Alternatives to ADD medication?? - Mothering Forums
Women's Health > Alternatives to ADD medication??
hoppytoad's Avatar hoppytoad 01:47 PM 10-31-2003
Okay, so here's the thing.....

My BF's children's teachers have both recommended they be tested for ADD and put on some sort of medication. Third grade and Kindergarten. I'm of the opinion that diet has a great deal with behavior of children (and adults, for that matter) and that many of the kids that are diagnosed ADD are actually being deprived of whole foods and important vitamins. They are super picky eaters, and unfortunately get many of the typical processed foods you see kids eating these days. My BF is willing to change their diets, but he just doesn't know where to begin.

Can anyone steer me in the right direction.... maybe books to check out or websites out there? I'd be so grateful! Thanks!

Mama Lori's Avatar Mama Lori 07:47 PM 10-31-2003
I have read/heard about success using Calm Child, an herbal formula from Planetary Formulas
ChristieB's Avatar ChristieB 08:05 PM 10-31-2003
Here's an article (from Mothering, of course ) about the Feingold diet for kids with ADD and ADHD. My first avenue of attack, though, would be to just try removing the junk (especially the stuff that has artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and anything else artificial), including sugary foods and foods highly processed foods, and replacing it with whole foods (whole grains and whole grain flours, veggies, fruits, low sugar foods). That might do it for them. If it doesn't, then I'd go whole hog on the Feingold diet.

Velveteen's Avatar Velveteen 11:53 PM 10-31-2003
We just started the Feingold diet a month ago. I reccomend it!
Basically, you cut out ALL artificial anything, both colors and flavors.
Also, at the beginning, you cut out natural salicylates which apparently imitate aspirin in the system.
Foods that contain these are common ones, but you will be able to add them back in after a trial period.

It's helped my ds a lot.
bebe luna's Avatar bebe luna 07:21 PM 11-01-2003
ADD is most often the result of a high-sugar diet... kids w/ ADD do best to avoid sweets(including tropical fruits, dried fruits, and juices), processed foods, fried foods, white flour products, white potatoes, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oils). They also do better on a low or no dairy diet.
The best eats for these kids are healthy protiens (non-processed soy such as tempeh or tofu, nuts but not peanuts, fish, chicken, turkey breast, beans, etc), whole grains (rice, quinoa, millet, barley, etc), lots of vegis, and moderate fruits (but not the tropical sticky fruits).
They also should be supplementing w/ essential fatty acids. These would include fish oils, hemp oil, flax oil, olive oil, etc.
Other good supplements for ADD are acidophilus/probiotics, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), chamomile, and a healthy multi-vitamin.
I have also seen really good results from Chinese Medicine and bodywork, particularily Shiatsu, in conjunction w/ the diet. It seems the Shiatsu or Acupuncture works to help ground the bodies energy and balance the entire system.
Overstimulation of the senses really sets ADD off. Kids w/ ADD need to be on a TV limit (no TV is really the best bet), and they need to stay away from video games, real loud music, more than one media source at once (such as TV and stereo on at same time), long hours on the computer, etc. These kids respond really well to outdoor activities (soccor, bicycling, swimming, etc). Reading and art activities are other good activities for them~ they seem to help them focus and calm down.
Another thing to be sure of is that the child is not exposed to any molds or chemicals in the home or school place. These can really be terrible for ADD kids. If the child has developed chemical sensativities or any enviromental or food allergies, NAET treatment can be extremly effective in balancing the childs body and helping them move past being allergic.
hoppytoad's Avatar hoppytoad 06:52 PM 11-02-2003
I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to respond. He's encouraged enough to buy a few books on healthy approaches to ADD, and I'm passing along all the info. you folks have given me. BF has also expresed an interest in getting a good cookbook that contains healthy recipes (not just vegetarian--he'd never go for that ) that kids would enjoy. Any thoughts?

Thanks again!
ChristieB's Avatar ChristieB 02:08 PM 11-03-2003
Bebe luna, what is NAET?? I've been chemically sensitive for years, and I've never heard of it. I'm always leary of things meant to treat it, too, because most treatments are, at best, not affective. The only thing I found affective, other than major lifestyle changes and avoidance, was EPD, which the FDA has now banned (those crazies ). Although, honestly, pregnancy was more beneficial to me than the EPD (but I don't recommend that for children ).
bebe luna's Avatar bebe luna 05:51 PM 11-03-2003
Originally posted by ChristieB
Bebe luna, what is NAET?? I've been chemically sensitive for years, and I've never heard of it. I'm always leary of things meant to treat it, too, because most treatments are, at best, not affective. The only thing I found affective, other than major lifestyle changes and avoidance, was EPD, which the FDA has now banned (those crazies ). Although, honestly, pregnancy was more beneficial to me than the EPD (but I don't recommend that for children ).
Here's a website you can look at for more info:

From the NAET website:

"Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques, also known as NAET, are a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to eliminate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine. One allergen is treated at a time. If you are not severely immune deficient, you may need just one treatment to desensitize one allergen. A person with mild to moderate amount of allergies may take about 15-20 office visits to desensitize 15-20 food and environmental allergens. Basic essential nutrients are treated during the first few visits. Chemicals, environmental allergens, vaccinations, immunizations, etc. are treated after completing about ten basic essential nutrients. NAET can successfully eliminate adverse reactions to egg, milk, peanuts, penicillin, aspirin, mushrooms, shellfish, latex, grass, ragweed, flowers, perfume, animal dander, animal epithelial, make-up, chemicals, cigarette smoke, pathogens, heat, cold, other environmental agents. NAET was discovered by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad in November of 1983. "
ChristieB's Avatar ChristieB 07:15 PM 11-03-2003
Bebe luna, thanks for the info!!

Velveteen's Avatar Velveteen 06:09 AM 11-04-2003
Thanks for everyone's thoughtful replys! I have benefited too!
Mama Lori;
I found the Calm Child from Planetary Formulas and bought a bottle. Can't wait to see if it helps in conjunction with the diet we are ALL on.
I think we will all benefit from it.......Plus, I am looking up the books and resources mentioned.

cathe's Avatar cathe 07:48 PM 11-05-2003
Hope you don't mind - I moved this thread to Health and Healing because it was going in that direction rather than food and menus.
Mama Lori's Avatar Mama Lori 04:07 AM 11-06-2003
Velveteen, I'm glad you are trying the Calm Child! Do let us know how it works for your ds!

I've used it for my ds a lot. He loves the taste and it did help him be calm and focused.
Velveteen's Avatar Velveteen 02:45 PM 11-06-2003
Mama Lori;
Your ds loves the taste? I have the pill form, so I am interested in what form you have. Swallowing these is not that easy for ds.

Yes, I see a difference!!!! Taking the Calm Child in conjunction with the Feingold diet is really working! Not that we don't have our times/days.
Its a bit hard to describe, but even his siblings think its SO much better. I am thrilled that there is something I can do besides cope.
Mama Lori, what was your experience?
Have you tried Feingold, or just the Calm Child?

I am also reading a book called the Edison Trait that I would highly reccomend. I have The Crazy Makers on hold at the library too.
What have you read that has helped your family?
My whole family is doing without artificial anything now, and really, really, trying to get back to whole foods.
florabunda's Avatar florabunda 02:03 AM 11-07-2003
Great info. on alternatives to drugs for ADD. I'll check out the links in our quest to do the right thing for ds.
bonbon mama's Avatar bonbon mama 02:28 AM 11-07-2003
Movement! Breaks, every two hours of strong muscle work (jumping, running, moving furniture, carrying groceries, pushing stroller, hanging from arms or knees, study with a bean bag chair on top the body). Fidget toys and gum. It works.

I am trained as a pediatric occupational therapist (I parent by choice) and there is a lot of evidence that the serotonin released when joints are compressed or in traction can create a natural calming that lasts a couple of hours. Google "occupational therapy, ADD, sensory diet)

I second the dietary changes.
coriy's Avatar coriy 02:52 AM 11-07-2003
There's alot of research that omega3 fatty acids can be of some benefit.
Here's a good link for yr friend:
mamaley's Avatar mamaley 05:22 PM 11-07-2003
this thread is great! we're trying out the feingold diet, have been since a few days ago, and have given up most of what you're supposed to drop from the diet, though probably not everything. there has been such improvement in his behavior. i'm really trying not to get my hopes up and to just assume that it's a phase
He's 3.5, and for the past 2 years I have been reading my heart out on discipline, etc, and trying so much of what i learn but it's always seemed more complicated than that--i can tell that sometimes he doesn't even like the way he's behaving but it's almost like he can't help it--not all of the time, but sometimes it's like that.
i think we might buy some calm child too--is anyone familar with the ingrediants in it? I need to buy “Smart medicine for a healthier child”.
Mama Lori's Avatar Mama Lori 06:45 PM 11-07-2003
Velveteen, I have the liquid form of Calm Child. It is available on the website as well as at natural foods stores (our Whole Foods carries it)

We have not done the Feingold diet, and I am not that familiar with it, but we have always kept ds on a strict diet of natural foods only (no articificial anything), and little to no sugars/sweeteners, and that has always made a huge difference, as has focusing his diet on protein and good fats.

Re: the question about ingredients of calm child...i don't have a bottle on hand right now but it includes fennel, catnip, lemon balm, and should tellyou, click on Herb Store and do a search for Calm Child and it should list the ingredients.

I haven't used it in a long time and I think I'm going to go back to it again for ds because he has trouble being calm at kindergarten so thanks for the reminder
Velveteen's Avatar Velveteen 02:57 AM 11-08-2003
Mama Lori;
Thanks for telling me about the liquid version of Calm Child. I was standing at the checkout counter at the Natural Foods store and saw it on a display shelf. I thought it was Planetary Formula that was mentioned on this thread, so I grabbed it ~ they were closing so I didn't look to see if it came in another form.

Funny because I had just purchased 'Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child' just recently too!!

If the last three days are any indication, an all natural diet combined with these calming herbs are making me one happy mama.
malamamama's Avatar malamamama 04:47 AM 11-08-2003
A child at the school where I worked was on a strict diet of no wheat and dairy, no apple or grape juice, no processed sugar, and no artificial flavors or colors. These were this main culprits. His moms were trying to avoid the medication and it was working well for him.
Mama Lori's Avatar Mama Lori 01:04 AM 11-12-2003
Velveteen - that's great!
applejuice's Avatar applejuice 12:23 PM 11-13-2003
Years ago, I worked with a child that was being threatened with the ADD label and with a prescription for ritalin. A nurse suggested that she give him a cup of coffee in the morning instead of ritalin to see what would happen.

It worked.

He never took ritalin.

He is 35 years old today.

Of course, the drug manufacturers and doctors do not get their cut off of the caffeine in coffee.
moss's Avatar moss 03:03 PM 03-13-2004
bumping up another feingold thread so i can find it later