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Children, AHD and PB?

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  • Children, AHD and PB?


    I am a new poster, but have lurked for a few weeks now. I have begun reading The PB after learning my blood sugars crept up over 100, my cholesterol is at 235 (with a statin) and I take bllod pressure meds. All at the ripe age of 36. I am not particularly fat at 6'3" 228, but I could stand to lose some.

    I am interested in learning about PB in children. I have a 3 year old daughter who has been diagnosed with a regulatory disorder by a child psych. He has put her on very small doses of risperdal and clonodine. Yesterday, my wife spoke to the child psych and she was also put on a small dose of ritalin for ADHD (all of these doses are smaller than the normal minimum does for a child). I am very concerned about these meds and wonder how much her diet my be contributing to the problems. I know diet isn't the root of the issues, but it can't be helping. Her diet consists of about 50% fruit and the remainder made up of Kraft Mac+Cheese, sweetened yogurt, cottage cheese, rice with chichen flavored powder, fruit juice and diet coke. Oh yeah, TONS of whole milk.

    Anyhow, I am changing my diet and I am concerned about hers. My wife eats even worse, but I can;t change her. I don;t even know if I can convince her that my daughter's diet needs to be changed.

    Any info re: PB and children (anything specific to her conditions is even better) is greatly appreicated.



  • #2

    Oh my goodness, I'd be concerned too! That's a whole lot of drugs for a 3 year old. :-(

    Your daughter is so very lucky to have a parent who is looking beyond conventional wisdom already. Have you read Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's book (edited to correct title) Raising Your Spirited Child? Seriously, go buy it today if you haven't read it already. I think you'll find it tremendously useful, though its focus isn't dietary intervention.

    I definitely believe a child's diet can influence behavior. If the food she's eating is making her feel bad, of course it is going to influence how she interacts with the world around her.

    A PB-type diet, with higher protein (edit: hers sounds inadequate: no meat?), high fat, and very low sugar/starch might make a big difference, but given what you've written, it might take more than that.

    Some parents notice HUGE improvements in behavioral issues, including attention/hyperactivity disorders, after gluten and dairy are removed from a child's diet. You often see this referred to as a GF/CF (gluten-free/casein-free) diet.

    The Feingold diet is another one to consider for behavioral issues.

    But you're right, the more difficult issue will probably be convincing your spouse to give it a try. Read up on dietary interventions, and poke around some online forums for parents who are successfully using dietary interventions for attention/hyperactivity disorders. (Google to find appropriate forums.)

    Then offer to clean out the pantry of whatever foods you're planning to eliminate, and offer to personally take over the grocery shopping and cooking. Keep notes on behavior during the elimination, but don't draw any conclusions yet. After a strict 2-4 week elimination of a specific food, like dairy or gluten, try adding it back as a challenge. Feed a whole bunch of it in one day, and then make more observations over the next few days. If it doesn't seem to make a difference, add it back. If it does, take it out again.


    • #3

      I'm an adult with ADD and that list largely reads as the foods I avoided even before I went primal. All those sugar swings can play havoc with my ability to pay attention. Either I'd get to wound up to focus or I'd be too drained to pay attention. I did consume a lot of caffiene because it's a stimulant (like Ritalin) and that helps with the focus.

      Going primal means my energy level is more even, but cutting out the caffiene means I've gone on Ritalin (as opposed to self medicating with soda).


      • #4

        Considering such a young age, I would suggest you look into behavior modification techniques for your daughter. Not sure if your doc already suggested this, but it may be more effective and eliminate the need for the medications if they are only small doses. Also, it seems like more docs are quick to give out these cocktails of drugs for behavioral issues. Personally (don't have kids yet), but under age 4 or 5 I would say behavior altering drugs should be a very last resort. Especially, since most are trial/error prescriptions and are only treating the displayed effects of the actual root cause of the issue.

        Vice chairman of psychiatry at New York University, Harold Koplewicz had this to say when asked:

        If you had a child with ADHD, would you give him medication?

        "With what I know, I'd be willing to have that child take medication, but I'd want to make sure that it was really necessary. And I would put it off as long as I could; I would not be comfortable medicating a child who was two, three, four years of age, unless it was the only option. . . ."

        Also, "data indicates that the number of prescriptions written for ADHD has increased by a factor of five since 1991." dated 1998, so probably worse at present date.

        Another shocking stat is that 85% of these behavioral drugs are consumed by US children.

        How could it be that our kids in the US are so far off tilt compared to the rest of the world. I think its more of a case of over diagnosis, than there actually being an issue.

        One thing I see most kids lacking these days is enough activity and getting far too much sugar, which may be a root cause to many of these issues.


        • #5

          Adding to what LX said, kids often crave the foods that cause the biggest problems. It is much like an addiction.

          At the very least, your daughter's dietary preferences suggest she has a problem with dairy. That would be on the top of my list of things to eliminate. It'll take a lot of pre-planning to make that change though, considering she's probably getting the bulk of her calories from dairy right now.


          • #6

            Ack, wrong book title up there! I was thinking of the title of a talk I heard her give a few years ago. Kurcinka's book is called Raising Your Spirited Child. I cannot recommend it highly enough. :-)


            • #7

              I 100% believe diet has EVERYTHING to do w/ most cases of ADD/ADHD (and would personally try my hardest to tweak diet before turning to medications--unfortunately most doctors know nothing about nutrition or how powerful food can be, so this is not an avenue that gets discussed enough...).

              I have a son who is almost 3 who has multiple food sensitivities. I noticed them because of some physical symptoms when he was 13 months (mostly rashes, along w/ constant bags under his eyes) as well as social/emotional/behavioral symptoms. (Nightwaking, extreme irritability, aggression, etc--just acting *not like himself*.) Cutting all traces of gluten, dairy, soy and corn out of his diet was like having a different child/getting my baby back. The nightwaking stopped, rashes disappeared, and he was once again my content happy kiddo. Slip him a little corn and he's got a rash and becomes violent, dairy and his got a cold and seasonal allergy symptoms, gluten and he's having explosive tantrums over nothing 3 times a day. It's crazy! I would not have ever believed it had it not happened in my family, and each time he has an accidental 'exposure' to a food he reacts to, I am re-validated and reminded of why we are so vigilant about keeping those foods out of his diet.

              Her diet consists of about 50% fruit and the remainder made up of Kraft Mac+Cheese, sweetened yogurt, cottage cheese, rice with chichen flavored powder, fruit juice and diet coke. Oh yeah, TONS of whole milk.</blockquote>

              From this description, the first places I&#39;d look to eliminate would be dairy, gluten, and corn (corn syrup especially!) You can do something called an &#39;elimination diet&#39; where you cut out the foods you suspect she is reacting to for around 3 weeks, see if it makes a difference, then start adding them in one at a time looking for any reactions. This way you can figure out if she is sensitive to any of them. (You need to make sure to eliminate them in ALL forms, which can be hard--there is tons of hidden gluten and corn in most packaged foods.)

              The best place I&#39;ve found for support w/ this is the MDC Allergies Forum. Tons of very helpful, wise moms there ready to share info and support:

              Also, check this out for some info specific to ADHD: Gluten is not mentioned on this link, but it is a food that most people w/ food sensitivities have a problem w/, and I&#39;d personally recommend trying to cut it out for a while to see if it makes a difference.

              Just want to add, food sensitivities don&#39;t necessarily last forever. Kids can grow and change, and many healing measures can be taken to get past/beyond them.

              There are some fabulous resources out there that can help w/ a transition to an allergen free diet. Some are more primal than others.



              I&#39;d be happy to share more if you&#39;re interested! It&#39;s fantastic that you&#39;re looking into this--so many of us just follow doctor&#39;s orders when it may not be in the best interest of our kids! Good luck!!!!


              • #8

                Thanks, all. I will definetely pick up Raising Your Spirited Child. As you can imagine, I do not want the drugs unless there was a serious problem and only then as a last resort. my wife is easy to pop a pillto address a problem (her father was with big pharma for his career). I agree that there is a porblem with overmedicating children. I have a call into her psych to address potential alternatives.


                • #9

                  Yes......most docs I know (I&#39;m in the biz) really don&#39;t medicate children below school age unless something is terribly, terribly wrong. Almost every professional I know would recommend non-medication avenues first, beginning with a full assessment---neurological, cognitive, speech, etc.

                  In New York state, where I live, you can request a full evaluation by the school district for free, this includes behavioral evaluation, cognitive testing, social skills evaluation, etc. (I know this because my older son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3) Check with your school district and request a developmental assessment. They do offer preschool learning interventions if your child qualifies.

                  Second, ask your pediatrician for a referral to a developmental pediatrician. That is a doctor specializing in diagnosing disorders of development---physical, cognitive, etc.

                  Don&#39;t get me wrong---meds can help a lot with certain problems----but please, please, please don&#39;t be passive about this. Get the evaluations and multiple opinions, including whether your daughter should be on meds.

                  As far as diet goes, eliminating processed foods, dairy and gluten can&#39;t hurt her and might possibly help a LOT.

                  The drugs you mention are quite powerful, and almost nobody I know would prescribe them in combination to a 3-year-old all at once unless there were a very out-of-control or dangerous situation.



                  • #10

                    Diet is definitely an issue.

                    Milk, grains and sugar could be the root causes of ADHD (esp. milk proteins).


                    The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                    Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                    Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                    Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)


                    • #11

                      Your wife&#39;s diet is almost all sugar! Fructose, glucose, starches which break into glucose, lactose, galactose. Where&#39;s the protein other than in the milk? Only fat source, too, IIRC.


                      • #12

                        I read your post with a great deal of hope and regret. Medicating a child with anti-psychotics and stimulants is not the answer. You are absolutely right to question this and consider other contributing factors for your daughter&#39;s condition.

                        Previous posts offer good advice regarding diet changes, etc., so I won&#39;t add to that.

                        What I will say is that I strongly urge you to reconsider giving your child these meds. I am not a doctor but am presently in the process of withdrawing from an anti-psychotic, given for insomnia if you can believe it, and it has wreaked havoc with my health and mind. The newer class of anti-psychotics, of which Risperdol is one, are not given to children. This is in their own literature. I do not know what this doctor is thinking as these drugs are dangerous and debilitating.

                        There is a website called Beyond Meds which can give you good information on drugs used in the mental health system.

                        I have a daughter who is 14 now. She was extremely challenging from the get-go. She was given an ADHD/learning disability label also. I find that if she stays away from sugar, simple carbs and most dairy, her mood is improved and she concentrates better. As she gets older, she has used behavioral techniques to manage herself and she is a lovely,bright and happy child.

                        Don&#39;t be discouraged and trust yourself.