Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mood and Food for Thought

My blogging buddy James Bishop over at Finding Optimism wrote a superb post on food allergies, and how they contribute to mood. My sister is finding the same with her special needs boy, and continues to hound me about possible intolerances in my diet, as well, like food coloring and preservatives. Here are the first three paragraphs of James’s article. To read the whole thing, click here.


My son is allergic to green peas and his reactions are life threatening. He is intolerant to a lot of other foods as well, and as we’ve found out, so am I.
We changed our family diet some years ago now, for the sake of us all. I used to cheat, but I also kept track of my diet, and after a while my wife noticed that when I ate certain foods I would become very depressed 2 days later. (Almost to the hour.) Unfortunately chocolate was the worst! She mentioned this bizarre discovery to our allergy specialist who said “Yes, food does cause mood swings!”
Food allergies and intolerances are very different things. Food allergies trigger the immune system, and the sufferer’s body reacts, for example with swelling or hives. Food intolerance is about thresholds. You can eat the foods that you’re intolerant to, but you’ll have a reaction if you go over your threshold. Food intolerance is very common; much more than people seem to realize.
The reactions can be amazing. In me the intolerance causes depression. My wife feels bloated and lethargic. The kids get aggressive and irritable. Other people report anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, obsessive compulsive behaviour and even social phobias. Migraines and stomach aches are also common.

  • Larry Parker

    My niece was a little bratty — no more than the typical 4-year-old, but a bit fresh all the same.
    Until my sister discovered she had a potentially lethal peanut allergy. It’s not even that she was eating peanut butter (instinctively, she hated it from toddlerhood), but rather it was from PEOPLE EATING PEANUT PRODUCTS AROUND HER. Scary.
    It’s kind of sad to see a 7-year-old walking around with an Epipen. But since it was discovered and everyone (mostly my sister and BIL and at my nieces’s — and my sis is a warrior with the teachers and principals, let me tell you!) made lifestyle changes AROUND her, she has grown into the sweetest 7-year-old you’d ever want to me. She can literally make her hard-hearted old Uncle Larry tear up sometimes.
    (No offense to all the adorable 7-year-old moppets in everyone else’s life, of course.)

  • Larry Parker

    “mostly my sister and BIL and at my niece’s school” — honestly, comboxes need spellcheck! ;-P

  • Margaret Balyeat

    It’s acryally almost unbelievable how food intolerances can indeed alter behaviors in children; take it from one with over thirty years in the classroom! And some of the most common culprits are foods you’d never suspect…like James’s green peas! Mood swings are a common reaction, yes; so is “hyperactivity”(a much over-used word, IMHO) Studies have also shown that certain foods can actually increase children’s test scores if eaten immediately prior to or during a test (Peppermint comes to mind)

  • Lynne

    I believe cinnamon is also a good mind stimulator. I recently saw a program on ADD in children and adults .They discovered that chewing gum wakes up the part of the brain that’s affected and enables the person to function and focus better. Imagine what a simple solution that could be. Now did you bring enough for the entire class?

  • Trisha

    Chocolate has a toll effect on my son. It makes him go into this Hyper
    active mood. He’s all over the place. And it makes the teacher mad at school. Because, he’s not able to sit down to listen. He can have Cocoa Pebbles, donuts, Chocolate Ice Cream whatever is chocolate he eat like everyone nightmare. Because he can be a handful.

  • CLeo

    I can’t eat chocolate, it’s almost as damaging to me as sugar and alcohol are. I get hyper and end up with a mega migraine and depression. I also suffer from horrific nightmares when i’ve consumed chocolate and lots of sugar. I don’t even get near alcohol and I’m so happy that I don’t miss my little glass of white wine with meals! Thank you Higher Power!

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