Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Behavior Plan

I met with Preston's psychologist today and told him what I was going to be doing regarding the CURE. He was supportive and mentioned that there is research on supplementation showing that behavior does improve but not to the level that most medications work. That's the tough part is that when Preston is on his medication, he does do very well. It's the before and after side effects that are so nasty and again, the general idea of not knowing truly how else medication affects the body that is so hard for me.

We also talked about setting up a behavior plan at school. Both at school and at home, he needs positive reinforcement on what he does well and less punishment for negative behaviors. I still believe in natural consequencing as suggested in Love and Logic, but essentially, avoiding any 'hammers' on naughty behavior; quick and to the point. When he argues with me on consequences, that is countable. Back to reinforcement, he suggested that the teacher needs to provide a visual chart or tracking system for Preston throughout the day and reward him for very specific tasks or goals such as following directions, completing work in class, not disrupting teacher or classmates, etc.

The psychologist also reminded me that ADHD really is a performace disability and not so much a capability disability. Preston is very smart and very capable but is impulsive and as Dr. Barkley has also mentioned, doesn't think into the future to forsee the outcome of his actions. This is why Preston struggles with completing work in school and at home. He can't focus long enough to take the time to do his work. I need to continually remind myself of how to deal with every scenario based on him and what part the ADHD plays. That doesn't mean that they get away with their behavior or that they have an excuse/out, it really means that I have to approach things differently to help him get things done and succeed.

Regarding his depression and vascillating moods (mostly to extreme anger), I will be sitting down with him when he is in a 'good place' and help him categorize his types of anger (very angry, a little angry, frustrated, etc.) and find an appropriate outlet to correspond with it. For example, extreme anger may require some extreme venting. Honestly, I worked with a fellow (who I adored) who when he got angry would take a baseball bat outside and beat the hell out of the ground with it. He'd come back into the office pretty normal. I'm guessing your first reaction is, WHOA! That was mine as well. I actually thought it was a little creepy, but then I realized that I myself am a door slammer. Well, I used to be at any rate. These days I go jump on my elliptical and burn out the belts or do push ups until I collapse. The Nurse Practitioner that actually suggested making this list and finding outlets suggested aggressive release for aggressive anger - the release has to match the feeling; that actually makes alot of sense to me. Drawing a picture doesn't work when you are burning up with anger. I will post this list on his bulletin board in his room and will remind him to look at it when he has any degree of angry feelings.

We're taking another multiple-prong approach with this little fellar - behavior plan at school, behavior plan at home (I recently set up a very structure routine for after school and in the evening), relying on my 1-2-3 Magic and Love and Logic and the supplmentation and nutrition. I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond today and got a Kitchen Aid blender to make 'Glowing Green Smoothies' in. I think I can make it something he will drink. He drinks the Odwalla Super Greens, so hopefully I can make this work for him. I'll be waiting on pins and needles for his minerals and supplements to arrive...

We stopped at Tasty's Donuts on the way home today (happy little donut man with his crown and triton at the top - I had to put something up there to get your attention) and got some of their Blueberry Cake donuts. OOHHHH my! Those are really something. Sprinkles cupcakes, chocolate mint brownies and Tasty's blueberry donuts are an 'all bets are off' treat. I won't look up what they are made with - I don't want to know. There are some treats that once in awhile I really do enjoy just enjoying them. Moderation. I promise, I didn't have five donuts. Just one. And half. Don't tell anyone.

Disclaimer: I do not endorse foods with colors. They are naughty. They look good, but they are naughty. Enjoy your blueberry donut but pass on the sprinkles and things that are so pink they are made with the same coloring as Pepto Bismol.

Helpful Hint: After you indulge in a high carbohydrate food, have a healthy fat with it to help prevent your blood sugar from spiking and then storing the excess sugar. Coconut oil is a fabulous choice here as it is immediately processed in the liver and burned as energy (upping your metabolism) and not stored. I would recommend avoiding coconut oil after 5pm for sleeplessness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Plan

I guess I should first make a big disclosure about little Preston and what ADHD looks like for him so we all have a better gauge on if the Mars Venus approach works for him. Oh, my little Preston. He has a good heart and a sweet spirit, truly. I know the 'true' Preston wants to help, is empathetic and wants to succeed. I only get glimpses of that Preston when he is having an 'on' day and his brain is doing a better job producing what it should be. These glimpses of the 'true' Preston are hard because it makes him seem like he is capable of, well, being a pretty normal eight-year-old. And that is the hardest part about ADHD is that these kids on most levels appear to be totally normal. But they aren't. Preston's psychologist mentioned to us once a conversation he had with a teen that had ADHD. He said that if there were two things he could tell parents of kids with ADHD it would be 1) Don't give up and 2) Don't judge them by their 'good' days.

Preston has always been a generally unhappy person. There is a huge depression piece for this kiddo. Emotionally, he is incredibly unregulated and has very erratic and impressive mood swings. The smallest of incidents can send him into a tail spin and he will have a full-blown temper tantrum complete with laying on the floor kicking and screaming. He will hit me and say terrible things about hating me, hating our family, wanting to run away, killing himself and even hurting our family. He has run away and has made other attempts at doing so. He has written in permanent marker on the walls at school, on himself, been threatened to be kicked off the bus for the year, pulled his pants down randomly during recess. He steals from family members (including money) and even from friends and the school and strugg;es telling the truth.

On a smaller scale, he can't stay focused and attentive in his class at school and is regularly in trouble with the teacher for disrupting the class and failing to complete his work. Strange and bizarre behavior is the norm for him in trying to get attention from friends and classmates. Getting him to bring home homework or turn in what we actually accomplish is nearly impossible. There are no organizational skills or executive-functioning skills; his room is always a wreck as is his desk and anywhere he has been. Generally life is unfair and he feels he shouldn't been made to help or do any work; life is strictly to do what he wants when he wants to.

Yes, to some degree, some of these behaviors and attitudes are normal eight-year-old attitudes. For those of you with children who have ADHD, you understand that this behavior is on an entirely different level with them. Managing these kids takes everything you have and takes a very heavy toll on the entire family. I have shed many tears of frustration, worry, fear, and sadness over my child and the welfare of my family. And my family, being a blended family with additional concerns and challenges is already in a delicate state. I want very much for people to understand that I DO NOT mean to villify my son by 'airing his dirty laundry' so to speak, but simply to let others know of what ADHD looks like in my situation and that you aren't alone! Calls from the principal, emails from the teacher, and the bus driver stopping at my house are normal. More than anything, I find the greatest comfort in talking to people who KNOW what I am going through and the pain and heartache that comes with it. And to those who don't understand, it isn't a lack of efficient parenting (although I know I have had my struggles); I have taken classes on effective parenting techniques that do help him and have saved my sanity. But in the end, it isn't enough because there is more to these kids than that. Handle with care!!

He has been a lot of work and entirely consuming and exhausting but I'm taking that one kids' advice and not giving up on my Preston or what I can do for him. Anything worthwhile doesn't come for free and it certainly doesn't come without hard work so on to the next! After listening to Dr. Gray's podcast I have laid out my plan below and I'm labeling it a 'cure' just for the sake of putting out the most positive energy into the universe I can.

THE CURE (not to be mistaken for the rock band)
Ha. I know, it was a bad joke.

1) Start on 300 mg of Grapefruit Seed Extract and 600 mg Vitamin C/day
GSE in capsule form from Vitamin Research Products,
Vitamin C from Isagenix, C-Lyte,
*Per Dr. Gray, this combination was tested in a double-blind study and proven to be more effective than Ritalin.

2) Lithium Orotate - 1 capsule 3 times/day
LO from Vitamin Research Products

3) Super Minerals from Mar Venus Wellness Solution, 2 capsules/day
Mar Venus Wellness Solution from Isagenix,

4) Wellness Shake for Men, 1 shake/day
Mars Venus Wellness Solution from Isagenix

5) Super Cleanse, 2 times/day
Mars Venus Wellness Soltuion from Isagenix
*The super cleanse is meant to help the liver and the brain detoxify.

6) Vitex or Chaste Berry Extract
*Balances hormones in brain, particularly oxytocin.

7) Continue to teach him how to read food labels, make a raw fruits and veggies green smoothie every day, and encourage healthy fats and clean, whole foods.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Searching for Alternatives

As much as medication has been incredibly helpful with Preston, the side effects have been worsening (lack of sleep, lack of appetite and his ADHD behaviors are exacerbated when he is not on the medication in the morning and the night) and his ADHD, ODD and depression/anger have also been increasing while on the medication. I hade someone refer me to a podcast by Dr. John Gray, author of the Mars and Venus books that deals primarily with ADHD and treating ADHD. He is writing a book about ADD/ADHD and has been working with Isagenix and his own team on supplements for those affected by ADHD citing simply that good nutrition and trace minerals can fill in the gaps in the brain that the brain is not producing on its own. Having tried the natural route before, I am skeptical. Afterall, I also understand that ADHD and the impulsive behaviors come from the frontal lobe not being developed sufficiently - that sounds more like a growth issue than lack of minerals. However, with Preston suffering from this debilitating disorder as severely as he is, I will try anything.

Following is the link to the one hour and 30 minute podcast with Dr. Gray about his program/regimen: I spoke with a woman in Florida who works with special needs children and herself has a child with ADHD. In speaking with her, she claims that her daughter has normalized on this program. She also worked with her sister who has two kids with ADHD and reports that they are both off their medication and thriving. She said it took her about four and half months to tweak the regimen to where it worked for her daughter. I downloaded the podcast onto my iPod so I can listen to it as I do my housework and am eager to get moving. I also plan to save up for a powerful blender - a Vitamix or Blendtec - to start making green smoothies that I think will also be incredibly beneficial for Preston. After having cleansed with Isagenix and still having my daily shakes and changing my diet, I do see firsthand the power of a whole foods lifestyle. My immune system has strengthened and my lifelong woes with hyperhydrosis have lessened. That one is huge for me. I will post regularly about every step that I take in this new journey with Preston and hold a positive thought for us that we have success!

Has anyone tried the new Ninja Blender? They have it at Bed, Bath and Beyond and it has an incredibly cheaper price tag compared to a Vitamix or Blendtec blender but is supposed to do everything those blenders do. Let me know!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Partially Hydrogenated Oil

This is one of many ingredients that is so incredibly naughty. The thing that kills me is that like so many other naughty ingredients, it is in EVERYTHING! In Dr. Bob's Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days, he discusses how improper fat metabolism is a root cause of this disorder. He states:

Having treated thousands of patients, I believe there must be one significant link between current diet trends and the health challenges facing us today. These dietary habits are also linked to hyperactivity, ADD, ADHD, and ODD. The role of partially hydrogenated fats and the breakdown of proper fat metabolism is a very signifcant factor in behavioral challenges. Partially hydrogenated fats - which have permeated every component of our food chain - stop your body from processing the material needed to send vital messages along never fibers and in the brain.(33)

Eeek. Why do we want to eat foods that mess with messages being sent to the brain? Another good book that I read and would recommend is Jillian Michaels "Master Your Metabolism" dives into a lot of the chemicals that go into our foods and cosmetics that mess up our body because it changes the way the body handles everything. Incorrect messages get sent to the brain, toxins are stored in our fat cells and we are the ones wreaking havoc on our bodies by eating junk. I love watching Jillian go through people's kitchens and throw everything out that has nasty stuff in it. I wish she could convince my husband. The only that is working for me in that department is that I won't eat stuff that has the nasty's. And that makes him mad. Oh well. It's my body right?!

The really gross part is how long some of these ingredients linger in our bodies for.

The half-life of trans fatty acids or partially hydrogenated fats is 51 days. After 51 days, one-half of the negative effects of this man-made fat have been processed, but the body needs an additional 51 days to complete the process. After these 51 days, there is still a 25% residual.(37)

He goes into detail about the importance of fat in our diets as well. I'm going to address this issue in another post but I agree with his notion that we are seeing a greater prevalence in ADHD in recent years because of the food we eat (and how we are told to eat).

Action Item

Become proficient at reading ingredient labels. Even if a bag of chips claims "No trans fats," you may notice partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list. Food manufacturers can get away from this simply because the FDA has given a limit of x amount of grams of PHO per serving. If there is less than x per serving, the food label can claim that there are no trans fats. Sneaky eh?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why We Have Weight Problems

Honestly, I haven't really ever had what you would call a 'weight problem.' To me it was a problem because I wanted six-pack abs and no fat on my body. For years I tried to get rid of 5 more pounds and I couldn't. I thought I was doing all the right tricks and it has been through this whole journey of finding the right foods for Preston that I found what the right food are in general.

Since beginning my cleanse on Isagenix, I have also embraced fat. Not even just low-fat - I look for grocery store items that are full fat. I'm not afraid! And you shouldn't be either! The cells in our body are protected by fat. Our brain burns the most calories in our body and operates on fat! Have you noticed how no-fat or low-fat has been the norm for the last twenty years and nobody is staying thin or getting thin this way? I even have to wonder if because we have been starving ourselves of good fats that is part of the problem with the rise in cases of ADHD. It's the underdevelopment of the frontal lobe - myabe we aren't giving our brains enough fat. Alzheimers anybody? As for sources of healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, nuts, seeds, avacados, real butter, (even real cream - a great way to even out the carbs in pasta). Coconut oil is absolutely amazing and if your metabolism needs a little kick start this is it. It is immediately processed in the liver as energy. As with everything, moderation.

What we eat is essentially all broken down in our bodies as sugar (energy) with the exception of proteins. When we have an excess of sugar, our blood sugar level spikes which then burdens the pancreas (which sends out the insulin to balance things off). When our body has more sugar than it can handle at any given time, rather than use it, it stores it. THIS is fat storage and THIS is what our problem is; THIS is what makes us fat - spiking our blood sugar. Ironically, having a fat with a carbohydrate helps keep our blood sugar levels more even which then doesn't overwhelm the body and lead to the storage of excess sugar. We actually need to balance our generally carbohydrate-rich meals with healthy fats and plenty of protein. Protein helps our muscles which are responsible for also helping get our blood through our body. Our heart is a muscle! As you can see, a well-rounded diet with complex carbohydrates (which don't spike the blood sugar), protein and fats are vital to our overall health. This is why you are hearing the term "glycemic index" more often now as food that have a low glycemic index do not spike your blood sugar. Sugar is also an 'anti-nutrient' which means it robs your body of what it needs to compensate and process the sugar. It lowers your immune system leaving you open to illness.

Fruits and vegetables have all the vital enzymes that help our bodies break-down our food. However, when we cook our veggies all of those precious enzymes are destroyed and our bodies struggle with break-down and absorption - another issue that contributes to weight.

Fine. I actually had some apple pie the other night and felt absolutely miserable an hour later. I know it was more than my body could handle after really not having much for awhile. I still have a square of dark chocolate a day because it is my yummy treat. That recipe for Maple Nut Oaties on my recipe page is amazing; those are gems because it is sweetened with pure cold-pressed Agave nectar and has healthy fats from pecans and almond butter and fiber-rich oats. This last time I threw in some cacao nibs which actually taste like nuts but are amazing antioxidants. I have three of those (they are bite size) in the afternoon and they are wonderful. I also have the occasional ice cream but ritual dessert after dinner has gone by the way-side. I'm finding other alternatives. I'll continue to post up what my family loves - it's got to work for the kids too eh?! What I'm getting to again with this whole bit is moderation. Sugar really has no benefit whatsoever for the body and actually causes problems. I read that Alec Baldwin cut out refined white sugars and flours and dropped 20 pounds just from doing that. Pretty impressive.

Bleached sodium chloride, which is the salt that we all buy from the grocery store, is actually toxic. Doctors are right to be telling heart disease patients to lay off the salt - but they are referring to common table salt. REAL salt or Celtic Sea Salt has not been bleached and still contains the numerous minerals that help the body function as it is supposed to. The body requires salt to function. It is okay to salt your food with the good stuff!