Nutrition affects every cell in the body, and it plays a role in reversing dyslexia. In order to effect true reversal of dyslexia, nutrition cannot be overlooked. Food gives your brain, muscles, bones, organs, and blood the nutrients they need to be healthy. Good nutrition isn’t something you can practice occasionally; it needs to be an ingrained habit.
As an example of how nutrition can affect your child’s dyslexia, take the story of Mandy, an eight-year-old who was flunking school and couldn’t pass any of her tests. After ten weeks of care, she went from getting D’s and F’s to A’s and B’s. Everyone was delighted. End of story? Sadly, no.
Four to six months later, Mandy was once again getting F’s in math and her father didn’t know what had happened. This was now mid-November. However, at Halloween Mandy had eaten a sizable amount of candy, and three weeks later, she reverted to her old problems.
During the original treatment, Mandy was found to have several allergies, including sugar. Part of the protocol for all clients is that they stay off sugar for six weeks. When sugar is ingested, the sphenoid bone, one of the bones that form the eye socket, can’t maintain its proper position; it twists and distorts the eye muscles in the process.
That is exactly what happened in Mandy’s case. By eating large quantities of sugar, that sphenoid bone fell out of place like a logjam, preventing her brain from seeing and processing written information correctly. Hence, the learning problem returned. The good thing about all this was that Mandy and her parents saw firsthand the disastrous effects of too much sugar.
Take charge of your child’s diet
Most people say they’re too busy to cook meals for the family on a regular basis, so they end up with fast food or processed food. If you added up all the time you spent eating out, versus how much time it would take you to go to the Farmer’s Market and the grocery store once a week and do your entire food preparation for the week, you would find that you would save time and have meals to last at least five days.
The food habits children learn at home will influence how they will think about food for the rest of their lives. If the child is allowed to indulge in processed foods, junk foods, and colas, he or she will likely join the swelling ranks of Americans with heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic degenerative diseases that come about when a person lives on junk food.
Above all, your child will not reverse his or her dyslexia permanently without a dramatic change in diet. At minimum, you will need to drastically reduce or cut out several types of food that aren’t doing anyone in your family any good anyway.
Avoid the big four nasties
Above all, make sure that you eliminate wheat, dairy, caffeine, and sugar for a minimum of three weeks. It’s not easy, but you’ll be amazed at how much better everyone feels.
Nasty #1: Wheat
Eliminating wheat means that you’ll be finding substitutes for pizza, cereal, and pasta. You are probably wondering where in the world you’ll find enough food your family will actually eat.
How do you eliminate these staples from your diet? It can be done, and it must be done. Wheat allergies have long been a problem for people. Since the advent of genetically modified foods (GMO) in recent years, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease have been on a sharp increase. Gluten is a gluey protein present in cereal grain, especially wheat. You or your child can be gluten sensitive for years with no symptoms at all.
Finding wheat substitutes is much easier now than it was a few years ago. Here are some tips to get you started on the road to wheat freedom:
- Substitute rice instead of bread, and try gluten-free pizza crust, available at the frozen food section of most grocery stores.
- Eat more potatoes (not potato chips laden with fats and salt), and try sweet potato French fries.
- Explore exotic gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet, and chickpeas, and use gluten-free flour for baking. Find it at Whole Foods, some grocery stores, or online at www.pamelasproducts.com.
Nasty #2: Dairy
Your children love milk, ice cream, and cheese, but it doesn’t love them. You’ll be amazed how many mucous problems clear up when you eliminate dairy. Runny noses, ear infections, and sinus headaches mean there is too much dairy in the diet.
Like wheat, milk has long been an allergy problem for children. For the next three weeks, you’re going to stay away from all milk products, including cheese.
- Almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk are all good milk substitutes, and Rice Dream makes a great ice cream.
- There are several other non-dairy ice creams available, even at your local grocery store. Coconut-based ice creams are delicious.
- Watch out for cheese substitutes. Here is one place you really have to read the labels and avoid casein.
So many brain problems actually start in the gut. The good thing is that they are correctable.
Nasty #3: Caffeine
You and your family will need to stay away from caffeinated soft drinks, coffee, tea, and high energy drinks. Caffeine acts a bit like sugar in that it elevates your energy levels and then causes you to crash, so you are apt to go through highs as the caffeine “hits” and suffer through lows as it dwindles.
Mood swings, irritability, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior, which accompany the caffeine and sugar, contribute to learning difficulties. They prevent children from focusing their brains, paying attention, and learning effectively.
When you quit caffeine, be prepared for sluggish behavior, sleepiness, and resistance. You might need to wean yourself over a week or two. Taking extra B vitamins will yield extra energy and a positive outlook, and increasing your exercise during this time will raise your dopamine (the feel good chemical).
Nasty #4: Sugar
Here’s the biggie. Sugar makes up 25–40% of the typical American diet, and soft drinks are the most common way of ingesting sugar. If you and your children drink sodas, substituting carbonated water with a squeeze of lemon or lime will help you feel like you’re not being deprived.
Food companies add sugar in places you’d never suspect, so even when you avoid sugar every way you can, you’ll still be getting some. A common practice is to feed sugar to animals before slaughter to improve the color and flavor of the meat. Sugar is in hot dogs, salad dressings, frozen pizzas, peanut butter and, of course, ketchup.
Many times when people seem to crave sugar, they really want fat or protein. Instead of going for that candy bar, try an avocado or guacamole instead. Eating a good protein is satisfying and gives you sustained energy.
- Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. If you are eating fruit, eat the whole fruit because the cellulose in the fruit will slow down sugar metabolism.
- Honey and molasses still break down as sugar, but both are loaded with other nutrients.
- Stevia, agave, and real maple syrup are other acceptable sugar substitutes.
Eating sugar alternatives is better than indulging in sugar itself; however, nothing is as good for you and your children as avoiding the sweet stuff as much as possible.
Hopefully, the positive changes you experience from this cleaner diet will encourage you to stay on healthier foods. Feeling good is a great reward, and everyone in your family benefits. However, if you and your family revert to your old ways, you run the risk of all the positive changes not holding.