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Did eliminating certain foods reduce tics?


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Heather, Jeff,


This is similar to what both labs said about the foods we were sensitive too per the IgG blood test. Actually, they said wait 4 months with nothing, then rotate in the sensitive foods 1/week, or up to 1/4days. And watch for a reaction. If you have one, then wait a couple more months and try again.


If they have 12 food sensitivities, they can still have them each day--it is just that a particular item must be spaced.



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Guest Evangelia

Hi Everyone,


I am new to this discussion board. I have to tell you all that your postings have been encouraging for me. My son is exhibiting very big tics and he is only 5 1/2. I have been so so upset..... but now I see some hope thanks to you all.


Based on your compilation of food items that trigger tics, I started yesterday to eliminate the following foods: eggs, nitrates, artificial ingrediants, sugar, chocolate, wheat/gluten/yeast, milk, tomatoes and corn.


By bed time, my son was the most hyper and exhibited the most tics ever! I am thinking that it was probably one of the replacement foods that I gave him. ie. Soya milk and goat's milk instead of cow's milk...... lentils ...... grapes or grape juice.... oatmeal?


He just started kindergaten, and I am having a real hard time figuring out what to prepare for his lunches.... I bought other types of organic flour so as to make bread, but with the elimination of yeast???


Am I eliminating too many foods at once? How do you perform the eliminations, one by one, or in groups? I am having a hard time figuring out what to serve him. What kind of lunches do you all prepare for your children for school? What do your children drink instead of milk? or juice? just water??? What type of bread to you give them?



I appreciate your responses. His tics have escalated so quickly and his behaviour is so hyper lately. I can only dream of having 2 or 3 tics in one day! Any other recommendations?


Thank you!

Evangelia :o

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Evangelia, Try not to get too overwhelmed at first. It's easy to do, and it can be very stressful for everyone.

Perhaps you're trying to eliminate too many things at once.

From my experience, I can suggest the following lunch ideas (note that we eliminate artificial colors/flavors, certain preservatives, and corn syrup (when we can) - we do not eliminate dairy products or wheat, etc.)


Whole white milk or Juicy Juice

Peanut Butter (Peter Pan creamy) and Jelly (Polaners - no cs) sandwiches (store-bought bread 100% WW)

PB, Honey, and banana sandwiches

Cream cheese and crackers (Philly cream cheese, Cpts. Wafers)

Home-made cookies (use vanilla, not vanillin)

Pepperidge Farm cookies (milanos)

Pringles - Originals only (don't get the new "colored" ones)

Herr's potato chips or Fritos, Smart Puffs, Pirate's Booty

Canned fruits in single servings (pears, mandarin oranges, etc. - I don't remember the name brand, but avoid cs or high fructose cs)

Celery sticks with Philly ccheese

Dannon vanilla yogurt (can add some Ghirardelli choc chips once in a while)

Kozy Shack vanilla or chocolate puddings

Stoney-something Farms... yogurts (sorry - the name escapes me, but they're all natural)

For breakfasts, we eat organic cereals, pancakes made with Aunt Jemima original mix; 100% maple syrup / Original Eggo's / Plain bagels with Philly cc / oatmeal


That's all I can type for now - gotta get to work!

Good luck, be patient, and I recommend you keep a daily diary of what your son eats - everything - and record his behaviors. You might see a pattern. When eliminating artificials, it is very common for some to see a worsening of symptoms at first - a detox period if you will - but then the difference is like night and day.

Read your labels! Get rid of anything that says a color and a number, ex: Red #40, Yellow #5, etc. And anything that says "artificial flavors / flavoring", including "vanillin".

Note that I speak only from my experiences. Fortunately, we've not had to eliminate dairy or wheat, gluten, etc., so my recommendations include many of those items.

Hang in there, and please don't allow yourself (or the rest of the family) to get overwhelmed by all the change. You'll make mistakes along the way, but that's how you learn. If you want more info and help with food eliminations, I would recommend you investigate the Feingold program - Feingold.org For a nominal membership fee, there is a wealth of info and support.


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We have also found much success with the brands that Jeff has mentioned above. The Feingold Association has compiled a list of acceptable brands that do not contain certain preservatives and additives that are known to cause a reaction and the brand names he mentions are part of this list. There are hundreds, maybe, thousands of children that have benefitted from using this program and the parents post and share every day. There are soooo many posts each day on that board I just can't keep up with them.


Grapes may be a problem. The Feingold theory states that salicylates is naturally occuring in many fruits and these should be avoided at first and then gradually reintroduced one at a time to test for a reaction. It will probably take some time to determine what exactly your child is sensitive to. It has taken us months to figure out some of the triggers. Grapes is actually a big trigger for us and many on the Feingold Diet find the same thing. Bananas & cantaloupe are good fruit choices. My son handles apples and blueberries but some can't.


My son has a huge milk allergy but can handle goat milk....others can't.


Some items I put in his lunch are:


Banana, Cantaloupe, crackers (Barbara's Bakery is the acceptable Feingold brand)

Goat Cheese, muffins (you could make with gluten free flour), potato chips, applesauce (if no apple sensitivity), dry organic cereal.


I know it is extremely difficult at first because it is so overwhelming but hang in there and I am sure you will see some difference soon. As Jeff says, there may be a worsening period at first that many find.


We have been almost a year with supplements and elminations and the last 3 days have been pretty much tic free.



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Soy is a common food for kids to be sensitive too. The tricky part about elimination diets (vs formally testing and only eliminating those foods the child shows an allergy to) is that so many foods can be possible triggers.


I posted this on another link:


3) ELIMINATION DIET ... There are formal testing methods to determine this (e.g. IgG blood tests), but an elimination diet is doable if you don't have a doctor or the funds to test. The objective is to see which foods your child reacts to, if any.


Acceptable foods (yeast unfriendly and least likely to cause sensitivities)

Chicken, rice, brocolli, carrots, sea salt ? [ENT/allergists have prepared sheets on these...I am working on getting one and will include it if I can find one ] Drink lots of bottled water, over tap water.


Unacceptable foods: Milk products (milk, cheese, butter..?); wheat/gluten; eggs; nuts, salicylites, other seasonings, sodas, caffeine, chocolate....sugar, yeast )

No ARTIFICIAL ingredients at all--meaning make your own food.


Getting started on diet change:

Before you begin, I would strongly suggest that you plan out the diet before you get started. Make sure you have the safe foods list ready and the food stocked in house. Doris Rapp's "Is this your child's world" or "Our toxic world" may have a list--I plan to call my ENT/Allergist today and have him fax me the standard list.


You will also need recipes and alternatives so that your child can still have delicious, nutritious meals. Amazon.com has a great book I got--it has really helped with wheat/milk substitutions --the standard American diet is 70% wheat and dairy. They have wheat/gluten-free, milk-free, egg-free and even lots of yeast, corn-free and soy recipes.


Some ideas: (yes, lots of rice-based products this week!) Check for no preservatives or artificial ingredients in the brands you buy.



-Rice Puffins cereal with rice milk (we use vanilla soy, but some are sensitive to soy, so rice milk is safer)

-Rice bread with a non-dairy margarine- (freezer section of many stores now, I have also seen a Kamut yeast-free bread)

-Van's Wheat free waffles with non-dairy margarine and 100% natural syrup (we only drizzle 1/2 teaspoon syrup on each waffle)

-wheat-, milk- and egg-free pancakes (I posted a recipe elsewhere)



Homemade breads from the recipe book, or quick rolls.

Turkey or chicken sandwiches using Rice-based breads (freezer section of many stores now)




-Cashews or walnuts (no peanut oil) [need to check elimination diet choices, to make sure which nuts are okay--peanuts are usually the worst--I think one of the biggest allergies]

-celery and other nut butters

-healthy potato chips (if potatoes aren't on the list!)



-Fried rice with peas/carrots/diced meat (wheat free soy sauce and no eggs)

-'Chicken nuggets' rolled in a rice or potato starch (one person had an allergy to potatoes--I think this is rare, but we need the true elimination diet list), seasoned with seasalt (nothing artificial in the salt, and paprika can be a problem for some). Fried in light olive oil.

-Turkey soup with MSG-free broth (or home made) celery, garlic, salt and I am not sure about onions (my son was allergic, but I need to check the list)

--Hamburger or no-nitrate, no corn syrup hot dog, no buns, or homemade buns

-Other meats

-Side dishes: rice, potato, many types of veggies (?)



Pancake recipe

1 C brown rice flour

1/2 C tapioca flour

1/4 potato starch

½ t baking soda

2 T baking powder (aluminum free) This has corn in it. I make a corn-free one with cream of tarter, baking soda and arrowroot--works perfectly

2-3 T lt olive oil 1/4 cup goat milk protein powder, depending on how much protein you want. I use Gotein (rice protein powder would work)

1/2 dropper Stevia (optional)

1+ C Water--to taste, depending on thickness desired

mix well and drop into pan and brown on both sides, etc...

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Thanks Jeff, Heather and Claire for responding so quickly! You are absolutely amazing, especially re-assuring for someone who is totally new with this. I am much more hopeful (sure the beats the last 3 days and nights of crying!)


I just ordered the Feingold package, it looks very promising and the good thing is I already have a list of what I can buy. Nice to see a list of "acceptables" versus "unacceptables".


I am still debating with myself if I should avoid the eggs, milk, soya at the same time...... since they seem to be so common out there.


I will definitely let you know what happens.


Thank you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Claire (and anyone else who might be able to help),


My 6 and 1/2 year old son began having facial tics last year barely noticeable at first then progressing to obvious tics. About a couple of years before, he was put on a variety of corticosteroid nasal sprays for "allergies" and then almost a year later when tested (skin grasshoppers) for allergies, nothing turned up positive. He did have a CT scan which revealed extensive sinus disease. His adenoids were reduced in size Oct of 2003 and following that the tics disappeared. He only seemed to get an occasional tic when tired, excited or stressed. In the last few months however, the tic has slowly come back to as bad as it was last year. We have an appointment in a few days with the ENT specialist to see if his adenoid/sinus condition has returned.


I have been reading all of these ACN forum entries and can't help but wonder if my son might have a reaction to a food or substance eventhough the initial testing turned up nothing. Should I ask for a blood test instead or another type of test?


Thank you in advance for anything you can offer me.



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My son has PANDAS and did not have a typical strep throat. With hindsight we think that he had a chronic sinus infection. During all of our initial investigation into why my son was having abnormal movements his CT scan and MRI showed pansinusitus...basically his sinuses were just full! It's a long, long story but my son was started on a post op antibiotics and within a few days my son was a completely different kid...tics, behavioral issues, OCDsih behavior dissappeared. Anyways, this led us down the PANDAS road.


My son does also respond very well to eliminating milk, eggs, and corn from his diet however, it does seem that any infection sets him off. Last Saturday he woke up ticicng along with behavior I had forgotten about including "gagging" at everything, he was VERY emotional, impulsive and fighting with his siblings...well I started him on clindamycin quickly and this Saturday is a whole different story...minimal tics, not one fight, no gagging, and he is just pleasant to be around.


I am not sure if you have considered PANDAS given your son's history with sinus infections but it may be something to consider.



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Ronnas is right that the sinus issue complicates things. I am a bit concerned about the steroid use. Repeated use of the steroids can contribute to issues which contribute to tics. One of these is elevated yeast. Great Plains has a test for this.


As for the prior food allergy tests coming up negative, the standard test that most doctors use is an IgE or RAST blood test for foods. This only covers immediate reactions--you would probably know about these anyway, as your child would get hives or excema or stomaches.... For tics and other neurological issues, environmental and DAN doctors do an IgG test for delayed food sensitivities. www.elisaact.com has one for example.


With the sinus issues, they can be caused by foods also--milk is a known culprit. Peanuts of course can cause respiratory issues. I like the tests because it takes the guesswork out of it. But if you have a young child such as Ronnas, they also have elimination diets to avoid the formal testing.


Good luck.




ps Hi Ronnas--it is nice to see you posting again! Sorry that you had another session with your son. Glad it is resolved now. I do worry about strep reoccuring--December seems to be the kick-off month...

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Dear Claire and Ronna,


Thank you so much for responding to my question so fast. It is such a relief to have some healthy options as the one neuroligist we saw (we didn't do the EEG because the tics went away) would have put us on the medication route.


I've looked on the web for a long time and never found anything linking corticosteroids to tics but maybe it was a bad reaction to an antibiotic or maybe it just is the sinus condition. I will follow up here with whatever we do, as this site is so wonderful!


Thank you again,



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It isn't a direct link. Use of corticosteroids/steroids can create elevated yeast (as can frequent use of antibiotics). You can do a google search on corticosteroids + yeast and find this link mentioned in many places.


However, the link between elevated yeast and tics is more anecdotal. By their definitely the alternative doctors we see are dealing with things that are not well-studied and accepted by the mainstream medical community. But the doctors on the thread at the top of the forum regulary test for elevated yeast as a cause of neurological issues. With elevated yeast, minimally the gut isn't healthy and nutrients may not be absorbed properly. You can do a google search on yeast + tics to find this.


I started a thread here with a case study link on yeast and tics that Chemar found--it is somewhere in the archives if you go page by page. Heather had a remarkable improvement in her childs tics from yeast treatment. Phyl noticed improvement also. Heather used Threelac.


Somewhere I posted the spit test you can do at home --a free yeast test of sorts.


This is only one possibility of course. A good doctor will run a number of tests.


Good luck to you.



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Hi Claire,


You really are like our biggest teacher and biggest cheerleader! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I will summarize what I have done so far.


Well, I am on Day 25 of my food elimination diet, and my son's tics are nothing like they used be.


Claire, along with all the good advice you collected from everyone, I had read that yeast could be a problem so I eliminated as much as possible to see results. Your surveys REALLY helped me establish a direction. I can't thank you enough - my despair was so great.


Just to give you some background, my son is 5 1/2 and his tics were very large! He would jump up and wave both of his arms in the air (this tic started when he kept jumping to re-secure his back-pack school back on his shoulders). It was very distraughting to see him do this every few seconds!!!! He had other smaller tics since last year but they were no big deal. With school starting, I was very worried about the social impacts on him.

Now, he doesn't jump at all, and he doesn't wave his arms up. He still has a few smaller tics here and there (more tics when I test his diet) but nothing like before.



From the start I eliminated:


TV right away - I told him that it broke. We still have it off - TV wasn't a big deal since we didn't watch too much of it anyways. (except a few weeks prior, his grandparents bought him a Veggie-tale video that he loved and his TV watching increased more than usual)


I eliminated sugar (incase of a yeast situation) - I used clover honey

(Today I am switching this, because I just discovered that clover honey has high salicylate content) ooops! I now bought date sugar, and I am also going to try unrefined organic cane sugar.


I remove all artificial additives - and I mean ALL (except I have allowed Jeff's recommendation of Pringles Original - just to have some kind of junk food around for him - and us!)


I eliminated all the salicylates - I can't believe the difference of when he has grape juice or an apple! We went apple-picking and he ate an apple, he ticced almost 20 times in minute, all over again. I, also, always know when the afterschool daycare has given him something he is not supposed to eat (before I even ask him) because he tics, otherwise he is pretty calm.


I eliminated the most common allergies that you compiled: Wheat, corn, eggs, and I use Lactose-free milk. I tried vanilla rice milk, and vanilla soy milk, but I found both to increase his tics. I have allowed soda-crackers(wheat) and cream-cheese.


I don't give him any juices - only water or lactaid at this time. He used to drink grape juice VERY often (4-5 times a day).


Around Day 13, we bought a new mattress, a new pillow, and the dust-mite protection casings around the mattress and pillows. We saw an improvement right away. We are now looking to change the carpetting and buy a HEPA filter.


I have been giving him BIO-K daily for friendly bacteria (incase of yeast), and an allowable vitamin C, and a multi-vitamin. I was giving him calcium liquid, but then discovered it was diluted in apple juice so I stopped.


I have not used any yeast in my baking..... the feingold prog says that regular yeast is fine - but not the active-rise yeast. So I am now thinking of getting back to my real breads and not the disasters that I tried to call bread.




You might wonder how my son agreed to all of this?

I told him that his body was trying to get our attention by doing these tics because it cannot tolerate some of the foods that we are giving it (even though for some people it is okay). I told him that I was glad that his body was "speaking" to us so that we can figure out what his body was trying to tell us. It is like a "Scooby-Doo" mystery and we are the detectives that will solve the big MYSTERY! We also have talked extensively about chemicals in food and how nasty they are.

He bought into the idea right away!


I can tell you the biggest change in him (aside from the tics) is his demeanour!

He is just not the same child anymore! He is no longer fidgety, he doesn't get as hyper when he plays, he is so calm and retrospective, he is not always afraid like he used to be, he is kinder and gentler! I could go on....!


I am very excited because tomorrow I am going to get the results of his IgG and Essential fatty acids blood tests. I also asked them to test for gluten allergy and test for any damage to his intestines. I will have a clearer picture of what I am dealing with tomorrow!!!! These tests are costing me a bundle (I live in Montreal Canada and the naturalpath is shipping the blood to his preferred lab in the USA (with an added premium for his time).


I apologize for writing so much, I just hope to help anyone else that is new. I am still new at this and I am learning and learning and learning every day! The biggest thing that I am learning is patience. I am definitely on the right track thanks to everyone who has taken the time to write what has worked for them! Thank you!


I will let you know what happens soon!



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FANTASTIC! We have had a similar experience! I was so helped in so many ways by everyone who took the time to post and share their experiences. I know a parent will come along and your post will mean the world to them and will give them hope!


We are also Canadian. We are from Saskatchewan. Take Care and keep up the good work!



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