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    modemama's Avatar
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    Handicapped child an snacking?

    I have an 8 year old learning disabled daughter that is starting to put on weight. I'm sure her seizure medications aren't helping her chemicals and hormones, but they are not optional.

    I recently discovered Leptin / Primal / Paleo eating and plan on doing the best I can to change her diet. My biggest concern is snack time at school. I have a feeling she's going to be quite upset if she can't have a snack when the other kids do.

    Would I be able to give her a healthy snack in her lunch bag so she can have something? Or do I really need to cut it out all together by telling the teacher she can't have it? She is learning disabled so her weight doesn't bother her, but I want her to be healthy, and right now she prefers eating crap food.

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    she can have a paleo snack. my son does.

    also, we allow our son to have the "school snack" which is not at all optimal for us, but hey, whatever. they have rice balls in tamari sauce on mondays, and home-made (at the kindy, by the kids) gluten-free "buns" (bread balls) on tuesdays. they also ahve a fruit picnic earlier in the day.

    DS's snacks are: cheese, nuts, and fruit or yogurt dip plus veggies -- when he's at home, or if i were to 'send' a snack.

    for DS's 3rd birthday party next week, we are having meatballs in sauce, plus "veggie noodles" (just sauteed veggies of all kinds cut into ribbons -- cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, etc), and then a vegan (gluten free) cake that a friend of mine is making for the party because i suck at cakes, and her daughter isn't allowed to eat anything, so . . . yeah. I'm making the meat balls without eggs. I don't know how well it's going to work out.

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    First of all, the leptin protocol is NOT necessary when eating primal/paleo. Its one manner of doing it. BUT not necessary for everyone to do (or even most to do.) Just like some folks choose to eat lower carb than others etc.

    Primal is basically really just eating meat, veggies, fruit, nuts/seeds etc when you are hungry, and avoiding grains, legumes and sugar. Minimal intake of dairy is allowed.

    She can absolutely bring in primal snacks. You could send nuts, fruit, veggies and dip, rolled up lunch meat, etc. (I see zb already recommended those. ) I would not force the leptin protocol on her. (For yourself, its fine.) Just offer her lots of good real food when she's hungry and this should probably help a lot w/ the weight issue (and overall health) as well. HTH!

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    As long as the snacks are Primal, she should have them. As was pointed out in another thread, kids' bodies are growing and require calories, yet they can't eat a whole lot at one time. I would suggest not worrying about the whole Leptin thing and just feed the kid whole Primal foods.

    Also, remember kids put on a bit of weight before a growth spurt.

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    Modemama, I'm working on changing my daughter's diet as well. She has some developmental issues, but I believe that they are delays due to her apraxia and ADHD. I'm focusing on getting more protein into her, especially at breakfast, giving her probiotics (kefir), and cutting grains as much as possible. I am giving her fish oil and D3 in addition to a daily vitamin. I am also looking at a B complex. Her medication messes with her appetite, too, but in the opposite way. She is very small for her age. I know that I'll never get her 100% primal. I do let her have some GF cereals and pretzels.

    As far as the leptin protocol, I do believe that for some, it is completely necessary to follow the plan exactly. The no snacking rule makes good sense in terms of hormone signaling. I think that I would just focus on making everything as primal as possible and maybe incorporating foods from the GAPS diet. If, after giving that a good try (6 months or so), then you might look at cutting down on snacking. I don't think that a small snack at school should cause problems. (Taking it away may cause more problems!) Try to make it something low-GI. With the medication, her weight may always be a bit of an issue, but she can be strong and healthy.

    I know how hard it is to change a child's diet, especially when they are old enough to get their own food, and don't really understand why they can't have what they've always had. Best of luck to you and your daughter!

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    Thanks for the advice. I'm just going to slowly change her diet and see how that helps. I weighed her yesterday morning. Then packed her a protein filled breakfast. They (my girls) eat breakfast at school, but the menu is total crap. Seriously, week one had churros, breakfast pizza and pancakes as 3 of the 5 meals main dish, and they wonder why Americans are getting fat.

    I'm sure a handful of cheez-its for snack or something like it won't kill her. I'll start sending primal snacks with her as a future change.

    I bet if I had her body composition tested she'd be considered obese. That's why I am worried. I've spent pretty much my entire adult life obese, and have been fighting my weight since I became a teen. I've been losing weight myself, and am almost into the overweight category. I only started reading about leptin, paleo, primal, last week.

    She is constantly telling me she's hungry. It's so bad that I sometimes have to lock the cupboards and fridge so she can't sneak food. I typically give her an apple, but she'll sneak a box of cheez-its or a the bag of daddy's doritos and I'll find the evidence after all of it's gone. I know her hormones are out of whack. That's why I wondered about the snacking at school while trying to get her on track.

    I'm sure every step we take into a healthier lifestyle will be an improvement. My family has been obese for generations, and so it's not an overnight fix I'm sure. I appreciate the advice and will check out the links.
    Last edited by modemama; 08-23-2011 at 11:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JenCat View Post
    ... and maybe incorporating foods from the GAPS diet.
    That seems like a good thing to check out. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is apparently having good success with patients with psychological/gastrointestinal problems—the two seem very closely linked. Her own son, who was once autistic, is now no longer so.

    Here's her site:

    GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) - Natural treatment for autism, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia

    I'd recommend reading her book, too.

    Disrupted gut flora seem to be at the bottom of many health problems. She basically does an updated version of the SCD with a bit of a Weston A. Price Foundation twist to it, and it seems to be giving good results. In line with the SCD, this involves removing all hard-to-digest starches and sugars, which starves out the bad bacteria that feed off those. GAPS also involves daily use of home-made broths, which are healing to the GI tract, and use of probiotic foods. You start with 24-hour fermented yoghurt and add kefir later—that's because kefir can cause a greater die-off of bad flora, which while good in itself can be something of a strain on someone who's not in a good state of health.

    She and some other doctors have designed a probiotic supplement that incorporates several strains of beneficial gut bacteria. That might be worth trying. It's called bio-kult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by modemama View Post
    She is constantly telling me she's hungry. It's so bad that I sometimes have to lock the cupboards and fridge so she can't sneak food. I typically give her an apple, but she'll sneak a box of cheez-its or a the bag of daddy's doritos and I'll find the evidence after all of it's gone. I know her hormones are out of whack. That's why I wondered about the snacking at school while trying to get her on track..
    Yeah, that's a known phenomenon, and I've seen plenty of evidence myself of other children, particularly children with problems, craving such foods.

    It's said that the desire for those sorts of foods—the carb-heavy ones you mention—is actually driven by gut bacteria. The kid's got the wrong ones in there and that food is what the bacteria want. It's a mind-blowing thought, but not I think inconceivable. I heard of one little boy who, having been denied all wheat-containg foods, would go to his parents' bookcase and rip open the bindings of old books in order to eat the gobs of flour-and-water paste they used to use to stick them together. That's not normal: that sounds like driven behaviour to me.

    You can make sure those foods aren't even in the house—or are at least locked up—but I think you have to get to the bottom of what's causing her to steal and eat them and try to put that right. Putting in the right foods—including what's wrongly demonized in our society, i.e. plenty of good fats—and doing a GAPS-style gut-healing protocol might just do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by modemama View Post
    I bet if I had her body composition tested she'd be considered obese. That's why I am worried. I've spent pretty much my entire adult life obese, and have been fighting my weight since I became a teen. I've been losing weight myself, and am almost into the overweight category. I only started reading about leptin, paleo, primal, last week.

    She is constantly telling me she's hungry. It's so bad that I sometimes have to lock the cupboards and fridge so she can't sneak food. I typically give her an apple, but she'll sneak a box of cheez-its or a the bag of daddy's doritos and I'll find the evidence after all of it's gone. I know her hormones are out of whack. That's why I wondered about the snacking at school while trying to get her on track.

    I'm sure every step we take into a healthier lifestyle will be an improvement. My family has been obese for generations, and so it's not an overnight fix I'm sure. I appreciate the advice and will check out the links.
    From a girl who struggled w/ weight her whole life, as well as eating disorder issues and body image problems, I want to caution you strongly. Your actions about food/weight etc are impacting your daughter in a big way *right now*, and this stuff can go far more than skin deep.

    Locking up food, hiding it away and forbidding it (while Daddy gets to eat it) is NOT helpful in my opinion. That would make *me* want it MORE. (It would make me want to 'sneak' food. Actually, just the idea of having to 'sneak food' would make me want to eat more--if she is hungry, let her eat! There should be no 'sneaking' necessary.)

    If I were in your shoes, I'd a. find a substitute snack to replace the doritos (etc.) and b. get the damn doritos out of the house. C. Switch *everyone's* diet if at all possible--not just the chubby kid's. It's just kind of cruel to force one child to eat a certain way while the others don't have to (not that you are doing this--this is just a thought thouhg.)

    Also, we are all metabolically different, and eating a bag of doritos for one girl will have different effects than for another. My sister and I could eat the same food each day (and I might even eat less than her) and I would gain weight--she would stay thin. It is not about quantity--it is about quality. If she is hungry, give her LOTS of options (check the pb 101 and pb recipe section for primal ideas.) Just make sure its all real food, and try and stay grain and sugar free as much as possible (ie primal.) Don't make her wait till dinner. Don't lock cupboards (she'll take it as a punishment, as you rubbing it in her face that she's 'too fat' etc., and it may make her want to eat MORE of whatever you're hiding away.) Add more good food in to fill her up.

    I just think its very dangerous mentally/emotionally to do these kind of restrictive things to kids, esp. those who are predisposed to gaining weight. She might take it as a personal attack on her and her willpower (when if you've read anything by Taubes--like "Why We Get Fat" etc, you'll realize this is NOT the case!) This could effect her self esteem etc for life.

    Instead of not giving her a snack and locking the cupboards, put out lots of fresh foods, meats, fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds etc for her to pick from so she doesn't feel like she needs to eat a bunch of daddy's doritos. Don't let fear guide your actions--focus on health and happiness, and try to provide an abundance of healthful options. Those kinds of changes may have a more powerful impact than saying 'no' and enforcing restrictions. It wasn't until I stopped trying to restrict my own eating (through dieting and eating disorder behaviors) and started eating until I was satisfied of lots of good, primal foods, that I was able to lose weight and *maintain* the weight loss, only getting healthier and stronger as time goes on. (See my before/after pics--seriously, primal living really WORKS! And I eat a TON--way more than I ever did before. Calorie restriction is not the only way!!!)

    Oh, and I'd give the kids breakfast at home if you can afford it, as well as send in really healthy snacks. That kind of stuff DOES matter. A protein rich breakfast may be a huge key to regulating those hormones (as per the leptin stuff.)

    Good luck figuring out what is best for your family. I hope this comes off as gently and supportively as I intend it--I just get nervous when I read stuff like this. As a former 'fat' girl, and someone who has struggled with this _always_ (was on my first diet at age 11--dr. prescribed), focusing on weight loss is not as helpful as focusing on health and getting in lots of wonderful real foods.
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    You may find the book "The Diet Cure" by Julia Ross helpful as well. One of the major causes of overeating and obesity issues in her opinion is *not eating enough GOOD food during the day*, leading to cravings and binges on crappy foods. Again, good luck!!!
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