It was that simple
I met a mother in the market about a year ago whose son was struggling with staying focused in school, in sports and in daily activities. The story sounded very similar to many stories we hear at the market.
She said her son was prescribed meds to try and help him stay focused — but she expressed that the side effects from the meds were as almost as bad if not worse than the condition being treated.
I asked: Does your son eat a lot of wheat? She said, "Yes, why?"
I then passed along that we have seen a lot of folks in the market, including my daughter, who suffered with foggy-headedness from eating wheat.
I asked if there was any family history of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. She said that her son's uncle had celiac, and his dad had ulcerative colitis and had his large intestine removed.
That's when I got on my soap box and said she needed to get her son tested for allergies.
I told her that I faced a similar struggle with one of my children. Our doctor prescribed medication to address a symptom but never once asked us about nutrition or potential food allergies. He never talked about getting to the root of the problem.
I am in no position to diagnose diseases, but it just seemed like common sense to me that if one or more people in her family had a wheat intolerance, the food allergy could be easily passed on.
She had her son allergy tested and bingo — he tested positive for wheat and several other food allergies. He is now on a gluten-free diet, off of medication and is doing well in school and sports.
This makes me wonder: When you go to the doctor, how often are diet and lifestyle discussed?
I have talked about this before — are we going to continue to treat symptoms rather than looking deeper to find out the root cause of our health issues? How many minutes do you actually spend with your doctor? Is the doctor looking at just a snapshot in time or looking at the long-term bigger picture?
It took a doctor who was willing to ask questions about my daughter's diet, what she craved, what she feared, how she slept, environmental conditions and how she was doing in school for us to finally figure out that she had food allergies.
It was more of an interview than an exam. He wanted to know what made her tick. This was the basis for recommending allergy testing. In the end, with her new diet, she was able to stop taking all of her asthma meds, and the foggy-headedness went away.
Changing her diet eliminated her need for medication. It was that simple for her. I would encourage everyone to be tested for food allergies as part of their wellness plan.
Julius "Dr. J" Erving said it best: "If you don't do what's best for your body, you're the one who comes up on the short end."
Kevin Cotter is managing general partner at New Earth Market in Yuba City.