At a time when many parents question the veracity of using prescribed medication to treat ADHD in children, maximizing natural therapies has emerged as a preferred intervention.
Studies have consistently thrown the spotlight on nutrition, sleep, exercise, and dietary supplements as basic needs that can be harnessed to reduce symptoms of ADHD in kids.
No treatment plan for ADHD is comprehensive if it does not explore food allergies and sensitivities – which are prevalent among kids with ADHD – and then adapt diet to suit a child’s specific profile.
Seattle-based Holistic Health and Nutrition Practitioner Dana Kay has completed years of study and lived experience to create her bespoke programs to reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children.
“It’s my goal to help families who have children with ADHD. We use nutrition and functional lab work to help uncover hidden stressors and dysfunctions. We aim to help people implement a holistic and all-natural family approach to health and wellness,” Dana said.
A Roadmap That Helps
Dana has created a four-pronged model as the front line in arming parents with the knowledge to fight symptoms of ADHD.
“Not only do I want to share my education, skills, and knowledge, but I also want to share the wisdom that I’ve gained through the challenges that my family encountered in dealing with these disorders,” she added.
In her free webinar ‘The Four Secrets That Finally Reduced My Son’s ADHD Symptoms, Dana delivers the four first steps on the roadmap to reducing ADHD symptoms.
- Eliminate Inflammatory Food
The first and most important step in the journey to healing your child is to feed them nutritionally dense and healthy foods that will not trigger allergies, inflame their bodies, or trip food sensitivities. Top of the ditch list is pantry products that contain gluten, dairy, and soy.
Next for the bin is sugar, including corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners. Then throw away everything containing artificial coloring, preservatives, food dyes, and anything else that you can’t pronounce or spell without having to think about it. It is well established that inflammatory foods can trigger autoimmune reactions and damage the gut with conditions including the aptly named ‘leaky gut’. Inflammatory foods cause the body to produce antibodies against the ingredients.
Eventually, if the onslaught of these inflammatory foods does not stop, the person may develop a strong sensitivity to gluten, soy, and dairy. Kids with ADHD are predisposed to food allergies and have weakened immune systems and can fall victim to the negative aspects of these foods. It is no secret that artificial colors and flavors are a red flag for kids with ADHD, so get into the fridge and pantry and discard everything that has a food number and artificial color, preservatives, or additives. Numbers are not nutrition.
- Replenish The Pantry With Micronutrient Rich Food
Now the fridge and pantry need to be refilled. It is time to get serious about what you put into your family’s bodies – big and small. The best food is fresh, whole food. Fruits and vegetables are a priority. Try to choose certified organic produce, when possible, especially when buying strawberries, spinach, apples, bell peppers, tomatoes, and celery. To help with budgeting, not all fruits and vegetables need to be organic. Check out ewg.org’s dirty dozen list for more guidance on when to choose organic. Another cost-saving tip is to stick with buying seasonal and local produce.
Stock up with gluten-free whole grains such as wild rice, oats, quinoa, and sorghum. Include gluten-free pasta for an easy life. When it comes to protein, grass-fed meat, poultry, and organic eggs are a good choice as well as wild-caught seafood. Top up the pantry with healthy oils including olive, avocado, and coconut oils.
Research has confirmed that medication is not always the most effective treatment of ADHD symptoms. One study of 27,000 children by the Autism Institute found that stimulant-based medication treatment has an improvement ratio of 0:7.1, which means that for every one person that improved, another person worsened on the same remedy. Gluten and dairy-free diet set the improvement ratio at 24:1, which means that for every one person tested, 24 people got better.
- Get To Know The Gut
Functional lab testing is imperative, and the gut-brain connection has been conclusively proven. Gut issues such a candida overgrowth can have symptoms that are very similar to those of ADHD. Functional lab tests should uncover underlying stressors, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and any other conditions or shortcomings that may affect symptoms.
Testing also delivers a targeted bio-individual profile of your child, making it easier for a food plan to be tailored to correct the issues. Functional testing produces a blueprint on which to build the ideal food choices, and it will indicate what supplements may be required. While there is no blanket cure-all, a bespoke diet developed from the lab results will result in a calmer child and thus a happier household.
Never underestimate the importance of the gut, given that 95 percent of the feel-good hormone serotonin and half of the pleasure hormone dopamine is made there.
- Exercise and Support
Children with ADHD can be a challenge, but you are not alone as a parent. The infamous lack of focus associated with ADHD, hyperactivity, tantrums, and other negative behaviors are difficult enough for the parent but imagine being the child.
Join forums among parents of kids with ADHD for support, and consider finding a parent coach who will give you the tools and resources that you need to support your child and develop their management skills. Daily exercise is also key for ADHD symptom reduction. Exercising, whether it is running around in a playground, dancing, riding a bike, or training for the soccer team, will increase dopamine production – yes, in the gut.
It also releases multiple ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain that encourage clear thinking, help with sleep, strengthen the body and immune system, and increase water consumption. Exercise is a win-win among children.
‘The Four Secrets That Finally Reduced My Son’s ADHD Symptoms’ are the initial steps that parents can take to restore calm to the home and help ease the difficulties associated with ADHD.
Dana’s son was diagnosed with ADHD and at the age of four, he was put on stimulant medication. As the dose was rapidly increased, so were the side effects. Dana knew there must be a better way, so she started her research and is now a board-certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Practitioner. Among her many qualifications, Dana also completed a fellowship training program under Dr. James Greenblatt who authored ‘Finally Focused – The Breakthrough Natural Treatment Plan for ADHD’.
Her passion to heal her son has morphed into a fervor to offer her lived experience and studies so that parents who are now walking in her shoes can cut through the endless research to find solid support for their family.
“This way, families struggling with ADHD will get to my place of calm much quicker than I did,” she said.
Dana created Our Road to Thrive and a 12-week program called The ADHD Thrive Method 4 Kids – an online step-by-step guide for families to use food as a healing fuel for the body that can relieve expressions of ADHD.
Clients of The ADHD Thrive Method 4 Kids say the program turned their family from troubled to happy and calm. One parent reported that her child had been suspended from school 36 times before she did Dana’s program. Since she wiped the family’s diet clean and started again with Dana’s advice, her child has not had one suspension.
Dana, who originally worked in business and accounting, took her son off strong drugs within months of taking inflammatory foods out of his diet, and he has never again been prescribed medication.
She does not believe that traditional medications are bad, but she does believe there are other ways to help your child, starting with the very essence of survival: the food you put in their body.