Category Archives: paleo

ADHD and our Family

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After my guest blog post for Paleo Parents, I received numerous responses from families similar to mine voicing their struggles with the process of transitioning their children, including ones with a special needs, to a real food/ clean food/ Paleo lifestyle. The two biggest demographics of these responses were from parents of children diagnosed with either ADHD or on the Autism Spectrum. Both groups of parents are hitting a wall with trying to adjust their kids diet.  I can relate, I just happen to have two children each of one of these diagnoses. 

I wanted to take this time to share my youngest sons story and of how transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle has help him. My oldest son Seth (you can catch a bit of his history here) is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder with sensory issues and my youngest son Mark is highly ADHD with some developmental delays due to his tough start in life. After spending years in behavioral therapy addressing various things, we finally were able to see a psychiatrist to get a complete evaluation to see what exactly where Mark was in terms of an ADHD diagnosis. When the physician gave me Marks results, he mentioned that some of his results were off the charts in the areas of attention and impulsiveness. I then noticed on the report that he had to hand draw in an extend section of the bar graph to the top of the report page because Mark was so far “off the chart” in these two areas.

Mark is from Haiti. When he arrived to the orphanage, he had to be hospitalized immediately due to severe malnourishment, along with a host of other health problems such as parasites and TB. After his initial treatments and hospitalizations, he gained some weight but at the same time, he still remained chronically sick, with a perpetually runny nose, covered in eczema and staph boils.

Mark at 3

His days consisted of moving between hyperactivity and then complete lethargy with his attention span being only about 1-2 min on any given activity, including the ones he enjoyed (yes even TV shows).

As we went through our transition period that comes with adoption, that time of learning to grow together as a family plus working through the language barriers, we started to seek out help. During this time we enrolled him in several programs and therapies to help with his physical and developmental delays. Three years later, while still treating his numerous health and sleep issues, we requested allergy testing to see allergies were aggravating the ADHD symptoms  we were seeing with him before we moved forward with any medication treatments. I had been asking for awhile because the poor child could not breath at night and would sleep half on the floor/ half on the bed in a “praying” position, snoring, drooled constantly, had chronic skin problem, with bed wetting past normal age, poor coordination and lived in what could be described as a fog. Come to find out from the testing he is allergic to wheat, soy, peanuts, tree-nuts, shellfish and a host of other environmental factors. Unfortunately during his time in Haiti and for awhile at home during transition all he lived off of peanut butter sandwiches and beans/rice (cheap source of protein) which only aggravated his already malnourished brain and body which I feel contributed to his initially developmental delay diagnosis.

Mark

After initial hospitalization in Haiti

After the diet change 90% of the symptoms cleared up, no more sickness (not even the funking stuff kids bring home from school), eczema is completely cleared and no boils in a year. The ADHD symptoms are still present in less severity but are manageable now with behavioral therapy, consistency at home and he is currently medication free. Diet change has helped us over the hump and has given us the healthiest and the best of Mark possible. We can now use techniques taught in therapy to help with the rest because he is able to focus so much better. We also use energy busters like running laps, burpees, tree climbing, jumping on a small trampoline in the house, karate, sitting on a fitness ball and other busy/fidget activities to help him get out a burst of energy and then at this point he is able to refocus on the initial task or activity.

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Mark Today

Yoga and stretching helps center him a bit, karate is bringing focus and we are just loving him where he is at as a child. We are trying to teach him to recognize when he starts to feel his body is “out of control” and what steps to take to help regain that focus (starting with the energy buster routine), so he has a positive experience when trying to change his behavior as compared to forcing the change through discipline (time outs, lost privileges). I have talked to many adults who live with ADD/ ADHD and one key thing I hear them say that just hurts my heart is that they were always getting in trouble for things when they did not even realize what they were doing wrong. Two of them told me that felt like they were just horrible kids. This can make a child feel as though they are just inherently “bad”  and can set them up depression and feeling like a complete failure in life. Several studies show ADHD adults have a much higher rate of addiction then the general population many times due to self medicating with drug and alcohol.

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Sweet and Handsome Kid

Changing Marks diet was not as difficult as it had been with Seths because we can use the “this is dinner, you can eat it or you can excuse yourself” with him. Our biggest hurdle is keeping him feeling “full” due to his history. If Mark has any sort of hunger or even thoughts of wanting to eat, he gets VERY nervous that he will in his words “die”. Making sure he gets lots of protein helps keep him feeling full throughout the day without the spikes and drops in blood sugar that do effect emotions and mental status which can cause him to become nervous.  Mark is growing so quickly no due to the diet change, 6 inches just this year now that his body is able to efficiently process the food, it has been amazing to watch.

This summer is the first time that he is recognizing and verbalizing the difference he is feeling in his body and brain when he goes to a birthday party/ friends house and binges on candy and dyed junk foods as compared to his normal self.  I see him making better food choices without any of my influences or prompting. When I asked him about this he told me that the “junk food makes me feel slow”.

The point of sharing this story is because I just want to encourage other parents of kids with special circumstances to just keep trying. Your days, your meals and your choices will not be perfect every time, I know ours aren’t, but just keep plugging along the best you can and set the best example possible for your kids. Thank you for the chance to share our story and would love to hear if you have any stories of the positive change that a healthy diet brought your family?

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School Out For Summer !!

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Oh Yeah !!!  OK granted school has been out for over a month now here and we have already squeezed in a “summer vacation trip to Grandpas” in between that time. Sorry for the delay 🙂 I want to apologize for my absence it has been crazy with the kids out of school and my husband and I juggling our work schedules to accommodate for this, in the mean time here is a video glimpse of us doing what we do best as a family….nothing hahaha. Thanks again for visiting


You are free to choose!!

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You are free to choose (your food), but you are not free from the consequences of your choice (your health)

Eating real food gets expensive, REALLY expensive. We are a family of six on my husbands  firefighter income  and with me working very  part-time.  There are times (right now actually) where we are scraping by waiting for payday to go grocery shopping. This means the kids are eating stuff from the bowels of the freezer and produce we can buy cheap. I have noticed when keep an open mind and really put some effort into it, we can still get by. The meats changes, LOTS more eggs are eaten at all meal times but they are a great source of protein and I also spend extra on veggies and good fats (butter, avocado, coconut butter). By doing this I can stretch our meals and fill the kids tummies. Please be sure to know there is no judgement in posting this, only encouragement from one mother  who was scared that we cannot survive an increase in food cost (or a decrease in amount of food bought) when our diet changed. I have also noticed that by not feeling sorry for this and moving forward with the fact sometimes the meals simple, weird and cheap, such as shakes for lunch or over medium eggs on a huge bed of in season zucchini and squash, the kids have become more and more willing to eat it because or change in attitude. We just cannot go back to our old eating habits. Both of my sons are special needs, one with autism and one with developmental delay due to severe malnourishment and living in an orphanage. Their progress since changing our habits has been nothing short of a miracle and there is just no way we can go back to our S.A.D. diet.

Coming off my Paleo high, missing my tribe

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As I mentioned before I recently returned from the most amazing weekend in Austin TX attending the Paleof(x) symposium. I had the chance to meet all my literary and blogging heroes such as Dr. Cate Shanahan author of Deep Nutrition, Nora Gedgaudas author of Primal Mind, Primal Body, Robb Wolf pioneer and author of Paleo Solution, bloggers such as George the Civilized Caveman and Juli from PaleOMG plus many, many more AMAZING guest speakers (Nom Nom Paleo, Darryl Edwards, I could go on and on-check the list) and extra AMAZING attendees just like me. When I say just like me, I mean LITERALLY just. like. me. They are not perfect. They are broken but in the process of healing, they were once sick and now heading into vitality,  not drop dead gorgeous having the bodies of Greek Gods and Goddess but instead dare I say “normal”, in every shape and size. I absolutely loved being able to discuss brewing kombucha, organ meat recipes, where to buy grass feed meats, taking shots of olive oil, learning recipes on how  to make my own bacon, difference between bison and a beefalo, functional exercises that are really child like play that create an environment of team mentality and encouragement, deciding which is better straight ghee or the ghee/coconut oil blend and all the other conversations the general lay person would find strange. I felt as though I had found my long-lost tribe. I loved that these people appreciate the gift of life that they were giving and they are trying to make the best out of it for themselves, their family and anyone else who will listen. I loved the lectures, the dinners and the after parties. I loved the overall kindness,the freedom of information. I loved the openness of each person, their story and their journey to this point….I WAS IN LOVE WITH IT ALL……..and then I came home. Don’t get me wrong home is where my heart is, it is me, it is what my husband and I created for our family, but it was back to being the weird lady with the really restrictive diet and the weird way this family raises their kids. “No TV!?!”, “The kids have to do their own laundry!!”, “Why can’t they play video games?”, “Playing in the rain will give them ring worm”. “Put shoes on them they will get sick”. “Why can they only have a few pieces of candy?” “Lunchables (or gluten birthday cake, colored candy, sugar cereal, pop tarts, McDonald’s and so on) wont hurt them every once in a while, let them be kids”, “What is wrong with commercial laundry soap, dryer sheets, chemical cleaning products, air fresheners, and such?” and “kombucha is fermented EWWWWW”. I’m losing my high and it sucks………it sucks BAD. My tribe is gone and I’m back to walking upstream in a SAD (diet) creek. Come on Paleof(x) 2014 !!!

Chocolate Gluttony

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Everyone who knows me knows I have a dark chocolate fetish. My dear husband even went out and was able to find the BEST Valentines gift for me this year, I mean these were ABSOLUTELY delicious with the Smoke & Stout Caramel Chocolate bar being my favorite. I literally pigged out and ate all of them in one sitting because yeah, I’m like that LOL

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This also brings my to my other addiction….Choffy. Choffy is 100% roasted and ground cacao nibs that are placed into a french press and served like coffee or tea. It is sort a cross between the texture of tea but the full flavor of coffee, a very dark chocolate taste. It is wonderful with french vanilla creamer but I usually use coconut or almond milk and a little bit of vanilla stevia.  I literally drink 32oz at a time. Choffy also does not contain high amounts of caffeine just theobromine which is safer, makes you  less jittery and gives you that chocolate, love buzz .

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You can find more information on Choffy and who you can order it from here

This brings me to today’s chocolate treat and recipe. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures because frankly it was an experiment that we ate all of them in a frenzy thus the pictures became an after thought. I recently attended the 2013 Paleof(x) symposium in Austin, Tx and ran across this little piece of heaven that a family was selling. It was cute to see a family business with quality products thriving in this economy, I love it.

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This fudge is AMAZING !! You can find more product information at the Lovebean Fudge website

Anyways I used my homemade sunflower seed butter and mixed  2 parts butter to a 1 part ratio of this fudge smearing it across our bananas for breakfast and Oh.My.Gosh. chocolate ecstasy. I just sat their in heaven thinking of how wonderful these flavors are without all the added industrialized, processed, mutant shit  chemicals and taste better then anything General Mills or Betty Crocker could have ever served. My next recipe plan is to recreate a chocolate peanut butter ice cream pie my family use to love to so much pre lifestyle change.