Feingold diet and other ideas for ADHD

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by Malika, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My brother (who lives in the States and is an honorary American with American wife and children!), talked to a neighbour of his about J. Here is a summary of what she said, which I thought might be useful for others to know. Also, does anyone know more about what the Feingold diet consists of?

    I finally connected with my neighbor Mariola (German) who specializes in childhood learning and behavioral disorders. She's something of an expert -- she travels internationally lecturing. She is linked to the Waldorf school, and she works with children's issues there.

    She confirmed that it would be good to avoid Ritalin. Here are some of her suggestions:

    She says it would be useful to do a detox. She mentioned the Feingold diet and definitely to reduce or eliminate sugar.

    Cranio-sacral massage could be beneficial:

    Using essential oils in a massage routine can be very helpful. She mentioned Raindrop Therapy. The oils she uses are quite expensive, but I imagine I would be able to send you the few oils that you would need. Mariola mentioned one Young Living Oil by name, “Valor"

    She also suggested that you try Brain Gym with Jacob:


  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    When I was a special education teacher I used brain gym-in fact we used it throughout our school. It was calming and focusing. I still use it (now twaching older kids in regular ed. class) when my kids are "antsy" and need to focus.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Our therapist has recommended Brain Gym a lot and we've never gotten around to it ...
    I've been to a Feingold lecture and it scared the %($*@@*@*^! out of me. I quit eating my fave food, M&Ms, immediately. Haven't had any in a yr.
    For a lifelong, committed chocoholic, that was a Big Deal.
    You can go online and join the Feingold society and pay ... hmmm, maybe $120? for their books, which are very, very thorough. People go to grocery stores and copy down every single thing off of labels and make lists of "good" and "Bad" foods that are put in the books. You can do a lot of it yourself, but it saves a lot of time and trouble to buy the book (at least every 3 yrs, because processed foods come and go). Also, if you aren't good at memorizing chemicals and abbreviations, it's all done for you in the book.

    Mostly, it's about getting rid of processed foods and dyes. If you read a label and it's really, really long, and you don't understand most of it, don't eat it!
    It's not real food.
    Also, vanillin is not vanilla.
  4. Markey

    Markey New Member

    Membership for the Feingold Association is $82 and is well worth every penny. Regarding the foodlist mentioned above, people DO NOT go to grocery stores and copy down every single thing off of labels and make lists of "good" and "Bad" foods that are put in the books. The process is much more complicated than that. Not all of the additives are on the product label! That is the reason the Feingold Association was first formed in 1976. They send a detailed form to the company for each product in the foodlist (thousands of products). Once the manufacturer fills it out and the product meets the criteria of the Feingold Program, it is then it goes into the foodlist.

    Link to the membership materials: http://www.feingold.org/programbig.html
    Link to what the foodlist looks like: http://www.feingold.org/FL.html
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't think there is ever a "one size fits all" for our challenging kids.

    What works for one difficult child doesn't always work for another. My son responded wonderfully to talk therapy, but many difficult children here don't. Some kids take vyvanse and some kids take concerta. Rewards work for some and not for others.

    I think it's the same with Feingold, or any other food management program. Some children definitely respond to the removal of dyes and chemicals used in processed foods - some don't. Although we know it's healthier to avoid those processed foods. Some kids respond well to a reduction in sugar.

    I think you follow your gut. If you feel it's worth the time, or the expense, or whatever - try it. What works for your family is just that.

    I think that's the beauty of the board. As our illustrious past board owner used to say, take what you need and leave the rest. We can come here, ask for opinions on what others have tried, but knowing it's not a guarantee for our kid! If it was, we wouldn't be here so long!!!!!!

    Malika, I think all of the suggestions your brother's neighbor mentioned are worth looking into. You might want to try the "change" from medication to no medication in the summer and then begin to add some of the other suggestions. I know that I have found, if possible, any drastic changes in medications or treatments are best done in the summer for my difficult child. He was tapered off both an antidep and an antipsyc in the summer and had time to adjust before the demands of school began. Also, I was around him a little more and could watch for subtle (or not so subtle!) changes.

    Good luck. Keep us posted.

  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, I do agree, Sharon - different solutions for different children (by the way I do prefer the term "challenging" to "difficult"!) The key is what works, I feel - and that only those on the ground are truly in a position to tell. I'd like to cut out sugar from my son's diet just to see the effect, if any, but alas it's not really feasible, given all the social constraints that would impose.
    Incidentally, he doesn't take any medications. He's only four and no one has ever suggested it. As I say in my signature, I would like to avoid medications if I can. I think the key will be to see what happens when he starts school proper, at age six, how he deals with it... I'm afraid I've been very put off Ritalin because of the side effects. I have never had any problems getting my son to sleep - that is not a battle I want to start! Also he is quite anxious already; I do not want this to increase. The decision to take medications or not is also a very personal one and I don't feel that anyone should be pressured into taking medications or assume that they are a sine qua non...
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I totally agree about the medications. It's a personal choice and everyone has their own measurements to take.

    For us, I wanted to exhaust (try) all other options first. I had heard about the "medication merry-go-round". So, we tried dietary changes, we tried behavior modifications, we tried talk therapy.....

    At first, some of the changes did have a positive effect on his behavior. But as you say, "real school" (first grade) proved the battle ground for his inability to stay focused, stay seated, and control his impulses. Because he was a smart and cute little boy, the focus and the movement weren't the biggest issues - the lack of impulse control was.

    In all honestly, the very first day on a stimulant you could see the change! That's not to say that it has all been wine and roses. But medications made a HUGE difference in his life and it was definitely worth the risk and side effects to give him a fairly "typical" school and social experience (but it was/is a triple play - medications, mods, and therapy).

    Now, when it comes to trying to remove some of the sugar from his diet, all bets are off!!!!!!

  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That's interesting, Sharon. When I say I'm open to the possibility of my son being on medication one day, I mean it - at this point, I want to avoid them but if there comes a time when it is clear that life without them is unmanageable or chaotic for him, I am open... I would be interested to know more about your experience with medication. What did your son start on and what have the side effects been?
  9. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    I actually came to the Healthful Living board to post a similar thread......I have been doing a lot of reading on this topic and found some interesting info. Previously I had assumed that we needed to monitor/decrease Ls sugar intake and keep her away from caffeine (which we never allowed anyway) due the hyperactivity. What I found in my research was that sugar, caffeine, saturated fats & yes even the dyes and preservatives, can inhibit the same mental processes these kids already struggle with. So we are working to cut back even more on sugar and fats although we already eat fairly healthy.

    I also found a list of the vitamins & nutrients that can actually help with ADHD & other mental disorders: Omega 3s are a big one, as are B vitamins (which ones depend on the issue at hand), LOTS of protein helps the synapse firing process work better, calcium, magnesium, zinc & iron are also important. We already had L on a good daily vitamin but I have added the other supplements &, because she doesn't ever eat a whole meal, we have also purchased protein shakes for her. She loves them by the way.

    We are blessed in that all 3 kids will eat almost any vegetable or fruit, even fresh, and they are used to sugar free drinks and 'lite' foods already. L will definitely have a hard time giving up her usual sweet cereals and jelly on her waffles (which I'm sure I can find sugar free) & she will no longer get the occasional candy at the store either, which will be hard for her to understand.

    I have believed the theory that the dyes, preservatives & additives in processed food are partially responsible for these disorders for quite a while. It definitely helps to explain the increase in ADHD, & other mood disorders, in children that has happened in the last few decades. Also I know how much better I feel when I go 'hard core' with a diet and eat all fresh foods & drink just water, so something is being flushed out of my system that was not good for me. Unfortunately, as with most things, money is an issue here. Right now we rely on food stamps (and I'm taking up couponing just to make those last) and whole foods are more expensive for the most part. I do buy all my produce fresh, sometimes frozen, but never canned. I also by organic meats when I can find them, and I do read labels when I'm shopping (which is crazy difficult with L & her sisters in tow). But, sadly, when it comes to breakfasts and lunches we are still lacking. My girls have a waffle addiction (thinking of trying whole grain) & I dont have the time to make things like that (or eggs & bacon etc) every morning. They eat school lunches because they're free (some of the stuff they serve is horrible by the way) and when it comes to snack time all they want is sweets. My goal is to make sure none of these 'bad' things are available to them at home, but husband is bucking this a bit as he doesn't feel he should have to let go of the foods he likes. FWIW he is just an overgrown difficult child with (un-diagnosis'd) ADHD, mood swings & what I refer to as CRS (cant remember S***) so the whole diet change would probably help him too and make my life easier LoL. I'm pretty sure K & C both have mild ADD or ADHD too so this could be revolutionary in my house!

    Malika: I checked out the braingym links & thank you! I've never heard of it but going to try it :)

    I am also considering trying an elimination diet for L but I don't know where to start so anyone with any experience there please feel free to comment :)