Soon after Liam’s epilepsy diagnosis, I attended a nutrition talk with a friend about ‘Brain Fog’.
The talk was extremely eye opening and touched on many of the problems we had been experiencing with Liam over the years.
After the talk I chatted with the Nutritionist, Madaleiné, and briefly explained what we had been going through and she suggested we do a food intolerance test and to also start Liam on BarleyLife, FloraFood and Omegagenics supplements (something my sister-in-law had been telling me to do for about a year and a half, but I never listened *hangs head in shame*). Madaleiné also suggested we cut Aspartame out of Liam’s diet completely, which we had done already as our Doctor advised it would be best when we received Liam’s epilepsy diagnosis.
The food intolerance test was quite pricey, and medical aid won’t cover the cost of the test as it’s nutrition based *eye roll*, so we couldn’t do the test immediately. In the meantime I bought Liam AIM BarleyLife and AIM FloraFood and started him on the supplements. Metagenics’ Omegagenics was also a little bit expensive, so I had to wait for the next month to buy them for Liam.
After about two weeks of Liam drinking BarleyLife and Flora Food, we noticed that his tics eased, they weren’t as disruptive anymore. I took another video, which you can view here. His tic was now more of a vocal clearing air from the lungs sound. Every now and again we’d notice a motor tic, but nothing as frequent as before.
Needless to say, I was sold! I knew we were on the right track and it felt great!
The next month we did the ImuPro food intolerance test on 90 foods. We also decided that Ray should get tested, as he has been struggling with his weight for many years, so both him and Liam went into Lancet with the paperwork and Lancet sent the blood and paperwork to the MDS lab in Durban for testing.
What the ImuPro test does is test for the presence of specific IgG antibodies to particular foods. The test will then outline the levels of IgG antibodies to those specific foods depending on how elevated the levels are and list them as ‘not elevated, ‘elevated’ or ‘highly elevated’. The ‘highly elevated’ foods will be your type III food hypersensitivities; not to be confused with a type I food allergy, which is detected by testing for IgE-mediated food allergies that can cause serious reactions like anaphylactic shock, vomiting, itching, rashes etc.
Type III food hypersensitivities can cause problems in your body that you are probably aware of, but not aware that the food you are eating is causing the trouble, specifically inflammatory processes. They are also very difficult to detect as symptoms caused by a type III food hypersensitivity can sometimes only occur after a few hours or even a few days after consuming a particular food.
I’m going to liken my example of the small intestine to a battle you would see in, let’s say, Lord of the Rings:
So a person is intolerant to casein (in dairy) and gluten, and they eat a cheeseburger; the food reaches the small intestine. The primary function of the small intestine is to break down and absorb nutrients and minerals from the food and release them into the blood stream through the intestinal wall (the wall blocking the invaders getting through to the citadel); but the villi in the small intestine and the intestinal walls are damaged due to many years of eating foods containing casein and gluten (the wall is damaged due to boulders being thrown at it by the enemy). Proteins and enzymes from the casein and gluten get through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream without being broken down (the enemy breaches the wall in one piece). The immune system initiates an immune reaction against these food proteins as they are seen as invaders. In the process, immune complexes are destroyed and inflammatory processes begin (soldiers try to stop the enemy from going any further, but many soldiers and villagers are killed, and the enemy gets closer and closer to reaching the castle, once there, the enemy takes over the kingdom). With inflammation in the intestinal lining you could experience cramps, IBS, diarrhea, bloating or vomiting and for inflammation in the blood you could experience sinusitis, skin conditions like eczema, ear infections, diabetes or even heart conditions, ADHD, depression or other neurological conditions.
We received the results of their tests about a week later and we were so surprised by both Liam and Ray’s food intolerance’s. Both of them were dairy, gluten and egg intolerant. Ray also had a pretty high peanut intolerance, and Liam had ‘elevated’ IgG levels for cucumber and apple too.
At first I must admit, the results made my heart beat super fast. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to cut all of that our of their diets. Gluten free products are extremely expensive, but then most of them still contain egg, so my mind was going a mile a minute.
I made an appointment to see Madaleiné once I had the results and she spent an amazing 2 hours chatting with me and put my mind at ease completely. She advised that for Liam’s cucumber and apple intolerance’s, I should cut them out of his diet for 5 weeks only and then reintroduce them (this gave me a lot of relief as Liam loves cucumber so much). She also told me that both Ray and Liam will never be able to reintroduce dairy, gluten or eggs as their intolerance’s were just too high and most likely the cause of their villi being damaged and causing other issues within their bodies. She helped me so much. It wasn’t all doom and gloom! I’ll cover the appointment with Madaleiné in more detail in a separate blog post.
Although I did end up buying some very expensive gluten and egg free pasta’s and other overpriced gluten free rubbish, after about a week I decided to adopt the KISS approach – Keep It Simple Stupid!
Luckily Liam loves most fruits and veggies, and he prefers them raw. Ever since he was a toddler he would ask me for ‘cucumber, cheese and tomato’, hence the blog name. Unfortunately I couldn’t give him cucumber for the next 5 weeks, and cheese is now completely out of the question, so I prepared plates of grapes, watermelon, carrots, broccoli and cherry tomatoes with some chicken breast or cooked ham for lunches and he’s been perfectly happy with that.
Dinners I would make fish, peas and mash, or chicken, rice and mixed veg, or spaghetti with gluten/egg free pasta, or steak, chips and peas.
Now that it’s winter, grapes and watermelon are no longer in season, so I give him naartjies in their place.
As for Ray, he started losing weight quite nicely, but has since plateaued again, but we think that may be because of his sweet tooth and plan on cutting sugar out over the next month or so to see if that will jump start his weight loss again.
We have noticed a remarkable difference in Liam’s behaviour. Before he would interrupt us constantly while we spoke, now he waits his turn before talking. He used to randomly scream when he’d get excited about something (everything would excite him), we haven’t heard him shriek/scream for ages. He seems more focused, much more helpful around the house, he’s remembering his manners more often than not.