Sharing our good news

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gwend1, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. gwend1

    gwend1 New Member

    It's been a long time since I've been here - probably about a year. Yesterday I saw a post come up during an online search and it prompted me to come visit.

    My difficult child had shown signs of being more challenging and struggling more than other kids from infancy. She had tantrums that were more intense than most and they later turned into rages. She got an sensory processing disorder (SPD) diagnosis at 3 and a an ADHD and intermittent explosive disorder diagnosis at 7. By the time she turned 8 she was having rages at least 4 or 5 days a week and they were very destructive. Her intent was to be hurtful and destroy things. It was scary.

    We had had a lot of luck reducing her sensory processing disorder (SPD) symptoms by following a gluten-free, casein-free diet, so I was interested in looking into how food affects behavior. In June 2013 we started the Feingold diet. It eliminates food dyes,
    preservatives and foods that are high in salicylates. Later, high sal food is tested back in to see if it's problematic or not. Within 2 months all our rages were gone, and my daughter was happy and easy. Easy! She had never, even as an infant, been easy.

    We have now eaten this way for a year and a half and the only time she has rages is when we have tested in a new food to which she is sensitive. When she eats a good she's sensitive to, it's terrible. Her eyes change, and she becomes destructive. We've made some headway in helping her know that she's reacting, but it's hard, in the moment, for her to understand. What she does understand is that she hates feeling that way, so she's very compliant with food.

    I think starting this with a child older than elementary would be hard because it becomes impossible to control what they eat outside of the house. I know some people that have done it, though.

    I know it isn't be the answer for everyone, but on the Facebook group I'm on for Feingold, I've seen it work over and over. It's been a miracle for us, and it's why I hadn't been here for over a year, and I wanted to share in case it might help even one family.
  2. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Thanks gwend1, I remember you :) Im glad the diet is working well!!!! The diet really didnt help my son, but I keep trying to restart it just in case.. you never know one day with a long period on it- it may help.. even if not, least he will be healthier!!! He sneaks foods too from from friends so hard!! Hugs
  3. gwend1

    gwend1 New Member

    Hi Confused!!! The sneaking thing is hard. My daughter's biggest trigger is tomatoes and if we would have been in public school when we started this I bet we would have never seen results - because they have ketchup packets out every day and she would have eaten them. Thank goodness we were in private school at the time and they were willing to watch everything she ate. It gave us time to see results.

    This year we went back to public school and her first weeks were terrible. She fought over homework, had minor rages, and was grumpy all the time. I thought it was transition stress. Then, when I went in for "back to school" parent night I realized they were using plug in air fresheners in some of her classrooms. My daughter is really sensitive to the chemicals in artificial fragrances, too.

    I emailed the principal and he had the teachers remove the plug ins. Within 3 days she was back to her new, sweet, normal. They've all become believers, too :)

    Thanks for saying "hi!" It's good to be remembered. I wish only the best for you.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Awesome news!!! I have often wondered if difficult child would have done better on a healthier diet. He was so violent over food that it was a battle the doctors told us not to fight. However, it would have been interesting if we could have gotten him to eat the healthier food.
  5. gwend1

    gwend1 New Member

    Thank you, Wiped Out! I know exactly what you mean. I got very clear "it won't work" from my pediatrician, even though the reaearch is very clear that chemicals and food do impact behavior. The good news for us is that my pediatrician is a friend and had seen my daughter in full fledged rages as well as seeing that ahe never sat still, was argumentative etc.etc.

    I remember texting her after our first whole week of great behavior - and feeling like I was going to jinx myself. A week with nothing broken and no hitting! She now recommends Feingold and gluten free/casein free for all her kiddos that are struggling.

    We've both begun to try to combat the candy culture that is rampant in schools. Not because of the sugar (although that's not good for anyone) but because of all the chemicals!!

    I believe our kids are canaries in the coal mine of a very toxic world.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    With older kids... it works if they see the problem. I know kids who have done it (not mine, sigh) - kids who were desperate to try anything to be "normal". Not that it solved everything, but for some kids, the difference is huge. If THEY love the results... they will stick to the diet.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Congrats, Gwend1! That is heartening and exciting news.
    I've worked hard over the years to encourage our difficult child to eat a healthy diet free of milk, cheese, gluten and dyes.
    Now, he works at McDonald's and his diet--and attitude--have gone down the tubes.
    Maybe by the time he's 40, he'll learn. :(
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gwend1, you are a true "Warrior Parent" because I know it wasn't easy to make this change but you stuck with it because you knew it would be best for your daughter! Thanks for her positive update - we love hearing them!

  9. gwend1

    gwend1 New Member

    Sharon, you brought big tears to my eyes. I feel so blessed that we are where we are, and it's SO much easier than the hitting, screaming, breaking days; but sometimes I'm tired and I just wish we could head to a restaurant and go out to eat! But I'm her mommy, so I head back to the kitchen and cook...

    Thank you for your very kind words.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's such good news!

    i first heard of the Feingold Diet in its early days when my sister was trying to help her difficult child son. At the time it was being sold as a guarantee cure for all kids with hyperactivity. The trouble is, kids can be hyperactive, as they used to call it, for lots of reasons. We just had a hectic few days with family staying for Christmas, and tywo toddlers and a pre-schooler running shrieking around the house - bedlam! But very, very normal. Someone who is less tolerant or understanding of little kids would have described them as hyperactive, and they did tend to stir each other up a lot. But still, normal.

    We tried the diet with difficult child 3. Also difficult child 1 years ago. We found, with difficult child 1, he tended to react to caffeine and to orange juice. Nothing else. We still needed medications for him (ADHD medications).

    With difficult child 3, we were lucky in that there is a brilliant clinic here in Sydney, run as a collaborative effort with pediatric immunologists and dieticians. They supervised difficult child 3's elimination diet and challenges. Sadly, we were never able to eliminate the problem behaviours even on full elimination diet. They told us that about 30% of spectrum kids can be helped with diet. For the rest - worth a try but we need to find something else.

    I'm glad it's working for you, though. Whatever helps!

    We also found that our kids were the ones least able to identify when they were not functioning well. For us, it was when they missed their medications. Now the older difficult children are off medications (as adults, they weaned themselves off and found they could cope - learned to manage) and difficult child 3 is more aware of when he's out of focus and unmedicated, we're also doing better.

    Something for your difficult child - we also found, with difficult child 1, that his sensitivity is no longer a problem. he drinks cola drinks and orange juice, it no longer causes the hyperactivity and rages.

    Hang in there!

  11. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Thanks gwend1, I cant even imagine how hard that is on her not being able to eat those foods! I hope things are going well for you and I hope the best for you too!
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so glad this works for your family. I know it can be hard to stick to a diet like that, and am so glad that your daughter likes the way she feel on the diet. In your case, the diet really is a medicine for her. Not all kids react to it but when it works it can be incredible. My children did not get results from the diet. I have health issues that often improve on those diets and mine didn't either. We all committed to the diets for six mos and saw zero improvements and in fact things got worse for my son. So they don't work for everyone just as no medication works for everyone.

    I am just thrilled that they work for your family. It is SOOO amazing when it works, isn't it? My youngest has food allergies/sensitivities. The docs think he outgrew them, but he LOATHES the taste of most of what he is allergic to so he won't even attempt them. Plus when he has accidentally gotten 2 of them, his ears and cheeks got all red and his cheeks were rough and scaly for 5 days, and it scared him.

    It sure is a TON easier when the child is compliant with the treatment, whatever the treatment is. Over time, be sure to talk with your daughter about how her diet makes her feel better and allows her to be her true self. This will help with compliance through the teen years and into the adult years. We talked with my difficult child (oldest) about his medications from the earliest days. We said that how he felt was important and if he was sick or felt odd or bad he had to tell us but that taking the medications was an adult decision that Mom and Dad made because we knew all the long term complications. I read every package insert for years just so that difficult child knew I did keep up with them because that let him feel safe complying with his medications. Even as stubborn and rebellious as my difficult child was, we had zero medication refusal from him. I believe it was because we started even back when he didn't show problems with this type of discussion. I had an aunt who let her 2yo son refuse Tylenol when he had a 103.5 fever because seh didn't want to 'upset him' and I saw this as crazy and stupid. So I started letting my child know he could not refuse medications or I would 'pill him like the cat' because I knew the medications were in his best interest. While my aunt had problems for decades with her son and the boy ended up seriously ill several times for refusing antibiotics and other medications, none of my kids ever pulled that garbage.

    In your daughter's case, discussing her diet like medicine and discussing how much it makes her FEEL better and like herself will help reduce the chances of cheating and refusal in the future when she rebels against you as a natural part of growing up. Just my thoughts, for what they are worth!
  13. gwend1

    gwend1 New Member

    Susiestar, thank you, and I agree with you completely!! When my daughter eats something that she reacts to (and her reactions are big. Hitting, throwing, angry fits) we always talk about what the food was, how she felt, and how she likes to feel.

    At her new school she has had more opportunity to choose food that she shouldn't have, and we have used it as a learning experience. My goal is to have her behavior fully internalized by the time she's a teen. After a rough couple of weeks of food experiments, she decided that she hated feeling angry and miserable, and has made great choices for herself since.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It helps me know I'm on the right track.
  14. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    You have came a long way, I wish you even more success and always come and say hi :)