Anastasia's Story

I believe that Anastasia’s story possibly started while I was pregnant because I had extreme depression and tiredness throughout the pregnancy. I gained up to 60 pounds.  Most would say that is just what happens when you are pregnant. But now I ask myself, “Is it really?” Why the depression? Why was I so tired? Why was I so fat, when I was eating properly?  What if all of this was influenced by my own unknown gluten intolerance? Plus, these issues were not prevalent in my other pregnance. I will never know if I could have helped her health and my own, if I had known about the importance of eating gluten free. 
Anastasia was a beautiful, typical baby girl with no major health issues.  She had her typical colds and ear infections, but that was it.  She grew and improved at a normal rate and is extremely smart.  She was influenced by a standard American diet for 5 years.  As with her older brother, Noah, we drank organic milk and ate fresh foods, but we also had our share of fast food. 
When Anastasia’s brother, Noah, turned 7 we started learning about the importance of eating gluten free and then grain free.  At this time, we noticed Anastasia would become very emotional at a drop of a dime.  When she was 5, Noah became physically ill because of his gluten intolerance. In 2009 her sister was born. We assumed her emotional behavior was due to family influences. As we took the gluten out of her brother’s diet, we would slowly remove it from Anastasia’s diet only because it was easier to cook the same food for the whole family.  I would still allow Anastasia to have pizza or cake at school or with friends.  I felt that, since she had such a limited exposure to gluten, she would be fine.  I noticed her emotional outbursts were less frequent. But, then there were times she would be extremely emotional for weeks. 
As parents, we tended to focus on the biggest issue in the family:  healing Noah.  We knew Anastasia had less energy than others her own age.  We knew that she also had a tendency to be over the top in her excitement or sadness of a situation. During emotional situations, she would not be able to calm herself down.  For 9 to 10 months after her sister was born, we contributed her behavior to family dynamics, not food.  Many would say that these are typical early childhood behaviors. But were they typical to my child?   I had to wake up from Noah’s illness to see that Anastasia was suffering with gluten intolerance, too. 
 In June 2010, I began to realize that gluten foods were influencing her behavior too.  The turning point for Anastasia was a friend’s birthday party.  In my gut, I knew she should not eat the pizza that day. Of course, I did not want her to miss out with her friends.  I even told her that she could not have any soda or cake because I knew the sugar was contributing to her emotional outburst as well.  Within an hour of eating the pizza, Anastasia became physically hyper and emotionally out of control.  After the party, she was crying uncontrollably.  Every day for 7 days after the pizza, at a drop of a dime she would break down in tears.  She also was hyperactive on and off throughout the week.  That was when I knew her emotional and physical well being was compromised severely from gluten. 
As with her older brother, Noah, it took a lot of detective work to find all the foods that threw Anastasia off balance.  I was her best advocate and knew that taking her to the Dr’s for a series of blood tests would be frustrating for both of us. So I chose to work on this myself armed with the tools I learned from helping Noah. I started with the noticeable gluten and then moved onto all grains.  But Anastasia was still not always feeling her best with the removal of these foods.  I had to search harder and found that she was also lactose (milk sugar) and casein (milk protein) intolerant.  Many children with gluten sensitivities will continue to show signs of their illness until lactose and casein are removed, as well.
It has now been over a year since we removed all grains, gluten, dairy, and sugar and Anastasia is working to her full potential.  Her emotional outburst are gone and her intelligence is shinning through. 
In 2014 we noticed that Ana was again having emotional troubles.  She would also go one day knowing how to do her math and the next not at all. Since we were totally grain free we could not understand. I realized it was the soy in all the grain free food bars.  We found the soy in her diet was as dangerous to her brain as the grains were.  Now we are soy free too:)