“I hope this is gluten-free. I don’t even know what that means, but it seems to be the trend these days.” This quote may be a joke to some people, but if you’re a parent and your child is struggling with food sensitivities it doesn’t seem funny at all.
It’s true. Everywhere you turn someone is gluten-free or dairy-free.
For over the past ten years, I’ve been on and off the gluten-free diet. But, it wasn’t until my son started developing food sensitivities and a nagging cough, that I realized his diet needs to change.
Not only his diet needs to change, but he also needed to heal his gut.
What exactly is a food sensitivity?
A food sensitivity:
- typically causes a less severe reaction
- they may have an ongoing/undiagnosed cough
- usually causes digestive problems
- your child’s skin may break-out after they eat
- dairy and gluten may be the top sensitive foods for them
A true food allergy causes:
- an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body
- it can cause a range of symptoms
- in some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening
- you would NEVER re-introduce this food into your child’s diet!!!
- The 4R approach may reduce your child’s reaction to their allergy but you would never re-introduce the food to them again unless under a doctor’s supervision
If your child is struggling with a food sensitivity OR a food allergy, the 4R approach may help reduce their symptoms.
Here are 13 symptoms your child may need to heal their gut
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor immune system
- Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
- Cravings for sugar or carbs
- Joint pain
- Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, bad behavior at school
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac
- Chronic cough
- Allergies, Asthma, & Eczema
- Cheeks get red easily
If your child has some of these symptoms, they may have Leaky Gut Syndrome.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
“Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to “leak” through the intestinal wall.”
Medications that lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome In Kids:
- Acid reducing medication
What can you do if your child has a Leaky Gut? You can help them heal with the 4R approach.
What is the 4R approach?
It’s a method that addresses the underlying causes of gut imbalances and restores harmony, helping to alleviate symptoms and maybe even disease for our children. The program suggests you: Remove> Reinoculate> Repair> Reintroduce
How do you heal your child’s gut?
- Promote healthy evacuation daily with fiber, fruit, vegetables, and water
- Try an elimination diet for 2-3 weeks if symptoms persist, you may want to try the 4R approach
- Remove all triggers: i.e. all allergens and cross reactors like gluten and dairy
- Get off medications (with Dr.’s approval and replace with natural remedies )
- Reduce your child’s stress with reading, being outside, and adding herbal teas
- Heal their gut lining with the 4R approach below
- NEVER re-introduce foods that cause a true allergic reaction
Keep in mind. This program is most successful when the whole family agrees to participate. So, what are the steps?
The 4R approach for children
Take out what ails them
- Remove the top allergens for your child including wheat, corn, eggs, dairy, peanuts, and soybeans.
- Add in whole grains (like quinoa and rice), organic vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats.
- Remove all allergens for 4-6 weeks or it may take up to a year to heal their gut with an auto-immune disease.
- Encourage whole, organic foods if able.
- This is the hardest part to do with small kids. It helps if the whole house works together.
- Plan ahead. Print recipes, go grocery shopping, be prepared for meltdowns:)
- Add in a digestive enzyme like Vital Chews or Kids Digest to help your child digest protein, dairy, and meat
- If digestive enzymes produce bloating, your child may have SIBO. Ask for help.
- Teenagers can have 350 HCL at the beginning of a meal to aid digestion or offer bitters to them.
- Add in a high-quality children’s probiotic like Klaire
- this is safe for infants and up to age 7
- Wait 2 weeks for the elimination diet or up to 6 weeks. Adding in a probiotic can give you gas and bloating if you do not remove the allergens first and start with digestive enzymes.
- Look for probiotics with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter species.
- For older kids, they can incorporate fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee 3-4x week.
- Although very delicious, kombucha can be high in sugar so consider using sparingly.
Include the following supplements for 6-weeks or more to repair your child’s gut. Dosing depends on your child’s age. The following supplements can be taken for up to 6 months to help to heal the intestinal lining:
- Chamomile Tea
- Marshmallow root powder
- DGL licorice (aloe and licorice are not for internal use during pregnancy; these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining.
- Age 4-7 years old 5-10 mg/day
- Age 12 10-20 mg/day
- My kids like the Nordic Natural berries for kids.
If your child is struggling with food sensitivities and find you’re avoiding foods, there is hope. The 4R approach is more than an elimination diet. The 4R approach can heal your child’s digestive tract, reduce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation for years to come.
Want to learn more? Head over to Home Remedies For Children; my online course that shows you how to integrate natural remedies with your children and heal their gut so they have fewer digestive problems.