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Back to School? Time to Kick Food Choices Up a Notch!

Joette Calabrese, HMC, PHom M

August 30th, 2012  |  24 Comments

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Oh, the flurry of excitement of back to school time!

Shiny, new school supplies and autumn clothes.  Let’s take this opportunity to make a fresh start with our children’s meals as well.

I urge my students to reassess their dietary habits yearly,  just like a corporation regularly evaluates its efficiency and productivity.  I urge you to clean house and consider potential culprits that may be silently attacking your child’s health.

Too many refined carbohydrates are detrimental to good health and one of the worst offenders is gluten-laden foods.

I know, I know.  Cakes, cookies, biscuits and such are attractive, tasty and inexpensive, but if your child can’t overcome certain health challenges, including emotional and/or intellectual ones, these might be likely to blame.

I often recommend that a child abstain from ALL gluten products for 60 days.  I don’t mean fewer of these products, or smaller bites of them.  I mean totally eliminate them from his diet.

Unfortunately, this means not only  Cap’n Crunch has to go, but otherwise wholesome oats, wheat, spelt and rye must be eliminated as well.  Instead, try delicious hot cereals such as teff or quinoa; they make a lovely breakfast along with eggs.

Substitute rice pasta for wheat/semolina.   Tinkyada Brand is good source of many kinds of pasta.

As an Italian American, I can tell you that if you cook this pasta according to the directions, it tastes authentic.

After the 60 day fast, allow your child a gluten feast!   For example, give him wheat toast for breakfast, a wheat bread sandwich for lunch, a bagel for a snack, and pasta for dinner.

Now watch his behavior, sleep, respiratory and gastrointestinal activity.   Note his energy, his color, and his odor.  Is there darkness under his eyes?   Is he wiggly, itchy, too chilly or warm?

If you notice any of these changes after gluten has been reintroduced into his diet,  then you will know that the child is sensitive to gluten and must be kept away from it.   The same experiment can be done for any suspected food sensitivity such as pasteurized dairy products, sugar cane, corn syrup, dyes or preservative-laden foods, etc.

Here’s a powerful clue: the food that most often does the worst harm is the one that’s the most craved.  Does your child cry or carry on when you tell him he must have eggs instead of toast?  If so, then regard gluten a possible culprit.

Homeopathy has a history of resolving the problem.  If gluten intolerance is part of the family history–something that his father and grandmother have– he’ll still be able, in large part, to overcome this tendency.  It’s a matter of selecting the correct and deep-acting constitutional remedy that is person specific.

Interestingly, in my experience, I’ve observed a proclivity for gluten intolerance more often in Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans.  I’ve also noted that many children don’t present this problem until they’ve been treated with antibiotics, vaccinations or the like.

If you’re working with a classical homeopath, every symptom, no matter how minute, is important to disclose; it will help your homeopath determine the constitutional remedy that will uproot the propensity for this problem in the first place.

After all, getting to the bottom of the problem is what homeopathy does best!


Nutrition is fundamental to the work I do with homeopathy!  Read more about how the correct remedy helped to bring Liz's diet into alignment here.  Lots more articles and free information on homeopathyworks.net.




Joette laughingI am a homeopath with a worldwide practice working with families and individuals via Zoom. I'm also a teacher and most importantly, a mom who raised my now-adult children depending on homeopathy over the last 31 years. I lived decades of my life with food intolerances, allergies, and chemical sensitivities until I was cured with homeopathy, so I understand pain, anxiety, and suffering. You may feel that your issues are more severe or different than anyone else’s, but I have seen it all in my practice and in my work in India. My opinion is that nothing has come close to the reproducible, safe and effective results that my clients, students and I have achieved with homeopathy.

Call today and learn how homeopathy might just be the missing piece in your health strategy.

Joette is not a physician and the relationship between Joette and her clients is not of prescriber and patient, but as educator and client. It is fully the client's choice whether or not to take advantage of the information Joette presents. Homeopathy doesn't "treat" an illness; it addresses the entire person as a matter of wholeness that is an educational process, not a medical one. Joette believes that the advice and diagnosis of a physician is often in order.

We've provided links for your convenience but we do not receive any remuneration nor affiliation in payment from your purchase.

The Author disclaims all liability for any loss or risk, personal or otherwise incurred as a consequence of use of any material in this article. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


24 thoughts on “Back to School? Time to Kick Food Choices Up a Notch!”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    If your child has never had any antibiotics or vaccinations or the like would you still do the 60 day fast? One of my children tend to wheeze a little and the other struggles to keep her emotions balanced and not lash out at siblings. Perhaps these things could be related to gluten, but since they haven’t had drugs and have been treated constitutionally, would it still be worth doing a 60 day fast?

    1. Elizabeth – I never considered myself to be sensitive or allergic to anything (especially to any food products). I have learned lately how our food choices effect our hormones and thus effect our attitudes, sleep rhythms, etc. I am on a mostly grain free diet myself and I definitely notice a difference in my attitude (snappiness and patience) and my digestion. I say mostly grain free because I like to splurge now and then, but boy do I pay for it.My 5 year old daughter has also never received any vaccinations or antibiotics and has “no food sensitivities”. She eats very similarly to me, although I do allow her more “splurges”. After all, she is 5 and doesn’t understand why grains are bad for her, no matter how much I try and explain. All she cares about is having gold fish crackers or graham crackers once in a while. I allow her this luxury. I realize I didn’t really answer your question, I just thought it would be helpful to share my experience with going grain/gluten free.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Thanks for sharing that, Jeannine. I guess it’s worth doing no matter what. You never know! 🙂

    2. There are two causes of chronic illness such as food intolerances, behavioral and respiratory issues: 1) inherited taint and 2) stimulation of the propensity for such an illness to appear. These responses are generational and may still emerge. If the parents have had vaccinations, drugs, and other tinkerings, that is enough to produce children who may display chronic problems. The absence of such aids to decrease the degree of inherited issues and increase the speed with which they can minimized or eliminated.

      It is certainly worth the effort of discovering if gluten is a trigger. Additionally, constitutional homeopathic remedies have a reputation for uprooting such issues. And if we can know in advance what may be causing such responses, it’s easier to determine which homeopathic remedies will be the best choice.

  2. Laura C. says:

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, if I am looking to have a child treated constitutionally, would I want to do this prior to consultation, or would it obscure symptoms used in taking the case.

    1. The more information, the better. if some on is clearly intercollegiate of a certain food, it offers valuable info.

  3. Katie says:

    Practical Paleo is an EXCELLENT cookbook and explains a lot about why gluten isn’t good for the body if you are looking for recipes.

  4. Brenda says:

    Even though I don’t currently suffer from any specific maladies, I wonder if going gluten-free would help my overall sense of well-being as well as keep future health issues at bay?

    1. anyone who has had an antibiotic in their life time…and who hasn’t? ought to consider gluten to be indigestible.

  5. Aimee says:

    I was just at my sons school orientation for early-k. School lunches and snacks are part of the program, where “healthy snacks” will be offered, things like Ritzs crackers and goldfish. The teacher also mentioned that they did not have the cafeteria menu ready yet since they need to revise based on the new USDA guidelines and add more grains for each meal. I know I need to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of grains my children eat, but it seems like an uphill battle especially when it is constantly all around them and constantly offered, and I know how much they do crave them!

    1. It has become so common place for children to be gluten intolerance (as well as many other kinds of foods ) that schools may have to face the inevitable . That is its time that we put a stop to food doled out by “officials”, cafeteria employees, and teachers. It needs to be up to the parents ONLY, as to what ought to go into the songster’s mouths. If we don’t put an end to handing over our GOd given right as parents to raise our own children, make decisions about their diet, vaccinations, meds, and treatment of disorders, what then becomes the role of the parent? …to simply give the government care givers the night off? parents need to have guts, spunk and moxie against the idea that the school and government know better. How ridiculous! Only parents know what’s best. And if they don’t, then so be it. Interference with family rights will usher in the end of freedom. We’re only a whisper away from that now!

      1. LeslieH says:


  6. mztreus says:

    I’m almost 53 and recently become concerned about my reactions to certain foods–bloating, minor maladies constantly, mood swings, etc. I’m well past menopause so that was ruled out. My doctor put me on a diet to clear me of intestinal candida–basically protein, veggies, and 2 servings of fruit/day–no dairy, grain, alcohol, sugar, carbs. Additionally, a series of food sensitivity test were run on my blood. Within the first week, I felt more energetic, no brain fog even in the middle of the afternoon, slept through the night, and was emotionally steady for the first time in a very long while. Within three weeks, I felt ”clean” is the best way to describe it. My tests came back almost completely clear but 2 categories that were still in the normal range but near the high end. I have reintroduced small amounts of grain/carbs and cheese but NOTHING even close to my previous consumption. My weight has continued to drop and the benefits of the change remain. I highly recommend trying it and seeign what works for you as it really is person specific.

  7. Cheryl says:

    So interesting. In addition to tummy aches, our then 7 1/2 year old son had become SOOO emotional, clingy, tearful, upset and afraid to leave me that it was unbelievable. We wondered where our son had gone! Once we found out he was sensitive to gluten, we drastically changed his diet and he was a changed kid within days!!! We were strict for 5-6 months and now he can have a gluten free treat sometimes and it doesn’t bother him. However, if we let him have a few too many “treats” in a short amount of time (say a day or two), we can see this emotionalism coming back.

  8. Rebecca Cody says:

    If you have any doubts about the dangers of gluten, you need to read Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. He takes all his patients off gluten and many of them get over problems they never associated with grains or gluten at all.

    The wheat that is grown today has been hybridized so extensively that it doesn’t resemble the wheat people have eaten for several thousand years. It has far more gluten, and forms of gluten never eaten by humans before. This is associated with a huge increase in gluten intolerance.

    And, going even further back in history, while hunter-gatherers likely ate grass or wheat seeds as they came across them, as an occasional part of their diets, it has only been about 10,000 years since people settled down and began farming and raising wheat. That seems like a long time, but it would take well over 100,000 years for people to healthfully adapt to such a change. There is evidence that the health of the Egyptians, some of the first people to farm wheat, suffered greatly after they began eating it in abundance. They became several inches shorter and suffered other maladies that can be read in their bones.

  9. I stopped eating gluten about three years ago and I feel so much better for it. There are so many other options that it’s a shame that most people unthinkingly tend towards wheat products without trying the alternatives…

    1. the local Wegmans in Western New York has 2 full isles of gluten free products and ingredients! yes, the time has come for gluten-free!

  10. Sue DiBianca says:

    I purchased rice flour for a dog treat recipe. This article made me wonder…can rice flour be used the same way wheat flour would be used in bread recipes and such?

    1. rice flour can be used to make bread, but the method, texture and results are different. Good, but different.

  11. LeslieH says:

    Great article, I was wondering what you thought about Dr. Peter Osbornes work about gluten. He states all grains contain prolamines which are a subfracture of gluten therefore all grains contain gluten. He showed wheat was 69% gluten and corn 55%, rice was the lowest. I’ve seen several of his lectures on youtube and was wondering about the information. He states a lot of research was done in the last 25 years and that companies etc., that state products are gluten free are incorrect.

    1. I’m not familiar with Dr. Osborne and his percentages, but I am in agreement. I see it from a different perspective. That is, when someone is exquisitely sensitive to gluten they often can’ t have the foods you mentioned. Perhaps there is another reason for the intolerance to cause the same or similar reactions, but it is reasonable that gluten is the culprit. Having said this, if we go one step further, its not really gluten’s fault. It’s antibiotic use that has destroyed our ability to break these substances down.

  12. Eleanor says:

    My daughter was selectively mute at school (and in her second and third languages) for nearly four years. This was triggered by anxiety and shyness, but she overcame the shyness and was still unable to talk in front of her friends (despite not speaking she had many friends and was one of the gang) or in the language of her schooling (also of where we live, although our main language at home is English). At first we saw it as a protest against school, and one teacher in particular, but even when she changed class and had a teacher who she could speak to in English and who she really loved, she was unable to speak. Eventually I started to see it as an anxiety response and in the course of reading natural health websites I saw the connection between anxiety and gluten. I put her on a gluten free diet and saw an immediate improvement in all sorts of ways. After a month or two I bought the GAPS book by Dr Campbell McBride and started to follow that diet. The improvements continued and she started to talk at school after about 6 months on the diet. She is now happily conversing in 3 languages and in fact English is now no longer the main language between her and her sister. I keep them both on a mainly gluten free diet, and I see the effects on their behaviour within minutes if I do let them eat cake/biscuits/bread. I think most people think I am mad when I try to explain this to them, but I also see a lot of children that I’m certain would benefit from a gluten free diet. Unfortunately people do not seem to want to believe it can be a problem unless it has been formally diagnosed, but by then so much damage has been done that recovery is very difficult. All aspects of the GAPS diet have been important: fermented vegetables, water and milk kefir, bone broths, cooked vegetables, probiotic supplements. Perhaps a homeopathic remedy now would be able to really push this out of her system and leave her less sensitive to gluten and grains/sugar. I would like to add something that I think is important: she has never taken antibiotics or been vacinated, but she was born by caesarean, and I think this has a lot to do with it.

  13. Jackie says:

    Joette, do you still recommend the 60 day elimination period for food intolerances since transitioning to the Banerji protocols? Or can I use a protocol effectively without eliminating the suspected food? I assume I would see results quicker with eliminating diary (in my 2 year olds case), but I am not seeing enough of mprovement after 4 weeks of no diary to convince me that that is the problem.

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