Reasons not to do a special diet for your kids’ autism / ADHD / anxiety / OCD / Tourette’s / speech delay / diabetes / seizure disorder / ODD / depression / aggressive behavior / fill-in-the-blank? I’ve heard them all.
We moms often forget our own power, for finding wellness for our kids. You don’t have to know how to do it (that’s my job, and there are loads of helps out there besides me). You do get to decide if you do it. And you are pretty much the one who is going to make it happen – not your doctor, your kid’s teacher, your spouse or partner, and certainly not your kid. Not “the science”, not the New England Journal of Medicine, not the IEP team, not the local children’s hospital expert team of gastroenterologists, not your allergist, not your neurologist, and not your ABA therapist.
The fact is that food and nutrition really, really matter, for all children, especially for children born nowadays. They are struggling against an unprecedented current of toxicity, inflammation, underweight, missing nutrients, or any of the other things that real food can fix. While you were pregnant, you were too – but being roughly twenty times bigger than your baby is at full term, these may not have had noticeable impacts on you.
These conditions all boil down to toxicity and inflammation, beyond levels that your child’s brain, gut or body may be able to handle. You can leverage food and nutrition to lessen those, and let your child move more swiftly to his or her potential. Or, not: You can stick with the cheap, easy, processed food routine and shorten your child’s life and prospects.
Children with conditions like ADHD, asthma, FPIES, food allergy, autism, global developmental delay, etc etc – can be very difficult to manage. Their futures may feel uncertain, grim even. I have many hundreds of stories from practice (and my own from parenting) of how these children can disrupt a whole family, every day, demanding all parents have to give for energy. Who would choose to live like this, right? If there was an answer, you’d engage it. This is so difficult, and it’s not your fault. And besides…
- You tried a special diet before and it didn’t work. You tried so hard.
- You really don’t wan’t to know if this will work, because if it does, then you’ll be one of those annoying foodie gluten free moms who buys organic food. Ugh.
- You really don’t want this to work, because if it does, you’ll be crushed by the guilt of not having done it sooner, or maybe having done it “wrong” before.
- It’s easier to do ABA, OT, feeding clinic, a surgically inserted feeding tube, Risperdal, Abilify, brain scans, or anything else that your insurance covers. You’re checking that all out first. (These things may help, but they work better or can be totally eliminated, with the food part really dialed in.)
- If this stuff worked, they would’ve proved it by now. It’d be on the news. It’s not on the news.
- Your GI doctor/neurologist/psychiatrist/psychologist/pediatrician said it’s a waste of time.
- Your school kept sandbagging you by giving your kid the wrong food. Nothing you could do.
- Your husband doesn’t “believe in it”.
- Your ex/in-laws/nanny/sister/auntie-who-baby-sits sandbagged you by giving the wrong food.
- You don’t like Jenny McCarthy.
- Your kid hated the food. Wouldn’t eat it.
- The food is too expensive. It’s elitist food. That’s not you. You’re a Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks and Pizza Hut/Olive Garden family!
- You felt sorry for your child when she couldn’t eat the cupcakes/pie/ice cream/candy at the birthday/holiday/Halloween/Valentine’s Day class party.
- You just don’t like to cook. Your family is too busy. You eat out a lot.
- You have other kids. It caused too much fighting to change the food for one kid.
- Your kid broke through locked doors/cabinets/underground tunnels, found the food he wasn’t supposed to have, and ate it anyway. Nothing you could do.
- Your kid screamed for hours/broke windows/became violent, when he didn’t get his milk/bread/cookie/ice cream/pizza/favorite pasta or noodles.
No, none of this is your fault. Unfortunately though, it is your problem. It’s your kid. And, no judgment. Many out there know, my family has been through pretty much all of the above.
And yet, there are few things on this planet more determined than a mama bear with a mission. Once you tap into that gut sense of what might be best for your child, any obstacle can be overcome. If your hunch is that food matters, call me.
If you’re blocked by guilt, fear, or judgment for whatever reason, those are potent – they will keep you from moving forward. Get clear first on how you feel about this, before you begin. Start with kindness and forgiveness for whatever you might think you did wrong (you don’t do anything wrong; you do your best). Finding out what foods would work best and changing those routines is a lot of work – it takes total commitment.
It’s my pleasure to guide mama bears through this part of the long and incredible journey of raising children with challenges. If this doesn’t yield results you hoped for, and it was truly followed to the last detail at the right pace, there are deeper biomedical options yet to explore. See the possibility of your child, grown up, independent, and content. Now that always brings tears to my eyes!