Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't laugh, don't fear, just do it! Dump gluten and diary for you, for your child.

This article on describes a child with a severe case of ADHD and the "cure" of a dietary change. We have experienced a similar case in our home. My 6 year old daughter, G, has had issues with impulse control, talkativeness when inappropriate, being fidgety, being disobedient to adults, not able to fall asleep at night, not able to get up or get herself dressed without a fit in the morning for the last few years. Before that she had all the typical signs of food allergies as an infant when she was diagnosed with allergy to egg and dairy. Still, as she grew, she didn't outgrow her high-strung personality. We chalked it up to being a preemie, or just to being who she was. We thought she'd outgrow things. Her kindergarten teacher had a lot of kids with the same behavior, so G wasn't always the one kid getting in trouble. But then, over the summer between kindergarten and first grade, we switched doctors and I had finally decided (with the doctor's full agreement) that she must be gluten-sensitive. I had some intuition about this when she was 3 years old and read few books on CFGF (Casein free, gluten free) diets for ADHD kids. However, she was only 3 and many 3 year olds behaved the way she did and everything I read said that it was normal and she would outgrow it. The books and experts said to wait until at least 7 before deciding if a child was ADHD or not. Well, that summer after kindergarten I saw extreme changes in behavior if she had dye in food. So we knew it was probably another contributor to her impulsive, hyperactive behavior. I myself had a blood test done that summer that showed intolerance to dairy and wheat. I'd already cut out most dairy, but it was proof that it was time to make the total change for me AND my kids.

At school I'd already requested the "less strict" teacher for first grade. I knew there was no way G would like school if she had the same first grade teacher her sister had because this teacher didn't tolerate ANY fidgeting or chattiness. Still, I wanted G to have a better year in first grade and to be able to control herself. Dropping wheat and dye from her diet was extremely effective! If she has wheat we see a difference within the hour and it continues to the next day. She also has digestive proof in the form of cramps and unpleasant toilet visits.

If your child sounds like mine or the one in the article I linked, don't hesitate! Talk to your child about his/her behavior and why he/she needs to change some things. Be flexible for the first few months and even after that. G had a hot dog (I feed her vegan, but allow her to choose outside the home what animal flesh she'll eat) WITH a bun at a neighbor's house on Friday. She went to bed okay, but the next day she was very impulsive, couldn't sit for any real amount of time and was quite disobedient. For instance, my dad said not to shut the door she'd just come in, but she shut it and then tried to run away. We caught her and had her open it. She knew she wasn't listening, but just couldn't help it! It's like she's on a drug. She's a very sweet, loving, affectionate, helpful kid when she's not on "food drugs." She does her chores and goes to bed well and gets herself dressed and gets breakfast on her own in a cheery mood when she's feeling her best. It's well worth the research, the hassle, the extra baking for GF snacks to keep her feeling well. Don't be discouraged by the initial learning curve. Dump gluten and dairy and live in peace (most of the time)!