Im standing in the kitchen peeling, dicing and stewing pears. I remember the conversation I had with the checkout lady at the supermarket. Many things come to mind that I should have said, but I was just to shocked!
The checkout lady said her mornings are always chaotic as she has a primary school age son who has ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( a label we give to kids who are hard to ‘control’?..) Im not going to go into depth on what it is, and why we think it is ok to label people, that’s a whole other discussion. But what jumped out at me was when she said they have to give him medication and it takes an hour or so for it to kick in. So in the mornings it kicks in just as he gets to school, so the child is ‘mellow’ for the teachers.
Medicating young children for behavioral issues does NOT seem right to me. This was what put me in a state of shock, so much so that I only just realised now what I should have said to her. My stance on it is this: ADHD and behavioral issues almost always come about from food related allergies and intolerance. (I’m not a doctor, or a nutritionist, or anyone in a profession that might work with these people and issues. I’m just a mum, so you can choose to listen and test my theories for yourself, or just stop reading here.) I should have said – try him on a wheat and gluten free diet, and cut down or out the sugar, and see what happens in 6 weeks time. ………
As a Mum with 2 children, that have now both been diagnosed with food allergies and intolerance’s, I have seen first hand how their behavior changes depending on what they eat. Our whole family is now Dairy, wheat, soy (or soya depending on what language you read and write) FREE. Our girl also has allergies to chocolate, cocoa, grapes, strawberries and tomatoes. So we are learning to adapt to food recipes that are free of these ingredients. And I will tell you, if she eats something that she shouldn’t have… WOW!!! Watch out, cover your hears, protect your head and private bits, and make sure there are not hard objects around that can be easily thrown. IS this typical 3 and a half year old behavior? I’m sure some people will tell you it is, and I’m sure to an extent it is too. But i know what when she hasn’t eaten food she shouldn’t have she is a nice, happy, calm, helpful, caring child. If you know her well, you will realise there is a big contrast.
If you put crap food in, you get crap behavior out. (Crap food does not have to mean ‘junk’ food, in some instances it is just food that that body can not tolerate.) As a family we know when we have been eating things we shouldn’t, as everyone gets tired, cranky, short, grumpy, and does things they shouldn’t due to ‘brain fog’.
So what are some of the issues:
- Wheat – this gives us brain fog, makes it hard to concerntrate and do things – resulting in frustration, and poor memory or train of thought. Also brings about sore and upset tummies, and heachaches
- Dairy – sore tummies, aching legs – causing more whinging and short tempers from not feeling 100%
- Soy – I havent yet found out how this effects us, as it is a new allergy that we have found out about
- Tomatoes – rash around mouth or nappy rash, server tummy cramps – This would make anyone grumpy!
- Sugar (this is Me!) instance headaches, lack of energy – grumpy, cranky, B.I.T.C.H (you dont want to be around that!!)
So now that we know how we are affected by these foods, we can self check whether or not we want to eat them, as we know how we will feel afterwards. For young children this is hard, as they want what other kids are eating, and they also dont realise that it is the food that later makes them feel the way they do. So it really is up to the parents to take control. I find it best to only have food in the house that everyone is allowed to eat, so as to not be exclusive and leave someone out. As an adult we know we feel gutted if there is something we cant eat at a party, or if you are pregnant and cant have drinks with everyone else etc, so imagine being a 2 or 3 year old child in the same situation. It’s just not fair!
Back to the original conversation with the lady, I truly believe her child would benefit from trying a wheat (maybe all gluten) and sugar free diet. Cutting out wheat can give a clear head, calm behaviour, and weight loss (that’s always good for us adults!) etc. If you want to know more about the effects of wheat you can look at http://www.wheatbellyblog.com. Wheat has changed so much over the past few hundred years that our body just cant keep up with processing it. It causes issues like leaky gut – which in turn causes other issues, autoimmune diseases etc..
With the way that food is procesed these days really means that it is best to get back to more ‘whole’ and ‘natural’ foods. Im not an advercate for ‘organic’, i think that is not always the best way forward. YES please grow your own fruit and veg, then you know they havent been sprayed (I dont agree with spray to make food look good). I have however heard stories of people that were organic farmers, only to find out that over time the soil they grew their food in had gotten depleted and so the nurtitional values in their foods was a lot lower than those brough at the supermarket. In short, their food was no longer good for them, so organic is not always best!
What I am saying tho, is whole foods are great, not processed foods. Nuts and fruit, steak and mince, not precooked sausages etc. Ideally kumaras over potatoes, but it depends on what you can afford. These things would be better than bread (normal or gluten free). And my BIG bug at the moment is milk and yogurt. Go as ‘raw’ as you can when getting milk. The stuff you buy in the supermarket is really NOT good for you.
I think we need to re look at the food pyramid and what we think is good and bad foods, what is always and what is sometimes food. Iv been having an internal fight in my head at the moment as my daughters Kindy teachers ask the children to eat the ‘healthy’ food first. Yes this is good practice, sure. But I don’t know if I agree with their definition of ‘healthy’ food. Occasionally I have put chippies in her lunch box. The teachers have said that this is unhealthy. Yes in the sense they are not the ‘best’ for you, but I do ONLY buy the salted/plain chips – ingredients: salt, oil and potato (with a wheat, dairy and soy allergy we cant eat any other flavour). Are they really that bad for you? There is no sugar in their, no colours, artificial flavours or preservatives. The ingredients are the same as the homemade roast potatoes I cook for dinner, also the mashed potatoes we have with our mince.
The teachers however, seem to think that a chocolate calci-yum yogurt is more healthy, as it is milk/dairy and full of calcium. Hmmmmm…. I wont bother to list the ingredients on the back of one of these, but im sure you have a rough idea. A main ingredient being SUGAR!
So what do you have in your pantry and fridge? How much sugar does each item contain (I mean refined sugar, white, brown, corn glucose syrup, wheat glucose syrup etc..) We are trying to cut down our sugar intake, which means when you have sugar cravings the best thing to eat is something salty – chips? A friend of ours is a nutritionist and this is EXACTLY what she snakes on – CHIPS! carrot sticks and hummus are good, fruit, meat (STEAK!!), but some times you need some fast, convent and tasty. Are chips really that bad? Maybe go for kumara ones instead (extra nutritional value) or corn chips for a change…
(More later….. 🙂 )