The Medicated Child

      106 Comments on The Medicated Child

I watched a PBS documentary titled The Medicated Child a couple of nights ago.  It made me want to reach into the TV and strangle some of the doctors who are pumping kids full of drugs.  I don’t doubt that some people are born with true chemical imbalances that require medication, but when we’ve got literally millions of children being diagnosed as bipolar or suffering from ADHD and put on drug therapy, something is very, very wrong.

If you have a Netflix account that includes streaming and an internet-enabled TV, you can find the documentary there and watch it on the big screen.  If not, you can watch it below.  You’ll hear the word “nutrition” mentioned only once, if memory serves.  Meanwhile, you’ll see kids consuming ice cream, cookies, battered corn dogs, and Gatorade.  No wonder they have brain issues.

Watching shows like this, I’m thankful I’ve learned so much about nutrition.  My daughter Sara is highly intelligent, but also bouncy and energetic.  Put her on a lousy diet, and I can easily imagine her behavior changing enough that some well-meaning teacher would tell us she’s hyperactive or suffering from ADD and may need medication. 

As Dr. Barry Sears once wrote, every time you eat, you’re drugging yourself.  I can’t help but think most of these kids are taking prescription drugs to offset the effects of the “drugs” they eat.


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106 thoughts on “The Medicated Child

  1. DoctorSH

    Having ADD myself, I know the effects of diet can be substantial. My mind is much sharper and focused on a low carb diet. But you need to not only convince parents, but also find a way to get kids to change what they eat. Not an easy task!

    Don’t always blame the docs. Look at parents, teachers, and the ridiculous government nutritional recommendations first!

    I certainly blame the government’s low-fat diet campaign for contributing to this mess.

  2. Cathy

    What should we do with ADHD children until we figure out what is wrong with them? Life can be a nightmare for ADHD children and medication a lifesaver. As the mother of 2 such children, I’m tired of being blamed for my children’s condition. I’m a good parent; I discipline my children and feed them a wide variety of healthy foods. (Yes, there is some “fun” food in there (junk) but what child does not have a treat now and then?) I even gave them supplements and tried elimination diets. It didn’t work. I finally broke down and gave them prescription medication. Their lives improved 100% almost overnight. I’m just sorry the stigma against “medicating” my children kept me from getting them the help they needed. When we do find out what is causing ADHD (I wonder if it’s environmental?) we will investigate it thoroughly and take the kids off meds if possible. But until then, they will get their medication. They don’t function in a healthy way without it, just like I don’t function well without my diabetes medication, which by the way, I still need despite a no-sugar, low-carb diet. Our bodies are not perfect and diet (unfortunately) does not help everything.

    That’s why I acknowledged that some people are probably born with chemical imbalances and need medication. You’ve clearly tried the natural remedies. Unfortunately, the kids in the documentary were living on junk.

  3. Mary D

    My “kids” are all adults, but when my eldest began exhibiting sugar intolerance problems at age 5 or 6, I found a copy of Dr. Lendon Smith’s “Feed Your Kids Right”. Because of that book, my son was able to get through school without being subjected to Ritalin, etc. like some of his peers. Smith advocated keeping sugar and refined “food” (white flour, etc.) away from your kids and feeding them only unprocessed foods and cooking from scratch. It worked well for us – all three boys are still incredibly healthy and strong, even though, sadly, they have personally veered away from the healthy diets they had growing up.

    Have you read “Mad in America”? Robert Whitaker wrote this tremendous book about the history of mental illness treatment in America and goes into great detail about the treatment of ADHD in children. Really troubling reading, especially for me, with one grandson having been diagnosed as ADHD and working his way through treatment. I know his diet affects him – and any opportunity I get to feed him and his little sister, I feed him with good, unprocessed food. But I don’t preach to his parents – just try to set a good example.

    It’s all very troubling. Any advice? Any comment?

    When I see friends or family members suffering from ailments I believe are diet-related, I offer advice once. If they seem open to it and ask questions, I keep talking. Otherwise, I stop.

  4. Dave

    I watched the special on Netflix…it is SO SAD to see drugs pushed as the first option by doctors and not looking at diet.

    I’m afraid that’s how most doctors are trained to think.

  5. Sarah

    Geez, I’m not even a parent, I’m in high school, and this is hard for me to watch.

    Then you can imagine how those of with kids feel. Anyone who ever tries to give either of my daughters one of those awful drugs will have to step over my dead body to do it.

  6. Ailu

    Based on the children that I have encountered in my work, the ones that are on prescription drugs seem to be so because their parents feed them treats all day long as an “act of love” (but really it’s supplication), and then don’t want to “parent” the inevitable hyperactivity that ensues. I look forward to watching this documentary!

    The parents mean well, but they’re feeding these kids junk and not making the connection between diet and behavior.

  7. Ailu

    OMG. I just watched the documentary. I only have two words after watching it:

    CHILD ABUSE

    My thoughts exactly.

  8. Lori

    Isn’t it an old joke that by adult standards, children are insane?

    Anyone with an interest in psychiatric medications must read Diabetes Update’s review of “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America” by Robert Whitaker. A few commenters remarked that they knew people who had been helped with a whole foods diet.

    http://diabetesupdate.blogspot.com/2010/08/must-read-book.html

    I just ordered the book.

  9. Lori

    As for treats, I don’t know about anybody else, but 1/2 a bottle of one of those vitamin-packed, 0-calorie drinks makes me depressed.

  10. DoctorSH

    Having ADD myself, I know the effects of diet can be substantial. My mind is much sharper and focused on a low carb diet. But you need to not only convince parents, but also find a way to get kids to change what they eat. Not an easy task!

    Don’t always blame the docs. Look at parents, teachers, and the ridiculous government nutritional recommendations first!

    I certainly blame the government’s low-fat diet campaign for contributing to this mess.

  11. Cathy

    What should we do with ADHD children until we figure out what is wrong with them? Life can be a nightmare for ADHD children and medication a lifesaver. As the mother of 2 such children, I’m tired of being blamed for my children’s condition. I’m a good parent; I discipline my children and feed them a wide variety of healthy foods. (Yes, there is some “fun” food in there (junk) but what child does not have a treat now and then?) I even gave them supplements and tried elimination diets. It didn’t work. I finally broke down and gave them prescription medication. Their lives improved 100% almost overnight. I’m just sorry the stigma against “medicating” my children kept me from getting them the help they needed. When we do find out what is causing ADHD (I wonder if it’s environmental?) we will investigate it thoroughly and take the kids off meds if possible. But until then, they will get their medication. They don’t function in a healthy way without it, just like I don’t function well without my diabetes medication, which by the way, I still need despite a no-sugar, low-carb diet. Our bodies are not perfect and diet (unfortunately) does not help everything.

    That’s why I acknowledged that some people are probably born with chemical imbalances and need medication. You’ve clearly tried the natural remedies. Unfortunately, the kids in the documentary were living on junk.

  12. Tracey Butler

    I remember having a bit of a ‘discussion’ with my nutrition lecturer about something similar. He was telling us sugar wasn’t implicated in hyperactivity and adhd in children, it was the all due to the artificial colourings. I’m still not convinced, given the amount of sugar that is considered ‘normal’ nowadays. I’m sure colourings aren’t wonderful, but the colourings are usually wrapped around refined sugar.

    I’ve seen what happens when my girls consume sugar. You can’t tell me it doesn’t produce hyperactivity and lack of focus, at least temporarily.

  13. Mary D

    My “kids” are all adults, but when my eldest began exhibiting sugar intolerance problems at age 5 or 6, I found a copy of Dr. Lendon Smith’s “Feed Your Kids Right”. Because of that book, my son was able to get through school without being subjected to Ritalin, etc. like some of his peers. Smith advocated keeping sugar and refined “food” (white flour, etc.) away from your kids and feeding them only unprocessed foods and cooking from scratch. It worked well for us – all three boys are still incredibly healthy and strong, even though, sadly, they have personally veered away from the healthy diets they had growing up.

    Have you read “Mad in America”? Robert Whitaker wrote this tremendous book about the history of mental illness treatment in America and goes into great detail about the treatment of ADHD in children. Really troubling reading, especially for me, with one grandson having been diagnosed as ADHD and working his way through treatment. I know his diet affects him – and any opportunity I get to feed him and his little sister, I feed him with good, unprocessed food. But I don’t preach to his parents – just try to set a good example.

    It’s all very troubling. Any advice? Any comment?

    When I see friends or family members suffering from ailments I believe are diet-related, I offer advice once. If they seem open to it and ask questions, I keep talking. Otherwise, I stop.

  14. Dave

    I watched the special on Netflix…it is SO SAD to see drugs pushed as the first option by doctors and not looking at diet.

    I’m afraid that’s how most doctors are trained to think.

  15. Sarah

    Geez, I’m not even a parent, I’m in high school, and this is hard for me to watch.

    Then you can imagine how those of with kids feel. Anyone who ever tries to give either of my daughters one of those awful drugs will have to step over my dead body to do it.

  16. Ailu

    Based on the children that I have encountered in my work, the ones that are on prescription drugs seem to be so because their parents feed them treats all day long as an “act of love” (but really it’s supplication), and then don’t want to “parent” the inevitable hyperactivity that ensues. I look forward to watching this documentary!

    The parents mean well, but they’re feeding these kids junk and not making the connection between diet and behavior.

  17. Katy

    Twelve years ago, my then 6 year-old grandson had a difficult time sitting and working in the classroom. His teacher insisted that he be drugged, and my daughter took him to the doctor to be evaluated. She absolutely did not want him on any such medication. The doctor asked her if he could sit through a movie or video (yes), and if she had any discipline problems with him (no). The doctor thankfully concluded that the problem was with the teacher and her methods in the classroom. Boring, in a word. He advised that all of the children in this class should have been getting up and moving about much more frequently. He’s had his ups and downs over the years, totally thriving under teachers who inspired him and understood his need to be needed on the one hand, while simply marking his time with those who had the “my way or the highway” attitude. He does have issues with people who are disrespectful to him; in fact, he has challenged teachers, asking them point blank, “Why are you so rude? Why are you screaming? I’m not yelling at you. I’m not being disrespectful to you.” Last year he wrote a paper in a language arts class entitled, “Why I Hate My English Teacher,” and got an “A” on it. It caused the teacher to think. And he’ll be graduating in June. I think it’s tragic that so many adults think that any nonconforming behavior in children is something to be suppressed with drugs.

  18. nonegiven

    I cannot tell you how many bipolar adults I know of that have to eat low carb to stabilize their moods, even on the meds.

  19. Ailu

    OMG. I just watched the documentary. I only have two words after watching it:

    CHILD ABUSE

    My thoughts exactly.

  20. Lori

    Isn’t it an old joke that by adult standards, children are insane?

    Anyone with an interest in psychiatric medications must read Diabetes Update’s review of “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America” by Robert Whitaker. A few commenters remarked that they knew people who had been helped with a whole foods diet.

    http://diabetesupdate.blogspot.com/2010/08/must-read-book.html

    I just ordered the book.

  21. Lori

    As for treats, I don’t know about anybody else, but 1/2 a bottle of one of those vitamin-packed, 0-calorie drinks makes me depressed.

  22. Karen

    I was concerned for a couple of years when my younger daughter entered into a private preschool. I was beginning to be concerned that she was autistic some days, ADHD on other days, and yet OCD on others. By the time she was in her last year at her preschool, I had discovered my own zero carb path and was intensely researching how zero carb diets are used therapeutically on children with epilepsy and children with other imbalances like ADHD were successfully being treated with low carb diets. I started morphing both my girl’s diets into low carb, with zero carbs at breakfast and lunch. The carbs they eat come at dinner only. I started giving them as much saturated fat as I could in those two meals and I didn’t say a word to my daughter’s preschool teacher. Two weeks into the transition, my daughter’s preschool teacher came to me after school, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Suddenly, according to her, my daughter was attentive, she was engaging and asking questions and listening to the answers! She didn’t just get up and walk off anymore to go explore some other classroom.

    So I continue with the plan to this day. Eggs, bacon, meats for breakfast and lunch, with lots of butter. For dinner, I let them pick but there has to be meat in the meal. For dessert, they can pick as well. After dessert it’s like flipping a switch. They can sometimes look and sound like they’re flying off the walls. But they’re at home and not at school. I can handle it. I wouldn’t expect a teacher with 24 students to be able to handle it all day long.

    Naturally, the USDA wants schools to cut even more saturated fat from the meals and the milk. Yeah, that’s going to produce some interesting results.

  23. Tracey Butler

    I remember having a bit of a ‘discussion’ with my nutrition lecturer about something similar. He was telling us sugar wasn’t implicated in hyperactivity and adhd in children, it was the all due to the artificial colourings. I’m still not convinced, given the amount of sugar that is considered ‘normal’ nowadays. I’m sure colourings aren’t wonderful, but the colourings are usually wrapped around refined sugar.

    I’ve seen what happens when my girls consume sugar. You can’t tell me it doesn’t produce hyperactivity and lack of focus, at least temporarily.

  24. Laurie

    I saw this a few years ago BT (before Taubes) and BF (before Fat Head). I thought it was pretty scary. I think differently about it now after all that I’ve read since and I think it’s even more devastatingly sad and I can’t imagine what it’s like for those children and their concerned, well-intentioned parents. If a child eats three meals and 2 snacks a day, that’s 1825 times per year to influence them for good or ill with food and proper nutrition. I’m not knocking Western medicine and psychiatry, but in some instances I would be willing to bet that giving a growing child ‘Cocoa Puffs’ with skim milk and powerful anti-psychotics is like trying to swat a single mosquito with a rocket launcher.

    Diet may not always be the cure, but I’m willing to bet many if not most of these kids could’ve avoided being diagnosed as ADD or bipolar if only they’d been fed more nutritious food from early on.

  25. Jesrad

    Watching this I can’t help but wonder, as overweight parent after overweight parent is shown with their “disordered” kid: how many children are labelled “hyperactive” merely because their caretakers (parents, but also teachers) are really “underactive” from having decreased energy levels from their high-carb diet and unable to cope with otherwise normal kids ?

    That was one of the first things I noticed. Some of the parents looked like walking, talking cases of insulin resistance.

  26. MedPhyzz

    In a similar vein, a film that makes me hoping mad is ‘First Do No Harm’ with Meryl Streep about Charlie Abrahams who had epilepsy. Doctors kept giving him drugs to treat him and his parents had to fight to allow him to try the ketogenic diet. It worked very well and now the ketogenic diet is an accepted way to treat epilepsy that drugs can’t help, and even the Atkins diet is being suggested for adult epileptics. I suspect drugs are always the first choice though, and the ketogenic diet is a last resort. As a family member is an epileptic (and so is my best friend) I have done a lot of reading (medical papers, not ‘health’ magazines!) about the ketogenic diet. Some scientists suggest that ketones are protective of the brain, even after injury. It’s sad that research into high fat diets has been impeded by the millions of people who think that fat is harmful… all starting with Keys.

    Indeed. Dietary change is rarely suggested as the first course of action.

  27. Katy

    Twelve years ago, my then 6 year-old grandson had a difficult time sitting and working in the classroom. His teacher insisted that he be drugged, and my daughter took him to the doctor to be evaluated. She absolutely did not want him on any such medication. The doctor asked her if he could sit through a movie or video (yes), and if she had any discipline problems with him (no). The doctor thankfully concluded that the problem was with the teacher and her methods in the classroom. Boring, in a word. He advised that all of the children in this class should have been getting up and moving about much more frequently. He’s had his ups and downs over the years, totally thriving under teachers who inspired him and understood his need to be needed on the one hand, while simply marking his time with those who had the “my way or the highway” attitude. He does have issues with people who are disrespectful to him; in fact, he has challenged teachers, asking them point blank, “Why are you so rude? Why are you screaming? I’m not yelling at you. I’m not being disrespectful to you.” Last year he wrote a paper in a language arts class entitled, “Why I Hate My English Teacher,” and got an “A” on it. It caused the teacher to think. And he’ll be graduating in June. I think it’s tragic that so many adults think that any nonconforming behavior in children is something to be suppressed with drugs.

  28. Pete Ballerstedt

    The link I posted somehow dropped the “l” at that end. Sorry.

    http://www.madinamerica.com/madinamerica.com/Whitaker/Whitaker.html

    Here’s a quote from his post “Speaking at MGH Grand Rounds, and More” on
    Jan 21, 2011 –

    … the host Meghna Chakrabarti begins to read a statement made by one of the lead investigators of the NIMH’s long-term study of treatment for ADHD, known as the Multisite Multimodal Treatment study. Here is the full statement from William Pelham, which the host began to read:

    “We had thought that children medicated longer would have better outcomes. That didn’t happen to be the case. There were no beneficial effects, none. In the short term, [medications] will help the child behave better, in the long run it won’t. And that information should be made very clear to parents.”

    Now readers need to know the backdrop to this trial to understand the importance of this finding. The prescribing of stimulants to children began in the 1970s, and then really took off in the 1980s. Numerous studies found that over the short-term, medications diminished “motoric overactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness” in classroom settings. Thus they were seen as effective for treating ADHD. But by the early 1990s, there was no evidence that the drugs were benefitting the children long-term. As the 1994 edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Textbook of Psychiatry admitted, “Stimulants do not produce lasting improvements in aggressivity, conduct disorder, criminality, education achievement, job functioning, marital relationships, or long-term adjustment.”

    The NIMH launched its MTA trial, which it touted as the “first major clinical trial” the institute had ever conducted of a “childhood mental disorder,” in order to more properly assess whether there was a long-term benefit. And what it found was that by the end of three years, “medication use was a significant marker not of beneficial outcome, but of deterioration.” By the end of six years, the findings remained the same. Medication use was associated with worse hyperactivity-impulsivity and oppositional defiant disorder symptoms,” and, if you look closely at the data, with greater “overall functional impairment.” Hence, Pelham’s conclusion that they found that medications provided no long-term benefit, none.

    As noted in the documentary, many of these drugs weren’t tested on kids, and when clinical trials were conducted, the outcomes weren’t positive.

  29. nonegiven

    I cannot tell you how many bipolar adults I know of that have to eat low carb to stabilize their moods, even on the meds.

  30. Cheryl Jansen

    I know I would have been medicated as a child if I were in school now. I finished everything early, and then was bored and couldn’t be still (though a teacher or 2 figured it out and gave me more to do). Then they couldn’t say anything because I got it all right, and got very good grades. now even with good grades they’d have drugged me into being average, and compliant in class!

    Same here. My report cards (Mom saved them) noted how much time I spent staring out the window, apparently not listening. They also noted that if the teacher asked me a question, I gave the correct answer. I was staring out the window thinking something like, “Move on, already.”

  31. Karen

    I was concerned for a couple of years when my younger daughter entered into a private preschool. I was beginning to be concerned that she was autistic some days, ADHD on other days, and yet OCD on others. By the time she was in her last year at her preschool, I had discovered my own zero carb path and was intensely researching how zero carb diets are used therapeutically on children with epilepsy and children with other imbalances like ADHD were successfully being treated with low carb diets. I started morphing both my girl’s diets into low carb, with zero carbs at breakfast and lunch. The carbs they eat come at dinner only. I started giving them as much saturated fat as I could in those two meals and I didn’t say a word to my daughter’s preschool teacher. Two weeks into the transition, my daughter’s preschool teacher came to me after school, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Suddenly, according to her, my daughter was attentive, she was engaging and asking questions and listening to the answers! She didn’t just get up and walk off anymore to go explore some other classroom.

    So I continue with the plan to this day. Eggs, bacon, meats for breakfast and lunch, with lots of butter. For dinner, I let them pick but there has to be meat in the meal. For dessert, they can pick as well. After dessert it’s like flipping a switch. They can sometimes look and sound like they’re flying off the walls. But they’re at home and not at school. I can handle it. I wouldn’t expect a teacher with 24 students to be able to handle it all day long.

    Naturally, the USDA wants schools to cut even more saturated fat from the meals and the milk. Yeah, that’s going to produce some interesting results.

  32. Laurie

    I saw this a few years ago BT (before Taubes) and BF (before Fat Head). I thought it was pretty scary. I think differently about it now after all that I’ve read since and I think it’s even more devastatingly sad and I can’t imagine what it’s like for those children and their concerned, well-intentioned parents. If a child eats three meals and 2 snacks a day, that’s 1825 times per year to influence them for good or ill with food and proper nutrition. I’m not knocking Western medicine and psychiatry, but in some instances I would be willing to bet that giving a growing child ‘Cocoa Puffs’ with skim milk and powerful anti-psychotics is like trying to swat a single mosquito with a rocket launcher.

    Diet may not always be the cure, but I’m willing to bet many if not most of these kids could’ve avoided being diagnosed as ADD or bipolar if only they’d been fed more nutritious food from early on.

  33. Jesrad

    Watching this I can’t help but wonder, as overweight parent after overweight parent is shown with their “disordered” kid: how many children are labelled “hyperactive” merely because their caretakers (parents, but also teachers) are really “underactive” from having decreased energy levels from their high-carb diet and unable to cope with otherwise normal kids ?

    That was one of the first things I noticed. Some of the parents looked like walking, talking cases of insulin resistance.

  34. MedPhyzz

    In a similar vein, a film that makes me hoping mad is ‘First Do No Harm’ with Meryl Streep about Charlie Abrahams who had epilepsy. Doctors kept giving him drugs to treat him and his parents had to fight to allow him to try the ketogenic diet. It worked very well and now the ketogenic diet is an accepted way to treat epilepsy that drugs can’t help, and even the Atkins diet is being suggested for adult epileptics. I suspect drugs are always the first choice though, and the ketogenic diet is a last resort. As a family member is an epileptic (and so is my best friend) I have done a lot of reading (medical papers, not ‘health’ magazines!) about the ketogenic diet. Some scientists suggest that ketones are protective of the brain, even after injury. It’s sad that research into high fat diets has been impeded by the millions of people who think that fat is harmful… all starting with Keys.

    Indeed. Dietary change is rarely suggested as the first course of action.

  35. Pete Ballerstedt

    The link I posted somehow dropped the “l” at that end. Sorry.

    http://www.madinamerica.com/madinamerica.com/Whitaker/Whitaker.html

    Here’s a quote from his post “Speaking at MGH Grand Rounds, and More” on
    Jan 21, 2011 –

    … the host Meghna Chakrabarti begins to read a statement made by one of the lead investigators of the NIMH’s long-term study of treatment for ADHD, known as the Multisite Multimodal Treatment study. Here is the full statement from William Pelham, which the host began to read:

    “We had thought that children medicated longer would have better outcomes. That didn’t happen to be the case. There were no beneficial effects, none. In the short term, [medications] will help the child behave better, in the long run it won’t. And that information should be made very clear to parents.”

    Now readers need to know the backdrop to this trial to understand the importance of this finding. The prescribing of stimulants to children began in the 1970s, and then really took off in the 1980s. Numerous studies found that over the short-term, medications diminished “motoric overactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness” in classroom settings. Thus they were seen as effective for treating ADHD. But by the early 1990s, there was no evidence that the drugs were benefitting the children long-term. As the 1994 edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Textbook of Psychiatry admitted, “Stimulants do not produce lasting improvements in aggressivity, conduct disorder, criminality, education achievement, job functioning, marital relationships, or long-term adjustment.”

    The NIMH launched its MTA trial, which it touted as the “first major clinical trial” the institute had ever conducted of a “childhood mental disorder,” in order to more properly assess whether there was a long-term benefit. And what it found was that by the end of three years, “medication use was a significant marker not of beneficial outcome, but of deterioration.” By the end of six years, the findings remained the same. Medication use was associated with worse hyperactivity-impulsivity and oppositional defiant disorder symptoms,” and, if you look closely at the data, with greater “overall functional impairment.” Hence, Pelham’s conclusion that they found that medications provided no long-term benefit, none.

    As noted in the documentary, many of these drugs weren’t tested on kids, and when clinical trials were conducted, the outcomes weren’t positive.

  36. Cheryl Jansen

    I know I would have been medicated as a child if I were in school now. I finished everything early, and then was bored and couldn’t be still (though a teacher or 2 figured it out and gave me more to do). Then they couldn’t say anything because I got it all right, and got very good grades. now even with good grades they’d have drugged me into being average, and compliant in class!

    Same here. My report cards (Mom saved them) noted how much time I spent staring out the window, apparently not listening. They also noted that if the teacher asked me a question, I gave the correct answer. I was staring out the window thinking something like, “Move on, already.”

  37. Korey

    The four-year-old’s lunch consists of corn dogs, Goldfish, cookies, and Gatorade. The problem might be painfully obvious….

    Ironically, their doctor is named Dr. Bacon.

    When I saw that lunch, I was yelling at my TV screen.

  38. damaged justice

    I may not have ever been fat or obviously sick, but I had a hellacious childhood and adolescence. Even accounting for outside problems and my own issues, I look back now and am totally convinced that I was medicating myself to numb the emotional pain. I’d come home, sit down and go through half a loaf of bread making toast slathered with butter and cinnamon sugar — maybe half a box of high sugar cereal, one bowl at a time, even after the first had already shredded the roof of my mouth. But my favorite in hindsight is a concoction of my own devising that involved half a glass of instant hot chocolate mix, topped with the same amount of non-dairy creamer, with just enough hot water added to turn it into a half-mixed sludge that I would then shovel down with a spoon. All this was at its worst in junior high and high school, but after I left that toxic environment and started to enjoy life, I was abusing sugar and grains a lot less and eating more variety of meat and veggies (thank you Indian cuisine!). Still, it wasn’t until I hit 40 and went the paleo route that my moods seem to have finally truly stabilized. I get angry less often, when I do it’s far quicker to pass, and I don’t feel like I’m constantly trying and failing to climb out of a pit of low-grade chronic despair. I’m sure you’ve already got her on your list, but anyone who doesn’t should be reading Emily Deans’ Evolutionary Psychiatry — she’s my favorite new paleo blogger, right up there with Hyperlipid Peter for making the most hardcore science into a fun and fascinating discussion, and her posts have been a key element helping me look back in hindsight and understand just what I was doing to myself, and why.

    I was never particularly prone to depression, but when I was eating a lot of low-fat vegetarian garbage, that’s when I had depressions. The right diet is a great mood stabilizer.

  39. Korey

    The four-year-old’s lunch consists of corn dogs, Goldfish, cookies, and Gatorade. The problem might be painfully obvious….

    Ironically, their doctor is named Dr. Bacon.

    When I saw that lunch, I was yelling at my TV screen.

  40. damaged justice

    I may not have ever been fat or obviously sick, but I had a hellacious childhood and adolescence. Even accounting for outside problems and my own issues, I look back now and am totally convinced that I was medicating myself to numb the emotional pain. I’d come home, sit down and go through half a loaf of bread making toast slathered with butter and cinnamon sugar — maybe half a box of high sugar cereal, one bowl at a time, even after the first had already shredded the roof of my mouth. But my favorite in hindsight is a concoction of my own devising that involved half a glass of instant hot chocolate mix, topped with the same amount of non-dairy creamer, with just enough hot water added to turn it into a half-mixed sludge that I would then shovel down with a spoon. All this was at its worst in junior high and high school, but after I left that toxic environment and started to enjoy life, I was abusing sugar and grains a lot less and eating more variety of meat and veggies (thank you Indian cuisine!). Still, it wasn’t until I hit 40 and went the paleo route that my moods seem to have finally truly stabilized. I get angry less often, when I do it’s far quicker to pass, and I don’t feel like I’m constantly trying and failing to climb out of a pit of low-grade chronic despair. I’m sure you’ve already got her on your list, but anyone who doesn’t should be reading Emily Deans’ Evolutionary Psychiatry — she’s my favorite new paleo blogger, right up there with Hyperlipid Peter for making the most hardcore science into a fun and fascinating discussion, and her posts have been a key element helping me look back in hindsight and understand just what I was doing to myself, and why.

    I was never particularly prone to depression, but when I was eating a lot of low-fat vegetarian garbage, that’s when I had depressions. The right diet is a great mood stabilizer.

  41. Tracey Butler

    To be fair to the medical profession, many of the clients are the ones that demand the ‘quick fix’ of a tablet of some kind. They want pills to keep happy, sleep, have energy, lose weight, cure all manner of aches and pains – and some people get really upset if they go to the doc and don’t get a script for something. Even if they turn up with a virus.

    These people want their issue fixed NOW, not at some distant point in the future especially if it involves taking some ownership of the situation and making long term lifestyle changes. That takes too much effort.

    Of course the flip side is many that DO want to try lifestyle changes struggle to find the resources or support to do so. It’s not easy to take the road less travelled.

    “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
    – Bertrand Russell

    I’m sure that’s true too. But it would’ve been nice to hear the “nutrition” more than once in the entire documentary. I’m sure many parents would give it a try before putting their kids on drugs.

  42. Maria Minno

    One problem is that parents and doctors don’t realize what good nutrition really is. If you go by the USDA guidelines you’ll get sick. People generally don’t know what good fats are (they think “olive oil” instead of “butter!”), how much children need (I mean, they really need a LOT!), and what supplements to choose (e.g., nothing can compare with the fermented cod liver oil/ butter oil blend from Blue Ice). There is so much bad information out there. I’m glad there is the Weston A. Price Foundation’s excellent journal, website, and conferences around the country to provide information that is accurate and useful. It has proven itself reliable and accurate and practical over and over again to me and my family and many of my friends.

    That’s why I believe much of the blame lies with the USDA and all the other lipophobes in authority. The last thing that would occur to most parents and doctors is that the kids aren’t eating enough natural saturated fats.

  43. Auntie M

    As a teacher, I get really tired of bearing blame for everything related to education and children. Trust me, I’m surrounded by children all day long. I know what “normal” looks like. I can peg a student diagnosed with ADHD at a hundred paces, as can most teachers I know. Truthfully, I feel like many of them could be fixed or at least see some improvement with changes in diet, not that I’m allowed to say that.

    Most teachers are good people with good intentions, and we want students to be able to learn. I’ve seen students for whom medication was a miracle, and others who saw little benefit or became like zombies. I would venture that 95% of them would benefit in some way from dietary changes like GAPs, SCD, Feingold, and/or gluten/dairy/sugar-free diets. Most of the students eat “carbage” all the time, and they have starving brains. It’s tough to teach students like that, and even tougher when I’m personally blamed for their inability to learn. I’m held solely responsible for any and all failures in my classroom. Teachers are the current scapegoats for all that’s wrong with education. It’s downright depressing.

    I can tell that many of my students need an intervention of some sort to help them become better learners. Legally speaking, though, I can’t suggest or force a parent to do anything. We’ve been told that if someone in the school suggests medication or testing to a parent, the school district legally has to pay for such testing and/or medication because it was our idea. If we have a student who takes medication, and that student obviously hasn’t taken it, we’re not even supposed to say, “Did you take your medication?” We’re supposed to ask him/her if he or she needs to go see the nurse. It’s sticky. If some teacher or school has tried to tell you that you “have to” medicate your child, get a lawyer.

    The really irritating thing is the parents who know their student has behavior problems, but do absolutely nothing because they don’t want to medicate. Doing nothing to help the child is as much child abuse as overmedicating. I think some of them just don’t know what to do, and are paralyzed.

    I would love to suggest dietary changes to parents, but I can’t. I think some of the parents would welcome that information, but my hands are tied. Truthfully, many of them wouldn’t want or perhaps be able to change their child’s diet so radically. My own sister has ignored my suggestions to change her daughter’s diet, because it would be “too hard”. Her daughter’s therapist, by the way, just suggested the same gluten/dairy/sugar-free diet that I’ve been suggesting for years. That’s at least an encouraging sign that some people are taking diet more seriously.

    Something like GAPs pretty much requires that everyone in the house go on it, so you can clear your house of noncompliant items. Most people aren’t willing to change their lives to that extent, and many don’t believe that it will make a difference. They’re brainwashed into the idea that saturated fat is bad, whole grains are good, and food has no effect on behavior.

    Sorry for the rant. The “blame the schools” thing always irritates me.

    I don’t blame the teachers. My mom and sister were both teachers, so I have a sense of what you’re going through. Teachers aren’t supposed to be substitute parents.

  44. Tracey Butler

    To be fair to the medical profession, many of the clients are the ones that demand the ‘quick fix’ of a tablet of some kind. They want pills to keep happy, sleep, have energy, lose weight, cure all manner of aches and pains – and some people get really upset if they go to the doc and don’t get a script for something. Even if they turn up with a virus.

    These people want their issue fixed NOW, not at some distant point in the future especially if it involves taking some ownership of the situation and making long term lifestyle changes. That takes too much effort.

    Of course the flip side is many that DO want to try lifestyle changes struggle to find the resources or support to do so. It’s not easy to take the road less travelled.

    “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
    – Bertrand Russell

    I’m sure that’s true too. But it would’ve been nice to hear the “nutrition” more than once in the entire documentary. I’m sure many parents would give it a try before putting their kids on drugs.

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