Signs and Symptoms of Food Sensitivities/Allergies

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Food Sensitivities and Food Allergies?

Could your child have a food sensitivity/celiac disease or food allergy and you don’t even know it? Finding out could save your child’s life and can mean the difference between them thriving and surviving.

By Lauren Hoover-West

Food Sensitivity/Celiac Disease  Symptoms can manifest in several different ways including, but not limited to the following:

  • 25-30% digestive symptoms
  • skin rashes (eczema or dermatitis)
  • headaches
  • psychological(ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities)
  • neurological disorders(poor balance, poor coordination, brain fog)
  • up to 75% of children with celiac disease are overweight!
  • delayed puberty
  • short stature
  • 25% of children have NO symptoms(asymptomatic) at all!

Typical signs and symptoms for infants with celiac disease include:

  • chronic diarrhea
  • swollen belly
  • pain
  • failure to thrive or weight loss

Interesting facts: 8% American Pediatric food allergies with 1/3 having severe reactions

Peanut allergy 25%, Milk 21%, Shellfish 17%, Gluten sensitivity up to 50%

Chef Lauren’s shares her story:

As a child I had cereal for breakfast Monday-Friday, and by 10am I’d be in the nurses office with a tummy-ache. I also felt that I had a fever, but he thermometer indicated “normal”. Thirty something years later I found out that I had a subnormal temperature due to hypothyroid! So, I really did have a fever in the nurses office! My body knew something was wrong. Due to school policy, they would not call my Mom unless I had a fever. I also had a lot of congestion that was not visible to others.

On the weekend, we would have eggs or other items for breakfast, and I did not have the reactions. My parents thought I just did not want to go to school, that I was “allergic to school”. Things are not always as they appear.

I was the shortest child in my class, and always looked 1-2 years younger(hope that continues when I’m old!) than my peers. I had the symptoms of short stature and failure to thrive. I also was the last to “bloom”, delayed puberty. I was constantly “catching” any “bug” going around, so I had a weak immune system. Did you know that 70% of our immune system is in our gut?

Yep. My gut was so beat up from eating foods that damaged it by releasing antibodies and weakening the tight junctions. When tight junctions are weakened, macronutrients can drop through where only micronutrients are meant, and that is called “leaky gut”. The problem with this is that several food sensitivities may/probably will develop. In a recent study by Dr. Arbuckle, she found that autoimmune antibodies can be in the blood and body up to 9 years prior to the onset of any symptoms when she studied adults with Lupus(can be correlated with gluten)!

The list of my symptoms goes on. My Mother was a professional athlete and my other family members were all blessed with athletic ability, but I was uncoordinated and always the last to be picked for a team in physical education class. I did play sports, but was never one of the most talented, I was just a warm body that did okay.

This all seemed somewhat normal or not serious enough to look into further. Well, thirty-forty years ago doctors were not educated about gluten sensitivity and food allergies and sensitivities. Now, there is so much good information, education and many great doctors who understand it, usually a Naturopathic or integrative physician. You can find a licensed Naturopathic doctor or in California

I also have a list and more info on my blog,

In my twenties and thirties I started to notice that other people did not have the same stomach aches, constipation or other symptoms I had occasionally(rashes, brain fog, fatigue). In college, I was diagnosed with a mild learning disability so I could get special exceptions made, like extra time and a note taker. In grade school and high school I did well, but struggled with math and science. I felt so much frustration. I was told I was smart and tested very high on SAT’s and other academic testing. So, why was I not getting more A’s? The good news, is that I did get accommodation in college and finally got straight A’s and was the honor society president! I only share this with you, not to brag, but to give you hope and insight that if you or your child are having the same experience you will have more information that will hopefully be helpful. I see children so often that are displaying symptoms and their parents are in so much denial, and I do not understand why. It make me feel really sad, so I choose to do what I can do, and give the rest to God.

Between excellent health professionals, health food stores nutrition departments, reading extensively and begging my integrative internist to run tests, we discovered I was allergic to dairy protein. I removed it and felt better, but not excellent. There was still something else bothering me. The celiac test that my doctor ran, only tests for 2 proteins out of 26, which is the standard test! Four years later, I found out through a Naturopathic doctor and lab test that tested all 26 proteins in gluten that in fact, I am sensitive to gluten! I had cut out wheat a few years before the tests due to my own intuitive suspicion and did feel improvement. Next, I cut out the gluten 100% and 3 months later….my brain fog lifted.

Many people are confused about the difference between a gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. It’s complicated, but in short the intestinal villi get warn away and the person with celiac disease cannot absorb nutrients and can literally starve to death. There are many other health issues that come with celiac disease including other autoimmune diseases. Gluten sensitivity doesn’t sound as serious, but it can be very serious. Without treatment it can lead to a number of autoimmune diseases, and is correlated to hundreds of serious diseases and conditions that cause death. You can go onto and do a search of gluten and disease. As of 2012 there is now an official diagnosis for gluten sensitivity, and celiac disease is now considered a disability.

I did not know what “normal” felt like until I cut out gluten and dairy from my diet. I could not believe that I could breathe totally clearly and the other symptoms all significantly improved or disappeared with the combination of removing the irritating foods and a gut-healing protocol with my Naturopathic doctor, who happens to be my husband. Yay, a new lease on life. I was just surviving and now I’m beginning to Thrive!

If any of this resonates with you or your children are displaying, or complaining, of any of these symptoms, I highly recommend you consider a Naturopathic doctor and my kid’s camp with lots of healthful, delicious recipes and education on this subject.

As a foodie and chef my passion and mission is to help everyone that wants to thrive to find recipes that fit their needs. Educating your kids early on is the best gift you can give them, especially if they can avoid health problems and suffering. The other gift is spending time in the kitchen and enjoying meals together. I feel very strongly that many of my good habits and security stemmed from a solid childhood of my Mother cooking every meal, of healthy food, and us eating together every night. I am deeply grateful.

I can really empathize on a deep level when people are diagnosed, or discover, they need to change their diet and may feel bewildered or frustrated or overwhelmed. Don’t worry, my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem Cookbook, is sold on this blog to help you make healthy, delicious food that is gluten-free, dairy-free and low glycemic index. The recipes are easy and familiar. It is a joy for me to assist you on your healing journey. Be Well and Thrive so you can follow your dreams and enjoy this life that includes fabulous food!

The Celiac Disease Foundation now has a list of symptoms and a quiz that you can take and get a response! Go to

Sincerely Be Well and Thrive, Chef Lauren Hoover-West

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