Louise Made Me Cry

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A journal entry – Thursday June 25, 2015

“Louise made me cry.

I didn’t realize how close to the surface the despair had been lingering.

A kind gesture, a hug, an empathic word were enough to tap the sadness pressing on an impossible journey.

I’m supposed to know what’s wrong.  How to fix it.  And I don’t.  And I haven’t.

I lost my pride a long time ago.  But I cling to the possibility that all of those ledges are steps and not cliffs.

We’ll make it.

All my sweet babies are just going through the necessary dark and gnarled soil of maturation.

I even try to tell myself that all our expectations of normalcy are part of the problem.  If we just relax and continue to set boundaries.  To love them fiercely.  They’ll rise into the lovely humans we’ve seen in there from their first brave gasps of life.

But the doubts linger like ghosts haunting the shadows, tapping on us when we’re drifting off into our day dreams or hard earned slumbers.

Beating back the thorns and bramble along the path we’re on is weary work.

After two to three years, I can’t remember any more, I only sometimes notice the raw, jagged scars along my skin and limbs.

Sometimes I am surprised to see my own face, an aging stranger to my determined heart.

The battles don’t seem like battles until I dare to rest.  I fear I’ll not have the strength to get up.

I pray each night for the strength to always get up.  Again.  To protect my babies as long as they need me.”

Bullying is a Disease of the Brain

 

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Bullying is a disease of the brain. And until we tame the brain with our hearts, each of us is at risk of being a bully in some way, most tragically with our children. I have learned many things from having a special needs child, but this one has been one of my greatest teachers.

You see, until we understood what our son was dealing with in his own brain and body, we thought he was just behaving badly — intentionally. We interpreted his behaviors through a lens of “how children should behave.” Full stop. Doesn’t everyone? Even the specialists we took him to measured him based on a standard of “normal” or compliant, rather than inquiring about WHAT was interfering with his natural human desire to be part of rather than in opposition to his tribe.

Our culture has a very rigid view of children. Yes, we debate parenting styles and love to gnash on entitlements or privileges or perceived failures or short comings, but the truth is that a narrow set of behaviors are rewarded and the rest are thwarted to some degree, often involving violence (spanking, beating, bully fights, gangs, “military school,” prison). And all too often, if we cannot control our misanthropes physically, we drug them.

Very few in our culture attempt to understand those who “fail” to conform or behave as desired by this system of expectations. I believe this is a critical time to increase this knowledge base or we may see our recalcitrant populations explode.

The result of this culturally based institutionalized rubric for “raising a well behaved child” is that we layer on rules and expectations without regard for what is happening to our children biologically. We, as a culture, have a very authoritarian punitive standard to which everyone must conform. Science is struggling to investigate and offer solutions. We are losing the race on many fronts, but there is one left that always works.

Love. And by love, I mean heart.

I would like to suggest that if we organized our communities, schools, organizations, teams around the HEART rather than the brain, the incidence of bullying would dissipate. Because I believe that bullying is a disease that is transmitted through the brain, if we can infect the heart with understanding, compassion and acceptance of visible and INVISIBLE differences among children and consequently the larger populations, the intensity of conflicts and bullying would fade away.

Imagine assuming nothing and inquiring instead?

Imagine including rather than excluding?

Imagine finding common ground rather isolating?

Our children do not need to be punished.  They need to be understood and valued.  If a child is truly valued, then how or why they struggle matters. The approach is no longer about punishment, but support.

Dr. Hallowell famously said that ADHD children are the battered children of history.  I would argue it’s not just ADHD kids.  We have an epidemic rate of childhood learning, developmental, health and behavior challenges happening right now and it’s escalating. Most children appear to be burdened by various health, sensorial, processing or behavioral differences to some degree. This means that one size cannot fit all. It just can’t. And expecting all these children to perform to a narrow ideal is rather sadistic.

Every one of us is a bully as long as we cling to an ideal and adult expectation of childhood behavior, especially those expectations borne of eras gone by when healthy brain function was not under threat DAILY from poisoned air, water, soil, frankenfoods, stealth viruses (PANS, PANDAS), pathogenic bacteria (implicated recently in autism), as well as so called modern chemically derived medicines.

I can already hear the chorus of parents and others saying “But, but, but….”

The children are struggling and need us to open our eyes and our hearts. They want to find their place, their purpose and their gifts. But many of them are physically hampered due to the toxic world they’ve been born into. Our children are not immune to what is happening in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Would you shame a fish for being born without fins? Our children deserve more credit and way more support.

One of my personal breakthroughs as a parent was learning at Brain Balance how intelligence and perception can be literally locked inside a brain where the pathways are jumbled or crossed or leading into dead ends.  It’s not that the child refuses to read or listen, it’s that he/she CANNOT.

Yet.

My son was not trying to disobey or disrespect me.  He literally could not do what I asked.  If I asked him to do three or four different tasks in one sentence, he dropped the first three entirely from his memory to grasp the last. Once I began to see his behaviors as struggles rather than defiance, the tension and conflict simmered enough for us to peel the onion of his misfiring body and brain. We were able to make better therapeutic choices for him that improved his wellbeing and behavior incredibly.

What if there was a way to empower ALL children (and adults) to reach out and befriend kids with special needs?

What if rather than “anti bullying” campaigns, schools and teams began “PRO FRIENDSHIP” campaigns where any child who sits alone or outside the game, the project, the adventure, is made a critical participant?

What if the child who misbehaves is circled and supported rather than taunted, isolated or punished?

Can you imagine the shift?

I think it’s time to inoculate our brains with a big dose of heart centered LOVE.  Like these boys are doing:

This gives me HOPE friends!  So much hope!  If these boys can figure out that what special needs kids need most is a friend, there is hope for all of us.

xo

 

PS: I am building my email list here and at my main blog to offer transformational insights and tools to our tribe of heroic parents and friends.  If you would like to stay in touch with all that will be happening this year, please join me here ====>
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Little Victories Add Up

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I was worried about Little Man’s birthday party.  I held my breath until the first RSVP came in.  There were five enthusiastic YESes, including one from his regular 3rd grade class!

“My son is so excited to come.  He never gets invited to any parties.”

That was what I heard from TWO different families.  Both boys are in special education.  One is like Little Man and only goes to the class when he checks in or needs a break.  The other spends a bit more time there due to his more complicated learning differences (high functioning autism).

One boy came over earlier than the rest and Little Man had one of his first solo play dates.  I was thrilled to see the mutual joy and appreciation they had for this time together (see video below):

We invited the boys to come play legos, see Star Wars with the possibility of video games for a “late over” birthday party.  Little Man really had his heart set on a “sleep over” party but we eventually convinced him that might be too much for this age (9-10) and that most of these boys were going to their first party, too.  Everything went more or less according to plan.  I learned later that boys this age do not tend to sit in the theaters if there are arcades just down the hall.  Thankfully, I had a sitter to help with the boys who needed to get up and take breaks.

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During pick up at the end of the night, one family said to me, “We knew we had to get our son to this party when we got his invitation.”

“Oh?  Why is that?” I asked.

“Because, he wrote this incredible note to go along with it and we just knew that we had to get to know him and your family better.  We were so touched by it. It was obvious he really cared about this party and each person he invited.”

What?  What note?  I had filled out all the invitations for him since writing is painful for him.  He doesn’t write ANYTHING unless he has to.

The mom sent me a copy.

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First of all.  HUGE amount of writing.  Voluntarily.  And some of his best so far.

Second, my heart swelled and broke all in the same moment imagining Little Man sitting down at school to do this before handing out his invitations.  He wanted to make sure that the boys he invited AND their parents knew all the details and would be excited to come.  He was afraid no one would come.  But he put his best foot forward anyway.

Last year, I took him to Legoland rather than subject him to the disappointment of a forced or scarcely attended party.  He had so many struggles with his peers.  I couldn’t even get him one play date during that year (believe me, I tried…that’s another blog post).  Even during our mostly pleasant trip, he upset kids and parents with his wild antics, running, pushing, hogging the ball machines, “zooming” legos off ramps despite younger kids being in the line of fire.  I remember feeling really hopeless because it was clear he could not fully control all these impulses.  Sensory overload exacerbated his weak impulse control.

Oh the glares I got from parents who were bold enough to say, “He deserves a good spanking.”

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But for every critical and rude comment, I got just as many compliments.  The guy at the restaurant who thought he should be in movies because of his radiant joy and humor.  The woman at the hotel who was charmed by his manners (he does have them).  The little boy who was crazy about him and wanted to play Minecraft “even after we go home” though he was confused about Little Man’s foul mouth (me, too).

Last year was a study in constant contrast.  Here is a child who is clearly very bright and yet has learning and behavior challenges?  Here is a boy who is desperate for friends but fails to manage himself enough to be trustworthy.  Here is an experienced mother (of four) who thought she knew what she was doing as a parent only to find this child with mysterious challenges and no obvious solutions.  After a while, it became easier to just stay inside, stay at home, avoid the inevitable collisions between expectations and reality.  It was an isolating year for both of us.

This year has been RADICALLY different for Little Man and our family.  I don’t know which of the many therapies and treatments have had the most impact (I need to do a thorough review of each of them here), but I do know that things are changing rapidly for him now.  He now has a few friends.  His classmates all had very kind and complimentary things to say in his birthday book (funny, nice, kind, helpful).  He now has more control over his impulses than ever before.  He now has a sense of calm and confidence as he masters expectations at home and at school more consistently.  He is maturing in the best possible ways.

The morning after his 9th “late over” birthday party, he left me this note on my laptop.  As you can imagine, I burst into grateful tears.

 

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xo

PS:  If you would like to stay in touch with me and my writing on my main blog, I will be sharing some amazing tools and insights on mind+body+spirit.  I just recently recorded an incredible interview with my mentor and friend, John English, on “Taking the Hero’s Journey” in our lives.  It is a free gift to those who subscribe to my blog email list.
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The Greatest Adventure Awaits in 2016!

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And I would love for you to join me.

I am getting ready to embark upon my very own hero’s journey, Joseph Campbell style.  Over the past several years, I lost my mojo.  I was treading water, but not making headway on my goals or dreams.  I had so many “people and things” in my way.  Or so, I imagined.  Being a mom, wife, mid-life aging woman.  All the stress having a child with ADHD (another with ADD, another with Depression).  The story I was stuck in was not very inspiring and certainly disempowering.

And while I did my best to “write it out” as I am inclined to do, I was not scaling the walls of my well very quickly until I made some incredible discoveries that have radically changed how I feel about myself, my life and everything around me.

I have some BIG plans for my life, on every level, this year.  I invite you to follow along on this adventure as I put insights and tools to the test and seek to manifest my dreams.  While I have confidence in my abilities, I am only human and old habits can be tricky.  There may be difficult times along this journey and I intend to be as transparent as possible.  I also want the accountability.  If I can do it, YOU can do it, too.  So, let’s get there together. Please click ====> HERE to subscribe to my blog so we can stay in touch.

My greatest passion and desire is to fill the world with light and inspiration through story.  I will continue to share our adventures healing ADHD.  I’m even thinking about an online course for parents to help shift perception and as a result, all that stress!  I am excited to be completing my novel FREYA WOLF, finishing the PALE GRAY LIFE project as well as some incredible film projects.

Thank you for subscribing and following along to this point.  I did not want to leave out my DECODING ADHD peeps.  I cannot wait to share what I’m working on and offer you first look as well as opportunities to participate in the unfolding of the power of life.  My greatest passion and desire is to fill the world with light and inspiration through story. Please don’t forget to click the link above so we can stay connected.

Namaste,

Lisa “Elle”


PS: Please forward my blog or email with anyone you feel would appreciate this work, particularly if they share the passion, power and purpose of illuminating the human heart.

PSS: HERE is the url in case the link above doesn’t work.

Diagnostic Mumbo Jumbo

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When something is wrong we want a reason, an explanation, a label, a perpetrator, an enemy with a face and a name so we can lock our sites and obliterate the cause.  We live in a world that believes very firmly in cause and effect and yet we are increasingly confronted with events and conditions that defy or confound every level of diagnoses.  The moment we have grasped the tail of the villain’s cape, he’s dashed into the tunnel of dead ends.

This last year is difficult to explain.  I stopped writing about our journey to unravel ADHD or whatever the hell is going on, because it’s just impossible to square dance when you don’t understand the callers language.  Not being able to focus.  Being extremely active.  Not being able to control behavior.  ADHD or ADD or whatever label you want to give these symptoms feels more like childhood rebellion against our absurd culture than it does an actual biological disorder.

More than 50% of the kids diagnosed with ADHD or ADD “out grow” symptoms.  Is it really a disease or a biological dysfunction if you can outgrow it?  Or are these behaviors a normal reaction by some to an impossibly rigid manner of teaching or learning?  Or is the brain development like other aspects of human development and there is range for processing just like there is for walking or talking?

What if kids who cannot sit still for hours on end are the normal ones?  What if the kids who DO sit still have under active nervous systems?  What if they are being harmed by all this silent conditioning?

Remember when Kindergarten was all about playing and building social skills?  My “ADHD” child spent his 3-4 hour Kindergarten days reciting sight words (drills) and playing “i-ready” games on laptops.  The kids all had stations, academic goals, worksheets and homework.  All flash cardy and pressurized.  It wasn’t any better at the other schools.  They were different flavors of the same thing.  This is where we’ve “evolved” as a culture.

I turned over the ADHD boulder and discovered not only an ant hill of epic proportions but a labyrinth of secret and bewildering lairs.

Despite doing 24 intense weeks of Brain Balance, our son still has some minor “symptoms.”  According to their mysterious primitive reflex testing, he’s hugely improved but still reactive.  Our own observations confirm this.  He’s better but still a pain in the ass, basically.

For example, I chose to leave his iPad behind on our extended vacation so he discovered the magic of fire instead.  He lit every candle he could find, burned a favorite painting and singed a kite.  Even the dog got a fresh coat of wax.  Many people would say this is “normal” boy behavior.  I can see that, too.  However, all of these escapades occurred over a couple of weeks after many attempts at time outs, and removing perceived privileges.  His impulsivity is laced with the persistence of Hades, sadly.

In the warm idyll of summer boredom, he also discovered mommy’s wallet and the freedom of his bike.  After days of finding little candy wrappers laying around the nooks and crannies of our house, we realized that big sister was not the culprit.  One evening after a family dinner out on the town, my husband saw little man grab his bike and hike off into the dusk.  He pounded his peddles down the frontage road and across the highway overpass to a little gas and convenience store.  My husband followed and stood watching him load up his arms with ice cream bars for a minute or so when the clerk came over and said, “He’s been coming in for the past few nights.”  Little man turned shocked and dropped his stash.  Needless to say, bike privileges were revoked for most of the rest of the summer and his steady access to cash was cut off.

Yes, this story fits perfectly in the annals of boyhood adventures.  And curiously, the impulsive traits that contributed to this multiple risk taking boondoggle are the same that will carry him through obstacles that stop most of the rest of us from ever venturing beyond our comfort zones.

When he decides he needs to do or have something, he does not give up.  We like to say that someday this trait will be a strength.  So is he really impulsive or just persistent and determined and therefore oblivious to the collective rules that govern how we move through space we share with others?

As school loomed in our future, I lost some sleep but decided to pull out all the stops.  I hired a local therapist who advocates with schools.  I emailed the school and requested meetings with the teacher.  I printed out informational documents on Dysgraphia to help inform the teachers.  I crossed my fingers and prayed.  

My worst case scenario was (and still is) my little wild man flipping the entire world the bird.  I dabble in rebellious ideas and love to challenge and test conventional wisdom, but at the end of the day, I’m a rule follower.  I have no idea what to do with a child that instinctively tests every single boundary.  And I have to wonder if there is a theme here for all of these kids getting labeled because they can’t or just won’t tow the conventional line.

I am not and never will be a harsh parent.  I am empathetic and reasonable and I trust my children’s feelings.  I cannot argue (much) when they say they hate something.  It’s how they feel.  Who am I to argue with someone’s feelings?  So instead, I try to explain with reason to little brains that aren’t yet reasoning, why things like school are important to their impossibly distant futures.  Meanwhile I know of at least a dozen personal examples of people who have done exceptionally well in life without school.  I try to stuff that knowledge into the dungeon of my consciousness when speaking to my children in case they can see it in my eyes.

About two weeks before school started, my little guy asked me if we could stay on our vacation a little while longer.  He thought he’d be ready for school in another month or so.  I asked him why and he said he just didn’t feel ready.  He said he wanted to see his friends but he was just too nervous.

How had I missed this?  Anxiety was a much bigger force in his struggle than I realized.  I had factored in the primitive reflexes, the gastero-intestinal flora and inflammation, the neuro pathways, the methylation competencies, the physio developmental norms and cognitive maturation.  But anxiety?  I felt like such an idiot.  ALL children want to please and do the right thing generally.  Misbehavior is not a decision to disobey an external authority but to obey an inner need.

I am prone to anxiety.  I only became conscious of it in the last couple of years trying to cope with the great pain and uncertainty of having a child with “unusual learning differences.”  A gifted child (now confirmed by our therapist) who presented like a wild hooligan.  My anxiety manifests in poor sleep and despair.  Thankfully, I have deep reserves of determination and faith to get me through.

I remember hiding behind my mother when she brought me to school.  I rarely spoke.  Until maybe third or fourth grade.  I see this same tendency in my daughter.  My “ADHD” son is an extrovert.  His anxiety manifests differently than it would for me or my daughter.  Instead of withdrawing, he flails and trips and bumps and plows through discomfort, unfazed by the stares and opinion of others.

I began to watch his behaviors with a different perspective.  What if all this movement and agitation is anxiety?  What if his impulsivity is driven by a frantic desire to stop the train, fix himself in space, anchor to something?  It’s not that he wants to shatter the lamp or kick the dog, it’s that he’s flailing and failing to just slow down?

All of the crazy things that happen to him, his bursts of creative destruction, the foul language and blustery ploys to pillage the fridge or someone’s guarded game, could actually derive from a deep place of insecurity and an immature system of filters and brakes.

His therapist sees this anxiety.  Now that I’ve pointed it out.  His teachers see it, too.  We are all now working to support his ease and comfort.  He has a “sensory” box with “emotion people”, little stick figures representing different emotions so that when he’s feeling emotionally constricted and too anxious for words, he can pull one out and help communicate his needs.  It seems babyish for a boy who thinks two years ahead of his age, but it’s helping.  He also has play doh and some soothing blocks to hold.  They help calm his nervous system so he can listen better, probably distracting him from his overall anxiety.

We are heading into week four of school and so far so good.  Each day seems better than the last.  I’m not going to hold my breath but I’m hopeful.  As his anxiety lessens and his comfort rises, he’s calmer. He’s in the highest reading group for his grade.  He loves science and music.  He’s making friends.  He’s having fewer “incidents” with rules and peers.

The school IEP consultant wants every test and report we’ve ever done (that’s dozens over the past 12 months).  I spoke with his pediatrician about the “ADHD.”  She said she can supply the needed documents for the school.  They are very familiar with this process.  It’s about money and resources.  In order for our son to be allowed these unusual aids and accommodations, for whatever reason he needs them, documentation must be provided.

I’m certain all the kids would rather play with play doh and fiddle with fuzz balls than fill out another worksheet.  I wonder if part of the success of these aids for my son is simply having something that makes him feel “special.”  I will be curious to see if these aids become less “useful” to him as he relaxes, feels connected and accepted among his peers.

His teacher, while truly rock star amazing, is learning along with us.  On one side she is being asked to teach her students a very specific and highly structured curriculum.  She runs her class very efficiently while being sensitive to the needs of unusual learners like our son.  So far her desire to help and his desire to comply are in sync.  But it really has taken a small village to get all of us to this point.  Is he going to mature through this “ADHD” and adjust or…(fill in the blank)…

I have dozens of friends who’ve travelled this ADHD road with their kids.  Every single parent said that the “right” teacher can make or break the year for a child.  We have a great teacher this year (thankfully) and all is progressing so well.  But what about next year…

We are in murky waters now.  Is there really an epidemic of kids with neurological challenges or are more kids refusing to comply with a rigid schooling system?  Finland schools start later, end earlier, have no homework and plenty of recess and exercise.  Is it a coincidence that most of Brain Balances’ therapy involves exercise?  Is it a coincidence that rates of homeschooling are increasing steadily?

At our initial IEP meeting, I sat in a room with seven other adults, all professionals who work with children all day long, and not one of us really knows what ADHD is or how best to treat it.  The school asked me what kind of therapies helped our son the best.  I said diet and exercise.  They all nodded.  No one asked about medications.  They know we would like to rule out all alternatives before we consider it.  And given that anxiety often masquerades as ADHD and the two “conditions” call for very different treatment, even in the pharmacological world, doesn’t it seem, oh logical, to wait and see?

And in the back of my mind, that nagging question about whether the problem really lies in our system and values, rattles the cage door.

xo

ADHD In the Gut

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We are learning first hand how ADHD begins and ends in the gut.  It is not a faulty brain wiring effect but a symptom of a body out of balance.  If you feed and nourish the body, the brain will fix itself.

Think about it.  Most children today are eating nutrient deficient convenience foods, all day long.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few horrendously sugar filled processed snacks in between.  Pop tarts or toast (highly processed “fortified” grains, sugars, preservatives), granola bars (sugar, sugar, sugar), pizza or chicken nuggets (processed grains, processed faux cheese, sugar laden tomatoes, ammonia filled aspects of chicken byproducts bound with fillers and powdered grains), soda (sugar, aspartame – a neurotoxin, carcinogen), chips (GMO corn, preservatives, MSG – a neurotoxin) and then for dinner pasta or some other out of a can or box variety of 20 minute dinner, often with sugary deserts and more snacks an hour before bed.  This is NORMAL for most children in our country today.  Day in.  Day out.

Some children might take extra vitamins if they are lucky.  They might eat some berries or apple slices or carrot sticks if their parents insist.  All the well intentioned PSAs from Mrs. Obama are falling on very deaf, and very stressed family ears.  Eating well takes time, knowledge and a financial commitment.  Cheap food is also the worst food.

Our children are not getting the most basic vitamins and minerals and their guts are compromised by vaccines, antibiotics, chemicals in air, water and food.  Our communities, government regulators, policy makers and leaders have failed to protect our children from the onslaught of chemicals in our environment and food supply.  The average American walks into a grocery store and just wants to get out with something they can afford and that will feed their family.  What they end up with is usually more toxic than they realize.

Frankly, given the inputs our children are given, I’m shocked they are growing at all.  Our children are facing an epidemic of metabolic diseases and formerly adult only diseases.  Less than 30 years ago, allergies were not usually fatal.  Few children ever had cancer.  Even fewer had diabetes.  And learning disorders of the magnitude we see now were just unheard of.

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I was stunned to find out that Utah leads the nation in autism rates.  Officially (CDC stats), 1 out of every 47 children in Utah will be diagnosed with autism this year.  Our school special education director said she sees the number being closer to 1 in 9.  I believe she includes children on the spectrum with Aspergers and ADHD.  Salt Lake City has one of the worst pollution “inversion” problems directly related to industrial pollution on the North American continent and the world’s largest mining hole visible from outer space.  On a bad day, children are warned to stay indoors and driving on the highways through pollution pea soup is on par with infamous Beijing, China.  In one very sad way, Americans are gaining on the Chinese.

We live in a giant, organic fish tank.  Planet earth has a fixed biome and we’ve somehow managed to tilt the balance so far off kilter that it may lead to our own extinction.  Nothing is ever thrown away because there is no away.  Every single atom is recycled, for better or for worse.  We kill millions over oil to fuel our constant consumption machine.  Our fish tank is filthy and we have not figured out how to clean it.

What can we do?  We can stop consuming chemicals in our food, air and water.  We need legislation to start the ball rolling in the right direction.  I’m not a fan of big government but our children are up against entrenched and highly profitable industrial Goliaths.  Until we know for sure what is interacting with what in our children’s bodies, there ought to be some sort of limit on chemicals in use.  We need a “precautionary principle” in all civic governance as it relates to “products” released in our air, water and soil.  Literally thousands of chemicals are used in our shared biome without ANY studies of safety.  We know pharmaceutical drugs can be deadly when the wrong ones collide in an individual.  How on earth could anyone possibly know the impact of chemicals we are exposed to daily with each other?

We also need to end giant subsidies to food groups that are suspect (wheat, dairy, meat) and funnel more to organic fruits and vegetables.  I often joke that vegetables really need their own lobby.  It would not be hard to give incentives back to small farmers and encourage “Victory Gardens” the way we did during World War II.  If it’s important (and it is) we can do it.

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We can start nourishing our bodies with real, living, ripe fruits and vegetables.  We can grow gardens and support local agriculture.  We can stop shopping at big box stores and start spending less of our money on planned obsolescence, manufactured coveting and trends.  We could start making connections between inputs and outputs, nourishing and health, our bodies and our brains.  We are what we eat.  What we are eating is barely edible and certainly not nourishing.

What do we eat?  Fish oils should be high on the list along with other healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil.  Healthy fats are not only recommended but required for healthy brain development and healing.  Fats help carry out the toxins we are exposed to every day and create ourselves when we are under stress.  Without fats, our bodies are forced to store these dangerous chemicals in our own fat cells.  If we don’t have enough cells waiting, our bodies wisely create more.

Unfortunately, most people continue to drink diet sodas and order low and no fat items because they’ve been thoroughly brainwashed over the last forty years.  Before some of us were born, our government was very concerned about heart disease.  They asked the scientists to figure out what was going on.  The scientists said people were getting heart disease because they ate too much meat and fat.  The meat lobby must have had more sway so our government went after fat.  A fledgling convenience food industry lunged at the challenge to create new “foods” that had less fat.  Except food without fat tastes horrible.  So they had to add sugar to make their convenient, modern foods palatable.  The more sugar they added, the more their sales increased.  And thus began the great decline in American health…an unintended, tragic consequence of good intentions relying heavily on speculative, narrowly focused science.  We know better now but the fast food industry lifestyle is so heavily entrenched with families working harder than ever for less income.

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It seems like common sense but I’ll say it anyway, to heal the brain, nourish the body.  Don’t pop Costco vitamins.  Make an effort every single day to eat living, nourishing foods.  There are so many foods on that list.  Shop in the fruit and veg department.  Avoid the aisles.  Just don’t even go down them.  Join a CSA (consumer supported agriculture) and get fresh, local produce from your area every week delivered to your door or nearest farmer’s market.  Start even a small herb garden and add vibrant micronutrients to your meals.  Read, research, learn.  After a generation or two now raised on convenience foods, this may seem like a monumental task.  I get it.  I don’t love cooking myself.  But I love being healthy.

Most importantly, I love seeing my son happy and healing.  Every meal he knows he needs “fat bombs” and brain foods.  It has taken us a few months but he is eating a wider range of foods WILLINGLY now.  Yes, he still wants to reach for the sugar converting carbs, but he knows better and he feels better when he doesn’t.  At just seven, he’s learning more about how to nourish his body than I knew for most of my life.

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At his last Brain Balance update, his primitive reflex scores were cut in half and every other area of brain and physical development was AT or ABOVE age level.  His reading level improved 150% in just two months.  The combination of diet and targeted exercise is healing his symptoms of ADHD and SPD.  ADHD is not a localized, permanent brain chemical imbalance as mainstream medical claims.  It is a symptom of a body that needs nourishing support to make vital neural connections.  And the brain can and does do that when provided the proper inputs.

As they say at Brain Balance, the brain cannot access or adapt to new inputs before there is functionality.  Diet can be a major obstacle to improved functionality.

 

xo

 

Further Information:

How the Gut Brain Influence Mood & Behavior – Scientific American

Gut Bacteria Might Guide the Workings Of Our Minds – NPR

How Fish Oils Healed Brain Injured Boy – CNN

Grain Brain by Perlmutter

Fat Chance by Dr. Lustig

Sugar – the Bitter Truth by Dr. Lustig

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Fed Up – a documentary about the obesity and food crisis by Katie Couric (premiered at Sundance ’14)