2

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Children with anxiety/OCD/behavior problems

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 26, 2012 at 5:22 PM

i have a few friends who are having tons of issues with their childrens behavior and, being the paleo devotee that i am, i can recognize that the gluteny pizza, cereal bars, chips, cupcakes and other unidentifiable food-like substances that their kids eat, are most definitely the problem.

i know what you feed your kids can be such a touchy subject - so i dont want to step on any toes, but i also truly want to help my friends who are going nearly at their wits ends with their kids behavior.

so i am looking for real legitimate resources - articles, studies, etc. that i can pass along to my friends to spark their interest in exploring a nutrition modification for their kids as a possible way of helping?? id rather these resources weren't "Paleo" blogs . . . i dont want it to feel like im pushing my agenda on their kids.

does anyone know of any good (more mainstream type) resources for parents that point to a paleo-like diet??

thanks for your help

Fb10cf8e5dbac271762e13721181d5dc

(453)

on February 27, 2012
at 06:17 AM

Man, I don't know if I'll forgive the FDA for that either. I spent my childhood with wheat-induced behavior problems, we were led to believe it was just "how I was", part of the human condition. Post-paleo, I'm a calmer person, a bit of lingering ADHD but no accompanying brain-fog-- but this is one of the few things that still get my blood boiling. Glad you found paleo so early in your daughter's life!

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 11:48 PM

Yes, Nora's great, she also is a neurofeedback therapist. But she is very "Paleo" which may be a turnoff for Savory's friends...

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 10:00 PM

Life who isn't annoyed with them. Diet and supplemental support has greatly helped my daughter, but she still struggles, and her struggles are really stressful for our family. I think that things would be a lot worse if she ate SAD and didn't have the support of family and teachers who know her so well.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 09:56 PM

When I finally had my daughter diagnosed, the doctor told us he was really impressed with us as parents, that even though it felt like we could control this, the reality was different. Just having someone tell us sincerely that despite what we were up against, we were doing a good job felt like such a relief. My friends really don't get what we're going through. When my daughter was younger, I just wished we had friends who could take her for a few hours and give her some love and give us a break...I would imagine your friends would likely welcome offers to be another adult in that child's

Medium avatar

(2923)

on February 26, 2012
at 09:49 PM

From comments here on PaleoHacks and in the various Paleo books, there's no need to bring up the "Paleo"/"Primal" labels. Most recommendations are just be descriptive, "I'm focusing on real food, unprocessed meat, and fresh vegetables." - That stays in line with a lot of the SAD prescriptions. Once you get that out of the way, then start trying to figure out the wheat/grain/legume battle ... Alternatively, there's also the rational Robb Wolf and the various challenges take, "Just try it my way for 3 weeks. Real meat and LOTS of fresh vegetables are good for you and you can say you tried."

0c1b326ffcf37b1174d64bb1db5ac95c

(419)

on February 26, 2012
at 09:02 PM

thanks for sharing your personal experience Rogue Nutritionist, i too have a hard time believing that my friends are just 'bad' parents . . . i would just love to be able to provide that support for my friends in any way that i can as i can see them (and their kids struggling). im curious to know if a paleo or GAPS or any modified diet has helped your daughter's behavior? i am also interested in hearing what forms of support you wish your friends/family/community etc. would give to you (ie. how do you think i can best support my friends without making them feel judged?) thank you again!

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 08:50 PM

I know that my daughter, who has ADHD is literally unable to control certain impulses and discipline is a moot point. The standard parenting advice just doesn't help the parent of a child with a behavior disorder. Parenting these children is extremely stressful, and a large part of the stress is a lack of community support from people who roll their eyes and criticize these parents who are getting a lot more than they bargained for.

0c1b326ffcf37b1174d64bb1db5ac95c

(419)

on February 26, 2012
at 08:21 PM

thank you for this resource Olga, that is perfect! and while yes, i may be facing an uphill battle, i still believe my friends are good (but misinformed) people who really want the best for their children. i hope that i can present this information to them in a way that is non-intimidating and from a place of sincerely wanting to help.

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on February 26, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Also, I get a lot of requests for help when the school system decides to "diagnose" a kid with ADD or ADHD and insist that they must be taken to a physician for a prescription... and if the parent does not comply, DSS will intervene and force it or take them away at the school's request. This is when I get the best chance to teach parents about nutrition, fish oil, and yes...caffeine to cure the non-existent disease of ADD. It's purely bad nutrition and failure to discipline in nearly every case. So far 100% success at keeping kids off meds when parents and physicians asked for help.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 26, 2012
at 06:35 PM

If you google "ADHD diet" or "autism diet" there's quite a bit of material. I realize your friends' kids may not have those diagnoses but might be somewhere to start. Here's one link http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/558797_6

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 26, 2012
at 06:00 PM

There is a whole army of little sugar addicts out there for sure. It is hard to make them stop once they are hooked.

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7 Answers

7
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 08:45 PM

I am always reluctant to give out unsolicited advice, it has rarely done me good...however, I am a parent of a child with ADHD, and so I totally relate to the desire to help someone out who is struggling in their family in a way that seems so help-able. I know from all we've done for my daughter that often, diet is but one piece of the puzzle. That is not to say that it isn't a vital piece, only that in all likelihood, even on a pristine diet, there may still exist some behaviors that are challenging(to say the least). Assuming that these parents are open to exploration, I think that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's website would be a great start. http://www.gapsdiet.com/ She is definitely someone who has contributed hugely to healing behavior disorders in children through diet and gut healing, but she is not "paleo" enough to be off-putting to your friends who may be suspicious of that label. I wish I could tell my past self much sooner about Julia Ross' work with mood disorders, and any parent of a child with a behavior/mood disorder who asks advice of me will get sent in that direction as well. http://www.moodcure.com/

5
184512332357579da7a506ae8d832d60

on February 27, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I dunno, I always knew that my daughter was slightly ADHD but when I went primal and quit eating grains, I started to notice a change in behavior patterns. One day in particular - she hadn't had any wheat for a couple weeks but then she had wheat at all three meals in one day (my husband isn't paleo and I was gone for the day, so they had pancakes, Mac & cheese, etc) and the next day she was out of her mind hysterical, uncontrollable, and pretty much an emotional basketcase.

Sorry I have no help, but it was that day I realized that it wasn't that I needed to discipline her more or better, but she was reacting to the wheat. I always blamed myself, thinking I needed to parent her better, but in fact she just had this inability to control her behavior. I would look back and see that yes, she would try to control herself but just couldn't.

Wheat caused that.

I don't think I'll forgive the FDA for that.

Fb10cf8e5dbac271762e13721181d5dc

(453)

on February 27, 2012
at 06:17 AM

Man, I don't know if I'll forgive the FDA for that either. I spent my childhood with wheat-induced behavior problems, we were led to believe it was just "how I was", part of the human condition. Post-paleo, I'm a calmer person, a bit of lingering ADHD but no accompanying brain-fog-- but this is one of the few things that still get my blood boiling. Glad you found paleo so early in your daughter's life!

4
E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on February 26, 2012
at 06:50 PM

Mark Hyman's The Ultramind Solution has some good examples of kids being treated for behavior problems by replacing gluten, dairy, and sugar with whole foods. He doesn't mention the word paleo at all, and he doesn't claim that everyone needs to give up gluten and dairy, just that everyone try it for two weeks and see it makes a difference. I don't think the book references studies too heavily, but that also makes the book's approach less confrontational in nature because it promotes self-testing over the rote following of studies.

But, unless your friends are already on board with semi-paleo eating, it's going to be uphill battle to convince them that what they themselves think they're fine eating is damaging their kids.

0c1b326ffcf37b1174d64bb1db5ac95c

(419)

on February 26, 2012
at 08:21 PM

thank you for this resource Olga, that is perfect! and while yes, i may be facing an uphill battle, i still believe my friends are good (but misinformed) people who really want the best for their children. i hope that i can present this information to them in a way that is non-intimidating and from a place of sincerely wanting to help.

3
584b19d2b6cebc7cdf070b5f8a5a7937

(369)

on February 26, 2012
at 09:11 PM

Nora Gedgaudus- Primal Body, Primal Mind. I am a behavior therapist for kids with behavioral issues and in working with some actively involved parents, many have noted significant behavior improvements after switching to a paleo based diet (without knowing it to be 'paleo' at all).

Nora is inspiring in this regard.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 11:48 PM

Yes, Nora's great, she also is a neurofeedback therapist. But she is very "Paleo" which may be a turnoff for Savory's friends...

2
Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on February 27, 2012
at 02:55 AM

I stumbled upon this website awhile back and have been exploring it. Some people think it is a matter of pulling the sugar, but then they turn to things like NutraSweet. Big mistake! I work with kids at school who eat Low fat, no fat, limited sugar and are bouncing off the walls.

The Autism diet often prescribed is no gluten, no dairy, but people (at least the ones I know) aren't taught to stay away from nitrates, colors, preservatives, corn syrup and other things that may take one down the road to ill health. But they did what their doctor told them to do.

After I started talking with my daughter about Paleo, she told me that she switched to feeding our 4yo grandson less cereal for breakfast and more protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. Within a week she noticed a huge difference in his behavior and sleep patterns.

But I'm sure you realize that this can be a Pandora's box topic. You may get warm receptive responses and may not. Like the parents who think their child needs an antibiotic every time the kid sneezes. No matter what you say, they are right and you aren't a doctor. (Another pet peeve)

Anyway, here is one website...http://wellnessmama.com/wellness-101/

The GAPS diet might be another place to start.

1
6e34b09f4817f21664b00f064e190800

on February 26, 2012
at 09:27 PM

If I get an opening to talk nutrition with the parents (and it's a tricky subject!), I mention the Feingold Plan. We have been on it for a couple years, and it's been an enormous help to us.

http://www.feingold.org/

You start out with some small adjustments that are key: eliminating artificial colors (Red 40 is particularly egregious, I really wish we'd ban it) and particularly bad preservatives (BHA, BHT, and TBHQ). You also limit natural salicyaltes, as many folks who are ADHD/OCD/anxious, etc., are salicylate sensitive. This is tricky, as it means temporarily eliminating fruits that kids tend to love, like apples, grapes, strawberries, and more. After a time, you test these foods back in and see what works for the child.

Some folks on the Feingold Plan also cut out wheat and/or dairy, some go caveman, but others are able to get great results just from eliminating the artificials and being careful with salicylates.

-1
095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on February 26, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I'm not aware of any...but if a parent asks, or comments something like, "oh wow, I can't believe how well behaved and polite your kids are. I've never seen any quite so good." That's my opening to mention consistent discipline, and just as important good nutrition without all the toxic foods most kids are eating. The comments have been the same since they were toddlers as they are now at age 10 and 16. That's the opening, and if they are interested then I explain about the foods.

Of course if someone's kids are just running wild, I usually just roll my eyes and comment, "damn, I wish people knew how to be parents these days."

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on February 26, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Also, I get a lot of requests for help when the school system decides to "diagnose" a kid with ADD or ADHD and insist that they must be taken to a physician for a prescription... and if the parent does not comply, DSS will intervene and force it or take them away at the school's request. This is when I get the best chance to teach parents about nutrition, fish oil, and yes...caffeine to cure the non-existent disease of ADD. It's purely bad nutrition and failure to discipline in nearly every case. So far 100% success at keeping kids off meds when parents and physicians asked for help.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 09:56 PM

When I finally had my daughter diagnosed, the doctor told us he was really impressed with us as parents, that even though it felt like we could control this, the reality was different. Just having someone tell us sincerely that despite what we were up against, we were doing a good job felt like such a relief. My friends really don't get what we're going through. When my daughter was younger, I just wished we had friends who could take her for a few hours and give her some love and give us a break...I would imagine your friends would likely welcome offers to be another adult in that child's

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 10:00 PM

Life who isn't annoyed with them. Diet and supplemental support has greatly helped my daughter, but she still struggles, and her struggles are really stressful for our family. I think that things would be a lot worse if she ate SAD and didn't have the support of family and teachers who know her so well.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on February 26, 2012
at 08:50 PM

I know that my daughter, who has ADHD is literally unable to control certain impulses and discipline is a moot point. The standard parenting advice just doesn't help the parent of a child with a behavior disorder. Parenting these children is extremely stressful, and a large part of the stress is a lack of community support from people who roll their eyes and criticize these parents who are getting a lot more than they bargained for.

0c1b326ffcf37b1174d64bb1db5ac95c

(419)

on February 26, 2012
at 09:02 PM

thanks for sharing your personal experience Rogue Nutritionist, i too have a hard time believing that my friends are just 'bad' parents . . . i would just love to be able to provide that support for my friends in any way that i can as i can see them (and their kids struggling). im curious to know if a paleo or GAPS or any modified diet has helped your daughter's behavior? i am also interested in hearing what forms of support you wish your friends/family/community etc. would give to you (ie. how do you think i can best support my friends without making them feel judged?) thank you again!

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