The plan was to get in to bed at an early hour last night so I could have some one-on-one time with me and just read (doesn't it sound heavenly? Almost as heavenly as grocery shopping by yourself - no kids?). But then I remembered I had to do one last thing on the computer which turned into something else, which lead to googling a question I remembered I had, which lead to several new tabs and being sucked into Dr. John Gray's blog post on ADHD. The more I read about ADHD and other ailments that plague us in this day and age, the more I'm convinced of the roles food and environment play in the grand scheme of things. Dr. John Gray, author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, has a new book out talking specifically about ADHD and ADD. Last night he hooked me in with his fifteen reasons why these disorders are so prevalent at this time and how they are becoming even more so as each day passes. The list included everything from video games and pornography to acetaminophen, processed food ingredients, stress and to toxins in our air. I believe this to be 100 percent true - these things all take a toll and force our bodies to work over-time.
If you take a minute to read the list and watch his video, (I'll post a link below) consider how many items on that list plays into your life daily. Our bodies are amazing and complex machines that can do more than we can comprehend, but we push the limits and ask them to do more than they were initially intended to. Now honestly, if I had read what I just wrote a few years ago I would have rolled my eyes and 'oh-please-give-me-a-break' 'ed it. It sounds so conspiracy-theory and alarmist. In fact, I was mentioning the toxins in our air to a friend of mine and she gave me that exact reaction - "seriously? I mean really." Hang with me for a sec (remembering that I'm the girl that touts moderation)...
Let's go back maybe two hundred years. There were no vehicles emitting toxic fumes or giant power plants or factories. Food was, well, food. Nothing canned. Nothing packaged or boxed - you bought food fresh and had to eat it quickly lest it spoiled. Cheese actually had to age for several months rather than weeks. Wheat was wheat and no one had yet messed with its genetics. Meats were dried - no nitrites or other preservatives. Sugar wasn't hugely available and desserts were a 'treat' as in, something special. Interesting- is that how the term 'treat' was born? Something special to be had once in awhile then becoming a common, daily occurrence. Hmmm. Technically, we are only supposed to have a 'treat' once a week (crazy isn't it?). Our bodies were not designed for the bombardment of sugar that we give it every day (now no longer just delegated to sweets but to everything else on our table that comes from a box, can, or package). Hence the growth of health ailments in our society.
Sugar is the culprit behind candida (yeast overgrowth), cancer, diabetes, insulin resistance and I just learned, inflammation in the brain. Inflammation in the brain, according to Dr. Gray, is a big cause of ADHD. And it makes sense - anything that interferes with our brain and its proper functioning of neurotransmitters would have serious implications (that includes partially hydrogenated oils - unstable atoms that actually interfere with the messages that our brain sends out to the rest of our body). Now, there are a number of things that we don't have much control over (car emissions, other airborne toxins) but then again, there are a number of items we have a lot of control over from the food we put on our tables, the cosmetic products we use on our bodies, and even activities we participate in (video games vs. soccer). And here is the even better news, consumer purchases are what drive the big manufacturing companies; have you noticed how many more packaged foods are being made available without high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated fats? Even better, more companies are using organic ingredients.It is becoming easier, more available and slowly more affordable to give our bodies what they need (love Smith's Simple Truth and Organic Simple Truth line).
Overwhelmed? I know I was and sometimes still feel that way. There definitely is a learning curve to switching up your whole lifestyle by learning how to cook these more natural foods, avoiding naughty items and incorporating the good more regularly into your day. Take it one step at a time and if you need any help, please don't hesitate to ask around or even shoot me an email. I've picked so many brains! Start first with reading labels and cutting out the junk. If you can't pronounce it, don't buy it. If the list is too long to read, put it down. Check out my 'Food 101' page to learn what to look for in your foods. Then start steaming and sauteing veggies and throw together salads at dinner - big ones! Salads are a great and tasty way to get your veggie on. (My absolute favorite salad and dressing is below - it takes less than five minutes to make).
Back to ADHD and food - my little fella wouldn't touch anything green or that might even suggest fruit or vegetable. This kid is picky. So, I've had to get creative. One day we actually had a smoothie-taste-testing event. I made several smoothies and he tried everyone giving it a thumbs up or down; he took his job pretty seriously and we made it fun. We even tried tweaking some recipes to get it right. You can also buy powdered greens to throw into your smoothies to help them get a dose of veggies that they might not otherwise get. Amazing Grass has a great Cacao Greens blend that I mix into a variety of chocolate smoothies. I also blend up some kale and other dried greens into our grasshopper smoothie (he caught me throwing the kale in one day and got a little worked-up and I simply said, "Well, I've got to have something to give it a green color." A drop or two of peppermint later he drank it right up).
Okay, so, all in all, what I'm getting at with all of this is how important it is to go clean (food) when helping yourself or your kiddo with ADHD, ADD or other physical ailments you many be facing. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing other tidbits I've been learning as of late about stress, emotions, electromagnetic frequencies and the like. Helping our kiddos manage this disorder is tricky but there are options! Lots of them actually! I've heard that some kids 'outgrow' ADHD while others say that it simply manifests itself differently. I honestly think both are true. Take a peak at some of the factors that Dr. John Gray has found influence ADHD and see how many of them are a part of your life. Sign up for his emails as well - he sends out great information about this disorder and others that are informative and helpful. Good luck - you're not alone!
Link to Dr. John Gray's blog on ADHD: