One thing that has struck me about the food intolerance community is how it is overwhelmingly driven and supported by mothers.
There is nothing like the motivation of wanting to help your afflicted child that spurs women to invest time and resources in researching their child’s symptoms, which is where many learn about food intolerance for the first time.
This post isn’t so much a comment about gender, however, as it is about the parent that spends the most time with the child. It is still the case that in most families mothers spend more time with their children than fathers do, and are often the parent that takes their children to the doctor. It is perhaps the unsatisfying response from their family doctor that drives women to research their child’s symptoms online. There, they stumble across blogs, Facebook pages and websites that offer success stories and journeys undergone by families as a result of changing their diet. They find supportive communities, recipes, and validation.
It is not just children that are affected by food intolerance though. It is often the case that the whole family undertakes the elimination diet for ease of cooking and ‘fairness’ even though there is just one child where food intolerance is suspected. However, many times it uncovers a host of ignored symptoms evident in other family members. Previously quiet and introverted children can become more animated and engaged, lifelong levels of low level anxiety and irritation in the adults of the house just disappear (let alone the welcome disappearance of sinus symptoms, rashes etc).
So many women have remarked on how they wish they would have come across food intolerance earlier in their child’s life – and I can only say better late than never. Many people never find out. I am convinced that people commit suicide when it is simply food intolerance that is making their life unbearable.
I am so grateful for these women. These mothers’ lived and vivid experiences are what will make the knowledge of, acceptance of and treatment of food intolerance mainstream. Thank you.
Image credit (cropped): Carissa Rogers