The school nurse then took the lead. “It’s simple,” she said. “The biggest thing affecting these children’s lives is diet. We need to go back to gardening and eating fresh food instead of buying insecticide and chemically altered food, and don’t even get me started on sugar! Think about it," she continued. "All these special needs were not a problem back when kids ate honest to goodness nutritious food.”
Her perspective may be a bit simplified. But what if she is right…..or even half right? Research is showing she’s not that far off the mark. Certainly, there has always been special needs children and not all are affected or created by what they eat, but these precious lives are being impacted by processed and chemically altered foods, as well as, an over-abundance of sugar!
When I was a child, much of what we ate was fresh from the garden, we rarely had sweets, almost never sodas of any kind and nearly everything eaten was cooked from scratch. I carried on many of these traditions with my own children. I admit, however, to offering sugary snacks on a fairly regular basis (particularly after bath time), ate veggies out of a can (especially during the winter once our canned food was spent!), and even turned to prepackaged food on occasion, like cereal (huge sugar container!) and boxed macaroni and cheese! What child doesn’t like cold cereal and mac and cheese? At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer! Now I question my choices!
Time and study have produced statistics that suggest we need to take a hard look at our diets. (Not only our children's, but adults!) If we can keep our children from eating less (or even eliminating---which is extremely difficult) highly processed foods, foods with dyes, sweeteners and preservatives, food contaminated with pesticides and increased sugar and salt levels along with those containing trans fat, there is a good chance of change. Conditions like autism, cancer, hyperactivity, digestive disorders and ADHD and a host of other issues plaguing our children, will be lessened and perhaps even eliminated.
Hospitals treating children with these disorders are using specific diets to curb symptoms and “heal the gut” to stabilize and balance the bacteria and yeast. One such diet includes a “carbohydrate diet” while another, the Ketogenic diet, works on the opposite premise of eating fat and protein with little carbohydrates. A third diet option is called the “Feingold diet” named after it’s developer Dr. Benjamin Feingold back in the 1970’s that deals more with eliminating chemicals and dyes found in foods.
The point is, there are options, and what works for one child may not work for another. I do, however, agree that our diet has much to do with not only our physical health, but also our mental health, our moods, our energy levels, emotions, nervous system along with our weight and ability to function from day to day. Is it not likely, then, the food our children ingest could affect them negatively if it is chemically altered, processed, laced with sugar (that is addictive –but that’s another blog) – salted and synthetically created?
If you liked this blog, then visit my website www.paxtonseries.com to see children’s books on special needs.