Many of you know that we have struggled with the little man’s behaviour around meal times. He could be off the charts joyful and fun to be around but he could also be irrational, defiant and downright miserable. We were slowly learning how to deal with this behaviour and adapting and recognizing when it was time to excuse ourselves from certain settings but I was convinced that if he would just eat his moods would be much more stable. The problem was, he would eat a big breakfast of pancakes, cereal, or yogurt and then refuse to eat much for lunch, be so frustrated in the afternoon after nap that he would end up with another yogurt, slice of toast or some crackers. Then we would try our very hardest to get him to take a few bites of dinner. Meal times were exhausting because he seldom ate.
In eliminating sugars, I have started reading labels. Low and behold, his favourite cereal, Rice Krispies has sugar listed as the second ingredient! So even though I wasn’t adding sugar to his cereal, he was getting a good dose to start the day! I was shocked because I thought it was one of the healthier choices in the store. The greek yogurt was no better! Loaded with sugar! So basically I was starting my kids out with a sugar high every morning. I have learned that for some kids, their brain chemistry when added with sugar can create a vulnerability to acting out and frustrated behaviour.
So for two weeks now, we have paid closer attention to what we are fuelling our bodies with. We are eating oatmeal topped with raisins and apples for breakfast, homemade soups and breads for lunch and limiting the sauces our food is cooked in at dinner time. It was about 10 days in that I said to my husband, “I think we had a sugar addict in our house.” We haven’t been having to force feed our little one. His fits of frustration and grief at every meal have almost disappeared. He is happy to try new foods and even ate an entire piece of fruit last night after his dinner!
Two weeks ago, we had a little boy in our house that literally crashed at noon needing a nap because he was so grouchy. Today we are going without a nap because everyone is happy and playing nicely. If it’s anything like the last week, he will be ready for bed at 7pm and sleep until 7am.
Yesterday morning we let the kids each have a bowl of Froot Loops for breakfast at the hotel. About half an hour later, the littlest one was so upset. He was grumpy and frustrated. He didn’t know what he wanted to play with or what he even wanted to do! It was confirmation that we were on to something with the sugar free meal plans. We hadn’t seen behaviour like this in almost two weeks!
I could go on and on about the transformation we have seen over the last 2 weeks. It has been nothing short of miraculous! If you think your kids struggle with behaviour and attention disorders, I would highly recommend trying a modified diet and seeing if you notice any change in mood, energy levels or sleeping patterns. The change has been so significant that we most certainly are going to work on maintaining this lifestyle.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you noticed an increase level of energy, better sleep patterns or better mood since reducing the amount of sugar in your diet?