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Eliminate Gluten and Dairy for Kids on the Paleo Diet

You can adapt some of the principles of the Paleo lifestyle for your family. Cave men had children, too, and your children can also benefit from the Paleo diet.

If your child is frequently ill, chronically congested, or suffers from digestive complaints, gluten may be the culprit. Considering that at least 15 percent of the population has a gluten intolerance, cutting out foods with gluten is a good way to keep your family healthy.

Wheat, barley, rye, triticale, oats, and most other grains are found in so many food products, making gluten a tough one to snub. Keeping your foods real and unpackaged are your best lines of defense to keep your kids gluten free.

Despite the constant reminder that "milk does a body good" and the number of dairy foods that are wrapped in kid-pleasing packages, milk can be a problem for your family. For some, milk and dairy may cause their body to create mucus, which can cause digestive disturbances, acne, headaches, and other allergies. Some kids may be congested all the time or have a constant runny nose.

Eliminate gluten

The proteins in gluten irritate the intestines, causing discomfort. Following are some of the symptoms kids (and adults) may experience if they're sensitive to gluten:

  • Agitation and mood swings

  • Depression

  • Eczema and other skin rashes

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Intestinal problems like bloating, diarrhea, and constipation

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Painful joints

Many parents notice a difference in their child's symptoms immediately after cutting down on gluten. You have to be aware, though, that many foods may contain gluten without you even realizing it.

Watch out for these sneaky ingredients that are actually gluten in the flesh:

  • Barley or barley malt extract

  • Dextrimaltose

  • Duram flour

  • Gliadin

  • Kamut

  • Malt vinegar

  • Maltodextrin

  • Maltose

  • Miso

  • Modified starch

  • Natural flavoring

  • Vegetable gum

  • Vegetable starch

  • Whey protein

Also, be on the lookout for these common foods that may contain gluten:

  • Broths

  • Candy coating

  • Imitation seafood

  • Some luncheon meats

  • Marinades

  • Some sausages

  • Soy sauce

Don't despair, though; you can still make sandwiches from lettuce wraps, which kids really love. You can also make breads, muffins, and desserts with non-gluten or grain products, such as almond meal coconut flour, and flax meal.

If you really want to use bread for your kids but want to keep out all the nasty ingredients, like grains, cheap sugars, and preservatives (which most breads have in abundance), try looking online for recipes made with almond flour or coconut meal.

Eliminate dairy

Like gluten, cow's milk can be another big trigger food — a food that causes your body to "trigger a reaction." For example, if you eat cheese and then get a migraine, dairy "triggers" your migraine. Unfortunately, dairy tends to trigger a lot of symptoms in a lot of people.

In fact, dairy is the leading cause of food allergies in children. If your child has a lot of digestive intolerance, leading to frequent stomach problems, dairy may be the culprit. Many kids have just subtle allergies to cow's milk that perpetuate their nasal congestion and lead to ear infections.

Here are some problems associated with food sensitivity to dairy:

  • Allergies

  • Childhood-onset (Type 1) diabetes

  • Chronic constipation

  • Crohn's disease

  • Ear infections

You can replace your kids' current dairy products with the following great-tasting substitutes, as an alternative to milk, baking ingredient, and dessert topping:

  • Almond milk

  • Cashew whipped cream

  • Coconut milk

  • Flaxseed milk

  • Hazelnut milk

  • Hemp milk

Some great sources of calcium without dairy include the following:

  • Fish (canned sources like canned salmon)

  • Leafy greens

  • Nut and nut butters (like almond, sesame, and walnut)

  • Sea vegetables (like kombu and nori)

  • Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds

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