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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Training up Tuesday: Autism, ADHD and Your Child's Diet

It is summertime!!!! School has almost ended for the year. It is time for family time, fun in the sun, and summer time treats. With that in mind, I wanted to remind you how important it is to make sure our children are not filling up on food that can actually be harmful to them. I love ice cream…don’t get me wrong! What I do not care for are the flavors that are infused with color and artificial flavors. The reason I am so careful these days is because I have seen how removing these “additives” has helped my children. They are more focused, less irritable, and not as hyperactive.

Eliminating foods with these additives has played a role in the recovery of my son with autism. We have gone to a greater extent and have removed all casein (found in dairy foods), gluten, and soy from his diet. Watching Charley regain a vocabulary and cease his hour-long tantrums made me realize what we put into our kids’ mouths is vitally important. Not only that, his stemming and autistic behaviors decreased dramatically.

Why did doing this help, you may ask? Well, according to Dr. Jerry Kartinel, one of the top autism doctors in the nation, the goal behind changing diets is to remove chemicals, toxins, and potential neurotransmitters, which are liberated when foods are broken down (in the process of digestion). These substances could be toxic for the brain and cause behavioral trouble in kids who are sensitive to them. Whether kids test as allergic or not, often they are causing a negative effect on the child and they must be removed. Nitrites and nitrates (preservatives found in bacon, hot dogs, and lunch meats), sorbic acid (found in cheese, frosting, and dried fruits), dyes (especially yellow dye #5), MSG (found most commonly in some Chinese restaurant food, chicken broth, and bouillon), and aspartame can exacerbate symptoms for some children with ADHD and autism. A 2007 Lancet study found that artificial colors and preservatives increase hyperactivity in young children. Listen to this…food dyes are derived from petroleum and coal tar. You don’t want that stuff in your child’s body!

Also, try to go organic. Limit a child’s toxic load – which is especially important for kids, such as those ADHD, who have decreased ability to handle toxins-by choosing foods free of pesticides and other chemical residue.

Another example is with my daughter, Georgia. We noticed a rash on my daughter her face along with extreme constipation. We figured she wasn’t getting the fiber intake needed. After some research, we decided we would try taking her off of gluten and casein as well. After about a week of elimating these foods, she began having regular bowel movements. Her face rash began to slowly go away. It flares up if even a trace is ingested.

Some of the best advice I received as a parent with a child on the spectrum. Bowel movements must be daily and complete. Many children need daily help (not just “once in awhile”) Consistency is the name of the game if you’re looking for improvements in language, behavior and ability to connect socially. Trust me~ I could write a whole blog post on our kid’s poop. :)

Here is a great analogy that I read in Jenny McCarthy’s latest book, “If you get behind a car and it is choking out blackish blue, foul-smelling smoke, you do not have to be a mechanic to figure out that there is something wrong with that internal combustion engine. It’s not doing its job properly. The stool is what comes out of the child’s exhaust pipe and can be very revealing!”

I could go on and on…I have learned so much this past year and would love to be able to share what I know with other moms who are going through any of these issues. God uses us in so many ways and I really feel He wants me to reach out to those Moms who feel they are at a standstill with their child suffering from ADHD, autism, language delays, etc. Please feel free to contact me!
Here is a picture of Charley enjoying a yummy homemade chocolate cake that is free of gluten, casein and all additives! AND…it tastes GREAT!

3 comments:

Glenda said...

Ellen,
Thank you for sharing from your own life. I have a friend that did the exact same thing with her Autistic son's diet and the result was dramatic. I am praying for Charley.

Tiffany said...

Ellen,
How is best to contact you? I didn't see an email address. Although my son does not have Austism or ADHD, he has had bowel problems since birth and some slow speech (Dr. doesn't think it is "delayed"). Wondering if some diet changes need to be made. I don't like giving him Miralax everyday, which we have done for 2 years!!

HPS said...

Tiffany,

Feel free to email Ellen at roofwithaview at gmail dot com and I know she will promptly reply to you!

God bless you.