As we started phase one of our Operation Clean-up for Corban, I pulled Food Additives from his diet. I chose something that seemed manageable and obvious, and that might produce some noticeable results. I had no idea if any of this would make a difference, but it couldn’t hurt. These things were pulled from the whole family’s diet, so I could compare how Corban responded with how the rest of the “neuro-typical” family members responded.
Here was our Operation Clean-Up 101 (phase one): Food Additives
We eliminated all artificial food dyes, flavors, and sweeteners from Corban’s diet. Many children are sensitive to preservatives and artificial food coloring. Additives have been shown to trigger disorders like ADHD, hyperactivity, and anxiety. And the base ingredient of some of these products is petroleum. If you’re interested in finding out more, there is a lot of information online about things like aspartame, saccharin, red dye 40, yellow #5, and what impact they may have on health.
We also eliminated high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This came after reading some information from Raymond Francis, an MIT scientist and nutrition consultant, who described the way our bodies process HFCS as, “like alcohol without the buzz.” And it is in EVERYTHING, from bread to condiments to ice cream to soup.
The first time I went grocery shopping and began reading labels to avoid these items, it took me 2-1/2 hours to shop. It was more of an education than a grocery run, and I admit it left me feeling a little sick about the foods we consume in this culture without even thinking about the ingredients we’re ingesting.
Results: At the end of one month, we saw immediate and noticeable improvements in Corban’s attention span, focus, and physical tics/stimming. He simply calmed down. For the first time in his life he was sleeping through the night and was markedly less anxious. He stopped walking in circles, and he responded immediately when we spoke to him. As a family, we have been food-additive free for almost a year.
Suggestion: If you are interested in trying this with your child and/or family, read the labels of the products you buy and eat. Keep a small notebook with the date you started, what you eliminated from the diet, and some brief notes about what your child is struggling with (start with the obvious behavioral issues). After a few weeks or a month, go back and review those notes.