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.