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Struggling at School?

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Too often we label a child or teen with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), then prescribe Ritalin, a nervous-system stimulating drug th.

Too often we label a child or teen with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), then prescribe Ritalin, a nervous-system stimulating drug that presumably affects a self-control centre in the brain. In my experience helping teens with learning difficulties and behavioural problems, I've found much safer and natural means of addressing these challenges.

Recent studies indicate that learning disabilities may be caused by many factors including nutrient depletions, food additives, food allergies or intolerances, environmental toxins, brain dysfunction and genetic influences. Children or teens with learning disabilities have often had chronic health problems in their early years such as ear infections, asthma, constipation, pneumonia and rashes. By the time these children are of school age, even though they are bright and intelligent, they may display problems with co-ordination, difficulty with spelling and math, and poor behaviour in class. They may also have problems sequencing and spacing, and therefore have trouble writing more than a few words at a time.

Processed Vs. Natural Foods

Getting children or teens on the right track is a two-step program. First, remove offending foods through a food reduction or elimination diet with the help of a health-care practitioner. Some problematic foods you may be advised to avoid are corn, pasteurized dairy, chocolate, refined wheat, sugar or artificial sweeteners, added fructose, artificial colours and food additives.

During step two of the program, the entire family must show its support by committing to a natural, nutritious diet, eliminating junk food such as boxed cereal, cakes, cookies, artificially flavoured fruit drinks, soft drinks and chips. This will allow your child or teen to stick to this new approach, and it will eliminate the possibility of him or her feeling punished for having learning challenges. The whole family can enjoy:

  • vitamin C-rich foods such as apples, oranges, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables, which are important for eliminating any toxins or metals that may be causing problems

  • foods rich in B vitamins, such as unrefined whole grains, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, eggs, leafy greens and tofu, which calm and soothe the nerves

  • breakfast, to get a healthy start to the day and prevent shortened attention span due to lack of nutrients. Rolled oats are full of nerve-soothing B vitamins. Muesli with a little plain yogurt and a tablespoon of flax will also provide wholesome nutritional support.

Generally, it takes 30 days to see positive outcomes such as better attention span, calmer disposition and less distractibility. Remember, children learn by imitation set a good example!

Supplemental Support

Another way to replenish nutritional inadequacies in young people is with daily nutrient supplementation. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are particularly important for proper functioning of the nervous system. Evening primrose, hemp and unrefined walnut and pumpkin seed oils are sources of omega-6 EFAs, while omega-3 EFAs can be obtained from non-genetically modified fish oils. Flax oil contains both the omega-3s and omega-6s, at 48 to 64 percent and 16 to 34 percent respectively.

Also important for supporting children's learning are B vitamins, magnesium, digestive enzymes, zinc and antioxidant-rich mixes of nutrients. Look for multivitamin-mineral capsules and powdered food supplements made specifically for young people.

Regardless of what nutritional support you decide to give your children, the most important thing you can do for them is promote positive self-esteem. Do lots of activities with your children, show them you love them, trust them and care about them daily. Encourage various physical activities to develop physical co-ordination and strength.

Give your children the best chance at learning with a balanced diet and a truly health-promoting lifestyle good for life!

A Superfood Testimony

Super green foods changed the life of my family. My introduction to them occurred about four years ago. I was drained from working and home-schooling my eight-year-old son, Dan, who had been diagnosed with mild mental retardation. An acquaintance recommended trying a green food drink, so I took his advice.

Within a week, my energy levels and concentration abilities had increased substantially. Shortly after that, while sitting at the kitchen table watching my son cry in frustration over a new math concept, I decided to try the supplement on him. The next day I prepared myself for the usual struggle with his math, but I was in for a surprise. Instead of bursting into tears, my son sat quietly and allowed me to guide him through the steps required to accomplish the task. Then he tried it himself. He did so well that it was me who burst into tears!

The joy of watching him learn without the tears and frustration of the previous months was indescribable. His learning abilities continued to improve, and he was better able to cope with social situations and new experiences.

I eventually learned that he has Asperger's syndrome, a neurological disorder in the autism spectrum, which is responsible for his difficulties in processing information. A team of professionals recommended that Dan be placed on three medications: Ritalin, an antipsychotic and an antidepressant. I inquired about more natural forms of therapy, explaining that I had used supplements with great success. The team did not receive that statement favourably. Using my parental discretion and the knowledge that my son was not hyperactive, depressed or dangerously psychotic, I chose not to give him the recommended medications.

Instead, I increased my son's intake of the green food supplement and continued to use behaviour modification therapy with him. This combination has helped his abilities tremendously and has provided us with an opportunity that I did not believe possible: the chance for my son to successfully cope with life and learning without resorting to major medications.

Source: Andrea Jones

Ritalin: A Drug Epidemic

  • In 1990, 138,000 prescriptions for Ritalin were filled in Canada for children with ADHD.

  • By June 1998, that number rose to 693,000 prescriptions annually.

  • In the US, more than one million children are taking drugs for ADHD.

  • According to the American Journal of Psychiatry (1998), oral therapeutic doses of Ritalin were found to have similar pharmacological actions as recreational doses of cocaine.

Source: mercola.com; Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, May 2002; adbusters Magazine, July/Aug. 2001.

Stats On Learning Disabiliies

  • In 1997, 1.2 million children in Canada from birth to age 11 (27.6 percent) showed at least one learning or behavioural problem, according to research by Human Resources Development Canada.

  • Fifty-two percent of children with learning disabilities have clinically significant social, emotional and/or behavioural problems. These children show higher rates of anxiety, depression, conduct disorder and social withdrawal (Voices for Children, voices4children.org).

  • An estimated 10 to 15 percent of Canadians (more than three million people) have learning disabilities, says the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, ldac-taac.ca.

PDF Table of The Power of Superfoods

PDF Table of Cutting-Edge Supplementation

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