April 28, 2011

~Celiac Disease~

Celiac Disease A Hidden Epidemic by Peter Green is a must have for understanding wheat gluten intolerance. Dr. Green gives a check list of symptoms that amazed me.
-Bloating. Gas, and/or stomach cramping
-Diarrhea or runny stools
-Joint pain of numbness or tingling in your extremities
-Itchy skin
-Constant fatigue
-Frequent headaches or migraines
Does your ADHD child have any of these? I was so surprised when I read this check list because Johnny had almost all of them!
Johnny’s stomach always hurt him (no bloating though) gas and cramping. He had been constipated from the moment he was born. He’d complain every now and again (about once a month or so) about his hands tingling. His skin has always been a problem…bumps, rashes, hives, etc (remember we were at the dermatologists office when he told us that my son’s body was having a hard time. He could see this just by looking at his skin!). We used to call him lazy but I really think he was experiencing fatigue. He had headaches that boarded on migraines (he’s was sent to several specialists for CAT scans and MRI’s) weekly. He couldn’t even handle the light. I’d have to put him in a dark room. Johnny hasn’t had one headache since being wheat, dairy, and soy free! NOT ONE!
This book only has about a paragraph regarding ADHD and Autism and celiac disease. It says a wheat free diet is very common for these conditions. It also states that more studies and research need to be done.
About the Auhtor:
Peter H.R. Green, M.D., is the director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. He is a professor of clinical medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and attending physician at the Columbia University Medical Center (New York–Presbyterian Hospital). Celiac disease has been his focus for almost twenty years, with equal concentration on patient care and research. He is one of the few physicians in the United States with an intense clinical and academic interest and expertise in celiac disease

April 18, 2011

Chemical Cuisine ~Food Additives~

We try and stay away from food additives.

Here are a few that really trigger my son's ADHD. I wouldn't eat foods with these in them.

All nitrites
Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame-K
All Food Dyes
Sodium Benzoate

April 17, 2011

~Gluten Free~

You have to realize this diet is so much more than just gluten free. Because gluten free doesn’t mean dairy and soy free. So teach your child the difference.
Unfortunately most of the gluten free (wheat free) mixes have soy in them.
All of Betty Croker cookie, brownie, and cakes mixes have soy.
Gluten free Bisquick reads (may contain soy). My son has eaten this once or twice and never had a reaction.
We really the Pamela’s baking and Pancake mix. I’ve made ton of recipes from this, scones, pumpkin and banana breads, pancakes, pie crust., etc. Please not there is Cultured Butter Milk in this mix so it contains milk. We have discovered when making these treats every so often this mix doesn’t cause a reaction in Johnny.

Their bread mix is wheat, soy, and dairy free! We use this mix for most of Johnny’s bread. We’ll use it for sandwiches, French toast, croutons or bread crumbs.


I usually make chili homemade but when we are in a rush or pressed for time here is a canned chili that my son loves. He makes chili and chips for snack or dinner.
Stagg Sliverado Beef Chili  (Not all Stagg Chili is wheat and soy free!)
My son eats a lot of tortilla chips.  We buy an organic bran at Costco.

~Fixing Meals Are Hard~

In the beginning I found it very hard to find things for Johnny to eat. It feels like everything has wheat and soy in it! Especially soy! We were religious for the first three months and NEVER cheated.
I felt like Johnny, was eating a lot of meat and potatoes. And actually he was. This was very hard for me to get use to because we never really centered our meals around a meat before.  Bacon for breakfast, chicken for lunch, hardboiled eggs for snack, steak for dinner. I knew the kid was going to have clogged arteries be the time he was 18. But he looked so good, and he was sleeping so well, and he was focused and his behavior had improved drastically.  I didn’t want to change anything and I haven’t.
So if you feel like your child is eating too much meat all I can say is stick with it because for whatever reason it may be the best thing for them.
I do try to keep red meat to only a few times a week. And most other meats are lean, organic, and either baked or barbequed (with the exception of bacon). I don’t fry much. My son eats a lot of deer. Which is good because there are no hormones and stuff in it.
You can get a whole organic chicken and make several meals out of it. This is my go to meal. The first night I bake it. I’ll season it, rub it with olive oil, set carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes around the baking dish so we have the veggies with dinner. We keep some of the breast for lunch the next day. The following night we boil the entire chicken and make chicken soup— if there are some veggies left over we toss them into the soup. Sometime we’ll also add a handful of rice too.

~Two Weeks Into Being Wheat, Dairy, Soy Free~

Two weeks into eating wheat, dairy, & soy free my son was still sleeping a full night and  there were no more dark circles under his eyes. We had one other surprise too.  One day he came out of the bathroom and said mom, “I have diarrhea.” I was totally surprised and worried that we had somehow let something slip into his diet. He hadn’t flushed, so I went in and inspected it. It looked, totally normal! Slightly loose and but still holding its shape. I told him that’s not diarrhea that’s how it supposed to me. He then explain for the last few days he’d “gone” every day and it would only take him a “minute” to use the bathroom (before he was in there for about 15 minutes).  Johnny has always been constipated. His movements were usually 2 to 3 days apart and were thick like paste and he usually struggled to get them out. Two weeks into his new diet he was no longer constipated.

~Three Days Into Being Wheat, Dairy, Soy, Free~

Something totally amazing happened on the 3rd day of my son, Johnny, not eating any wheat, dairy, or soy.
Not only did he sleep a full night he slept in until 7:30 am. Now that may not sound like a big deal but Johnny hadn’t slept a full night in his entire 12 years of life! He would always be up and down. When he was a baby he’d toss and turn in his crib or just fuss (colic). As he became a toddler he’d sometime just get up and roam the house or play. When he was around 6 he started sleep walking and/or roaming the house. We’d find him sleeping on the floor at the foot of our bed, we’d find him on the sofa, in the guest bedroom, in his sisters room, really just about anywhere.  Johnny very rarely went to sleep and work up in the same place. Sometime he’d remember getting up at night and other times he didn’t. His morning normally started about 5 or 5:30…he just couldn’t sleep any longer.
Well, on his third day of no wheat, dairy, or soy he slept the entire night and also slept in! Whoo-Hoo! I’ll never forget… he came stumbling out of his room saying, “I’ve never slept that hard in my life! What time is it?”.
With this full night’s sleep, he had an amazing day. Very focused!
So the first thing we noticed when going wheat, dairy, & soy free was Johnny slept a 100% better!

~Going Wheat, Dairy, Soy, Free~

When the derma dermatologist said no wheat, dairy, or soy, I thought what am I going to fee this kid! He was ready to jump in removing everything all at once. He didn’t want to ease into this way of eating he just wanted to “just do it”. I wanted to be supportive so I scrambled to fix his first meal wheat, dairy, soy free.
Well the first night for dinner I baked chicken breasts (marinated in olive oil, garlic, & dried basil), made a huge salad and used a homemade dressing—a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil,  garlic power, salt, & pepper (our salad dressing had soy bean oil in it), and canned green beans. He was happy with this meal and went to bed full.

Breakfast was usually cereal & milk. He was not longer allowed to have to have this so I made him beacon and eggs (I fired the eggs in the beacon grease)...it was all I have in the house. 

Lunch was usually PB&J or tuna on whole wheat bread. This is sooo not good for him…the bread of course is loaded with wheat, but what I didn’t realize was the tuna and the mayo had soy bean oil in it.  So for lunch I made him some hardboiled eggs with a small salad, an apple, and corn tortilla chips.

After lunch I dashed out the door to head to the market to get him some food!

~Our Story~

13 years ago I gave birth to my first child, Johnny. It was a relativity easy delivery. I used no pain meds and was in labor for only about 4 hours before he was born. Johnny was 6lbs 7oz. right off the bat he wouldn’t latch on to nurse. So I pumped the first night and bottle fed Johnny. My doctor set up an appointment for a lactation consultant the next day. So we began working with her. When we got Johnny, home he was very colicky. He fussed all the time and slept for about an hour at a time. Several weeks into working with the lactation nurse and Johnny never “learning” to latch on we gave up and I just kept pumping for 5 months (I felt he really needed my breast milk to ensure a good start). After the 5 months life was pretty much one fussy baby that never wanted to sleep (my son never slept a full night until he was 12!). He was constipated often and also burped up a lot. As he grew over the months we introduced the fruits, veggies, and rice cereals. He always ate well, but was still fussy and constipated.  By the time he was 2 and 3 he was your typical toddler—into everything. However, Johnny would never entrain himself (set some toys on the floor and let him play while I cooked dinner…he never did this). He’d get very frustrated and wanted to do things his way. I’ll fast-forward to kindergarten because that’s when he was diagnosed with ADHD. I began reading everything I could on ADHD. We began using rewards charts, were very structured, really worked with is teacher, and his manners / behavior…etc
By 1st grade the teachers couldn’t handle them so we gave in and tried medication. We tried Ritalin for two weeks and took him off it. He would spin around in circles on the floor (something he’d never done) and he only slept four a few hours each night. The doctor thought it would be best to try a different medication over the Christmas break. So we gave Concerta a try. My son was a zombie and didn’t even participate in opening presents. He was six years old and he had no desire to play with his gifts. That’s when I swore off medication (yes, I know it takes time to get the right levels, and there are many different medication out there, but I just didn’t want him medicated.) By second grade I dreaded school because all I ever heard from the teachers was; Johnny can’t focus, he is disruptive, and he needs to be on medication. We tried Biofeedback therapy for the 2nd grade year. I never really saw much change in him (we went twice a week for an hour at a time). By 3rd grade I knew I didn’t want to spend the year hearing how “bad” my son was so I pulled him out of school and began to home school. This was a life saver for my family! We chose a home school program that is through our local public school—basically he is a public school student but we take all our books and assignments home and complete them there. We meet with his teacher every two weeks to turn in assignments.  We love this format of schooling and have been doing it since third grade (Johnny will be in high school this next year and we plan on homeschooling until he graduates).
Over the years I’ve spent countless hours reading, surfing the net, talking to other parents, seeing specialists, just trying to find something that would really help my son and his ADHD.  Johnny has gone to brain specialists, allergists, neurologist, counselors, and biofeedback sessions— all the while we’d see little improvements but nothing significant as far as really helping his ADHD.  He was still fussy, love to line things up, drew repeated patterns on paper all the time, had allergies, had headaches daily, stomach hurt often, dark circles under his eyes daily, constipation daily, was up 3 and 4 times a night just wondering or sleep walking, hyper, unable to focus, sometime he’d break out in hives or a rash, …I know I leaving other symptoms out but you get the picture. This is how it was for him from birth to age 12.
 Now I must point out, Johnny is very intelligent (most ADHD kids are) we even have a prescription for an IQ test from his pediatrician (I have it in his baby book because we never went and got his IQ tested. To me a label is a label. He is a “genius”…he has “ADHD”…to me it makes no difference how smart he is or isn’t I just want a happy child who would be successful in life).
When Johnny turned 12 he was going through a growth spurt and eating all the time. He was eating lots of granola bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna fish, pretzels, fruit, yogurt, bean burritos, pizza, etc… I’m kind of a health nut so it’s worth mentioning that we eat mostly organic, hormone free, and usually whole wheat. The granola bars were either Kashi or organic ones from Trader Joes. The PB&J sandwiches were eaten on whole wheat sprouted bread and the peanut butter was organic from Trader Joes and the jelly was homemade by me. The pretzels again were whole wheat and from Trader Joe’s. The Pizza was Amy’s brand (chemical free).  Milk, cheeses, and yogurts were organic/hormone free. Johnny never ate junk food. No soda, very little sweets, and lots of fruit and veggies.  Johnny love’s veggies—he’s never been a picky eater.  About this time he was walking through the house with his shirt off and I noticed he had a ton of ting bumps on his back. I took him to the doctor who referred him to a dermatologist. The dermatologist looked at the bumps and said, “He’s having a reaction to something he’s eating”.  I told the doctor that we had him tested for food / pollen allergies last year and nothing significant came up. I also told him what our diet was like and that we ate very well and took vitamins daily. The doctor shook his head and said, "I don’t’ care what the tests said or how well you eat this boy’s body is having a hard time and it’s showing on his skin.” At this point I’m very frustrated because I feel like it’s never ending in this poor kid’s life. In complete frustration I looked at the doctor and said, “if Johnny was your kid what would you do.?” The doctor looked me right in the eyes and said very seriously. “I’d never feed him any type of wheat, soy, or dairy in any form ever again.”  I left the office stunned. Johnny and I talked about what the doctor said on the car ride home. Johnny said he wanted to try and eat that way. So guess what Johnny did…he instantly went wheat, dairy, and soy free. And it’s the BEST thing he ever did! This dermatologist changed our lives!!! This blog is dedicated to the one thing that has actually work and totally improved my son’s ADHD!