Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This was the best by far to me. I didn't post it here because of the need to use approved oil. There are many many brands so I'll just let you know that I use wesson oil (not shortening). Please check the Feingold food list for different options. If you know that this diet has helped you it would really benefit your family to have a food list at least for a year.
The key to these is to keep the dough very very very soft. I make it the night before and stick it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning, I flour the cutting board, roll out gently, and cut with my doughnut cutter. By morning it only needs a little flour to roll but the dough can still be nice and light. They turn out MUCH different if you put too much flour in.
We do a light glaze with powdered sugar and water and dip the whole doughnut in.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
ooh yeah, I found that one out last year when I was desperate and the hot light was on...it was such a comfort to learn how to make our own doughnuts...one of those unreachable foods was reachable!
Oh my goodness, I'm drooling. We're making dipped cordial cherries.
We made a fondant out of 1/4 c butter
2 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 TBSP of the juice the cherries were packaged in
1/2 tsp vanilla (listing only alcohol and vanilla)
1/8 tsp almond extract (listing only alcohol and oil of almond)
If you don't have approved extracts just use a little more juice. Mix it all together and knead well till it's like playdoh. Add more powdered sugar if needed.
Then we wrapped that around some all natural maraschino cherries (not approved, got them at Whole Foods and took the chance out of desparation.) keeping the stems on, and froze them for an hour.
We melted a bag of ghiradelli chocolate chips (we used semi-sweet but might try different kinds if this works) on low and then let that cool so it wasn't hot but it was still liquid. Then dipped the cherries and fondant via stem in the chocolate, covering completely. Set it on waxed paper and put it back in the freezer.
Now we'll set it out at room temperature for 3 days, that should semi-liquefy the centers. I can't tell you how excited I am for these.
These were my kryptonite before. I was doing great for Christmas and then a well meaning neighbor gave us some regular chocolate covered cherries. Oh, I almost opened that box and if I had I'd have eaten them ALL and been a monster for 3 days. I'm proud to say that the box is still unopened just waiting to pawn off on an unsuspecting person soon. We'll wait for our yummy ones, and they should be WAY better than dollar store chocolates!
BTW, you can make the same fondant but flavor it with any approved flavoring or plain cocoa, knead well, shape, freeze, and dip for different flavored chocolates. They'll stay solid because they don't have the cherries to liquify them.
another FYI, many times nuts have BHT sprayed on them or the packaging so while they may look natural, be aware unless they're in the shell or approved.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I don't think I've done crepes here yet. A friend made these, I read her blog, and she simply linked to this recipe. Remember to use whole milk and real butter.
Friday, December 26, 2008
The biggest bomb first...We tried some red striped candy canes from Whole Food and they were a BAD idea! Just a 1/2 day reaction for us so it was probably a preservative or something unlisted but bad definitely! Just the kids who chose the striped ones showed reactions quickly each time they ate them. Our white ones from the Feingold list were fine.
The biggest hit...MOON SAND! I found a great deal on Amazon with free shipping. A $29 kit was $3.50. I bought 5 different kits between the kids and they've played with it all yesterday and today. They haven't reacted at all, there's no smell, and the color doesn't stick to their hands like playdoh or clay. It doesn't dry out either. I know I'm a whimp but I hate homemade play doh.
We have relegated the moon sand to the kitchen table only and there have been a few dustings of sand on places other than the moon sand tub but it sweeps up quickly so I don't worry about it.
Andrew was cute...he read the package and was telling Adam all about it and he said, "It's real sand from the moon, sand from the moon doesn't stick like sand here."
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I believe the #1 thing people try is an epsom salt bath. I have heard that people react worse to this but I've often wondered if their soap/shampoo makes it worse sitting in the bath.
I've also had my kids drink 1 tsp of epsom salts in water to "get things moving". I figure the quicker it gets out of the intestines the less it should absorb.
Same goes for any basic cleanse pill or laxative. Just make sure it's on the Feingold list. I've had success with some senna tablets from walmart that just listed 3 ingredients.
I've also had my kids drink wheat grass juice or golden flax seed in a smoothie.
Most of the time when they have a reaction I'm not thinking my best either because I've had something and rather than just do the above things I sit and mope and play on my computer all day.
So, today I'm off to cleanse the kids and we'll see if it helps at all.
Monday, December 22, 2008
"ow, you don't have to punch me back"
"my hand slipped"
"mom!!!!!!!the boys are fighting again, they're annoying me"
"you're chewing too loud"
"quit talking, you're talking while you're eating"
etc etc etc etc!
They were really good when my friend came over cause they were busy eating...see "C", it was good that you came during dinner.
"oh, pardon me while I go fix another problem..."
ok I'm back...we HAVE to be careful or I'm going to go to the loony bin.
Here we go again...reaction day #2
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I had told Russ how happy I was that the family was so kind and how we'd be fine for food. So, he helped the kids get food before I knew it. When I came in they were all eating the rolls Grandma had brought. And yes, they were almost done with them. I ran over to the bag to check ingredients before I royally freaked out. Yep, they had artificial flavors and colors.
Russ had to keep tabs on Andrew, he's always the first to react (my pre-asthma kid). And of course he did...getting in everyone's faces, "helping" the baby do handstands and wheelbarrows cause "she likes it", whacking everyone with the blankets that were presents, etc etc etc.
I'm sure tonight we'll be treated to a kid with night terrors trying to wander all over the house as he can't wake up. He stopped peeing the bed during a reaction last year. That's good. He just has to go to the bathroom after he wakes up from the night terror.
When we got home Adam slugged Andrew for no apparant reason. He's usually my easiest kid. It was a hard slug too. His reactions tend to quit earlier also so I'll hope for the best.
So, the moral of the story is...communicate with your spouse, kids, and all involved of your well laid plans.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Last night he came home and ate my new creations and raved and raved. I was so proud. He said, I'd never have to sneak again if you just make these. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, today I grabbed a bag of strawberries out of the freezer and used strawberry puree instead of the orange juice. It worked very well and I can't wait till dh comes home to taste them.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Just a quick note...when I made my meatballs for lunch I also mixed up the whole 10 lb chub of meat (with egg, salt, onion, and garlic) and used my little ice cream scoop/cookie scoop to scoop out just the right size balls. Then the kids rolled them up and placed them side by side on a cookie sheet with waxed paper. These went into the freezer and when they were firm and slightly frozen they went into a freezer bag.
This way it's very easy to get out 3 meatballs per person, stick them in the pan, and cook them. I like freezing them before they're cooked because then when I'm cooking each individual meal I can use the grease in the sauce. Sounds gross but hey...I learned it from Hillbilly Housewife and you just can't argue her.
You can pre-measure and freeze a whole lot of stuff with a cookie scoop!
I made a basic bread dough out of flour, water, yeast, and salt...spread that out on my pizza pan that was sprinkled with plain cornmeal...and topped it with white whole milk store brand mozzarella (at walmart this is in a ball next to the precious, not by the rectangle cheese and it's cheap), olives, mushrooms, and hormel naturals pepperoni.
One day we wanted to try pizza without tomatoes cause we didn't have them on hand, it turned out so yummy that now we rarely use a tomato sauce. Sometimes we just open a can of chopped tomatoes and add those or add fresh chopped ones.
Here's our secret sauce. After the pizza is done, melt some real butter and squish a clove or two of garlic into the butter. Add a pinch of salt. This gets drizzled over the pizza along with real whole milk Parmesan cheese (found at Costco near the big huge blocks of cheese, already shredded for $2/lb.) right before serving.
2 cups sugar
1 envelopes unflavored gelatin or 3 TBSP.
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup orange juice concentrate (I used orange/pineapple)
1/4 tsp salt
5 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
Mix everything but the essential oil in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer 15-20 minutes (stir the bottom of the pot every once in a while) until the mixture forms a short thread or starts to sheet heavily. Add the essential oils.
Pour the mixture into molds or a 9 x 5 casserole dish that has been lightly oiled with coconut oil.
When this is cooled and set, use a cold water dipped knife to cut into cubes.
Eat as is, roll in powdered sugar, or dip in chocolate.
Store in cardboard or wrapped in a paper bag.
When Jonathan was a baby we thought he had the most severe case of colic ever. He never slept for longer than twenty minutes at a time, screamed constantly and writhed in pain for much of the time. We tried over the counter gas drops, prescription medicines, teething gels....nothing seemed to help him.
As a baby he was very physically active - was pulling up and standing in his crib by five months and walking by nine months, and once he took off there was no stopping him! He never spoke, though - not even "Mama" or "Dada".....his only means of communication seemed to be ear piercing shrieks. When Jonathan was 21 months old his baby brother was born and by this time Jonathan reminded us of the Tasmanian Devil - we never saw him walk anywhere - he had one speed: hyper warp speed. He would get around a room by running and jumping on couches, chairs even desks, and he would lash out at anyone for no apparent reason. He wouldn't sit still for a second, even for a hug - a movie or a story was out of the question. Even family refused to babysit him because he was so violent, and we were about at the end of our rope!
With a new baby in the house, and Jonathan still waking up every twenty or thirty minutes and insisting on sleeping in our bed, screaming when I got out to feed the baby, things seemed unbearable. My Mother flew over from England for a couple of weeks to help out after Chris's birth, and one night she observed Jonathan's "bedtime ritual", which consisted of me holding him down on the bed, kicking and screaming for two hours, until he fell into an exhausted sleep at 11pm. I came out of the bedroom in tears, wondering how I would cope after she left. My husband is a wonderful man and a great father but he was working nights at the time so wasn't there to help.
My mother asked if I had ever considered that Jonathan might be allergic to additives in foods, since she knew someone whose child had a similar problem, so we got on the internet and searched "diet,additives and hyperactivity". We discovered Dr Feingold's book "Why Can't My Child Behave",went out and bought it the next day, and started reading the Feingold website, a non profit organization made up of parents of children who are sensitive to and intolerant of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives in foods. We discovered that we were not alone, that hundreds of parents were agonizing along with us about their chidrens' behavior, and that they were changing and improving that behavior without medication, just by changing the diet!
I was still a little skeptical so we decided to try our own little experiment: for one week we would feed Jonathan plain grilled meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, and we would keep track of how he behaved. Within twenty four hours of eating this way my mother and I watched Jonathan walk slowly across the room - we thought it must be a coincidence and were scared to get our hopes up, but we had never, ever seen him WALK before! The second day we had to go shopping, usually a nightmare with Jonathan. He sat in the stroller for hours, not squirming, not complaining, not grabbing for things from shelves.
We never looked back! We joined the Feingold organization, who research food manufacturers for us and put out newsletters and an extensive food guide of brand names that we can buy that have been researched and are free of the additives that we avoid. The whole family eats the same food - very little prepackaged. We're not "health food nuts" - I shop at Super Walmart for my groceries - I just have to be a little more careful about the brands I buy. We don't avoid sugar and our four children have plenty of treats, cake, cookies, ice cream, even chips and certain brands of candy!
Within three months, by the time he turned two, Jonathan had an extensive vocabulary, and now at four he is the most well mannered, articulate, polite and loving little boy we know! He is learning to read at kindergarten, follows complex directions, focuses on whatever he is working on, takes long naps and sleeps at night.....friends who hear his story can't believe we're talking about "sweet quiet Jonathan". He likes nothing better than to sit and snuggle and read a book, and when we go to a movie he won't squirm unless it's to turn around and whisper "I love you" in our ears.
We have to be very careful now that Jonathan's in kindergarten, that he doesn't eat anything that's off-diet. I get a month's snack menu in advance, and send it back to the school with notes on whether he can eat the school's food on any particular day, or if I will send in a substitute from home. I try to keep a few chocolate cupcakes (his favorite) in the freezer so he can take one to birthday parties, since we usually don't know what ingredients are in the birthday cake. I keep his teacher supplied with frozen cupcakes and acceptable candy so she can give him a piece when the other kids in his class get a sucker.
Occasionally though there's a slip up and he eats something with artificial colors, or artificial vanilla instead of pure vanilla....and then watch out! As soon as twenty minutes after he's eaten, he'll start screaming, or crying uncontrollably, or hitting his brothers for no reason, and the reaction can last anywhere from one to three days. The last time that happened I asked him if he felt sick and he said "no I don't feel sick, I feel BAD!" Now if anyone offers him anything to eat or drink he'll ask if it has colors in it, because he doesn't like the way he feels when he eats off-diet.
I look around the playground and I wonder how many other children would be helped by simple diet changes - so many children are medicated when they could be helped by just taking out the artificial junk in their diets. Unfortunately, many parents have tried diet changes and given up because they didn't give it long enough to see results. If a piece of offending food causes a three day behavioral reaction, then a piece of candy or a glass of artificially colored punch just twice a week can cause a continuous state of hyperactivity, even if you eat right the rest of the week. As for me and my family, we're Feingolders for life - we've discovered the joy of food without petroleum based colors and we'll never go back to the old way of eating.JW
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This sounds very interesting. Make sure to use real brown sugar, the brand that is just brown sugar, not white sugar with molasses added. Also, make sure your coconut milk is just coconut milk.
I might try to substitute some dried flaked coconut and milk instead of the coconut milk.
I have 50 lbs of plain dried coconut that I bought from Azure Standard.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
This particular video isn't necessarily about Feingold but I believe it's a good 10 minute show about how "stuff" that isn't safe still gets passed off as safe, still gets good marketing, etc.
This is why and old friend said, "if it wasn't safe, wouldn't someone tell us?"
#1, Feingold does have a fast food list that includes things from many different popular fast food places including McDonalds, Carl's Jr, Arby's, Subway, Wendy's and others. So, if you don't want to research your own stuff go there.
When we want to go somewhere not on the list we think plain. Do your research cause what you think is plain may not be. For instance, we thought we'd be ok with pasta and butter at Olive Garden and found out that Ogden oils their pasta in the morning and we can't get plain pasta. Sugarhouse does not, we could get it there. Plain baked potatoes might not really be plain either. Ask questions!
If you have time, email the company headquarters and ask for their help, then call at a non-busy time to the restraunt you will be eating at. Ask to speak with a head chef or someone who can help you with allergies. Some restraunts will bend over backwards to help you, some could care less. I always leave a good tip for someone who helps as well as writing a nice email to the company with the person's name who helped me. The more word gets out the better.
A few years ago people who said they were allergic to wheat were weird and unheard of....now it has to be on the label. I hope to get to that point with petroleum products.
Once you get to the restraunt, ask to speak with the same person (the first couple of times you visit there) and go over your order that was previously agreed upon. Once you've gone a few times you can even have your order written down and just ask if they need to clarify anything.
Most restraunts have real butter and whole milk hidden somewhere in the store if you ask for them.
Ask about pan sprays or oils...once we went to Golden Corral after so much research but the kids were bouncing off the walls 15 minutes later. I couldn't figure out what the problem was until I walked past the bakers with their rolls and saw them spraying pretty shiny stuff over the tops. I had asked how they were baked and if there was pan grease. He said no, they were baked with a silpat sheet and no grease.
Many places will have a plain baked potato and you can add salt, pepper, and real butter. They possibly have sour cream with just cream and salt but most sour cream is a concoction. They may have whole milk cheese that's white or has annatto.
Plain veggies (ask them to read the label if they're frozen)
Plain meat (ask them to read the label for marinades or anything besides the meat. (We had another experience in the mountains where we had NOTHING available except what we had previously talked with the cook about. We asked if they had hamburger and chicken. Yep he did, we found later after some major bed peeing that they both had marinade before they were frozen. It was on the label but he hadn't seen it cause we didn't ask about the label. Luckily he had plenty of whole milk white cheese so we subbed that for all the meat on that trip)
Plain pasta or a lot of italian style breads will be ok. Ask about their pan grease or sprays. Ask if oils can be skipped. For instance, Olive garden breadsticks at our area were fine if they didn't have the yellow junk poured on them afterwards. We just had them bring out butter packets instead.
Plain salad with real lemon juice and olive oil and salt or approved dressing.
Fresh fruit or fruit canned with just the fruit and sugar. If they have a banana they can even throw that in the oven and put some cinnamon and sugar on it. Or warm up any fruit and put a dash of whole milk and sugar with it.
Skip anything fried cause most restraunt oil has BHT. Skip seasoning salt, lots of it has red #40.
If you're concerned about other things on the grill have them cook it on a piece of aluminum foil.
1/2 cup Small Pearl Tapioca
2 1/2 cups of whole milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp. real vanilla (listing only vanilla and alcohol)
Soak tapioca overnight in 2 cups of room temp water. Drain.
Pour milk into a double boiler, heat milk just til no longer cold.
Add salt and tapioca. Continue to heat until small bubbles appear near the sides of the pan. Cover,
turn heat to very low cooking for one hour. Milk should NOT SIMMER
Beat egg yolks and sugar together until the color lightens. Add a
small amount of the hot mixture to the yolks and stir, blending
thoroughly. Continue to slowly add the hot mixture to the yolk/sugar
mix, stirring constantly. Place back over double boiler and cook
until tapioca is very thick. (about 15 minutes)
Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into hot mixture.
Stir in vanilla. Serve warm or cold.
Add a 1/2 cup of grated chocolate.
Prepare as directed but add 2 tsp of grated orange rind while milk
mixture is cooking. Chill entire pudding for at least an hour, then
fold in one cup of heavy whipped cream; pour in serving dishes.
Garnish with an orange slice, banana slices or other fruit. This
sounds like it needs to be served a.s.a.p. to keep the whipped cream
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This is a picture (sideways) of the frozen cookie dough balls Alyssa made. She made a 4x batch, then with a small cookie scoop (like an ice cream scoop, get a $10 one cause cheap ones break quickly) scooped out balls and froze them on waxed paper. Then from there the balls can be frozen in one layer and then put into freezer baggies.
cook them as normal but add about 2 minutes to the cooking time.
I finally got my camera so here's the pics of my gummi candy, jello beans. I picked up the squirty bottle and jello bean mold at the local thrift store (D.I.) and they work great. I cooked the gelatin and juice in my small pan then I poured the mixture into the squirty bottle and used a spatula to get the rest out.
The next step was so easy with the squirty. I could fill up the beans with no problem.
We made a few batches. My favorite are still the grapefruit but my kids don't like it.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Our son has done a complete "180"
since beginning the Feingold Program!
(These pictures are the ones I took, the link above is another tutorial.)
I was having trouble keeping my spring rolls soft and in searching for help I came across this recipe. It is a great tutorial. They're soooo easy to make. I like to make filling and keep it separate till it's time to eat. You can wrap just about anything in a spring roll to make it portable.
We've had no reactions to basic rice paper wrappers found at Whole Foods. They probably sell them at ethnic stores also.
I like Bragg's aminos instead of soy sauce.
I'm thinking cold turkey, avocado, tomato, and approved mayo sound really good too.
To keep them moist lay a damp tea towel or white paper towel over the spring rolls and cover. Store in the fridge.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I just made some with a "jello-bean" mold out of frozen 100% grapefruit juice concentrate. I needed a whole cup of sugar plus some stevia and they're still tart but oh so good.
NOTE: They taste more like packaged fruit snacks than actual gummi worms but maybe they just need more gelatin to have that texture.
1 lb dry garbanzo beans
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon or lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin, garlic, and/or onion powder (take your choice or add all)
1 tsp or more salt
OK, here's the scoop. I love extra garlic, spicy, and sesame hummus but most kids don't seem to love it that way so here's my "kid" version of hummus.
Soak garbanzos overnight, then bring to a boil with water and cook for about 2 hours till they're nice and soft or pressure cook them according to your directions or crockpot them overnight. If you soak them overnight and cook them slowly you shouldn't get the gas that you would otherwise.
When they're nice and soft scoop them into a blender or use a hand blender and squish them up really well. My kids like just salt, onion, and lemon added. I like other spices and a few fresh cloves of garlic.
Serve this with some pita bread, tostitos chips, or fritos chips. MMMMMMMMMMM
Or, serve with fresh veggie slices as a dip.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Here is a beautiful way to wrap rice or anything else you can think of for a lunch or appetizer. Many people in Japan use these wrappers for a cold lunch.
The recipe included for rice could be made Feingold safe fairly easily. I would probably use a simple brown rice with veggies recipe for mine.
I love the flavor of egg, soy, and sweetener as in Tamagoyaki. I've never done it thin like this to use as a wrapper though.
Here's a great source for Christmas Candy Canes. We buy a case of 144 for $15 plus shipping and use it for 2 years.
The picture shows red canes but buy these kind in peppermint all white. You will see a drop down screen where you can choose the last option, peppermint all white.
I hope that if you buy these candy canes you'll leave a little note in the comments section to please keep these all white candy canes around for Feingold safe kids. They went away last year but thanks to members of the Feingold association they are back. That's why I'm posting them here for everyone to see. I hope they sell plenty this year.
Traditional Candy Canes or
12 Count Cradles
12 count boxes
12 standard canes per case
144 .5 oz canes (cane is 6" tall)
**Order by the case**
Spangler Candy Canes in traditional peppermint and gourmet flavors!
W = white
MC = multi-colored
Saturday, December 6, 2008
#1: It is not a scam. It is a non-profit organization and the reason it costs $80 for your first year is for all of the information as well as the cost it takes to research the products. If you've ever tried to call a company and get a straight answer you'll realize that there are many hours involved as well as overhead costs to get the ingredients within ingredients, which are within ingredients. And yes, that tiny bit makes a huge difference. How much meth does it take to addict someone?
#2 It does not cost too much. If you truly do not have the funds to buy a book, call Feingold and they will work with you to provide a lower cost membership. Or, don't buy a membership, just eat from the always acceptable ingredients. If you cook from always acceptable ingredients you will most likely be saving a ton of money anyway. Yes, if you buy a membership and then only eat things like Lara bars and premade organic, gluten free cookies it will cost you a ton.
#3: You could already eat good food but unfortunately much food that we think is good has petroleum and I would never have known that if it hadn't been for the Feingold program. I never knew that a great box of "organic" cereal could have BHT sprayed on the packaging or that the oil in organic cookies could be preserved. Much less, some of my previous ingredients in my all natural whole wheat bread had petroleum.
#4: It's not a fad diet. It's been around since the 70's, coincidentally at about the same time that manufacturers started using much more petroleum in foods. Moms noticed this "fad" of adding much more petroleum and they started taking "the new fad" out of the kid's diet.
#5: You are not a bad mom for medicating your child IF HE NEEDS IT. I however wouldn't let my child be medicated unless I knew I had tried another obvious and realistic option. When that didn't work, then I would consider medication.
I don't see any point in putting starter fluid in the gas tank if someone filled the gas tank with water first. You need to remove the water and then the regular fuel will work just fine.
#6: How do you know your kid does better on medication than without petroleum? It's apples to oranges. We're talking about removing chemicals that CAUSE a problem and you're talking about adding chemicals to take away a problem. I have yet to meet one person who has truly tried the Feingold diet (membership, stage 1, and no infractions) who can tell me that it didn't make a major improvement. If you can show me that mom I'd be happy to post it to the blog. She may be out there somewhere. Jane talks about knowing one in her whole Feingold career.
There we go, I've blogged it out, now I'll go sleep peacefully tonight.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
1 lb ground meat (we used venison)
1 medium potato, raw, peeled and finely grated
2 whole eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder
dash nutmeg, ginger, and allspice or 1 tsp of your favorite pumpkin pie spice mix
After about 10 minutes total mix well ...
2 c. milk
3 TBSP flour (or gluten free flour mix)
1/2 tsp salt or approved bouillon cube.
Pour this over the meatballs straight into your humongo pan. This will mix with the butter and meat juices to make a great gravy. Keep the pan covered. Either stir every once in a while or just shake your pan. I leave this for about 10 more minutes while getting the rest of dinner done.
Serve it over mashed or baked potatoes with plenty of veggies on the side.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Peanut Butter Fingers
He was in a class of six children and three teachers to deal with the behavioral challenges these children presented. Throughout the years my son was diagnosed with severe ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), along with traits of obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette's syndrome, and mood disorder syndrome. These years proved to be more difficult than I could have ever imagined.
Even before they're born, parents have so many hopes and desires for their children. I felt as though my dreams had turned to nightmares and it seemed like I'd never wake up.
Even though testing indicated that Joshua was extremely gifted, his emotional and behavioral problems kept him labeled as emotionally handicapped.
During the next seven years he was on three medications, totaling nine pills a day. It seemed necessary to keep him medicated 24 hours a day, every day. Symptoms that were treated with one medicine caused him to have trouble sleeping, so he had to take an additional medication for that, and yet another for the endless anxiety resulting from the issues he faced daily with social and behavioral problems. He had huge problems with opposition, defiance, aggression, anger, and impulsivity. The doctors tried different dosages and combinations of the medicines but without success.
He was kept medicated 24 hours a day and the problems only got worse.
Toward the end of his fourth grade year, Joshua was placed in an outpatient facility for depression, leaning towards suicidal. Children typically attended this facility for a week at the most, just enough time to be evaluated, receive recommendations for therapy, medication, behavior modification and family counseling. However, Joshua's behavior was such that he continued for five weeks.
None of the many professionals we saw were able to help him.
Time passed and problems remained despite medication and continual counseling. Two other medicines were recommended, in addition to the three he was on, but I couldn't bring myself to give my ten-year-old 5 different drugs. Towards the end of his fifth grade year he was placed in a children's psychiatric facility after he threatened to kill others and tried to hurt himself. Joshua had reached the end of his rope.
I was told that I could not see him or call him for the first 24 hours he was at the facility. As I said "good-bye" there was so much hurt behind his beautiful blue eyes, so much uncertainty of "Where do I fit in, why am I like this? When will my life be normal, and when will I feel at peace inside?"
The immense pain I felt for my child left me numb and hopeless. I wanted so badly to take him in my arms, hug him and tell him that everything would be okay, but I didn't know that to be so. I would go to the ends of the earth for him but felt as though I was already there and didn't know where to go from here. Despite all the avenues I took, all the endless hours of searching, every year continued to grow darker and darker.
The immense pain for my child left me numb and hopeless.
After several days Joshua was released from the hospital. Since the medicines were not helping, his doctor recommended we remove them all and start on a different regimen. For the remaining weeks of school he was in a homebound program where the teacher came to our home.
The doctor assured me that by weaning Joshua off the medicines slowly there would be no problems with withdrawal. The opposite was true! We went through three weeks of severely out-of-control behavior. Several times Joshua became extremely violent and I came close to calling 911 for help.
His reaction to withdrawal from the many drugs was a nightmare.
Next, I tried allergy treatments at a clinic and they helped somewhat. Still searching, I learned of the Feingold Program and that's when my son's recovery began in earnest.[www.feingold.org / (800) 321-3287]
Joshua has a severe behavioral reaction to certain synthetic food additives.
Joshua had traveled down a difficult road filled with hurt, disappointment and fear for as long as he can remember. He lost much of his childhood to this journey, but because of Feingold, Joshua has a new beginning.
Now, at age 17, we are starting our seventh consecutive year that Joshua does not carry the label "emotionally handicapped." Looking back, our success began when Joshua was in the sixth grade. It was roughly 8 weeks prior to school starting that we began the Feingold diet. Six weeks into the diet we saw dramatic changes in Joshua. Seventh grade went so well that during the annual meeting required for all students that receive "special services," the school suggested a battery of behavioral testing and classroom observations to determine if Joshua still needed the services and the label that he carried in his file. After thorough testing and review, Joshua's eight-year special needs folder was permanently closed. He no longer exhibited any signs of needing help in any form. This was truly a victory!
This is the seventh consecutive year Joshua's teachers have told me he shows respect and cooperation without any opposition. Joshua is finally able to manage his anger when things don't go his way (this feat alone was like a mountain to conquer).
Joshua no longer has trouble controlling his behavior. He is thriving in school and in all areas of his life.
His teachers view him as pleasant to be around as well as a good student. Joshua is able to remain seated for an extended period, is capable of thinking before acting, and no longer needs behavioral therapy. I no longer receive calls to come pick him up at school because he's out of control and disruptive. Joshua has been able to attend events through the school or sports where I was not required to stay "just in case there's a problem."
Joshua went a total of seven years being medicated 24 hours a day with three medications (totaling 9 pills a day, for 365 days a year) to a healthy diet and absolutely no medicine.
Joshua is finally forming strong friendships. This list could go on but the bottom line is ...since Feingold, this is the first time I like my son, and best of all HE likes who he's become.
Our life finally feels, and is, "normal." This is what we have both hoped for.
I know my son's "transformation" did not occur due to maturity, changing schools, peer pressure, a reward system, or anything of the sort. The changes in Joshua came as a result of the simple changes we made in the food we eat.
A few months after we began seeing success on Feingold, Joshua wanted to do what he called "an experiment." I allowed him to eat the synthetic chemicals (foods containing artificial colors and flavors) for a week because I knew his cooperation was essential for this to work. On the fourth day he began having rage attacks, showing opposition and defiance, just like before. He shouted at his teacher, threw a book across the room at another student, and spent a day in the principal's office.
When he went back to eating the synthetic chemicals, the old behaviors returned in four days. It was a humiliating experience for my son.
He embarrassed himself terribly in front of his peers and came home asking to ditch the experiment. This validated the fact that the diet was truly the key to his happiness and success.
During Joshua's seventh grade year he became involved in athletics and I watched with admiration as he showed dignity and self-control with each competition. Joshua demonstrated a wonderful balance with athletics and academics. In football he was cool under pressure and always showed good sportsmanship. As a basketball player, he illustrated great coordination and superior instincts handling the ball. He was awesome on the court, scoring a majority of the points at nearly every game. In track he surprised everyone when he went to district in pole vaulting and won first place. This was a sport he'd never attempted, yet he was smooth with style and grace. On the swim team, he enjoyed the meets and swam his heart out, going to district with his team and placing 2nd in several relays.
Today he is cool under pressure and treats other people with respect.
During these athletic events he demanded much of himself but was still a solid team player with a friendly approach to his teammates and competitors. He has a lot of respect for the rules and for his opponents. At the end of the school year I had the joy to see him presented with the 110% Award from his coach. This was one of the two top awards given to athletes at his school. It represented sportsmanship, hard work, self-control, dedication, respect towards coaches and peers, and overall athleticism. The coach described how Joshua was at every practice with a smile on his face and a determination to do his best, with an attitude that was hard to surpass as he showed a tremendous amount of cooperation towards being a team player. That award meant even more to us. It signified a 110% turnaround from his oppositional defiance and lack of self-control he displayed daily in previous years, and the very behavior that would have prevented such an accomplishment.
Joshua was singled out for a top honor from his coach, receiving the "110% Award."
During 8th grade, Joshua kept his academics up and continued to participate in a variety of sports. With pride, he repeated the same performance, winning district in pole vaulting. In addition, I again had the joy of supporting Joshua as he was presented with the 110% Award from his coaches at an assembly in front of the entire school. The coach stated that it was a unanimous vote from the coaching staff to award this to him once more, as no other student was more deserving. That was a remarkable compliment to Joshua and only reiterates the progress he has achieved, yet another year.
High School begins a new chapter for Joshua as he enters the Air Force JROTC
Joshua began high school in September 2003 at Klein Collins High and enjoys it immensely. A week into school, he came home and announced that he had decided to discontinue his path in sports and pursue an interest in ROTC. Needless to say, this surprised us all. However, once the initial shock wore off and I learned more about the program, I was quite pleased with his decision. I was even more proud of him for his courage to make such a drastic change in his life. At his age, change is not always easy, but Joshua has learned a great deal about making changes in his life.
A couple of weeks went by and before I knew it Joshua had gone from wide receiver to Cadet. The hair was cut, the shoes were polished and the uniform was pressed. He was on his way to making this change as successful as possible.
In ROTC, Joshua is taught many things that he will take with him everywhere in life. Such as leadership, time management, organization, community involvement, ethics, decision-making, communication skills, writing and giving speeches, just to name a few. There is also a great deal of commitment expected from the students in this program. The Colonel & Sergeant are strict with the cadets and they are held to higher standards than that of other students.
This type of program & level of commitment is not something Joshua would have ever been considered for prior to our success with Feingold, however, Joshua loves the commitment and is thriving in the program.
He was quickly promoted and was soon asked to be a part of the armed drill unit. This is a position that students are normally required to try out for after one year on the unarmed team. However, fellow cadets recognized Joshua's determination at practice and he was invited to join the unit. At that time, he was the first freshman that had ever had this experience or exception made.
He was an integral part of winning a very prestigious victory of Best in Air Force at the National Meet. Due to this, the team was invited to the 30th Invitational Drill Meet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where the armed drill team placed first in two out of three categories. He also applied and was accepted to Leadership School in San Antonio during the summer. Joshua is very proud of all the accomplishments he has had since he began the JROTC Program.
The first day Joshua wore his uniform to school was for the 9/11 ceremony. As I watched him standing at attention and saluting the flag with his unit, dressed like a soldier, so regal and confident, I was more proud of him in that instant than I think I have ever been in my entire life as his mother. Time stood still for a moment as I looked around the campus. There were so many kids dressed in teen clothes with their fad haircuts and dreamy looks of "what's for lunch today".
When I looked back at Joshua I saw the boy he had been and the young man he has become. I could see a look of pride on his face.
He seemed to stand out above the rest. His past is well behind him now, with nothing standing in the way of his future. Although he is your typical teenager in so many ways, there has always been a soldier inside of him, fighting to survive. There is an unspoken depth, determination and willingness in Joshua to master anything life brings his way.
Both tenth and eleventh grade brought their own set of victories. Joshua was promoted to command the Armed Drill Team and led his unit to two national titles in one year. He was voted Prince by his peers at the Military Ball, which spoke highly of the friendships he has formed. He was awarded with two national leadership awards: the Air Force Sergeant's Award and the American Legion Military of Excellence Award. In addition to these accolades, Joshua was one of two students selected from the state of Texas to tour with a leading global youth exchange program, Up with People. This is a unique experience for young adults that combines 22 weeks of international travel, community service and global leadership while building bridges of understanding as a foundation for world peace. In July of 2007, Joshua will represent Texas as an ambassador for the United States with an extraordinary semester of traveling the world with 100 students from over 20 countries. His extensive travel will cover 19 cities on three continents where he will meet political, corporate and social leaders around the globe. It will be a world of discovery as he learns about other cultures and countries while giving of himself.
Joshua's future awaits him with endless possibilities.
As Joshua prepares to enter his senior year in high school and then heads off to tour the world before going to college, I can hardly catch my breath as I reflect on this journey. I am so privileged to have witnessed the years unfold as they have.
Joshua will grow up to be a man of strong character and will exhibit a zeal for life that will make everyone around him a little bit better for having known him. My heart beams with pride when I see the young man he's becoming and leaps with joy as I marvel at his future.
I am hoping this story will help others become aware of the importance diet has on behavior. Perhaps it will result in giving other children a chance to live a happy "normal" life like my son now has.
Taunya Stevenson Updated 2/1/08
1/4-1/2 cup white sugar (or equivalent of another approved sweetener)
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin or 3 TBSP of bulk gelatin
1/2 cup fruit juice (fresh or frozen concentrate, 100%)
stir all ingredients in small saucepan, heat til sugar dissolves. pour into greased molds (coconut oil,butter,or approved oil), refrigerate til firm.
You can use a brownie pan or if you like the flavor, try a special candy mold. Wilton has some ideas (search gummies)
Experiment with juice, pineapple seems to pack a good flavor, I've heard someone suggest the leftover juice from watermelon.
Wilton has a "tool kit" that looks like just a squeeze bottle and a brush to clean it out with. It may be a good idea if you're doing tiny gummies to pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle and squeeze it out into the molds.
You can also dust the greased molds with white sugar for a crystallized coating on top.