My son recently left our neighborhood public school for a special school for children with learning disabilities. In the few short months that we have been there, I have noticed some quirky eating habits of the students. Many families don’t realize that the diet that our children consumes can be connected to their learning challenges and their behavior. It got me thinking about food allergies and how difficult it can be for families to notice that certain foods aren’t good for our children.
Why do some kids have cravings to foods they are allergic to?
I asked my friends Dawn (a Speech Therapist and Certified Feeding Therapist) and Alana (Registered Holistic Nutritionist) about this phenomenon. It just seems cruel that the body would crave something that isn’t good for it.
Dawn told me about several of her diabetic patients who would sneak candy, even though their disease had resulted in the amputation of their limbs. If that wouldn’t alarm someone into changing their diet, I don’t know what will. It is clear that this is a disease, which results in an insulin and sugar imbalance, and being motivated isn’t all it takes to get well.
Food allergies are a different picture. When the body consumes an allergen (something it is allergic to), the body has an immune response and produces histamines. But Alana also tells me that endorphins are also released, which has a soothing effect on the body. Alana explains it this way.
When you crave an allergen, you are craving that soothing effect that the histamines release. You are unknowingly seeking out foods that are causing your antibodies to release histamines. That is why cravings can seem uncontrollable at times. There is a physical craving as well as an emotional craving for theseallergenic foods. It happens all of the time, which is part of the reason that a lot of people don’t realize they have food intolerances, or that their symptoms they may be experiencing are coming from something they are eating every day.
Dawn suggests that if your child seems “addicted” to certain foods, you should be suspicious of food intolerance. We will discuss this in much greater depth in our upcoming post: Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders – Does Your Child Need a Feeding Therapist?