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Experimenting With A Gluten Free Diet

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Why This Mom Put Her Son On A Gluten Free Diet | Juli La Porte | April 15, 2013

No, he doesn't have Celiac Disease. No, he isn't gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive. No, not allergic to wheat. So what gives? Well, as a mom, we want what is best for our children, right? My son is nine years old and very active. When they say, "boys will be boys," I think they wrote that for him. But, I'm sure all moms say that at some time or another. Lately, I had noticed an increase in antics, lack of focus (unless it was tv), more than normal forgetfulness, and I was repeating myself more than ever. I found myself saying on a daily basis, "What were you thinking?" I know you are all saying, sounds like a boy, but I was beginning to wonder, could his diet help this? He eats a lot of gluten free already, living in a house with a mom and twin sister who has Celiac Disease, so this would be an easy conversion. Maybe it does no good, maybe nothing changes. On the other hand, what do I have to lose? I figured, if he was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, before placing him on prescription medication that may or may not help, I would change his diet first. So, I decided to, as Nike says, "Just do it!"

 

Tommy, my son, doesn't really display many, if any of the symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD. It's pretty subtle and I see a lot of this and hear from a lot of mothers, "Oh, he's just a boy." His teachers don't seem to think there is an issue (trust me I've asked), and his pediatrician doesn't think there is anything out of the norm. But, I still wasn't satisfied. He seems to have memory issues and has exhibited impulsive behaviors on occasion, but don't most 9 year old boys? So, I began looking into different diets that can help with symptoms and found that there has been some research done between Celiac Disease and ADD/ADHD and researchers have found a link. Since, he doesn't have Celiac, I wondered about Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). Well, the correlation between the two isn't as clear. But, my gut (no pun intended) was telling me this is the right choice for him. After getting in trouble last week, I made the decision and he decided, easily, to go along with it, which told me something that a doctor couldn't.  If he was willing to make these changes then he wanted help too. Or maybe, he just wanted me to quit yelling at him?!

 

We began eliminating his gluten intake last Thursday. I'm not as strict as I am with his sister, who has Celiac Disease, but for the most part, he isn't getting cross contaminated either. This was the first step. Next, I am weaning him off of sugar, he doesn't know that yet, but beginning this week, I will start the process. Not going to make a big issue of it, it's a healthy diet choice for all of us anyway. The next stage will be eliminating food dyes and processed, chemically laden foods, i.e. MSG, etc...I've begun increasing his protein levels making sure he doesn't get a carbohydrate loaded breakfast for sure. Instituting fresh or wild caught salmon once a week - he loves it, so that was an easy transition. Omega's are touted to help ADD/ADHD help with overall brain function. Lastly, make sure he is getting enough sleep and a multi-vitamin.

 

As I look at my plan, I notice these aren't bad diet changes whether or not he has impulse issues, Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. The entire family will benefit from these special diet modifications. I will keep you posted to our progress and I have decided to keep a diary to track any changes in behavior or attitude. It's not totally scientific, but I think it will get the job done. This experiment may not work, but at least I will feel better as a mom, knowing that I gave my son and family a healthier diet and am hopefully teaching them to make better choices in what they eat for the rest of their lives. You are what you eat, now mor than ever.

 

Would love to hear from you....what do you think? Have you ever done anything like this? What has been your mom experience(s)? Am I overreacting?

~Juli

 

For more information on ADD/ADHD and special dietary needs:

http://www.centerforadd-az.com/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder.html

http://www.danarayburn.com/add-adhd-information-2/are-you-what-you-eat-the-best-add-adhd-diet/