COMMENTARY: Eating our way to health |

COMMENTARY: Eating our way to health

Kevin Cotter

I met a mother in the market about a year ago whose son was struggling with staying focused in school, in sports and with 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 were as almost as bad — if not worse — than the condition being treated.

I asked her if her son ate 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 then asked if there was any family history of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. She said that her son's uncle had celiac and that his dad had ulcerative colitis and had his large intestine removed.

That's when I got on my soapbox and said she needed to get her son tested for allergies.

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I passed along that we had a similar struggle with one of our children.

Our doctor prescribed medication to address a symptom but never once asked us about nutrition or a potential food allergy or talked about getting to the root of the problem.

I am in no position to diagnose, but it was just 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 new gluten-free diet, off of meds and doing well in school and sports.

This makes me wonder, when you go to the doctor, how often is 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 of our health issues? How many minutes do you actually spend with your doctor?

Are they looking at just a snapshot in time or looking at the long-term, bigger picture?

When we finally figured out that our daughter had food allergies, it took a doctor who was willing to ask questions about her diet, what she craved, what she feared, how she slept, environmental conditions and how she was doing in school.

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, she was able to stop taking all of her asthma meds and the foggy headedness went away with her new diet.

Changing her diet eliminated the need for medication.

It was that simple for her. I would encourage everyone as part of their wellness plan to be tested for food allergies.

Julius Erving says 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 partner for New Earth Market in Yuba City,

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