Food for Thought

Does your kiddo suffer from headaches, learning blocks, hyperactivity, or low motivation? Let’s take a peek inside his lunch box! Would we find synthetic dyes, chemicals we can’t pronounce, or sugar as the first ingredient on some of those packages? If the answer is yes, then you are a normal, red-blooded human being who knows your kid loves yummy food. However, the issues mentioned above may make you think twice about those choices. Let’s dive in!

For years, a lot of information has been floating around about using diet to improve or even heal certain conditions-physical, mental, and emotional. When our kiddos struggle with behavioral or learning issues, often the only reinforcement that can produce the desired result is a favorite food, and exhausted parents don’t want to give that up. I get it.

Most would agree that a diet free from sugar and processed foods while loaded with fresh, whole food is ideal, but can we really get our kids to eat like that? I think it’s ideal and I still find my hand in the chocolate chip bag! In fact, when I’ve had a terrible day, the first thing I do when I get home (or when no one’s looking!) is grab some chocolate to soothe my frazzled emotions. Imagine being a kiddo who’s received another low grade on a math test, or has been embarrassed again during the mock spelling bee. Often getting his favorite snack when he arrives home from school is a soothing balm for his wounded self-esteem. It may even provide the wind beneath his wings to try again come homework time. Yummy food is comforting and motivating!

When my son was suffering from severe headaches as a small child, my first thought was, “This isn’t right.” I knew migraines could come on during adolescence, but at age 5? The day he landed in the ER due to a severe migraine is the day I decided to do a little detective work. I began to look for the antecedent to those headaches–what happened in the 24 hours before it came on. I took him to the doctor, but I also took him to a naturopath, who concluded he was sensitive to food coloring. Thinking back to the day we visited the ER, I remembered he had shoved an entire fistful of colored gum from the local coney island into his mouth the day before. Thanks to Aldi (their store-brand foods do not contain synthetic food dyes), we were able to continue to find yummy snacks for him while greatly decreasing the frequency of his headaches.

Tip of the Day: If your kiddos struggle with headaches, learning issues, or ADD/ADHD symptoms, making some diet changes might not be as difficult or restrictive as you think, and it could set you on the path to healing. You could start by visiting your local Aldi store to find many of the same snacks sold at large grocery stores (under a different label), but with a commitment to dye-free ingredients.

Take a Deeper Look: Dianne Craft is one of my favorite resources for all things related to learning. Check out her website for diet recommendations as well.

Leave a comment if this was helpful or if you have a success story or questions about diet as it relates to learning and behavioral issues.

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