Anna Tai, RDN, CSP

Anna O. Tai, RD, CD, CSP.

I’m an entrepreneur passionate about improving your health. I’m a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition. I love spending time with friends and families, playing tennis, golfing, standup paddling, hiking, and volunteering in the Hawaiian paradise. And life is great in Paradise.

Dear reader,

Congratulations on taking a proactive step in helping your child achieve his or her fullest potential. I am hoping with this website, I can empower you with information to make the best treatment choices for your child by better understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.

I am a registered dietitian with a board-certification in pediatric nutrition. I specialize in children with developmental disorders, such as autism and ADHD, genetic disorders, inborn errors of metabolism, cystic fibrosis and other childhood diseases. Basically any children with very complicated and unusual health issues.

My interest in the complementary and alternative nutrition started when I stumbled upon a book on natural medicine and it talks about the lobbying of pharmaceutical companies, and how they dominated the whole medical world with their drug money, brain-washing the medical students and medical doctors that their drugs are the only treatment to all kinds of illnesses.

I grew up in Macau, a tiny, dainty city in southern China. There is no health insurance. We have both Chinese medicine and Western medicine. I used to be sick all the time when I was little (my dad was a smoker). My parents would take me to our family doctor, who does not take any medicine insurance. We would pay a small fee for the visit, which included the exam and medication.

Chinese people are very proactive in taking care of their health. We don’t rely on other people to tell us what to do when we are ill. People in China and even many parts of Asia rely on herbs for health promotion and sometimes for their ailments. My mom and grandmother always make “special soups” made with different herbs, such as ginseng, red dates, goji berries, etc. Their reasons for making us kids take the soups is always - “it’s good for you”.

Because there is no free medical or what-so-ever, we want to be sure that we stay healthy and not get sick and end up with big medical bills, which the individual or the family is solely responsible.

Now that I have lived in the United States for many years, I start to wonder why people in this country are sicker with more illness despite all these health promotion products, medical insurance, advance medical technology and pharmacology, treatment, and all the fancy that science has brought.

Obesity in both adult and children is still on the rise. Heart diseases, stroke, and cancers are still killing people everyday. If you think about all this, it makes me wonder if all these medication are necessary. All medication carries side effects. I see patients everyday in the hospital on loads of medication, one pill for each symptom (sometimes 2 or more) – diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, swelling, infection, constipation, pain – the list goes on and on. How are these medications affecting the person. Most medications are synthetic chemicals man-made in a lab.

Almost all the kids that I see in my practice who have constipation are on miralax. Doctors get so used to prescribing medication on a daily basis for anything under the sun, they are giving them out like free candy. Miralax is a very safe and gentle laxative. Still, it is only treating the symptoms, and not the underlying cause.

Without getting to the root of the problem, that means the constipation will continue. So you continue to give miralax for the rest of the child’s life as long as the constipation persist? I see the same thing for reflux too. If you read the labels on many reflux medication, it says do not use for period greater than 2 weeks. I know of many infants and toddlers who are on reflux medication for years.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say current medical practices or medications are bad. I am on chronic medication myself. There are definitely situations where western medicine reigns supreme.

All I’m trying to say is that there is room to work with integrative or functional medicine. Western medicines are great with reversing undesirable symptoms quickly. However, integrative or functional medicine helps to get to the root of the issue.

Research and studies have shown that many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancers, are the results of chronic inflammation in the body. Of course, no body read those articles when the drug companies throw our multi-million dollar ad campaign (which sometimes include freebies and open-bar "functions" for physicians) on new cholesterol drugs, new diabetes drugs, new blood pressure drugs. Who cares if there is a diet that can reduce your risk of all these chronic illness.

I am hoping with this informative website, I can help people understand that our health is in our hands, not necessarily our primary care doctors or pediatrician. I know a lot of people feel entitled to medications and medical treatment because of their insurance coverage or sometimes welfare status. However, just because we have these medications and procedures available does not mean we need to use it.

We need to think what is best for our body, our mind and our future. Even though many of the alternative treatment of ADHD discussed here are dismissed by the medical society, don’t be discouraged. There are many research and studies out there that supports these. It just takes time for people to change their mindset.

Take your time to find a pediatrician who is open-minded and willing to work with alternative therapies. You want to work with only people you trust and feel comfortable with asking questions. Trust me. Not everyone with a “MD” or “DO” credential practice the same type of medicine. Look at Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Mehmet Oz. These are all properly trained medical doctors who choose to practice “Functional Medicine” or “Integrative Medicine”.

The good news is many medical centers are seeing the benefit of integrative medicine, and many are adding such department into their arsenal of treatment options. Next time when your doctor suggests a medication and/or medical procedure, ask many questions, do some research on your own, and get second opinion if you have doubts before you agree to proceed.

Your medical team (note that I use “your” medical team?) work for YOU. YOU need to ask questions, demand answers and explanation why each procedure is needed. Don’t be intimidated because you don’t understand any medical jargon. ASK anyway. That is the job of YOUR team.
If you feel bad asking your doctor all kinds of questions. Look at the bill from your doctor's office next time and see how much they charge for that 5 minutes he or she spent speaking to you.

As your child’s advocate, you should be driving your own metaphoric train to help your child focus and functional in school activities. Don’t rely on your doctor or medical team. You need your child best and more than anyone else.

Your medical team is there to provide information, testing and support. And you ultimately make all the decision, saying “yay” or “nay” to various suggestions and recommendations.

A lot of heart ache and lives can be safe just by being an informed patient, not to mention the financial incentives. Knowledge is power.

“Let Food be Thy Medicine. And Thy Medicine be Food.” Hippocrates.

Aloha with love,
Anna Tai