Friday, August 26, 2011

Treating ADHD Naturally

ADD, ADID, and ADHD are growing problems in the United States.  Although Colorado remains to have one of the lowest incidence rates in the nation for these disorders, the overall growth of these disorders are growing at an alarming rate. Being a developmental, psychiatric disorder in children, and now adults, it affects about 5% of children world wide.
Diagnosing these disorders may be difficult as the symptoms may mimic other disorders, such as PTSD, OCD, ODD, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, among others.  Symptoms may be masked, overlooked, and even unrecognized if other disorders are present.  Caretakers, clinicians, teachers, or counselors who are not properly trained may also have difficulty differentiating the symptoms of these disorders from other disorders.  Often times, diagnosing males is often easier than females, however there is some argument as why this phenomenon occurs.  
In the U.S. medications are commonly used for behavior modifications.  Some children receive counseling and may undergo lifestyle changes as well to cope with the disorder.  In families where these disorders are not recognized, severe punishments, ridicule, and even abuse can be found.
The exact cause for these disorders is unknown, and actually may be a combination of factors which produce the symptoms of these disorders.  It is found, however, that there is a genetic component in most cases; where dopamine transmitters and receptors are less active.  One theory suggests that these genes played a part in human evolution where a nomadic lifestyle, hunting and gathering were an essential part of life.  Studies have recently concluded that the genes responsible for ADHD have been found in some nomadic tribes in Africa and offer an advantage over other more stationary tribes.
Treating ADD, ADID, and  ADHD naturally is under debate.  Although allopathic treatments, such as methylphenidates offer noticeable results, academic performance is not necessarily enhanced and often side-effects of the medication prohibits a normal lifestyle.  Addiction to medication is common.  Counseling may or may not help, but can't hurt in most cases.
Hypersensitivity to chemicals may be another cause to some of the symptoms.  Residues of cleaning agents, pesticides, and synthetic chemicals may enhance or aggravate these disorders.  Chemicals put in foods, bath and body products, and cosmetics also may aggravate or heighten symptoms.  Sodium Hyperchloride, for example, used in over 95% of American households as a cleaning agent, has been shown to disrupt brain functioning and aggravate pulmonary-respiratory diseases.
Common natural treatments for ADD, ADID, and ADHD, include diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.  Limiting food dyes, preservatives, sugars, and synthetic chemicals helps tremendously.  Stabilizing blood sugar throughout the day makes a noticeable difference in attitude, focus, and hyperactivity. Eliminating poisons and toxic chemicals  from the environment by switching to naturally derived cleaners and detergents also may help.  By increasing the amount of exercise/activity throughout the day makes a difference in most individuals; enrolling in sports, martial arts, dance, improv theatre, clubs, or other activities promotes camaraderie and allows for hyperstimulation which has a calming effect on many individuals with the disorders.
Treating ADD, ADID, and ADHD with supplements is another effective route.  Super-absorbent vitamins and phytonutrients provides the brain with supportive nutrients.  Proanthocyanidin, found in some plants including grapes, is an essential bioflavonoid necessary for eslastin and collagen production as well as proper blood vessel elasticity, and has been linked to more efficient brain functioning, including memory and mental focus.  Omega-3 fatty acids also help with cognitive brain function, as well as stabilizes mood patterns.  Valerian root has a calming effect on most with the disorders.  Ginkgo biloba has been shown to maximize cerebral circulation and enhance focus.
Other lifestyle changes, such as behavioral modification and discipline help.  "1. 2. 3. Magic" (http://www.parentmagic.com/)  and "ADDitude" (http://www.additudemag.com/topic/parenting-adhd-children/parenting-tips.html) are fantastic disciplinary programs geared toward troubled and difficult children.  Other programs, such as "Love & Logic" (http://www.loveandlogic.com/) and other traditional parenting strategies may or may not be as effective on impulsive and defiant behaviors.  Trial by error may be in order to find the perfect balance of discipline response and self preservation.
Maintaining health and happiness is best for any child, but it is extremely important for one with ADD, ADID, or ADHD.  Just remember, every moment counts.  Keeping a positive attitude is essential.  Moreover, love and respect can defy all possibilities.     

             

Monday, August 15, 2011

Protein

I recently read that the Center for Disease Control claims that Americans eat way too much protein.  But is this the case, or are we just eating too much altogether?  Nutritionists recommend that the average person eat about 60 grams of protein daily.  But which protein?  There are many different types of proteins, and the body metabolizes each type of protein differently (not to make it more confusing).  In early med school, I was taught that lean meat the size of a deck of cards, cooked vegetables about the size of my palm, and large spoonful of whole grains was a satisfactory dinner.  However, I must argue that not all people eat like this.  I sure as hell don't!  I enjoy a plethora of cuisine, including wild game, different salads, BBQ, and exotic palates such as sushi and calamari.  I can honestly say that I have tried some exotic dishes that would have the normal American's stomach turn upside-down.  
With that said, I also want to emphasize that eating for disease prevention must be an important attribute to anyone's diet, however, many Americans face the diet intervention as a consequence of obtaining a preventable disease.  I should know, I was pre-diabetic and I was put on a regimen of pills to choke on and was put on a low calorie diet to lose weight (may I add that it didn't work because calories are not the cause of obesity). 
But I digress.  Through many years of research and experimentation, I have figured out how much protein to consume and what types my body prefers.  I don't measure, I don't count, and I don't restrict my intake of protein.  Most importantly, I listen to my body's needs instead of listening to a "professional" telling me how much I need.  These are my personal rules, which can be personalized by anyone looking to slim down, prevent disease, and feel awesome.   

1. Eat protein in the morning.  Eating a plate-full of protein will level out blood sugar and help the body stay fuller - longer.  I personally like a ham & cheese omelet with fresh vegetables, or a protein shake on the go.  Limiting sugar, starches, and fruit in the morning will help your energy levels stay up throughout the morning.

2.  Eat legumes and lentils everyday.  These plant-based proteins do not cause cancer like animal-based proteins do.  Satiating a meal with a few spoonfuls of plant protein will help the body feel better in the afternoons.

3. Eat holistic meats and wild game when possible.  It is really important to eat the best meat possible from animals which are holistically raised and harvested, free from hormones, immunizations, synthetic chemicals, harmful by-products and pesticides, and only naturally fed on an open range. Wild game, which has been properly harvested can offer the best choice of meat, and help decrease cancer risk, cholesterol, and obesity.

4. Avoid animals with mercury.  Unfortunately, high levels of heavy metals can interlace with protein structures in fish and other amphibious-type animals (including some fowl, frogs, alligators).  These types of meats should be avoided since mercury and heavy metals can cause brain and central nervous system damage, liver and kidney troubles, and other damaging effects.  

5. Eat holistic meat as rare as possible.  Meats with char marks, cooked at high temperatures, can develop carcinogens within the meat.  When cooking meat, it should be cooked as low as possible for the least amount of time as possible.  A guideline for red meat is about 160 degrees on the inside, and 180 for poultry.   

     

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Once More Linked to Technology

I tried being internetless.  It really didn't work out for me.  I missed the conveniences it created, from online banking to blogging, and the interaction I had between friends on mediums such as Facebook and Skype.  I did not mind, however, the amount of time I had for other things, such as gardening, walking the dogs, and domestic chores. What happened, though, the time that was created by having no internet was used up through daily activities which had to be done the old fashioned way.  Instead of logging into my bank account to pay a bill, I had to wait until the paper version came in the mail, write a check for it, put the bill stub and check in the envelope, stamp it, and take it to the post office drop box.    
In the end, I did succumb to the demands of the fast-paced internet world.  No more traveling to the library or my parents' house to use the internet.  I can pay my bills without checks and order pizza without a telephone.  I can search for things I need to find, words I don't know, and useless trivia on a whim.  I can now talk to people without speaking and speak to people without talking.  Sure, going without internet was a bit more natural, but it certainly was not going completely green.