Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 59 Attention Deficit

Breakfast: Homemade whole grain cold cereal. Commercially made cold cereal is a treat at our house. We put it in stockings for Christmas and wrap it for birthday presents. On the ranch in Wyoming we quickly learned that if we ate cold cereal at 7:00 am., we would be hungry by 8:30 with a knawing hollow craving. If we ate a bowl of hot whole wheat mush, we would comfortably make it until lunch time and then our hunger was a "clean hunger" that communicated "time to eat" not "I'm going to die of starvation." The Wyoming girl in me cannot serve a cereal that will leave the children hungry if they don't have 4-6 large bowls. Then it is the milk which satisfies not the cereal.

The dietitian in me cannot serve a meal that is destructive socially, emotionally, mentally and physically. A child that cannot focus is handicapped in all these areas. The glycemic load for corn flakes is 100 on a scale from 1-100. The higher the number the faster the food is converted into glucose (sugar) and released in the blood stream.

Mothers know how a child acts depends on what he eats, but I have read and heard pediatricians say, "sugar does not cause hyperactivity." Maybe it does not in a double blind study, but they have not managed a living room. I have never seen my children get calm and placidly sit on a sofa an hour and a half before dinner. (If they do, I would be checking for sickness.) They usually start with louder voices, leading to taunts and teases, then to chasing, followed by someone being injured or feelings hurt. Somewhere along the way the pantry and the refrigerator are opened and I have to give a snack or shoo them out of the kitchen. The activity level of our whole house ratchets up 50% before dinner. A wise mother knows not to try and reason, nor discipline a tired, hungry child. On the SAD (Standard American Diet - nice acronym isn't it. I don't take credit for it) children are tired and hungry all day. There is attention deficit. Now I am not saying that there is no such thing as a Disorder, I am saying that too many children are medicated by parents who fail to feed children wholesome foods that stay in the gut and cause a long slow release of blood sugar. (These foods are high in fiber and complex carbohydrate in other words whole grains and legumes - wheat and beans.) On this note, my son came home the other day and reported that one of his friends had lamented that he was hungry even after eating dinner. He said, "I ate dinner but nothing that would last longer than thirty minutes." I smiled, our children are no dummies.

Lunch: Black bean and barley soup with rice. The six year old ate a little then whined for cookies. After being denied for about 20 minutes she served herself another cup of beans on rice and ate it.

Dinner: A fundraiser at the church that served a Mexican buffet. As my six year old built her burrito, she exclaim, "Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!" If nothing else, our family is gaining a little appreciation and gratitude.

1 comment:

  1. It is only logical that what we eat affects our behavior. How many times to adults say, "I've got low blood sugar, I need to eat something?" Adults usually do, but children are expected to stay in class and behave.

    Someone told me once that a residential treatment center for troubled teens had experimented with changing the resident's diet. The result of the more nutritius diet was a significant drop in behavioral problems. I was unable to quickly locate the study to which they referred but I did do a quick Google search for "troubled youth and nutrition" and another one for "attention deficite and diet." The results were amazing. I have included the links below because I trust readers to sift through the chaff. I know there are more scholarly, and hence, reliable articles and sites but I did not have time to locate them but invite any who think the articles below are completely off base to do so.

    When "The Journal of the American Medical Association (March 2000), reported a 200-300% increase in the prescribing of Ritalin, Prozac and Clonidine for 2-to-4-year-old children (from 1991 to 1995)," ( one has to question the children's diet. Something other than better diagnosing is happening here.


    Nutrition as Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD Alternative Treatment: Help is as Close as the Kitchen

    Nutrition For Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD - Educational Video

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, has a simple cause: poor nutrition and food additives