This post is actually a newspaper article that I wrote in September 2015 – before we found out our son is also highly gifted. About time I shared it here!!!
It was 2013 when my son was diagnosed with ADHD, after more than two years of opinions from education providers and health professionals. The journey started with his B4School check. I remember sitting with the Plunket nurse and her telling me my son was “abnormal”. I cried with shock and grief.
Shortly after my son’s diagnosis, it was also confirmed my daughter has dyslexia. It was a really difficult year, but it was good to finally have a full understanding of what we were dealing with.
My children’s diagnoses led me to research what I could do as a parent to help. I was particularly drawn to studying how diet can affect behaviour and learning in children. I learnt about the adverse effects of additives, and was shocked when I went through our pantry and found I had to give away about five bags of groceries. We also substantially reduced simple carbs and increased protein and complex carbs.
At the start, grocery shopping took twice as long, as I surveyed the ingredients list of each food item. But after a couple of months I learnt what brands met our new rules; I still refer to a list of additives to avoid in the back of my wallet. I started cooking more food from scratch. My husband bought me a sausage maker for Christmas, so we could make our own preservative-free sausages; he must have missed the months we went without them! It was the best day when I found preservative-free bacon stocked in our local supermarket.
The kids handled the changes really well. My son calls our wild rice mix “Bear Grylls rice” and they both love looking at labels. We do still bend the rules on occasion. I don’t want food choices something to be anxious about; it’s what you do most days that matters.
I also discovered that supplementation is now a necessity. The nutritional content of our fruit and vegetables has been in decline for decades from depleted soils and modern farming practices. Plus our modern Western food choices have reduced the ratio of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets, which is so important for brain development in children. We all added high potency, pharmaceutical-grade vitamin and mineral supplementation to our daily diet as well as fish oil.
My children have both made considerable progress since our nutritional changes, both academically and behaviour-wise. My son has achieved many milestones. He has also been accepted permanently into the specialist gifted programme at Enrich! My daughter is now in the top maths group in her class, and is reading above her age. She had always struggled with getting her homework done, but now she has much better focus; I no longer have to use rewards for motivation.
For me personally, I have so much more energy, my cholesterol levels are now being managed naturally, and I no longer suffer from joint pain.
Please contact me if you have more questions about what foods to avoid or have more of. I have since received a Certificate in Nutrition, cementing a lot of what I already knew from my own research.
Or get in touch if you’d like to know more about the brand of supplements we use. After seeing such great results in us all, I became a distributor for the company!