My journey to whole foods began when Jenny, my third daughter, was diagnosed as hyperactive. Her pediatrician wanted to write a prescription at her two-year check-up to control her symptoms. I resisted and I resisted again at her 3-year and 4-year check-ups.
Jenny was constantly moving and she had a short attention span. We found ourselves adjusting our routines just to accommodate her. More worrisome, Jenny had great difficulty falling asleep. Bedtime took hours for her to settle down.
I knew in my heart that Jenny wouldn’t be able to function in a school setting and I would be out of options at her next annual check-up. I began to search for solutions at a time where there weren’t many. Although, it didn’t take too long and I found a book, Why Your Child is Hyperactive, by Dr. Feingold. He was the first to make the connection between food additives in processed foods with hyperactivity. Today, you can find many resources through the Feingold Association.
After reading Feingold’s book, I knew I had to change my purchasing habits, not only for Jenny, but for the entire family. I figured, I didn’t have anything to lose. I was a mom on a mission. I didn’t wait to gradually replace the food I’d previously purchased, but took an afternoon and cleaned out my entire kitchen. I read every label and gave away 5 bags of food.
In about a week, we began to see a new child emerge from the cloud of chemicals. Jenny, who exhausted US at her bedtime, was now falling asleep in minutes. This alone was worth any perceived difficulty or for that matter cost in changing our diets. Jenny’s attention span increased. She was more at peace. We always knew when something hidden in our food got past us, in our own accidental double-blind studies. After ingesting hidden chemicals, Jenny would once again experience sleep difficulties and, of course, hyperactivity.
I became a master sleuth, locating the additive culprit and then eliminating it. It typically took three to five days to clear her system. Unfortunately, in the last 30 years more chemicals have been added to our food supply. Today, 90 percent of the foods in our grocery stores are processed with over 3,000 chemicals. I believe this is why we are seeing an alarming increase of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which includes: Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder, and of course Autism.
Learning what’s in the food we purchase is vital for every family; whether or not you have a sensitive child, like Jenny. Eliminating additives and chemicals from your diet will increase the overall health of your family. Although our nutrition label is more complete, today, manufactures have added to the confusion. They want us to believe that we’re purchasing a healthy product, even if we’re not. They do everything they can to convince us that their processed food is in some way nutritious.
In Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, I explain the difference between natural and organic: “The terms natural and organic don’t mean the same thing. They’re not interchangeable. Certified USDA organically grown produce is produced without pesticides, synthetic herbicides, sewage sludge, irradiation, preservatives or additives, and doesn’t utilize seeds from Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMOs). USDA Organic means it’s grown, handled, and processed differently than conventionally processed foods. At least 95 percent of the product is organic. On the other hand, the word “natural” on the label means absolutely nothing. Natural isn’t a term designating how the food was grown or produced or handled. The term “natural” indicates the product is edible. The food hype includes the whole food industry, which is growing by leaps and bounds. Just because the word organic is mentioned, don’t think the product is free of sugar or white flour. Reading labels is still your best bet. ”
If you liked this article, then you’ll want to read “The Picky Eater and ADD/ADHD: CLICK HERE