Little Sugar Addicts

Healing bad behavior with nutrition

Real Stories

Angry little girlMy daughter used to have explosive rages, they were unpredictable and way beyond my ability to control or reason through.  During her rages she was very aggressive, and I was her target. 

I hated it. I felt abused, resentful and like my life was totally out of control.  I was ashamed that somehow this was my fault, that I was a bad parent, that I should fix it…I just didn’t know how to make it better even though I desperately wanted to.   

In those days I was always paying attention to what her mood was. If it was good I would give a big sigh and relax, if it was bad I felt my stomach clench up in fear and I would walk on eggshells, waiting for the inevitable explosion. Read more........

 

Dark haired boy with glassesMy son was not quite three when he started screaming.  He would scream when I tried to talk to him.  He would scream instead of answering my questions.  The anger and frustration rolled off of him in almost visible waves as he stood, tensed, arms at his sides balled into fists, tendons sticking out of his neck, just screaming his lungs out at me.  Sometimes there seemed to be a reason and sometimes there wasn’t.  I just never knew what would set him off.

Eventually the screaming stopped and the antisocial behavoir began.  According to his preschool teachers, he avoided circle time and was defiant, doing only what he wanted to do.  Read more.......

 

Angry girl

When Clara was a baby I knew about sugar sensitivity and wondered if she was or wasn't sugar sensitive. I knew I was, and I knew her older sister Emma was. I hoped that Clara had escaped the wrath of the sugar-sensitive biochemistry. As she got older and her diet expanded and included more variety (including sugar), I looked for the signs that I thought I knew: hurt/sensitive feelings, cravings, withdrawals. 

I didn't see them...I thought her biochemistry was different! (At the time, I was trying, failing, and trying again to move through the steps myself. Sugar was still in our lives.) Read more..

 

 

 

 

 

What It Was Like

cranky girlMy daughter used to have explosive rages, they were unpredictable and way beyond my ability to control or reason through.  During her rages she was very aggressive, and I was her target. 

I hated it. I felt abused, resentful and like my life was totally out of control.  I was ashamed that somehow this was my fault, that I was a bad parent, that I should fix it…I just didn’t know how to make it better even though I desperately wanted to.   

In those days I was always paying attention to what her mood was. If it was good I would give a big sigh and relax, if it was bad I felt my stomach clench up in fear and I would walk on eggshells, waiting for the inevitable explosion. 

Watching her, calculating her mood and actions and what she might do, what I should do if she exploded, it took up so much of my mental and emotional energy I had little left to give my husband, my younger child, or myself. 

When things were calm it was uneasy, not a true calm.  Quiet simply meant that things were building up to the explosion, and it would always happen at some point.  Her rage would come exploding out of her, and she would run at me, try to hit, bite, kick, spit on me. 

If I would keep a table between us, or somehow make it so cranky girlshe couldn’t reach me, she would go for destruction.  She would throw things, try to break anything around her, especially if it was something important to me, knock holes in walls, and scream at me what a horrible mother I was. 

She was intent on hurting me some way, somehow.   And it did.  The worst pain was seeing her face distorted with rage, anger pouring out of her, and feeling absolutely helpless to make it any better.   

She would calm down after a little while, usually a few hours.  She would forget what she had said, forget what she done, unless I reminded her.  She would apologize and cry.  She was filled with such remorse.  It was so genuine and painful for her, it baffled me how she could go from emotional extremes so quickly.  

And it wrenched me to know that no matter how apologetic she was at the moment, we would be heading around again, first the quiet, then the assault of rage and aggression.  It happened that way every day, over and over again. 

What Changed

strawberry shakeI found Radiant Recovery® and started doing the program for myself.  I felt so much better. I felt clear headed, had more energy, began to feel optimistic about my life.  But I was afraid to even hope the program could help my daughter. 

I read stories that others had dealt with situations like mine, and for the first time I didn’t feel alone. Somebody else had lived this, and not only survived but had actually healed their child’s rages and mood swings. 

I decided that I would do what it took to help my daughter. It felt like an issue of life and death to me.  I felt like I couldn’t continue living this way for another day.  And I was afraid for her when she got older, how could she function in society when she was so unstable… the prospect scared me.  

I wanted to change everything about her food and fix her like NOW.   But I learned it wouldn’t work that way, she got just resentful of the changes and then we got nowhere.   So I followed the program as written, I asked for help from others who had gone before me, I connected and I listened. 

Slowly I saw a light come on in my daughter’s eyes.  Her rages became less frequent.  They became less intense.  I learned to give her a quick and tasty snack when I saw that look in her eyes like the anger was building. 

I learned how to help her keep her blood sugar steady so that she didn’t go into rages at all.  We worked on the challenges that came up as we were shifting patterns and trying new ways to do things. 

What It's Like Now

We learned how to work through challenges together, with words, and listening, and experimenting.  Our lives slowly changed, it became normal to see my daughter with a smile, content and engaged with her work or play. 

We started being able to go out and do things that I had enviously watched other families do, go to the movies or skating without a total meltdown on one side of the trip or the other.  We started playing and having fun as a family. 

It isn’t that life is perfect now and she never gets upset or mean, she still can.  But the level of intensity is so different from before, she doesn’t get that mask of rage.  And she is willing to do what it takes to feel better.  She wants to keep her biochemistry steady.  

She wants to be a balanced, kind and loving person.  She finds joy in being creative, helping others, doing well in school and being social with friends and family.  And the fact that she is able to live from this place of peace and happiness, with the ability to be her best self, brings me a joy beyond my wildest hopes.


What It Was Like

My son was not quite three when he started screaming.  He would scream when I tried to talk to him.  He would scream instead of answering my questions.  The anger and frustration rolled off of him in almost visible waves as he stood, tensed, arms at his sides balled into fists, tendons sticking out of his neck, just screaming his lungs out at me.  Sometimes there seemed to be a reason and sometimes there wasn’t.  I just never knew what would set him off.

Eventually the screaming stopped and the antisocial behavoir began.  According to his preschool teachers, he avoided circle time and was defiant about doing only what he wanted to do.  He did not follow directions.  And by Kindergarten, he was responding with excessive anger and frustration when other kids accidentally knocked down his tower made of blocks, and the other kids were scared of him. On a few occasions, he struck other children, and he sometimes attempted to strike me.

I’ll never forget our first Parent/Teacher Conference.  My husband and I knew he was extremely bright and went in expecting to hear something along those lines, but the entire conference was about his frustration, anger, fear, defiance, and overly emotional and antisocial behavior.  It was heartbreaking.  He was only 5.

Not surprisingly, like many parents I’ve talked to, my story and my son’s story run along parallel lines.  The thing is, when he was three, I was an utter mess too.  I was very depressed and taking a lot of meds for depression and anxiety.  I had an eating disorder.  And at that point in my life I thought – and I literally googled this – that if I burned off my taste buds it would solve that sneaking 15 cookies  from the freezer and not eating dinner habit.  Surely if I couldn’t taste it, I wouldn’t want it.

Ironically, it was that search that eventually led me to Dr. DesMaisons' program through Potatoes Not Prozac.  And it gave me hope that I could eventually get off of all the depression medication I was on and live a fuller life.  (I figured I’d just have to live with the eating disorder forever.)

So, while my son was screaming, I started doing the food. I made the changes that Dr. DesMaisons recommends and I did the program as she wrote it, and I got better.  But as the main preparer of food, everyone else was eating what I was eating, so they got the benefit of the program too. 

But what really changed things was that during my son’s Kindergarten year we got a diagnosis that explained a lot of the behaviors.  We started occupational therapy to work on those issues, but I also got serious about doing the food with both of my kids.  

What Changed

I was already making sure that I didn’t send the kids to school with empty tummies.  But I had to learn about what enough, on time meant for my kids. 

My son never stops moving so he needed a lot more at meals and snacks then I could ever imagine in order to have enough fuel for all that movement.  He’s also thinking all the time, so even when he appears to be sitting still, his brain is using up silent energy. 

My daughter is not as much of a mover and a shaker, but she is a thinker.  She needs her basline level of food in order for all to be right in her world.

I also had to figure out what they enjoyed eating.  Shake works great for us for breakfast.  Leftovers work well for my son and me for lunches, but my daughter wants PB&J.  As long as I have something planned for dinner and prep lunches and cheese and cracker snacks for school for the next day, I know they are covered!

I also had to learn that I don’t have to control everything.  They get to make choices too or they won’t be willing to go along with it.  Some things, like eating at mealtimes, are non negotiable.  But what they eat is up to them if they don’t like what I made - as long as they can fix it!

While I was learning these things, I was also making sure that I never had an empty tummy either so that I could better deal with the issues that came up.  That way when the principal or the teacher called, I was calm and able to discuss things factually and kept the emotions appropriate. When my son acted out, I was able to choose my response rather than just screaming bloody murder at him.  When my daughter frustrated me because she is just like me, I could walk away and take a personal time out.  And because I was clearer headed, I was able stop myself before I made choices that would make things worse – like screaming bloody murder at my son!

And in tandem, we all got better.  It just took patience, time, and focus. 

Oh, and I didn’t do this alone.  I had help every step of the way, from the moment I found Potatoes, Not Prozac, from Dr. DesMaisons and everyone in the Radiant Recovery® Community.  Their support was invaluable.

What It Is LIke Now

Is it perfect?  No.  But is it a hundred times better than it was with a child screaming at me?  Yes.  Do I think that this program had anything to do with it?  Absolutely.

Both of my kids (now 8 and 6) and I have an excellent relationship.  I am able to advocate for both of my children when they need it, but I also know when they just need a chunk of cheese or a cheese stick to pull themselves together. 

My son is able to talk things through instead of screaming and staring me down with eyes full of hatred.  When he is angry, he may stomp around or run toward me, but he usually ends the run with a hug instead of flailing arms and screaming.  And the emotional mood swings and crying jags only happen if he hasn’t eaten enough or if he’s not had enough sleep.

My daughter was just 18 months when I started doing this program for myself.  We have had an amazing ride together.  Like my son, if she doesn’t get enough on time, or enough sleep, I can see what she would be like if we weren’t doing what we are doing.  It can get kind of ugly!

Of course, as they are getting older, they have more to say about the way we eat.  I was hearing complaints about how healthy we are compared to other kids (which I know is not nearly as far of a disparity as they think it is in some cases), so I organized a Junk Food day.  I made predictions the morning of that we would have tears and fights and yelling before the day was out.  They happily ate their junk food, and all of my predictions came true, plus they felt terrible.  The end result is that neither of them ever wanted to have a Junk Food Day ever again.   They are getting old enough where they can see the connection between what they eat and how they feel.  It’s pretty cool.

So, as a family we still definitely have our quirks, but the way we are in the world feels a lot more like the way other people are in the world.  It is such a relief.  And as a bonus, I have these two absolutely hilarious kids who say the most amazingly intelligent and funny things with smiles on their faces instead of scowls.  Also, I get hugged instead of hit.  That’s always a better option!

And as far as my own story goes, I did heal that depression.  I no longer take any medication, and the eating disorder melted away in the process as well.  One day I thought about it and it was just gone.  Plus I got rid of that consistently fogged brain feeling and have had the opprotunity to get clear about a whole lot of other things too!

In a nutshell, I am so grateful that I found this program.   The community that Dr. DesMaisons has created provides so much support for me even now, five years later.  It has changed our lives, and I can’t imagine my life or the life of my kids without it.


What It Was Like

When Clara was a baby I knew about sugar sensitivity and wondered if she was or wasn't sugar sensitive. I knew I was, and I knew her older sister Emma was. I hoped that Clara had escaped the wrath of the sugar-sensitive biochemistry. As she got older and her diet expanded and included more variety (including sugar), I looked for the signs that I thought I knew: hurt/sensitive feelings, cravings, withdrawals. I didn't see them...I thought her biochemistry was different! (At the time, I was trying, failing, and trying again to move through the steps myself. Sugar was still in our lives.)

Around the age of 2-1/2, she started waking up in the middle of the night. One of two things would happen. She would either be wide awake but calm, or she was badly tempered and couldn't be pleased (at ALL). Neither option was fun. If it was the first, I would put her back to bed over and over. Each time, she would come back in my room, wide awake as could be. I would plead with her to "just go back to sleep!" Some nights she was awake for hours. If it was the latter, she was inconsolable...she wriggled, she cried, she thought she wanted one thing or another, but never wanted anything at all. It was draining. She would eventually fall back to sleep, exhausted. So would I.

Eventually, she started articulating that she was hungry in the night. I really didn't believe her, quite honestly. (After all, she'd been sleeping for two years through the night without being hungry!) My sugar-fogged brain thought she was manipulating me, just trying to get an extra snack (after all, that's what I would have done when I was a kid). For a long while, I resisted giving her a midnight snack. Eventually, I gave in. My offer was always a cheese stick (for the pure beauty of no crumbs in bed)! Pretty soon I discovered that on the nights that she woke up, a cheese stick got her back to sleep in no time. It took less than five minutes to lay down with her while she ate, and then she immediately went back to sleep. That meant that I could go back to sleep myself! Life was good!

But then there were the mornings on which her disposition was utterly horrendous. I remember holding my breath when she came down the stairs in the morning, waiting to see if she had a smile or a scowl on her face. The smile meant we would start the day on a good note. A scowl meant that we were in for a looooooonnngggg, difficult morning (if Clara wasn't happy, NOBODY was happy)!

Over time, it wasn't just the mornings in which Clara's disposition became abominable. There were explosive episodes throughout the day. She could transform from a content, playing child to a sour, defiant, stubborn, unreasonable monster. She defied us; she had to have things her way (or not at all), and she was oblivious or irreverent to where she was, who she was with, or whatever the activity was at the moment. It was a state of being, and when she got this way, it felt impossible to get her back to "normal." It always took a long time.

Of course, she wasn't like this all the time either. She was often funny, silly, sweet. And there was no doubt that she was smart. She was mechanical, always wanting to know how things worked, extraordinarily verbal, and always "seeing" things that seemed beyond her age.

It was like she had two personalities, and the dissonance between them made me extraordinarily uncomfortable. As a parent, I couldn't help asking myself, "What am I doing wrong?" I hadn't connected the dots; I didn't know it was food related. I thought it her personality, and I wondered, "If she's like this now, what will she be like when she's 18? 25? 50?" I fretted about her future. I didn't know what to do.
 

What Changed

Feeling rather desperate, I started posting Clara's behavior on the Radiant Parents list. It was the best thing I could have done. Over time, I gained a whole new understanding of what Clara needed. A clear picture emerged from the scattered dots. Keep her FED; don't wait for "empty." Give her a bedtime snack with protein. If "empty" happens, fill her up first; handle the discipline later. Each tip that I learned and employed helped Clara's coping mechanisms and our family life.

What It Is LIke Now

Clara is now four. She wakes up smiling every day. She loves to make people laugh by doing silly little dances, making funny faces, and saying funny things. Her creativity has blossomed through her stories, paintings, coloring, and new inventions. She can concentrate on an activity for hours. She hardly ever scowls.

The secret? I make sure she is fed regularly every day: three meals and three snacks, with protein at each one. Is life perfect? Of course not. Do I mess up? Yep. But now I know how to fix the mistakes. If Clara becomes frustrated, I know "empty" is near. If she wakes up in the night, I know a snack will put her back to sleep. If she decides not to finish her breakfast, I know that an early snack will be in order. When we go out, I always bring water and a snack. These adjustments are so simple, so manageable, so do-able.

Our journey has been long, it has had its up and downs, but it has been oh-so-worthwhile. I no longer fear my daughter's moods or fret over her future. I am thrilled that the solution was food, just food! It sounds unbelievable, but it is absolutely true.