Monday, October 8, 2012

Getting Started - Diet Changes

People do recover from illnesses affecting cognition and mood which get labelled bipolar, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder. Many people have had great success with "micronutrient supplementation" such as TrueHope's supplement EMPowerPlus or Hardy Nutritionals' Daily Essential Nutrients (DEN) alone, but many others have found that more was needed.

Oft times, the "more" includes addressing gut issues, systemic yeast, genetic issues around methylation or vitamin D utilization, hormonal issues, inflammation, allergies, dealing with sleep issues, dealing emotionally with stress and past traumas, changing the diet and personal environment, and more. (See book for more on these topics.)

In our own family's case, without EMPowerPlus/DEN, my kids' cognition would not have been adequate to even be able to take the next steps necessary on their journey to wellness. But let's talk about that major step - dietary changes. Everyone is different.

Some people cannot handle corn. Some cannot tolerate any grains or starchy foods while fixing their gut and addressing systemic yeast.  (See "Healing Young Brains") Many cannot handle gluten and dairy, especially in early stages of gut healing. Artificial colorings have been proven to affect the behavior of many susceptible children, and even the combination of caffeine plus aspartame (considered excitoxins) in most soft drinks have been shown to have "neurotoxic" effects while at the same time being "addictive" in that they can feel momentarily filling, and make a person temporarily feel wonderful.

The dairy and gluten proteins can be entering the bloodstream without being properly processed, and can create opioid-like molecules to affect brain function. They can be quite addictive and difficult to withdraw from. Withdrawal in some people can cause intense cravings, mood symptoms, and even cold shakes.

Making dietary changes - getting rid of junky, empty calories and going back to how we actually should eat, can be daunting in today's modern world where food companies have used the best scientific research available to manipulate foods to be as pleasurable and addicting as possible while depriving our bodies of real nutrition. We KNOW we should eat better, but it is like our brains sabotage us. Is it easier, though, when it is our own child's life and mind we are fighting for? (See "Hungry for Change" for more on this topic)

And how do we know what to change? Many people start with some tests:
People sometimes, after initial elimination of all suspect foods and subsequent healing,  will cautiously add back some "IgG positive" foods to verify whether those foods are indeed an issue, or continue to be and issue, for them.

I was fortunate. With mental HEALTH and determination to be better, our family did change. We all supported each other. (See DBT article for more on mental health). 

For those who think eating healthier is "too hard" - actually it is being sick and disabled that is much harder. There are a "gazillion" websites, blogs, forums, and books on the topic.

I would like to share this helpful information about starting on a gluten and casein (dairy)-free  (gf-cf or gf-df) diet from one dedicated mother, Carla R.
Just wanted to offer some tips on how to start the gf-df diet. I was at the end of my rope dealing with my daughter's tantrums and chronic sinus infections (even after sinus surgery) and years of antibiotic use to try to cure them. I decided to try the diet. 

I did it slowly and substituted her sweets first. She didn't object because these are very tasty. She took to chocolate almond milk right away too. Slowly I substituted more and more. We were completely gf-df on the weekends, but she was still buying lunch at school and I didn't know how to approach that switch. Then one day I just talked to her about me replacing all of the school lunches with my version of the same thing. She was open to it. I asked, "When should we do it?" and she said, "how about tomorrow?" Since then she's been 100%.
It's been a year and a half and she has no objections to it. I've found that I can make a gf-df substitution for whatever is out there -- including mac and cheese, and even lasagna! Summer camp makes me really creative as they have tons food crafts and I substitute gf-df versions for all. It is possible! There are so may good alternatives on the market today. I also subscribe to a magazine called "Living Without" with great ideas and recipes. I found this book to be a great reference to help you start: The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook, Updated and Revised: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet by Pamela Compart M.D.

When we first went 100% she had a weekend of really bad tantrums, then she was tantrum-free for 10 months. This spring we let her go off the wagon on the diet a few times and the tantrums returned. She's back on the wagon again, but her moods are off and we are having trouble again with the tantrums and other things. I still think the diet makes a big difference. We also discovered that it was the dairy that was causing her chronic nasal congestion and sinus infections.
Since she's been off dairy, NO MORE sinus infections at all!
I am going to try EmPower next.

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Property of:       Jeanie Wolfson
Last Updated:   07 September 2014


Diana said...

Our body requires major diet change from unhealthy to healthy one. Knowing what is the right kind of food to eat for our body type is important. Avoiding foods which may cause any ailment or much worst is zinc deficiency that targets our immune system. Proper exercise that may chnage everything we do and feel inside and out is one of the most crucial factor too.

skart said...

I would love to find a doctor who deals with Hardy Essential Nutrients and finds other healthy pathways for GUT issues, food addictions, etc. Because I am afraid that just taking the Hardy Essential Nutrients (if you are past 40s) can be overwhelming. It probably would not work in a week or two (like medications) and there needs to be the proper support.

Jeanie said...

Skart, the folks at, help people starting out on EMPowerplus (similar to D.E.N.) and advise them through getting gut health back, tapering meds, etc. I don't know if the folks at Hardy's do the same thing, but you could call.

In the book, "It's Not Mental", I describe what we did.

One of the family said to the psychiatrist she was tapering off the meds with or without his help, but would prefer it WITH his help in order to do it safely, so the psychiatrist DID work with her in tapering off!

Another of the family found a medical doctor who specialized in "Integrative" and "anti-aging" medicine. These are good terms to use as Internet search words when looking for a physician to work with you in getting healthier, which usually means getting off damaging medications.

I myself was on a damaging medication for childhood-onset arthritis. I wish now I had sought an alternative sooner, but did not until it affected my liver and I COULD not take anti-inflammatories. We DID find a safe alternative which is so much healthier and I found it every bit as effective!! It was simply juicing with organic vegetables! WOW! I told my Rheumatologist how disappointed I was that HE had never told me that!

My point is that there are different ways to achieve the same goals. Getting health back often requires educating yourself, a lot of determination and will, perseverance, and a good support team. It is often a multi-pronged approach.

Good luck in your search for a good Integrative doctor. In addition to "integrative" and "anti-aging", you might also look for the term "functional medicine" in your quest to find a doctor to help you.

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