When my lovely nutritional therapist Margot, advised me that my 8-year-old daughter Molly had to go on a 6-8 week sugar-free diet, my heart dropped.
In fact, it almost stopped with the fright. What was I going to do? How were we going to cope? How would I get around my feisty, stubborn 8-year-old with a penchant for all things sugar (with a dollop of butter on top - don’t ask!) And how did we get to this stage in the first place?
I had noticed over the past couple of years that Molly had complained on and off about tummy pains. Some of it I put down to nerves, some of it to not having pooped and some of it I just ignored, to be honest. It happened normally on a school day which is part of the reason I brushed it aside. She also suffered from cold sores at the corner of her mouth which I treated with whatever cream the doctor or chemist recommended. But after studying Nutrition and Health Coaching in 2015 and setting up my business, The Cool Food School, I have learned the importance of the gut and food in general to our overall health. I figured there was more to it than a wily 8-year-old trying to duck school!
So, I set off down the path of nutritional therapy with my new found belief from my studies in food as medicine. The lovely Margot Kearney from The Nutrition Clinic was my first port of call. We met her on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Molly refused to get out of the car so Margot didn’t even get to see her - I told you she was feisty! After we ruled out dairy and wheat (common culprits in gut problems), she advised a stool sample to check Molly’s gut flora. Off home, we went with a plastic bottle and a small spatula. Cue tantrums and a couple of days spent chasing Molly in and out of the bathroom to catch said sample. You really do need the co-operation of the child to complete this task! Sample eventually acquired and off to Germany with it - there’s a job that really is cr*p!
Our next meeting with Margot was the “Big Reveal”. Again, Molly stayed in the car: oh no - she climbed out the window, now there she is running around the building, she’s now on the roof of the car, it’s ok she’s down again, now she’s locked herself in the toilet….. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to recover from the news that we will be going sugar-free for 6-8 weeks.
Molly’s stool sample revealed high levels of Candida, a common yeast infection, in her gut and her mouth. While not overly serious, this was the root problem of the tummy issues and the cold sores. On the upside, Margot advises that the sugar-free diet should help improve Miss Molly’s behaviour - I’m happy to go with that! I track down Molly (still hiding in the bathroom) and her two brothers (their turn to be on the roof of the car) and we head home to a land free of sugar.
What do you think? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this!