Sunday, August 18, 2013

You Are What You Eat

When my son was on the foster adoption track, he was deemed "hard to place" because of behavioral issues. He was in a total of seven foster homes before me, two of which were Intensive Foster Care homes. He was scaring his care givers with self-harming behaviors and so intensive measures were taken.

Because of this, Christopher came to me with a host of issues that we've had to work through over the course of the last two years. Some stuff has gotten better. For example, he truly believes now that I am his mommy and that this is his Forever Home. Lots of one-on-one attention, stability, love, consistency and nurturing has gotten him to that point. He also has therapists he sees once a week and has a weekly visit with a therapeutic mentor, all which helps immensely. I also think it really helps that I got him pretty young. He was three years old when he came to live with me and the resiliency of the little kid spirit is pretty darn awesome.

We were doing well in some ways but I just couldn't stop the aggressive behaviors no matter how hard I tried. No matter what I did, he would still hit, push, bite or kick kids. When we were on vacation earlier this summer, multiple family members came to me with their concerns. They caught Christopher attacking a baby on the beach with a piece of wood. And they all told me that not only was the action disturbing but also the weird smile on his face while he was hitting this baby. They all told me it was kind of scary. And as the parent, that was scary for me to hear.

We are waiting for our evaluation with Children's Hospital but the wait times are looong. I needed to do something while we wait, so I decided to amend Christopher's diet and you know what? It was the best decision I could possibly make.

The Diet

I have Christopher on a gluten-free, dye-free, processed-food diet now and I have seen a DRAMATIC change in this kid's behaviors. He is calm. He listens. And he is happy. I LOVE THIS HEALTHY NEW DIET!!

Christopher's nanny told me that she noticed a difference. My friend who we had a play date with yesterday told me that Christopher was the best she's ever seen him. I literally could cry I'm so relieved.

I can't control everything unfortunately and there was one day where Christopher got back into his old diet habits last week. On Thursday, the nanny gave in and got him pizza (full of gluten) and his therapeutic mentor, Daniel, got him a slushy (full of sugar and dyes). After eating the slushy, Christopher had an epic meltdown, threatening to beat me (WTF??) and screaming holy murder on the bike trails in Cambridge. I think his body was reacting to all the crap that he hasn't had in a week and simply revolted. Needless to say, Daniel will not be giving Christopher slushies anymore and the nanny needs to follow my diet requirements for Christopher. I pay her a LOT of money. Not to mention, it makes her job easier if my kid is calmer right? 

It kind of stinks that I have to constantly say "no" to my kid when he wants a sugary, neon-green treat but I'm looking at the Big Picture here, as this is really in his best interest. He's happy when he's able to control himself and his self-esteem is stronger too. Kids want to play with him and he feels better about himself. If it takes eating fresh veggies and organic meats to get him to that place, then that's just what I've got to do as a parent. It's expensive sure but in the end, my kid is really worth it. And it's a lot cheaper than ADHD medication, that much I know.


  1. Very excited to have found your blog. I also am a single working mother with a young son(5) adopted from DCF. He can be so loving and funny and smart one minute and threatening, physically harmful and verbally abusive the next. He starts kindergarten this year and I am worried. I have been interested in the whole "diet idea" but have been told by therapists and pediatrician's that it does not make behavioral differences - but still in the back of my mind I was thinking it may help - this has inspired me. Any suggestions for reading to gain info etc? I think we are probably in the same area - we live in Cambridge. All the best to you and yours - Catherine

  2. Hi Catherine. I am really surprised your doctors said that changing diet does not make any difference. So many studies have shown that it can make a huge difference. My own social worker has her kids on a gluten-free diet and even recommended it to me. I posted that we were gluten and dye free on my personal facebook page and so many friends came out to share stories with me of kids who had been having issues. One friend mentioned her daughter having night terrors but then removed dyes from her family's diet and now the daughter is sleeping normally. I personally think the dyes are having more of an impact on my son's behaviors than the gluten was. But if he's doing better without either in his diet, why go back? Our big thing right now is slushies, as my son loves them but they're so full of dyes and sugar. But I just but the "squeezy freezy" from Target which allows you to take organic, dye-free juice and turn it into a slushy in the freezer using a BPA-free container. My son loves it!