change in diet

Cynthia - posted on 08/06/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I was wondering if anyone else has changed their children's diet to see if it does anything? That was the first thing that was suggested to me by our behavior specialist. she suggested that we remove all food dyes, as well as add Omega 3 fatty acids to my son's diet. I didn't notice any change with the Omega 3s, but removing the food dyes have made a night and day difference in my son's impulse control. Still needs a lot of work, but at least we can go into Wal Mart now without him taking everything off the shelves! I can actually tell when he has had some food dyes because he will start "spazzing" out again. He literally becomes the Tazmanian Devil when he eats something with food dyes in it. The ones he reacts to are red #40 and yellow #5. I have also heard that sodium benzoate can have an effect on kids like ours, but I haven't removed this from our diets yet.

Has anyone else tried this? Has it worked for your children, or have you noticed no change? I have a feeling this is why the Feingold diet has such huge success, because it removes all additives from the kids' diets.

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Cynthia - posted on 04/26/2010

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I do not medicate my son. I am not against it, but I feel it is better to keep him off as long as I can. I have found that with close monitoring of what he eats and me being able to be flexible, he doesn't need it. 1 1/2 years ago, even this fall, I was ready to take him to the Dr. But the biggest factor that keeps me from it is that he's only 40 lbs, he's 6 1/2 and can still wear a size 4 short. He has always been very skinny, so I worry about him losing his appetite.

I also love taking candid photos of my kids... My son is VERY camera shy at times, so sometimes candids are the only ones I am able to get of him. :-)

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Cynthia - posted on 06/22/2011

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I want to update my post to say that now, along with a new diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome last Fall, we decided to begin medication with my son. I researched all my options, and came to the conclusion that along with what we were already doing (monitoring food dyes, as well as adding in melatonin at night for sleep), a small dose of a safe, studied medication was worth a try. He is now on Tenex for his ADHD and Tourette Syndrome. In the fall, we will probably be adding a safer stimulant. I am going to try giving him caffeine over the summer as we start a low key academics schedule.

Dee - posted on 04/20/2010

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I agree with the food manufacturers sneaking the dyes into the foods. Its really hard trying to keep all of them away from your child. Does your child take medication for the ADHD? My daughter is curently not on medication but i am serious considering putting her on medication. She seems to me to be getting worse rather than better. Anyways, the profile pic is of my 7 yr old daughter and my 5 yr old step daughter. I love taking pictures of the girls, especially the candid ones (those are my favorite).

Cynthia - posted on 04/20/2010

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Dee, I don't think we could keep Micah on the diet if he was in school. It is just too hard, and too many food manufacturer's sneak the dyes in the food. I have worked very hard to educate him about his food choices, and he makes wise choices when he's confronted with the decision. He knows he won't get in trouble for eating something with food dyes in it, but he also knows the household rules won't change. We will understand, but we will still discipline him for his misbehavior. And there WILL be misbehavior. He is VERY good at asking for an alternative, or he also knows that I will trade a colored candy for one that I keep a stock of at home. At times he says it isn't fair, and he doesn't like it, but I make sure he knows that we are simply trying to help him.

I have found that if I explain our reasons for not allowing food dyes to others, I get a little more understanding, but not much. I now simply say he has a food dye allergy, and am taken a bit more seriously. When asked what his reaction is, I say "extreme, Tazmanian Devil-like hyperactivity and severe impulsiveness." A few weeks ago, his church class had a party. They were offered cupcakes. He was so cute, he told me that he took the icing off the cupcake and only ate the cake part. I found out by his behavior later that day and the next day the cupcake too had food dyes, but he is trying. I've seen SO much improvement over the past year that I am certain it is my consistency as well as the diet. He seriously has come from Tazmanian Devil to Road Runnner. Big difference: Tazmanian Devil had no plan, no purpose, he just wreaked havoc. Road Runner, though still very busy, has a plan, and can follow through.

By the way, I LOVE your profile pic. Are those your daughters? It's very cute!

Dee - posted on 04/20/2010

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I too have tried to remove the food dyes from our daughters diet. She is 7 yrs old and just recently diagnosed with ADHD. The doctor suggested to us to remove all food dyes and most of her sugar intake and try to control her ADHD by that method before trying to put her on medication. After a lot of work to clean out of cabinets and to make sure we don't buy anything with dyes or a lot of sugar in it. We had her on totally new diet. We would use only natural sugars and nothing dyed (especially red dye #40). She done really good with this up until she went to school. Her teacher would give the kids snacks and of course she didn't pay any attention to the labels (even though i had explained that to her about the dyes and sugars).. So she gave her chocolate and hard candies etc.. So when my 7 yr old would come home from school she was flip out. So to answer you question I personally think the diet is a good starting point to help, but you would have a really hard time controling his entire diet all the time. Especially if the child would spend the night at friends houses etc.

Kimiko - posted on 08/28/2009

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Oh I forgot to answer the question about exercise. That is another thing that I just started this week, because Curtis has the worst sleeping habits at night. He can't settle down and he tosses and turns for hours, even when I keep him on a good consistent schedule like all of the magazines say.

So we have taken walks around the block. I make him run up and back, as we walk. I make him do jumping jacks, push ups, and play basketball on the driveway. Through the same Neuropath, we are trying something called Brain Gym. They are exercises that help the brain work better. Those seem to help too, but not consistently. Or maybe I'm not consistent enough in doing them. HeHeHe. Good luck in coming up with creative exercise without going outside. I'd love to hear what you come up with, especially with this heat wave.

Kimiko - posted on 08/28/2009

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Hi Cynthia, Actually, you are correct, he is a naturopath. His website is www.neurowaves.com. He is out of San Juan Capistrano. I'm not sure where outside of LA you are.



A ZYTO scan uses the lie detector technology to scan the hand to see how the body reacts to different things. Through it they can scan the various body systems and can tell which parts are working on overload and which parts are working too slow. Then they ask the computer how the body would react if it has certain vitamins/nutrition. That way they can specifically recommend what that person's body needs by way of nutrition to get it into balance.



I read a book called the Ultra Mind Solution (I think?) and it talked about how to fit a "broken brain" (ie ADD, ADHD, Autistic, Dimensia, Bi-Polar, etc.) by using nutrition. Ultimately there were a lot of great suggestions but the thing I kept hearing was that every person's brain is different. The kids may all have ADHD symptoms, but each of their brains may be reacting that way due to a different need. Some may need Omegas, some may need certain proteins that help the nerves in the brain communicate. etc. That is why I did the ZYTO scan to see what my son's specific needs were. So far (4 days into it) and it seems things are going better.



Also I found a store called Fresh and Easy that has their own brand name items. A lot of their products are marked as All natural flavors, perservatives and colors. They are pretty reasonable too.



Hope that helps. Let me know if you try the ZYTO and how it works for you.

Cynthia - posted on 08/28/2009

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Kimiko,

Did you go to a naturopath, or was it just a nutritionist? That is something I am interested in looking into. What is a ZYTO scan? I do need to add amore exercise to the routine... We don't actually leave the house much right now. What do you do for exercise right now? Does just getting him out moving help, or does it need to be real get his heart pumping exercise like running around or bike riding?

Cynthia - posted on 08/28/2009

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Quoting Kimberly:

Wow! Thanks for sharing- I will definitely try it. We obviously have cut out sugars and caffeine... We'll try ANYTHING that will help our daughter be able to focus!



Kimberly, just remember that IF your daughter is sensitive to food dyes, they have built up in her system.  It took a week of having Micah off food dyes before we noticed a change, but a full month before he was what we now consider "normal" for him.  Still hyper, still has some attention difficulties, but they are manageable now (at least most of the time).  There was actually a study done in Great Britain that was published in The Lancet medical journal, here is the link: http://www.feingold.org/Research/lancet....



It actually showed that MOST kids in the general population (i.e. "normal" kids) showed a hyperactive response to food dyes.  If most "normal" kids respond this way, how much worse would it make our kids who are predisposed to hyperactivity?  By the way, red dye #40 (which is the one that most commonly causes these reactions) is actually banned in Canada and Great Britain... Companies based in the US that sell products over there use natural colorings when they ship the item overseas, but they use food dyes when they give it to our kids.



I have actually found that sugars don't affect my son, but I know of others they affect... Also, caffeine tends to have the opposite effect on him... It calms him down, even makes him sleepy.  That is one thing I might try before I try medication is a little bit of caffeine to see if it works.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?  Do you find the same thing with your children?  Any other suggestions for what to do naturally that seems to help your kids?

Kimberly - posted on 08/28/2009

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Wow! Thanks for sharing- I will definitely try it. We obviously have cut out sugars and caffeine... We'll try ANYTHING that will help our daughter be able to focus!

Kimiko - posted on 08/27/2009

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Hi Cynthia,

I have tried to adjust my kids' diet, but I have not been strict about it, so I haven't seen any results. But I recently went to a nutritionist who did a ZYTO scan to determine my ADD son's nutritional needs and got specific vitamins for him. One of which is called Bach Flower Remedy. I have only been doing it a few days and it really seems to be working to keep his concentration. Another thing that I've added is more exercise to our school work routine. That seems to be helping too, but it is too early to tell for sure.

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