How Can We Help Kids With ADHD? Holistic Help For Distracted Kids

As a mother and a health practitioner I field a lot of questions about ADHD (attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder).  People wonder if their child should be formally evaluated, if they should give medications, and are there any alternative treatments for ADHD. I believe that attention challenges are likely caused by a variety of sources.  So, unfortunately, there is not one thing that will “fix it.”  However, there are some non-medical ways that may help children to be more successful in school and home.

As a parent of a child with ADHD I understand how overwhelming it is, some days, to simply get out the door and off to school.  I also understand how easy it is to get anxious about changes. For example, changing your child’s diet.  Hopefully we can create a balanced diet without making our lives out of balance? Can we?

I am going to share just a few supportive approaches. I use the word supportive, rather than alternative, for a reason. It is essential to have a care team that may include several health professionals; a psychologist, your pediatrician, an occupational therapist, a pediatric psychiatrist, the school, and others.

Some of these approaches may seem difficult, or even impossible. Living with a hyperactive kid is difficult enough, right? But, consider how much easier life could be, if your family could get through a couple of tough months of change, but the result was a happier, more balanced child.

Before I talk strategy, it must be said that while I LOVE to help support kids with ADHD, I do not treat ADHD.  Nor am I anti-medication either.  However, we all can agree that it is desirable to reduce or avoid medications whenever possible.  That said, even a child on medications can benefit from dietary strategies. And, while medications can help to manage the difficult behaviors, there are non-medical approaches that can address some of the causes of AHDH.

I am not going to give much explanation of how these interventions work, each topic merits entire articles and studies of their own.  Please use this information as a starting point for learning more. And, please do contact me with your questions or for support.

FEINGOLD DIET  (see  Feingold.org, or the book Why Can’t My Child Behave?)

The Feingold Diet has been around since the early 1970’s.  Very briefly, the Feingold Diet eliminates certain food additives, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and certain fruits. One of the best things about Feingold is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW IT FOREVER! Many parents report seeing changes, even dramatic changes, in their child’s behavior in days.  After 8 weeks avoiding the restricted foods/ ingredients you add them back, one at a time, observing for reactions.  You may find a just a few things that exacerbate your child’s attention issues, and avoiding them may offer a little relief for everyone.

GLUTEN FREE/CASEIN FREE DIET

There are several theories about gluten and casein. One of the issues is the opiate-like effect of these foods on the brain.  That’s right, opiate-like. The proteins from gluten [gliadorphin] and casein [casomorphin] are the culprits.  They react with opiate receptors in the brain, thus mimicking the effects of opiate drugs like heroin and morphine.  That may explain why some kids seem “addicted” to mac and cheese, or pizza.  What does this have to do with ADHD? It may be the rise and fall of these opiate-receptor stimulating compounds cause irritability and poor cognition.  If your child is one that cannot seem to follow two-step directions, or has meltdowns that remind you of Jekyll and Hyde, this approach may be a good one for you.  It is important to remove BOTH gluten and casein, and it may be important to taper off slowly, or you could really unleash a monster when withdrawal symptoms begin!

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES

If totally eliminating gluten and casein seems impossible you might look as digestive enzymes. As an enzyme nutrition practitioner, I recommend digestive enzymes to EVERYONE who comes into my office. There are certain specific ones that can help break down gluten and casein in the digestive system.  My experience has been great with enzymes when we are also careful with diet, AND remember to take them!

CHIROPRACTIC

See how this child’s head and shoulders tilt to the left? The horizon makes it obvious. Kids do not usually complain of back pain. Posture is a much better indicator that would be chiropractic may be beneficial.

Last but not least, consider chiropractic. The chiropractic approach is supportive to the child with ADHD due to its balancing effect on the nervous system.  All functions of the body are controlled by the nervous system.  It is easy to see how kids can get out of alignment with sports, slips and falls, slumping over tablets, etc.  Kids do not typically complain of back pain, but pain is not a good indicator for kids.  Look at your child from the back. Look at the heights of their shoulders and ears, are they unlevel? Look at the symmetry of movement when they walk. do their hips and arms move symmetrically? Often even the untrained eye can see that things are out of alignment. My kids get adjusted regularly and they look forward to it. I love seeing children in my office! They are fun to work with, they heal quickly and I love to watch them grow.

These are just a few of many approaches which can support your child, whether they are taking medicine or not.  There is much, much more to look at; food allergies, digestive health, nutrient deficiencies, sensory issues, chemical sensitivities.  A good member of your ADHD support team will not only be able to help choose what laboratory tests or interventions may be helpful, but will also direct you to resources, make appropriate referrals and be willing to cooperate with your child’s other caregivers.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids to help them be as happy and healthy as they can be. As a parent, I am sure you feel the same. Don’t forget, you are not alone. Those of us that have kids with ADHD can help each other, to share what we’ve learned or to just to say “I know what you’re going through.”

Wishing you Health and Happiness,

Dr. Rebecca Gould DC

Read More

TGIF!!!!! Again!!!!!

image

Having fun is a top priority for me. I love parties, holidays, birthdays, snow days . . . You name it! But, in order to keep my indulgences in line with my health goals I need to be reasonable about how and when I kick up my heels.

A piece of cake or a few adult beverages will not have a significant effect on your long term health. The most important predictors of long term health, more important than genetics, are your habits. Many of us are in the habit of finding frequent reasons to celebrate with food and drink. And sometimes we wait to start “getting healthy” until after Mother’s Day, or school lets out, or until after Memorial Day, or until . . . But, what if you could reel in the ways you celebrate, and your justifications for treating yourself? Would that help you move toward what you really want for your health in the long run?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on celebrating!

Read More

Are You Willing to do What Successful People Do?

Effective-Ways-to-Create-Healthy-HabitsAs a health coach I occasionally work with clients who move toward their goals like an arrow toward a bulls-eye. More often however, there are times in the journey to health when people really battle to stick with their health program. Why is that? What is it that separates the two groups?

I can identify certain qualities and patterns in my clients and colleagues who have been successful in achieving their heath goals and the health coaches I have met who have achieved long-term health and ultrahealth:

Successful people have a strong and detailed image of what they want to achieve.

Nearly always, in the process of getting healthier, the initial momentum toward health is geared toward getting out of pain, physical or mental. Focusing on getting out of pain is a limited mindset and will only carry you so far, because the will to stay on track gets smaller as the pain gets smaller. The most successful people I work with do not focus on their pain. They have a big, clearly defined future outcome. If you are struggling to stay on track it will be helpful to examine where it is you are hoping to go, and in what ways EXACTLY life will be improved when you get there.

Successful people do not plan for failure, but they do plan for Very Special Circumstances.

My most successful clients are consistently maintaining a high confidence level. If they are going to a wedding or a big holiday is coming up they do not plan to fail.  I am not saying that they stay on their health plan 100% every day. Nobody does that! But, suppose their health program says “No Cake.” They may plan to have a piece of cake in a Very Special Circumstance.  Successful people plan when and how much they will deviate from their health program. Planning a deviation turns a slice of cake from a mess-up to an acceptable treat. What do many of us do after we “mess up?” We really beat ourselves up – and then that drives us to really go off the rails. So, don’t mess up, PLAN.

Successful People Don’t Make Excuses

Everyone makes mistakes; failures to plan ahead, poor choices, distractions from priorities.  However, successful people do not spend a lot of time justifying mistakes. Mistakes are learning experiences. Excuses do not change the outcome of a mistake, except to maybe make you feel better, which can make is easier to have the same misstep again.

Successful People’s Goals Are Woven Into Their Daily Routines

Routines, routines, routines. I would challenge any of us to identify a successful person who does not have strong routines surrounding their area of excellence.  The activities that support your healthy choices need must be on the schedule FIRST. A healthy routine cannot be made cramming your workout or trip to the grocery store in while you are scrambling to do other things. Is it daunting to imagine scheduling yourself to exercise or meditate or preparing healthy food? Try setting just one appointment for self-care this week. As you add healthy routines, track your progress. Just as it is essential to have a detailed vision of the future you desire, it is also essential to review progress as part of your routine.

Successful people are not afraid to fail

Simply put, you must be sometimes in the position to fail or you will never have the ability to succeed.  Fear of failure is the shortest route to not-even-gonna-try. One mental experiment you might try is the “What’s the worst possible outcome?” Sometimes the worst case possibility, unlikely as it is, isn’t even that scary.

We sometimes avoid striving to be better because we are afraid it will be “too hard.” There’s a choice between the difficulties of adopting the mindset of success, better habits and routines OR the difficulty of living with the things that you wish were better about yourself, which difficulty do you choose?

Whatever the path you are following, winding or straight, feel the joy in your journey, keep learning and always be kind to yourself!

Read More

I love what I do!

I am so fortunate to have a wonderful vocation that allows me to be a force for good in peoples’ lives.  Here are a few of my favorite things about my work as a chiropractor and enzyme nutrition practitioner:

Explaining chiropractic. As a chiropractor and enzyme nutrition practitioner I specialize in the restoration and maintenance of health.  The goal and purpose of a chiropractic adjustment is to remove interference in the body’s nerve system.  When interference is removed the body can do what it should do naturally; Self-heal and self-regulate. Chiropractic, when explained in a simple way, is something that most people understand intuitively.

Watching the changes. Sometimes improvement in health is instant and very noticeable, but sometimes the changes are more subtle.  I love it when a client says they notice that they have been sleeping better, or have less fatigue, or can more easily feel when their body is out of balance.

Listening. It is a privilege to be able to help people achieve their goals, and I make sure I have plenty of time to listen to my clients’ stories.  I want to fully understand what clients’ concerns are, but even more importantly, I want to know how improving their health will make their lives better.

Working with kids. In many cases children require only small adjustments or small dietary changes to experience big improvements in their health.  Working with kids is awesome!  In children the amazing power of the body to heal can be seen most easily.

Teaching. My free community health classes are always a fun way for me to share information that helps people to live healthier lives.  I have also helped future chiropractors learn enzyme nutrition at Logan College, a role that I was truly honored to fulfill.

Learning. In addition to my degree in chiropractic I have spent many, many hundreds of hours studying health and nutrition.  I study  current research articles on a weekly basis and travel far and wide to attend seminars throughout the year.  I do this because I am dedicated to continually developing my knowledge and clinical excellence as a practitioner to serve my clients in the best possible way.

Creating hope. I have had the wonderful experience of helping people who had difficult health situations who thought no one could help them, or who were told that their health concerns were “all in their head.”  I have years of experience assisting clients with difficult challenges, I study and research to be the best I can be, and I have a team of experts a phone-call away.  It is a wonderful transition to see despair become hope, and to guide hope into action, and to see action create changes for better health.

Read More

Don’t Bring Me Down!

Who do you have in your live that supports you to make healthy decisions? I talk to many women, some men too, but mostly women, who want to embrace better health habits. Do their husbands/partners support them? Cheer them on? Sometimes they do not. Some people see their life partner as a barrier to getting healthy. That stinks! Here are some of the sabotage strategies I have heard about from my clients.
  • Scare – “Hmmmm, water aerobics. My aunt’s friend tried that and she nearly drowned!”
  • Ignore – “Oh, I forgot you were trying to eat healthy when I brought home your favorite ice cream, which I did because I love you.”
  • Boycott – “Fine, but I am NOT eating that rabbit food!”
  • Ridicule – “It’s just like the time you took up Tae Bo! I’ll make room for your new juicer in the attic next to your Abdominizer.
  • Negate – “I looked that up, and there was a very negative online review.” Even His Holiness The Dalai Lama, kittens and rainbows have negative online reviews. A negative review should not be the excuse for rejecting something for which there is overwhelmingly positive evidence.
  • Enable- “It’s just a couple beers, it’s not like you have an actual drinking problem.”
  • Tempt – “Just have a few bites of this bacon-wrapped burrito, I’ll split it with you.”

So, where does that leave you. Do you need a partner? Someone to support you to change for the better? I say, get someone who is trying to get healthier too. Phone a friend! Go to a meeting! Get a therapist! Hire a life coach! Maybe when you set an example of health that partner of yours will be inspired. But don’t be held back from your AWESOMENESS! It’s your body and your life.

Read More