ADHD and the Paleo Diet
Hey all. I'm a newbie and soon to be starting the Paleo lifestyle (fresh out of college and waiting on that first good paycheck). As it stands right now, I suffer from severe ADHD. As in if I don't get my caffiene for the day I have zero ability to function. Spacy, distracted, can't concentrate; basically I should be clipped to a leash and led around, or just not let out in public. I didn't want to go theedication route because...because well speed, cocaine, meth, and antidepressants. Yuck. My question is: is white coffee paleo? Green tea doesn't work that well for me at all. I do hope that this lifestyle will eventually eliminate the need all together for medicating, but in the meantime I know the going will be slow. And right now my diet is pizza, tamales, canned chili, cheese, meal shakes, chips, sodas...basically, whatever my other half puts in the house. Nightmare in the making, and most likely 90% of the reason my whole body is on the fritz. ALSO I am lactose intolerant (except butter...yay) and use mostly hemp, rice, and almond milk. Are these paleo? And finally--how, how, HOW can manage my aversion to cooking without burning out on salads? I will be working 40-55 hours a week, most likely 4-12 am or 12-8 am ( a LOT of factories here), so I really don't see myself getting off work going "Yay! Cooking!" Sorry for the long post :-).
Going strict paleo eliminated 95% of my "ADHD". By that, I mean "severe brain fog and inability to concentrate". It took about 3 months of eating completely clean with no to minimally processed foods. I also discovered/was diagnosed celiac as well.
All I can tell you about cooking is to get used to it. Ease yourself into the lifestyle like one meal a day for a week, then build up from there. I have times where I don't cook and I grab something trashy like a Larabar or some plain pork rinds (which really aren't all that trashy). I work an insane amount of the time and a travel extensively so am I perfect? No, but I do the best I can. My suggestion is to cook in bulk and then you'll have food for several days. Cooking something like a roast is easy and it lasts a really long time. Toss crap into a crock pot, come back 8 hours later, enjoy.
Grill/Bake several lbs of chicken breasts at once, make a huge batch of tuna salad, etc. A lot of my meals are relatively simple. A lot of times I'll get a wok and toss in 2 or 3 types of greens, squash, chicken/steak and saute it all with olive oil and my own homemade cajun seasoning. It doesn't take long and my girlfriend loves it. I can make a large amount and then split it up in tupperware and keep half and give half to her to take home for lunches the rest of the week.
You're just going to have to change your mindset from, "I'm hungry, I wonder what there is to eat" to "I know I'm gonna be hungry, I better go ahead and plan my week out". I personally don't plan my whole week out for each meal, but some people find it helpful to do so, especially those that haven't been big cookers in the past. Just stock up on a bunch of different seasonings and dive in. One of my favorite meals is scrambled eggs and sausage with a massive mix of herbs and spices. You'll find what you like and eventually you'll discover a couple of easy/fast "go to" meals that don't take long at all.
I don't have a ton of experience with ADHD, but I would imagine that eating Paleo and reducing carbohydrates will help to regulate blood sugar and keep you from being overactive and then crashing and being unable to concentrate.
Like Catharsis said above, eating Paleo definitely improved my brain function and ability to concentrate; and it keeps me satiated for a longer period of time and I'm not thinking about eating when I should be concentrating on something else.
Thanks for your reply :-). That is helpful to know. I like what you said about the mindset. I guess not being used to thinking that way, you don't think about the option. I'm used to just grabbing in the fridge. Guess that if I spend one of my days off cooking, it will be as easy as that throughout the week. Again thanks. I really like hearing the bit about the ADHD. So far, that is what I have been unable to control.
xavier grace - welcome to MDA. Our eldest daughter was diagnosed with ADD at the age of 14..... long story, anyhow she is now 27, married with two children. Sugar has the greatest effect IMO on her behaviour. I don't mean sweet fruits/veges/carbs - I mean processed food with alot of added sugar. I can't encourage her enough to eat this way - but alas she has every excuse imaginable !!!!!
can you do any cooking at work ???????
can you encourage your partner to supply better food choices for you???????
can you boil a few eggs, gather some nuts, fruit, cheese, cold cooked meat etc...... to snack on at work ??????
Primal Gwamma--Unfortunately cheese is a no go for me as are eggs. I have had minimal success with duck eggs, although I can't eat more than one a day. It just feels weird to eat them anyway. I'm allergic to every other egg out there (MAJORLY allergic to turkey eggs; hives within minutes). Although, I haven't tried quail yet. I was actually thinking about getting a personal sized crockpot for work. I DON'T like microwaves. I've found ( which is, I admit, a little strange maybe) that microwaved foods just aggravate my mental state. But as far as the nuts and cold meats and fruits go, nothing stopping me there. Those are good ideas. Thanks :-).
Sugar is a HUGE aggravator for me. It gives me focus, sure, but zaps my concentration altogether. My "medicine" is the white coffee bulletproof style. I end up without an appetite for most of the day, though, which could go either way some days. The food choice problem is more me than my partner. Not having a job right now I feel like a horrible burden--all I can really do is temp out and clean house. So I don't want to ask her for much. On top of it, we have a huge food waste problem, and when I was in college I admittedly stocked up on "college foods." So now I have a freezer full of taquitos, corndogs, veggie burgers and the like, and she wants to see it eaten.
So assuming you were eating these freezer foods recently without too much ill effect, then you probably need to set out a program to work through them, not the most nutritious I expect, but financial stress is no good for your health or your relationship.
Ration them three meals per week, or whatever suits you, discuss with your partner about what your dietary preferences are and understand you will need to make some compromises.
It's fine and well to aim for perfection when cash is flowing freely, but otherwise you will need to pick and choose where the cash flows and grass fed organic everything may not be within the budget, but there should be no reason you will need to go back to processed foods, you can still buy paleo style in any supermarket, it just won't be organic or the best quality, but shouldn't cost any more than buying to SAD foodstuffs.
All these things are achievable however you must prioritize. if the emptying the freezer is top priority, add lots of fresh and cooked veges.
Get yourself a small crockpot - fantastic idea and go throughout these forums for some good recipes.
Bloodorchid posted some amazing sandwich ideas a day or two ago - fantastic.
Alot of the more senior members have posted great ideas, however it may be long and involved trolling through their posts, and this old Gwamma isn't all that great at posting links.
The eat moar thread has a wee recipe group going. you could read through that thread to work out how to link in. There are many recipe threads that have done or are still doing the rounds on the main forum.
But first work out your priorities
* do I want to go cold turkey?
* do I want to finish the CW food in the freezer first?
* what will my budget allow me to buy?
* am I prepared to cut out the coffee, and see if I get over that windup feeling in a week or two?
* if I go cold turkey , I might react really badly coming down off these foods. Will my partner support me during this time?
lots for you to decide. No-one can make you do it, you have to want to do this yourself.
and it is achievable on a low budget, many people on this forum have proven that.
You must also remember that due to your oversensitive system - you will more than likely feel like crap for a bit. Hopefully you won't but more than likely you will.
Primal has helped my adhd symptoms almost as well as medication. For me cutting out grains helped but it wasn't until I cut down on fruit (basically eliminated it for now) and added a boatload of fat that I regained the balance and ability to plan, get places on time, and think clearly. It's pretty amazing actually. Good luck.
Ps I used to hate cooking with a passion. Now I actually enjoy cooking.
Agreeing with getting yourself a crockpot. They're cheap - seriously, maybe $25-30 - and then just toss a hunk of meat in with some broth. If you're feeling creative, add some spices too. Set it on low, then come home from work to the amazing smell of not having to cook.
As far as the ADHD goes, I'm ADD-ish. My son has true ADHD, but I think mine is due to a bunch of head injuries causing scar tissue. I did find that I had a lot more focus, was less annoyed by slow people, and had better impulse control when I gave up the crap. Som of that has returned with a couple more injuries (yay for me!), but still nothing like it was before.
Just don't get freaked out if you feel like you're dragging a 75-pound weight behind you for the first week or two. That's normal, and when your body sucks it up and admits you're right, then your energy should level out and you'll feel much better.