Yesterday morning as we rushed around (late, of course, due to all the fun we had the night before!) I offered to help get Victoria on track by making her lunch sandwich for her.  As I spread the jelly on the bread, she confessed that she had brought home a “Bee Informed” note from the science lab teacher the previous day.  Excessive talking.  What else would it be?

I noted mentally that we have seen a small backslide into lapsed behavior over the last couple of weeks.  Minor things, but I imagine there is some impulsivity involved on her part, as I have also noticed that I have to repeat my instructions a little too much in the mornings.  I started wondering what could be causing the new rash of conduct marks…I mean – ASIDE from my child choosing to talk when the teacher says not to!

With the swiping of the jelly knife, realization kicked me square between the eyes.  I remember from my earliest reading on the subject, that the Feingold Diet website informed me that grapes should be avoided.  We LOVE grapes, and I thought this to be a crushing blow.  But Victoria was eager to try new things, so it was not a huge issue.  Lately, though, she has been taking PB&J sandwiches in her lunchbox. (The pizza lunchables were a hit, but a girl’s gotta have some variety, ya know?) So I realized the behavior issues resurfaced around the same time as the PB&J sandwiches did. 

Now, what’s up with grapes? you ask…  Grapes are a member of a food group known as salicylates.

Sally- what

Actually, I stand somewhat corrected.  Salicylates are chemical derivatives of salycilic acid, found naturally in some foods (like grapes), but also found in artificial colors (they keep rearing their ugly heads, don’t they?).  I admit that I did not understand them at all when I first read about the Feingold Diet, and for this post I can’t seem to adequately explain why children with ADHD should avoid them, but basically in these children there is a deficiency of an enzyme which processes and detoxifies phenols (essentially correcting any adverse reaction to the salycilates).  It seems long and complicated, and it makes sense in my head, but all manner of sense seems to escape me when I try to explain the chemical process to others. 

My newest favorite resource made total sense of the grape thing for me – and not just grapes, but apples, tomatoes and coffee as well.  Joanne Allor, fellow “University of Google graduate,” is mother to an autistic son and a son with ADHD, and her site is Healing Autism and ADHD.  She has an impressive grasp of biomedical intervention as it relates to these two conditions, and I am thrilled that she is sharing what she learns.  Joanne details the issue with phenols and salicylates here and also mentions supplements which help the body process the phenols so as to minimize the effects like (in our case) hyperactivity and inattention. 

Once again, I am steered in the direction of diet, nutrients, and now enzymes essential to helping the body self-correct.  I have a lot of research to do in order to determine optimal supplements to help Vic.  There is no magic pill for any of this, I know.  So I see this opportunity to learn as not only the greatest challenge of my life, but also as a genuine blessing.