It’s funny how one’s life can be changed simply by a food. When most people think of food intolerance they think of an upset tummy or a rash but that crazy train stops at so many stations after that!!
In our home Food Intolerance plays a massive role in determining our grocery purchases and what is cooked and consumed. It’s been a bumpy ride of trial and error over the last 10 years, but the magic that takes place once under control makes for life changing differences that make absolutely no sense to anyone who has never been confronted with it. Don’t worry I’ve had my fair share of people voicing their opinion on my mothering skills, denying my child of everyday foods that they feel qualified to inform me my daughter should be consuming and I get that they are concerned for the health and well being of my child… but HELLO so am I!!
Our daughter is a beautiful soul who has arrived into this world incredibly sensitive with Dyslexia, Autism and ADHD, and it’s our job as her parents to try and keep her as balanced as possible throughout her childhood so she can grown and understand who she is and how she works. Some days can be heart breaking as it all gets her down, it’s on these days we encourage her to count her blessings so she can be aware of how wonderful she is and how lucky she is to live the life she does.
A lot of her ADHD is managed successfully with a controlled diet, free of or very limited amounts of Salicylates and Amines, Glutamates Dairy and Gluten. We’re not nasty mean ogars and we do allow her treats and other forbidden food, the key is making sure it’s not too much to rock the boat and put her out of balance. Our doctor has put in place a protocol for her, which is helping tremendously and has resulted in her being able to tolerate more of these forbidden foods then ever before.
The big question I’m always asked is what are Salicylates and Amines?
Salicylates are chemicals that occur naturally in many plants – they’re a kind of natural pesticide – to protect the plants against insects and diseases. Salicylates are just one group of the hundreds of compounds in foods that can have varying effects on us, depending on how much we eat and how sensitive we are.
Salicylates are found in foods from plants: most fruit, some vegetables, herbs, spices, tea and flavour additives. For example, citrus fruit, berries, tomato sauce and mint flavouring are naturally high in salicylates and so are processed foods with those flavours.
Salicylates are also found in medications, fragrances, industrial chemicals, plastics and some pesticides, and can cause adverse effects when inhaled as well as eaten.
What are some of the symptoms of salicylate sensitivity?
- headaches or migraines
- itchy skin rashes such as hives (urticaria), eczema and others
- irritable bowel symptoms – reflux in babies or adults, nausea, vomiting, stomach bloating and discomfort, wind, diarrhoea and/or constipation
- bedwetting, cystitis
- asthma, stuffy or runny nose, nasal polyps, frequent throat clearing,
- behaviour problems such as irritability, restlessness, inattention, oppositional defiance, symptoms of ADHD
- sleep disturbance – difficulty falling asleep, night terrors, frequent night waking, sleep apnoea
- anxiety, depression, panic attacks
- rapid heart beat and arrythmias
- tinnitus, hyperacusis, hearing loss
- joint pain, arthritis, and more ….
Amines are formed by the breakdown of proteins in foods. They are normally broken down quickly with the help of enzymes (e.g. monoamine oxidase-A or MAO) to make them harmless, but if your body is missing these enzymes (or they’re blocked or sluggish), you can get a build up of amines in your body.
Different amines include:
- Tyramine (in cheese)
- Histamine (in wine)
- Phenylethylamine (in chocolate)
- Adrenaline (epinephrine)
Amines increase in fruits as they ripen and go soft, but highest levels are found in chocolate, wines, beer, yeast extracts, fish products and cheese. Meat that is older than 2 days or frozen is higher in amines.
Foods that are high in amines include walnuts, coconuts, avocados, bananas, figs, grapes, all citrus fruits, pineapple, raspberries, spinach, canned tuna, processed meats, vinegar, soy sauce, beer, wine, juices (especially orange and tomato), chocolate and cheese.
What are some of the symptoms of Amine sensitivity?
Amines usually produce ‘aggressive’ type behavioural problems (as opposed to salicylates, which produce more ‘silly’ or ‘hyperactive’ symptoms).
Symptoms of a build up of amines in the body include:
- Irritable bowel symptoms
Glutamates (like MSG) occur naturally especially in tasty cheeses, soy sauce, yeast extract, hydrolysed vegetable protein, soups, sauces, gravies, seasonings and many other foods. These are used in many ‘No MSG’ health food aisle rice-based snacks for children.
What are some of the symptoms of Glutamate sensitivity?
- rashes (see RIBO RASH factsheet), itching, burning, numbness
- migraines, headaches
- irritable bowel symptoms
- chest tightness, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmia, anxiety (see HEART factsheet)
- irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbance
So as you can see, sometimes it’s easier with a great big sarcastic belly laugh to list what she can eat lol, but considering her limited diet she rarely gets sick and is a healthy fit young woman, which both us and our doctor agree is working for her.
It’s funny how people think you’re denying their childhood unless it’s filled with fizzy sugar laden drinks, chocolate and lollies. This was really hard when she was younger especially with her Autism not being able to comprehend why her friends could sit in front of her and eat whatever they wanted and she couldn’t, she still has her moments but she does get quite a good share of treats, she’s lucky to have a mummy and a nanny who loves to bake goodies for her and now she’s getting older she is able to bake for herself if she’s feeling like a treat. There are some terrific cookbooks available that I thoroughly recommend if this is something that affects your life.
The Failsafe Cookbook. This is a brilliant basic cookbook that covers everything and has a great rundown about food intolerances.
The RPA Friendly Food. This is a beautiful book with some exciting variations on the basics. Both are a must on this journey.
A great go to book which has been my bible over the years is the Fed Up book also by Sue Dengate. This is packed with so much information. She also has a website under the same name Fed Up, which is jam packed with detailed factsheets, shopping list and information.
Next blog post, I’ll get together some of Savannah’s favourite yummy failsafe recipes. Thanks for reading, I hope this helps a bit with understanding of Food Intolerances and how our life rolls here.
Information sourced from