everyone hating me as a child, my social interactions as an adult leave alot to be desired at times! i'm not being over dramatic saying i was hated as a child, coz no matter what sort of an angel you are, most people find it difficult to like a child who is so violent and out of control.

    i have spent the last 6 years working (on and off) in a children's home looking after kids with special needs, including alot with behavioural problems. it has been a real eye-opener as to some of the things i put my mum through! if i take a child with down's syndrome into a supermarket and they trash the place, people just look at the child and think a
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    bless, it's not their fault. if i take a child who looks like any other into the supermarket and they trash the joint, people look at me with absoloute disgust, as if to say why cant you control that child? i would imagine thats the exact same look my mum used to receive when she took me out in public when i wasn't in one of my better moods! i think that is the hardest thing for people who have children with behavioural problems - life would be so much easier sometimes if the child actually looked different, so that other people would know it's not your fault the kid's behaving like they do.

    i think that's all i have to say on the matter at the moment. i was just trying to give a bit of insight into what it actually feels like for your child to be acting in a way that they can't control, though as every child is different, what they experience might be very different from what i experienced.

    if anyone has children with allergies or behavioural issues and wants someone to talk to, please feel free to PM or add me to MSN. i'm not an expert by any means, but i'm quite happy to give opinions based on experience.

    peace and love
    stardust
    xxx
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Chilling Out moominmamma's Avatar
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    As a lot of you will know, our youngest son Hamish is an autism sufferer. It took us several years to get a diagnosis, and basically the consultant paediatrician told us that there was no cure and to be grateful that he wasn't a severe case. I guess when a medical professional tells you that your child has a lifelong condition and there's nothing conventional treaments can do, it doesn't take a genius to realise the obvious thing is to look at non-conventional treatments.

    For us it has largely centred around diet. I read Marilyn Le Breton's book about Allergy induced Autism, and Moominpappa went to a talk by Paul Shattock from Sunderland University who also believes in the autism/diet links. To put it in a very unscientific way, autistic people often have a problem with a "leaky" gut, letting the large protein molecules from wheat and dairy into their bloodstreams and giving them a permanant high, hence they crave the very things that are making their condition worse.

    However it wasn't until I removed wheat and dairy from Hamish's diet that I was really convinced, we were up all night with him, he had night sweats and was literally crawling up the ceiling, I guess it was the equivalent of going cold turkey. We are now two years on from first putting him on this diet, and his communication skills have really come on as has his height and weight ( hadn't thought of this before the height and weight thing, but I suspect he wasn't absorbing the nutrients in his diet properly before hand as he was underweight and small for his age ), the improvements he has made make it worthwhile continuing the time and money consuming process of doing the diet. Obviously I don't have a control version of Hamish to see how he would have changed over the last two years without our dietary intervention! but even my sceptical mother can see a difference in him as can the teachers at his school.

    If anyone wants to pm me about the pros and cons of a gluten free/casein free diet, I'm no expert but I'd be happy to help as much as I can.

  8. #8
    tumla
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    you are what you eat

    hi sarah,
    i had eczema from 1 1/2 years on, have always had a weak skeletal structure (had to wear leg braces as a child) and back problems since my teens. at age 39 i developed a herniated disk and couldn't walk for a month. by 40 i had diarrhea for 3 month ie had developed ibs. i have since met other women with the same symptoms of ibs and herniated disks or ibs and eczema.
    I started to see a kinesiologist right after the ibs onset and have seen him now for nearly 2 years. he put me on a diet that cuts out dairy, wheat, corn, soy products( because all three are very difficult to digest), sugar (meaning also alcohol), stimulants like coffee, black and green tea, cocoa (yes, chocolate too), vinegar, citrus fruits (with the exception of lemons) as well as uncooked vegetables and green salads. for my herpes symptoms he prescribed vitamin b complex and if i take it regularly (5 days out of 7 or 3 weeks out of 4) i am completely free of herpes symptoms. every two months he has a new theory, at this point it is one of my ovaries not producing enough hormones, so that i have either too many or no hormones, resulting in either too little or too much acidity in my digestive system. i still have ibs and also a vagina that feels dry when having sex, but his diet list seems to be right on, as a fact i now get immediate cramps from dairy, what brings my system to a stillstand for 3-4 days, sugar i can feel for 2 weeks, alcohole kills me and chocolate i have yet to try. sadly i cannot handle beens, cabbage greens. i am still bloated most of the time. i have become more accepting. being physically very active helps the most.
    well, there it is
    tumla

  9. #9
    Creative goddess... Crystalwitch's Avatar
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    What we've been gong through with my 7 year old son forthe past 5 years is exactly the type of behaviour Stardust talked about above! We've been to doctors for years asking to have him tested for food allergies etc only to be told that he's a normal little boy and we were being over protective parents, or as your mum was told - that it was a problem with our parenting skills.

    Over the years, I've tried to implement a form of food testing at home - watching him carefully to see what way he behaves after certain foods and we did discover that he can't have Cadbury's chocolate (he seems fine on other types but goes absolutely boogaloo on anything by Cadbury's), and I've noticed a change in his behaviour and attitude after icecream and certain fruit juices. My main problem at home though is my partner - he's got a sweet tooth and insists on adding buscuits, doughnuts and cookies etc to the weekly shop as a "special treat". I did manage to ban all the crap from the shopping for a while but after a few weeks they started to sneak their way back in. It didn't help that one of his teachers at infant school told his dad that his problem was prpbably low blood sugar at the end of the school day - I stocked up with fruit and the like for after-school snacks - daddy stocked up on the chocolate for him - 3 guesses who's snacks Ryan preferred?

    Anyways, after years of literally begging the doctors for help, we ended up going through the back door - when Ryan was 5 we lost our twin boys due to cord complications and after a friend mentioned her son was having grief counselling after his nan died, we managed to get the counsellor to come out to see Ryan. On her second visit she said his problems stemmed from bullying at school and refered hin to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health dept for assessment. We got the phone call today to tell us that the psychyatrist has said that Ryan does seem to be borderline ADHD but can't see him until August at the earliest. I'm not totally convinced that it is ADHD - both Ryan and my daughter Rebecca are the type of children who are always hungry, never seem filled and are always thirsty, so I suspect that they're both lacking in something (or most things!) that their bodies need so I've put my foot down and told my partner that we're going back to basics - start at the beginning, eliminate the crap from their diets and then gradually re-introduce a few of the treats to see what reaction they have on Ryan. Hopefully by the time the consultant comes back from his hols we'll be most of the way there without the need to put Ryan on drug treatment - which I have absolutely no intention of doing!!!

  10. #10
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    wow you have really reasearchedthat well it made fasinating reading did they ever sujest that your excema has an external trigger both me and my middle boy are quite violently allergic to two chemicals called SLES <sodium laureth sulphate> and SLS <sodium lauryl sulphate> (which is found in soap, toothpaste and detergent products even the ones made for sensitive skin) weirdlt enough it a sulphuric acid byproduct and it's considered a hazardous irritant so beets me why they use it. Along with you food allergies it might but agrivating you worth a thought.
    Bow Chika Wow Wow!!!!!

  11. #11
    Still doddering along.... Stardusts Dad's Avatar
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    Just to add a bit more to Stardusts narrative........the GP who first took notice and started to diagnose her as being intolerant of things was an old guy - the sort you would think very set in his ways, whilst the one that blamed it on - in her words - 'a parental obsession with food' was young and straight out of medical school so it does appear that modern teaching doesn't really look at allergies yet....or at least back then.

    The clinic where she went was eventually closed because the medical profession decided that the woman who ran it was a quack....because she preferred natural methods of controlling allergies and not mainstream drugs....Stardust had a cocktail of serum made up from extracts of the food that she was allergic to and ended up injecting herself from a very young age because she realised the good that it was doing her.

    I might add that our 'bible' at the time was the excellent and still available 'E is for Additives' by Maurice Hanssen and Jill Marsden....and one of our group of friends worked for a company who supplied the colourings and flavourings to the food industry...and swore blind that they have nothing to do with the problem.

    Anyway a very quick rule of thumb....if a child craves something it's a fair indication that they will have an intolerance to it.
    I was always taught to respect my elders but it keeps getting harder to find one.

  12. #12
    Creative goddess... Crystalwitch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Stardusts Dad
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    Anyway a very quick rule of thumb....if a child craves something it's a fair indication that they will have an intolerance to it.
    It's interesting you should say that - I've spent most of tonight online trying to get info after my son had one of the worst attacks ever after his dinner. My partner made meatballs and toast for the kids and after minutes of finishing Ryan just totally lost it - the worst case of the lights are on but nobody's home I've ever seen. He just kept running round and round the living room and couldn't seem to even hear his dad or I when we tried to stop him to talk to him. It came to a head after about half an hour when Tony literally had to pin him to the stairs and hold him till he'd burnt himself out! Turned out the meatballs had yeast extract (MSG) in them but Tony hadn't noticed it when he'd checked the lable in the shop. But I can tell you, the whole thing totally terrified the life out of the two wee ones and me.

    We know from watching how he reacts to certain foods that he has a reation to MSG and anything to do with it so I've spent most of the night online trying to find even more info on it. And then I found this:


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    - absolutely scared the crap out of me as I stupidly just thought it caused hyperactivity in kids
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    .

    One good thing seems to have come out of it though - my other half (an ex-chef if you will) has finally decided that maybe I'm right and we should go back to total basics - nothing processed, packaged or tinned, even if it means he has to get up early to start preparing dinner!
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  13. #13
    Still doddering along.... Stardusts Dad's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Crystalwitch
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    And then I found this:


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    - absolutely scared the crap out of me as I stupidly just thought it caused hyperactivity in kids
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    .

    One good thing seems to have come out of it though - my other half (an ex-chef if you will) has finally decided that maybe I'm right and we should go back to total basics - nothing processed, packaged or tinned, even if it means he has to get up early to start preparing dinner!
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    This whole additives business is really a load of poo - it's just about making it taste nice so kids will want more - my girlfriend gives talks about just this sort of thing to young mothers - and other young adults - in colleges in her native Ireland and she usually manages to scare them into buying additive free foods.
    Some drinks on the market she just likens to drinking bleach and one of our local doctors, some time ago, did a large number of tests to prove that C*k* C*l* has a huge negative effect on kids behaviour down to the addition of synthetic caramel that's put in for colouring.
    I was always taught to respect my elders but it keeps getting harder to find one.

  14. #14
    I've looked into the MSG thing ...... the only thing I can find that makes it different to normally occurring Glutemate (which is natural in stuff like tomato puree and parmesan cheese) is that it's stabilised with (table) salt. Chemically the artificially produced Glutemate in MSG is exactly the same as the glutemate in lots of different natural unprocessed foods so I don't understand why MSG should have such a negative impact
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    I know my stepmum is convinced that her Arthritis flares up after a Chinese takeaway and I always feel hungover the morning after a chinese (without having had anything alcoholic to drink!). It's just very odd.

  15. #15
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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