How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain?

It’s amazing all the new info recently coming out from new researches and studies are changing medicine.

I recently attended several nutrition conferences and I learned A LOT of new and surprising information.

Many of the nutrition advices that we’ve been adhering to over the years have been proven ALL WRONG!!!

I’m glad these new findings are emerging because I’ve been recommending some of these advices over the last couple of years, and finally, I have evidence to support them.

One of these new concepts were intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet.

I’m a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition. There are only 2 reasons I put patients on a ketogenic diet – mitochondrial disorder or intractable seizure control. These are the only 2 medical reasons for ketogenic diet.

These conferences opened my eyes to a whole new world about the food we eat everyday. The idea of ketogenic diet for autism, Alzheimer’s and ADHD were introduced.

One of the conferences I attended was called “The Pharmacy in Your Kitchen” presented by Dr. Michael Lara, who is a neuropsychiatrist.

Dr. Lara explains that ADHD and Alzheimer’s are like diabetes of the brain cells. Because of insulin-resistance, the brain cells are not able to use glucose efficiently for energy just like in diabetes where tissue cells are not able to use glucose. The alternative source of energy, fat, which bypass the defects, seems to work very well in patients with ADHD and Alzheimer’s.

When fat is used as an alternative source of fuel, ketone bodies are made. The body’s cells may be able to use ketone bodies as an alternative fuel when glucose is unavailable. Ketone bodies do not normally circulate in the body unless it has been starving for a few days, or if one is on a very low-carb diet, such as ketogenic diet. In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance, and slowly die off… if these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.

How to Start the Ketogenic Diet for ADHD?

This is actually a MODIFIED ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet that I administer on my patients are extremely restrictive and I use a keto ratio of 5:1, meaning 5 parts fat to 1 part carb/protein.

The ketogenic diet we’ll be discussing here will be temporary and intermittent. According to Dr. Lara, all you need is 12-18 hours of fasting x2-3 times a week. If you eat your last meal at 7pm, wake up that next morning and eat first carb-containg meal at say 10-11am, you’ll have fast 15 hours.

There is this doctor, who fixed her husband’s Alzheimer’s with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil twice a day. Now knowing that skipping breakfast couple times a day is actually good for you, I’ll suggest taking the coconut oil in the morning when you skip breakfast, which means no carbs.

You can facilitate the ketosis with a high fat or ketogenic breakfast. For our purpose of ADHD focus, a cup of bulletproof coffee or caffeine-free turmeric golden milk.  Both made with coconut oil.

The caffeine from the coffee will help increase focus and concentration. The fats from coconut oil and butter will push the body into ketosis along with the overnight fast, which results in ketone bodies that the brain cells would use instead of carbs.

Get the Best Bulletproof Coffee recipe for the ADHD

What’s All the Hype with Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil has become a household item because of its multipurpose uses. You can eat it and you can wear it.

Here we’re most interested in its nutritional benefits. Coconut oil is special because of its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fatty acid profile. Coconut oil is rich in MCT oil. And there are 3 types of MCT oil in coconut oil. The one we’re most interested here is the caprylic acid because of its unique power in promoting ketosis.

By including coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid, your body will enter ketosis faster and more ketones bodies are available for the brain cells.

Get the high quality organic coconut oil here…

The Best Bulletproof Coffee Recipe for ADHD

 

The best bulletproof coffee recipe for our purpose is the one that results in the most focus and concentration.

What are we looking for?

The caffeine in the coffee help increase focus and concentration by increasing activity in the frontal cortex.

The fats from the coconut oil and butter will promote ketosis and ketones bodies to feed the ADHD brain, especially the coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid.

This bulletproof coffee recipe should be sugar-free and carb-free to maximize results, and consumed in the morning as part of the 12-18 hours fast discussed in the How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain.

Dump all the ingredients into the blender:

  • 1 cup brewed coffee (my favorite is illy for its smoothie and mild flavor)
  • 1 tbsp Kerigold organic grassfed butter
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Stevia as needed for sweetness

Blend and enjoy.

If you don’t care about the ketosis, then you can add sweeteners for taste.

The Fruits and Vegetables Story…

Fruits and vegetables feeds your body and mind

This is the fruits and vegetables story I tell kids all the time, especially the picky ones. Make sure they’re old enough to understand. Most of the time, I’d see the light bulb light up in their eyes.

Here’s my late night commercial sales pitch for fruits and vegetables…

You know why you need to eat fruits and vegetables?

Our body is a giant bag of tissues made up of living cells…37.2 TRILLION living cells in each of us to be exact.

Wow…that’s a lot of household to take care of.

These living cells are what’s keeping us alive and human.

Within each of these cells, there are hundreds and thousands of biochemical reaction happening every single seconds whether you’re running, sitting, walking, sleeping, etc.

These biochemical reactions must go on in order for our body to survive.

However, each of these biochemical reactions can only happen in the presence of either a vitamin or minerals or both. Missing any of these components, these reactions may not happen.

You know where the best sources of these vital vitamins and minerals?

Yes…fruits and vegetables!

You know how fruits and vegetables come in all different shades and color?

fruits and vegetables color wheel

What gives fruits and vegetables their pretty colors are what we call “antioxidants”. These are special cleaners for our body because our body cannot make many of them on our own.

Think of your body like a house. If you keeping bring stuff in your house everything and not clean or take out the trash, what would your house look like?

Same here with your body…if you eat junk food everyday and not have any fruits and vegetables to help clean, what would your body ends up like.

That’s why God created fruits and vegetables for human beings.

When you eat the right kind of food, meaning a lots of fruits and vegetables, you’ll have enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidant to make sure the biochemical reactions in your body function properly.

When all the biochemical reactions are function properly, that means, all your organs include your brain will function properly too. You’ll have more energy, run faster, focus and concentrate better in class, and feels happier and better mood too.

How to Start Eating More Fruits and Vegetables?

Follow a Plant-based Diet

What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut…

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut, as the words suggest, is describing a “HOLEy” intestine.

By the way, leaky gut does have a fancier scientific name – “increased intestinal permeability” or “intestinal hyperpermeability”.

In a normal healthy intestine, the cells lining the intestinal walls are glued very tightly to each other. In fact, the joining point of the cells are called tight junction, so we’re reminded that they’re tight.

The intestine is the body’s first line of defense against the outside world. No matter how clean you wash your hands, utensils, cook your food or raw food. There’ll be unwanted guests being ingested the same time.

This is where our intestines save our lives everyday as our shining armor. The intestine wall is supposed to block out everything that is harmful to our body, and selectively allow what our body needs to pass through into the circulatory system or lymphatic system. Just like a bouncer at the club entrance. No entrance if you’re not on the VIP list.

For reasons we’ll discuss shortly, the intestine lining gets challenged and the integrity of the tight junction is being sabotaged, resulting in a compromised defense mechanism and the intestinal wall become less selective of what’s allowed to cross the barrier into the blood stream.

This can be dangerous, as we already mentioned, God knows what else is in the food we eat.

With the not-so-tight junction now, anything that can fit through the gap, will enter. That means, partially digested food now can get through without being thoroughly digested. Bacteria, virus and fungus can enter into the bloodstream. Toxins from liver and bile generated from the body.

The not-so-tight junction is now free for all.

These uninvited guests trigger autoimmune reactions, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.

Leaky gut results in hepatic dysfunction and pancreatic insufficiency, which further impede food digestion and toxin accumulation, and making the gut more permeable, creating a vicious cycle of food allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic distress.

So…what happened now?

First we need to figure out why our gut becomes leaky or “holey”.

There are many possible causes of leaky gut. Definitely, anything that’s harmful to the intestines, such as chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) therapy, cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

And here’s a list of medical conditions that are associated with leaky gut

• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Infectious enterocolitis
• Spondyloarthropathies
• Acne
• Eczema
• Psoriasis
• Urticaria
• AIDS/HIV infection
• Cystic fibrosis
• Pancreatic insufficiency
• Hepatic dysfunction
• Irritable bowel syndrome with food intolerance
• CFIDS
• Chronic arthritis/pain treated with NSAIDS
• Alcoholism
• Neoplasia treated with cytotoxic drugs
• Celiac disease
• Dermatitis herpetiformis
• Autism
• Childhood hyperactivity
• Environmental illness
• Multiple food and chemical sensitivities

Leaky gut syndrome may trigger or worsen disorders such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.

And I would be wary of any diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome if you don’t have Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or asthma.

How do you know if you have leaky gut?

Having one of the above medical conditions make you at higher risk of have leaky gut. Having one of the symptoms below should increase your suspicion for leaky gut.

SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH LEAKY GUT:

• Fatigue and malaise
• Joint and muscle pain
• Fevers of unknown origin
• Food allergies and intolerances
• Abdominal pain and distension
• Diarrhea
• Skin rashes
• Toxic feelings
• Cognitive and memory deficits
• Shortness of breath

If you have one or more of the medical conditions associated with leaky gut along with a few of the symptoms above, it may be wise to consider the possibility of leaky gut.

There are tests that can confirm your diagnosis of leaky gut. Or you can just start treating your leaky gut empirically with a clean nutrient dense plant-based diet that is free from toxins and filled with antioxidants.

I would suggest the second option, if you don’t want to bother with the testing and wait.

The treatment of leaky gut generally does not involve any big gun pharmaceuticals that are loaded with toxins and dangerous side effects.

To find the right treatment, we need to first understand the causes. Otherwise, we’re just keep putting bandaids on the symptoms.

So…what causes leaky gut?

Leaky gut syndrome is generally not recognized by conventional physicians. If you ask your general physician if you have leaky gut, chances are you’ll get a funny look like he/she does not know what you’re talking about.

On the other hand, a functional medicine doctor may consider runny some tests to look for clues to confirm leaky gut or bacterial dysbiosis.

Related articles: Testing for leaky gut

The leaky gut is the manifestation of the vicious cycle of allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic stress.

Each problem feeds into the next and the cycle just keep going and your symptoms continue to get worse.

The relationship between food allergies and sensitivities and the leaky gut is complicated. The leaky gut or intestinal that is “holey” is a cause of food sensitivities because it allows anything to past through. Then, when the intestine is exposed to all kinds of allergens, the immune system is activated, mast cells are deployed and histamine is released. This immune reaction makes the gut even leakier, then more undigested food past through, then more allergic reaction. And it keeps going, and going, and going…

Now with damaged epithelial cells and really leaky gut, nutrients are not absorbed properly. As a result, malnutrition happens, which further aggravates the structure, integrity and function of the epithelial cells in the intestines.

Under normal conditions, intestinal epithelial cells dies and regenerate every three to six days. This is a very demanding task that requires lots of energy and nutrients. The malnutrition, which is the result of poor nutrient absorption from the leaky gut, would hider epithelial cell repair and regeneration. As a result, the intestinal wall continues to get weaker and weaker because the body cannot catch up with the demand to regenerate new cells.

With nutrients not being absorbed properly, the microbiota in the gut will be affected. You can imagine overgrowth of all kinds of bacterial, fungus, other organism out of proportion leading to bacterial dysbiosis. These guys are supposed to be living in harmony with each other and with our guts. When certain one species grow too fast, they overcrowds the other. Even if it’s the good bacteria that is growing too fast. Too much of a good thing is not always better.

Related article: Bacterial Overgrowth/Dysbiosis

This results in disruption of the intestinal harmony and with the now bigger organism population, we also have a waste control problem.

The liver in people with leaky has to work extra hard to remove the unusual guests that enters the leaky gut, and get rid of the toxic waste generated in the crazy overpopulated gut microbiota.

The situation is putting the liver in stress.

Cytochrome P-450 oxidase is induced and the liver starts making more free radicals. The result is damaging to the liver cells. The liver dumps the toxic free radicals into the bile, which is excreted via the intestine.

The problem does not stop here. This is just the beginning.

While the toxic bile is traveling in the intestine towards the colon and hopefully, out of the body, some of the toxin is being reabsorbed back into the system. Remember from physiology class, our body normally reabsorbs some of the bile back.

Yikes…

Not only that, the toxic bile is damaging to the bile duct, intestinal wall and it can also reflux into the pancreas, affecting nutrient digestion.

This whole scenario just feeds further into the leaky gut, making the intestine more permeable to intruders.

And the cycle keeps going.

Now that we have a better understanding of the etiology of leaky gut.

Now let’s break the cycle, patch up the HOLES and heal your leaky gut.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is another diet that aims to eradicate intestinal yeast infection by carbohydrate restriction. Elaine Gottschall introduced the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in her book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet”.

It was originally introduced to treat many severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, etc.

Over the years people have also find other uses of the Special Carbohydrate Diet, such as treating autism, ADHD, dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, speech and language delay, etc.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet suggests that many body ailments, such gastrointestinal diseases are caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast/Candida in the intestine. These harmful residents thrive on carbohydrates that are not completely digested.

Complex carbohydrates in our diet take longer to digest, and end up further down to the large intestines where bacteria and yeast lives. These undigested carbohydrates provide a good source of nutrients for these harmful bugs.

The more yeast are in the body, the more toxins the yeast produces, which are the causes of many of the behaviors we see in children with ADHD, autism, and other developmental disorders.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet works by eliminating all complex carbohydrates and polysaccharides (multiple-molecule sugars, such as lactose, sucrose, starch, etc) to minimize any undigested carbohydrates from entered the lower portion of the intestines where these harmful bacteria and yeast reside.

In the SCD only monosaacharides, which are single molecule sugars, such as glucose, fructose, galactose are allowed. It is speculated that these single-molecule sugars, because of their simple structure, are easily absorbed in the upper intestine, leaving no undigested carbohydrates that would enter the lower intestine to be used by harmful bacteria or yeast/Candida. As a result, starving the harmful organisms to death and putting a stop to toxin production.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet emphasizes on carbohydrate restriction to eradicate the harmful toxin-producing organisms in our intestines. At the same time, good beneficial bacteria is introduced through SCD’s homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheeses.

Hallmark of the Diet:

1. Avoid all polysaccharides, such as lactose, sucrose, and any complex carbohydrates. Polysaccharides are molecules made up of two or sugar units. These require special enzymes to break down the chain into single sugar units.

2. Allow only monosaccharides, such as fructose, glucose, and galactose. Monosaccharides are single unit molecules.

3. Only carbohydrates from fruits and non-starchy vegetables are allowed.

4. Honey and saccharine are the only allowed sweeteners. Saccharine is an artificial sweetener.

5. Only meats in pure unprocessed form are allowed.

6. Homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheese are allowed as a way to introduce good bacteria into the intestines. As you know dairy products are good sources of lactose, which is a two-molecule sugar (galactose and glucose). However, the fermenting processes breaks up the lactose molecules into one unit each of galactose and glucose, both of which are monosaccharides, which are allowed on this diet. Recipes are provided in the book.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

When starting this diet, you will not feel great instantly. In fact, you will start feeling really sick, which is a good sign. Yes. That’s right. “It’s a GOOD SIGN”. This is a sign that the diet is working because the yeast/Candida is dying.

Remember there is an excessive amount of yeast in your body, so when they die, all the toxins from the yeast are being released, and that’s what’s making you sick. This is called “toxic die off“.

Besides, the fact that you’re missing your sugar and carbohydrates can make you feel cranky too. Expect some ADHD-related behaviors or symptoms to worsen during “toxic die off” and there may be regression in younger children. Don’t be discouraged. After the yeast/candida and their toxins are eradicated, you will discover the improvements.

For people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein, the goat’s milk may or may not be well tolerated. Be cautious about following the Specific Carbohydrate diet if you are sensitive to cow’s milk protein. There are alternatives yogurt that can be made from non-dairy beverages, such as coconut or rice milk.

Saccharine is an artificial sweetener that some of you may avoid due to its synthetic nature. You may use honey instead.

WARNING

This is a very restrictive and regimented diet to follow. What I have here is just the surface of the diet. There are more to this diet than just avoiding sugars and carbohydrates, and eating yogurts. You’ll probably need some kitchen skills to maneuver around with some recipes.

Feingold Diet for ADHD




Feingold Diet for ADHD

It is interesting that the Feingold Diet is the diet that is specifically targeted toward ADHD symptoms and it’s been around since the 1970’s. However, it is also the most ignored diet for ADHD getting a lot less attention than the fancier Body Ecology diet or Specific Carbohydrate diets.

But the Feingold diet waits patiently to be discovered. Besides, many of the principles of this diet is being incorporated in many more popular elimination diets today.

The diet was introduced by Dr. Benjamin Feingold in 1970’s. Dr. Feingold discovered that by eliminating certain food additives, such as food colorings, preservatives, etc many of his patient’s behaviors also improved. He noticed and improvement in hyperactivity, impulsivity, compulsive actions, attention span, cognitive and perceptual disturbances, skin problems/hives, and sleep problems.

Did I mention that Dr. Feingold is an allergist? He was not a psychiatrist. He made this discovery by accident when he was treating his patients for food sensitivities.

The Feingold diet has 2 phases. During the first phase, chemical additives in food and foods containing salicylates are eliminated. Salicylates occur naturally in many plants as a natural pesticide. Salicylates are also found in man-made chemicals used in artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives and aspartame. In the second phase, that’s when you’ll re-introduce food with salicylates, but not the chemicals.

Phase 1

The Feingold diet elimination list:

Artificial food colorings – Sunset yellow (E110) (FD&C; Yellow #6), Carmoisine (E122) – Red coloring in jellies, Tartrazine (E102) (FD&C; Yellow #5), Ponceau 4R (E124), Quinoline yellow (E104), and Allura red AC (E129) (FD&C; Red #40). These food colorings are banned in parts of Europe 4 years ago. Unfortunately, FDA is the United States still considered these as safe food ingredients.

Artificial flavoring – examples are imitation vanilla flavoring or “vanillin” might originate from the waste product of paper mills.

Artificial preservatives – BHA, BHT, TBHQ, sodium benzoate – made from petroleum.

Artificial sweeteners – only aspartame is eliminated.

Corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and corn sugar – in soft drinks and other sweetened foods

MSG (monosodium glutamate, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate) and HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which contains some glutamate)

Sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate (in luncheon or cured meats) – affects brain development in young children.

Calcium propionate (in baked goods)

Salicylate-containing foods: almonds, apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cloves, coffee, cucumbers, currants, grapes, nectarines, wintergreen oil, oranges, peaches, peppers (bell and chili), pickles, plums, prunes, raisins, tangerines, tea and tomatoes.

Phase II

After elimination of most of the items in Phase I for several week, AND with some noticeable improvement, you may embark on Phase II.

In phase two, foods containing salicylates may be added back one at a time. Keep a food journal to help keep track of all food and beverage intake, and any reactions to food. Children who are sensitive to salicylates response well to the elimination period with significant improvements in symptoms.

As with any ADHD treatment, there is an adjustment period. Don’t feel despair if you don’t see improvements right away. In some children, you may even see a period of regression, which means your child is responding to the treatment. So, be patient.

My Suggestion

While doing the Feingold diet, you should also add fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid in form of supplements. Start with 2,000mg and up to 4,000mg a day of fish oil. This should be enough to get in at least 500mg of DHA.

Yes, I know eating fish is a good way of adding omega-3 fatty acid. But the amount is usually not enough. And breaded fish sticks do not cut it.

Fish oil is one of those well-studies and well-researched nutrients. And obviously you’ve seen the explosion of fish oil supplements everywhere.

Recently, I am surprised by seeing many children with ADHD being “prescribed” a pharmaceutical grade fish oil manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline called Lovaza, which is an omega-3-acid ethyl ester. The reason I’m surprised is that Lovaza is approved for use to manage high blood fat level. But these psychiatrists are able to prescribe these for treating ADHD.




Benefits of a Plant Based Diet





 

Watch Rip Esselstyn’s (author of Engine 2 Diet) TEDTalk on how the Plant Strong Diet improved the health of his fire house.

By the way, Rip Esselstyn is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. Dr. Esselstyn has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968. He was studying about how a plant-based diet can reverse chronic diseases, such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc.

No kidding…we have cures for these common killers already?! Pharmaceutical companies are not advertising it. Doctors are not believing it, because they’re trained to prescribe medications.

Anyway, watch “Forks Over Knives” documentary in Netflix, and you’ll know who Dr. Esselstyn is and what the China Study discover.

BENEFITS OF A PLANT BASED DIET

Lower Oxidative Stress & Inflammation

Studies show that high intake of whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, tea, coffee, red wine and olive oil, decreases levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, which are associated with the development of chronic disease. (Nutrition, 2004 and JACC, 2006)

In the Adventist Health Study II, a vegetarian diet was linked to lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a marker of inflammation. (Ethn Dis, 2011)

Healthy Gut/Immune System

Increasing evidence fiber-rich, plant-based diet promotes healthy gut microbiota, linked to immune support and digestive health.

EPIC study found lower rate of hospital admissions and risk of death from diverticular disease among vegetarians. (BMJ, 2011)

Brain Protection

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress lead to development of Alzheimer’s. Adherence to Mediterranean, plant-based diet linked with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (Archives Neurology, 2009)

I recently attended a nutrition conference called “The Pharmacy in Your Kitchen” presented by Dr. Michael Lara, who is a neuropsychiatrist. There was a lot of great information about “medical food” that are used for treating many conditions. One of the things that I learn is that the ADHD brain and Alzheimer’s brain behave very similarly. Dr. Lara explains that ADHD and Alzheimer’s is like diabetes of the brain cells. Because the brain cells are not able to use glucose efficiently for energy similar in diabetes where tissue cells are not able to use glucose. The alternative source of energy, fat, which bypass the defects, seems to work very well in patients with ADHD and Alzheimer’s.

The fat of interest is short-chain fatty acid in coconut oil, specifically caprylic acid.

Environmental Working Group

All meat is not created equal. Lamb, beef, pork and cheese generate the most greenhouse gases. They also tend to be high in fat and have the worst environmental impacts. Meat and dairy products requires large amount of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water and generates greenhouse gases, toxic manure and other pollutants that contaminate our air and water.

Challenges of a Plant based Diet

  • Misperceptions, such as getting adequate protein and calcium intake.
  • More food preparation required.
  • Lack of cooking skills regarding beans, whole grains, tofu.
  • Unfamiliarity with new foods, such as tofu, tempeh (Indonesian fermented soy), seitan.
  • Meeting nutritional needs.

Developing and Planning a Plant based Eating Style

Include more whole plant foods, such as plant proteins:

  • Legumes (beans, lentils, and peas)
  • Whole Soy Foods (tofu, tempeh, soy milk)
  • Nuts and Nut Butters (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, Brazil nuts, peanuts)
  • Seeds and Seed Butters (sunflower, sesame, hemp, chia, pumpkin seeds) walnut, hemp and chia good source omega-3 FA.
  • Whole grains (quinoa, wheat berries, oats, brown rice) can be good protein source (up to 11 g protein per cup, i.e. Kamut)
  • Vegetables, such as peas, spinach, and broccoli (can contain up to 6 g protein per cup)
  • Plant proteins, such as legumes, nuts and seeds, are excellent “protein packages”—packed with fiber, micronutrients, phytochemicals.

Calcium

  • If no dairy, choose total of two servings per day of calcium-fortified foods, such as plant-based milk alternatives, tofu, or orange juice.
  • Choose more dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Calcium supplement to meet daily calcium needs.

Related article: 15 Non-Dairy Plant based Sources of Calcium that Will Surprise You

Vitamin D

Ten minutes of sunlight exposure a day.

Consume vitamin-D-fortified foods, such as soy milk and orange juice, and consider a vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin B12

Available only in animal foods: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

Also available in nutritional yeasts and fortified products, such as cereal and soy milk.

Vegans should take a vitamin B12 supplement daily.

How to Start Plant Based Eating Style

Start the day right. Go veggie at breakfast or fruits and veggie smoothie.

Join the Meatless Monday bandwagon.

Shop for plants first. Instead of planning your menu around meat, plan it around plants.

If you eat meat, use it as a seasoning. Cut down on animal food intake while pushing plants by using meat as a flavoring in dishes instead of main event. Idea from indigenous diet. Great ways to reduce meat intake, but not completely giving up.

Create a plant-based pantry list. Many plant based foods like beans and whole grains are shelf-stable, convenient, and economical.

Get cooking! Plan at least one night a week to try a new vegetarian recipe. Do it with Meatless Monday night.

Keep it simple. Not every meal has to involve cookbooks and cutting boards; it can be as easy as black bean burritos, vegetarian chili, or hummus pita sandwich.

Try ethnic flair. Some cultures know how to do vegetarian meals right!

Convert your favorite dishes. Turn your favorite meat-based recipes veggie for an easy dinner solution. New family favorite.

Dust off your slow-cooker. Just throw in veggies, herbs, vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, whole grains, and dried beans; then turn the dial on.

Try plant-based dairy products. Try more plant-based alternatives for milk, yogurt, and cheese. Popular as there are many alternative choices available.

Think “yes”. Don’t dwell on what you can’t have, think about what you can have! There are thousands of choices.

Helpful tips

1. Puree, chop, or dice vegetables into smaller pieces to hide them in dishes and stuffed foods to increase taste and nutrition without the family noticing.

2. I recommend green smoothies as a way to include vegetables in diet. The chlorophyll in green vegetables and spirulina are particularly cleansing.  For convenience and cost, use frozen vegetables and add juice.

Here’s my recipe: 1-2 handful of frozen mixed greens or fresh spring salad mix, frozen strawberries, frozen mango, frozen acai, 1 tbsp spirulina, 1 tbsp chia seed, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tbsp raw honey and water. Since I use frozen fruits and veggies, I don’t add ice. Blend until smoothie. I found that the VitaMix is indeed the best blender. Because when I first started making my smoothie with the chased or flaxseed, the smoothie was grainy and I would choke on the seeds. Then, my mom bought a VitaMix for $400. I was like why does a stupid blender cost so much. When I made my first SMOOTHie (real smooth smoothie) that’s not grainy, I agree that’s $400 well-spent.

3. Warn patients that not all meat-free vegan foods (especially the packaged products) are healthy. Many are highly processed food with little nutrients. Focus on wholesome natural food made the way God intend for human consumption.

4. I always recommend my patients to eat fruits and vegetables at each meal and snack. And the portion of food from fruits and/or veggies must be greater that the starch and protein. This way you’ll be should to have a plant-based meal or snack every time.

5. Add veggies to your traditional recipes. Try adding a can of pumpkin puree to your favorite chili recipe. You can’t taste the pumpkin at all, but it boosts the nutrient profile and gives it a fabulous texture! Be creative, make homemade veggie noodles in place of traditional grain noodles. You’ll reduce your carbs intake and increase your veggie intake – killing 2 birds with one shot.

6. Buy in bulk. Purchase more when there is a good deal or when something is especially delicious. Most fruits and vegetables keep well in the freezer and then you will always have them on hand. I buy my gluten-free pasta by cases from Amazon.com. It’s a lot cheaper than buying from local grocery stores.

7. Be adventurous and try different spices and herbs! Every day is a mini food adventure trying new foods and flavors while becoming healthier.

8. On Sunday afternoons, turn on some good music and invest an hour to chop up veggies and prepare “food for the week”…This way you have “ready to go” options to get you through the week for lunches, meals and side dishes!

9. No time to slice fresh veggies for a salad? Add frozen peas or frozen mixed veggies instead. They will be defrosted by lunch and ready to top with your favorite dressing.

10. Start your grocery store trip in the produce isle. Only shop on the outside of the store. This helps eliminate most processed foods and helps your cart contain fresh foods. Fruits and vegetables should fill up the bottom of your cart.

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Essential amino acids in plant-based diet:
Complement plant food. Plant protein always missing a few amino acid (soy, spinach and quinoa). New idea is the amino acid intake throughout the day, not focus in a meal. Plant protein with lower digestibility, thus recommend increasing intake about.

Allergy to soy, nut, legumes, peanut:
Consider if true food intolerances. May introduce dairy product to meet protein needs.

 

Watch these amazing documentaries to learn more…

Food Matters

Fork Over Knives





 

Juicing Recipes for Kids




Kids love juice. No doubt about it. Look at all the brand-name juices that have popped up in recent years – Jamba Juice, Naked Juice, Lanikai Juice, Odwalla, Bolthouse Farms.

Fruits and now even vegetables are getting a lot of attention.

Over my career as a dietitian I have been telling everyone to eat the fruits and vegetables instead of drinking the juice. Even though I see the benefit of juicing, I still uphold my advice because not all juices are created equal.

We’ve been drinking Tropicana orange juice fortified with calcium for years thinking it’s the greatest thing on earth. Then one day, I realized that the orange juice are at least days old or even weeks old by the time I get it from the store, which means it is processed and pasteurized. Basically, I’m buying dead juice.

So you see why it’s better to eat a piece of fresh fruit or vegetables. They are still alive with all the vital nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes. Without all these good stuff, the dead juice basically is just sugar water. The same reason why raw milk and raw honey are better.

On the other hand, if you make your own juice from fresh organic produce, that’s a totally different story.

See, fruits and vegetables are best consumed in their whole natural form or in juice form. But I’m sure if you’re reading this because you want your child to expand his/her taste buds to more fruits and especially vegetables.

In my practice, I frequently explain to parents the reason why children dislike fruits and vegetables is more about the look than the taste.

Eating is a very sensory-involved process. It involves all five senses – look, touch, smell, taste and hearing. Fruits and vegetables by nature have very sharp colors and everyone of them have very different shapes. For some children, the shape/color can be overwhelming. Have you notice your picky eater’s preferred foods are all bland colors? –white, brown, beige, yellow.

Anyway, back to juice recipe for kids. This is where juicing comes in handy to solve your problem. You make fruits and vegetables juice, you solve the problem of vision, touch and hearing. If you mix the new fruits/vegetables with their favorite, you solve the other problem of taste and smell.

Parents would always say, “But I want Junior to eat a real fruit or vegetable.” Well, that will come later. By introducing new fruits/vegetables in a subtle way, you child is also subtly expose to the smell and taste of that new fruits/vegetables without the usual big ordeal at the dinner table. Over time, he/she will associate the taste/smell of the new fruits/vegetable in a more pleasant way. One day, he/she may ask for a piece of broccoli from your plate.

 

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First and foremost, no juice fast for the young ones. Period.

To make it more fun to drink juice, have your child help picking the ingredients, and help in the processing of juice. Kids love to help in the kitchen. Look at all those kids’ kitchen, baking set, cooking set, and toy foods.

Start with fruits and vegetables that your child already enjoy, and add new ones in small amount to the mix, so it does not alter the taste too much. Make is like a fun experiment.

My daughter the other day asked if she could bring a jar to Nutella to school. Out of curiosity I asked why because she does not eat Nutella or anything with nuts or nut-flavor. She told me she and a bunch of her friends at school are going to sample a “homemade” concoction of theirs. They are going to each contribute a food to the mixture. When I picked her up from school that day, I asked her what they made. The girls basically mixed all kinds of food that each brought, and they mixed Nutella, rice soup, fish, ginger, avocado, lemonade. Sounds nasty, right? Well, they all tried it and all agreed that it tasted “disgusting”.

My point here is: if it’s fun, they’ll try anything even if they know it does not taste good.

You can easily mix a small amount of vegetables with sweet fruit juices in a 3 to 1 ratio. Vegetable juices such as those made from spinach, watercress, kale, parsley, celery, tomato and beets are strong tasting juice. These are good for children too. If they generally don’t prefer vegetables in their diet, juicing is a great way to include vegetables in the diet.

Give fresh citrus juice during an illness, such as cold or flu. Whenever my daughter is sick from whatever bugs she gets from school, and she would not want to eat. So I would give her lots of orange juice and rice soup, just to keep her hydrated. You can try different kind of citrus juice, such as orange, lemon, lime, Satsuma, grapefruit, tangerine, etc.

These are ideal choices to get some calories in her sick little body, but also some immune boosting power of vitamin C.

You may start offering fresh juices as early as when you first introduce solids to your baby. You start with only a small amount fresh fruit or vegetable juice maybe 1oz diluted with an ounce of filtered water. It does not have to be much. Just enough for the taste.

Once your child turns 1 year old, you may offer undiluted juice. Generally, children can tolerate undiluted juice in very small amount. I would prefer that you keep your child’s juice consumption to no more than 4-8oz a day, along with consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as main source of micronutrients.

Simple juicing recipes for kids to get started. These recipes make about 1 cup juice each.

Apple juice: 3 to 4 medium
Apple-carrot juice: 2 red apples and 1 medium carrot
Apple-grape juice: 2 apples and a handful of grapes
Orange juice: 2 medium oranges
Orange –carrot juice: 1 orange and 1 medium carrot
Pear juice: 2 medium pears
Pineapple-carrot juice: 3 spears of pineapple and 1 medium carrots.

Combining different fruits and vegetables are great way to maximize nutritional value of the juice. I know parents can go crazy with making GREEN JUICE, but Junior may not be as adventurous as you might want him/her to be. So start easy, and go slow.

Enjoy this new adventure with your family.

All these recipes yields about 8-12 ounces of juice.

Power Green Juice

– 1 handful of Swiss chard, kale, spinach or a combination
– 1 pear
– 1 cup strawberries
– 1/2 lemon, unpeeled
– 1 apple, cut into chunks

ABC Juice

– 2 apples
– 1 beet
– 2 carrots
Yields one 8-12oz serving

Morning Juice

This super juice is just what busy moms and their little munchkins need to get their day started. Since pears are less allergenic than other fruits, they are great for infants and the littler set, while still delivering a daily dose of vitamin C and fiber.

– 1 pear
– 1 handful kale
– 1 apple
– 2 stalks celery

Orange Jubilee Juice

Your kids will hardly notice the carrots through the natural’s sugars from the orange and apple.

– 1 orange
– 3 carrots
– 1 apple

Shrek Juice

– 2 stalks celery
– 1 handful kale
– 2 apples

Sunrise Juice

– 1 apple
– 1 orange
– 2 carrots
– 2 celery stalks
– 1/2 lemon

Find more Juicing Recipes for Kids.




Probiotics

The Good Guys in Our Gut

What is probiotics?

The prefix “pro” means good, as in “pros and cons”. The last part, – biotics, basically means living things, such as bacteria.

So probiotics means good bacteria.

Good vs Bad Gut Bacteria

Our intestines are filthy, not clean and full of bacteria, yeast, etc. Got the picture? In fact, there are between 500-1,000 different species of bacteria in the intestines, mostly large intestines. Small intestines contains only a small amount as it is close to the acidic content of the stomach.

Let’s get back to our bacteria in the large intestines. Actually there are more than just bacteria. There are also fungi or yeast and protozoa. Of course, there are good ones and bad ones too.

Let’s start with why there is bacteria in our intestines. Who would have thought of that?

Actually, these bacteria are scavangers in our system. As we all know, we ingest food, digest food, then absorbs the nutrients from the food. These all happens in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

We always think that this is a very highly efficient system at least it has stayed pretty much the same over last millions of years with the first human on earth.

Anyway, food particles are not 100% digested and absorbed. When the leftover food gue gets to the large intestines or colon, someone has to take care of that. Just like we have garbage man who takes care of our garbage in the city.

The intestines provide the perfect environment for these critters to survive – moisture, nutrients and protection to outside threats.

The only threats they have antibiotics.

Anyway, while our intestines provide a nurturing environment for these critters, they’re also working for us.

Obviously, these bacteria are eating our leftover undigested food scraps. Here’s the difference between good bacteria (probiotics) and bad bacteria.

They both have their own very distinct diet.

The good bacteria (probiotics) prefers healthy foods, and they break down the undigested carbohydrates and produces short-chain fatty acids that our body can use for energy. Kind of like recycling, and renewable energy.

The good bacteria can also make vitamin B’s and vitamin K. And they also help with metabolizing bile acids, sterols and xenobiotics.

The bad guys feed on junk food. And you know what I’m talking about. The byproducts that they produced are harmful to our body. And some studies is showing that having a well-fed robust population of bad bacteria in your gut is the probable cause of obesity.

So how do we get more of the good probiotics guys and get rid of the bad guys?

The way I frequently explained to my families is an analogy to keeping a house pet.

We all know kitty eats cat food. And doggie eats dog food.

Since we know the good and bad guys eat a different diet. We’re going to feed more of the healthy diet that the good guys prefers, and restrict the bad guys’ diet of junk food.

When this happens, the bad bacteria will soon die because of lack of food for them. And the good bacteria will continue to flourish on the healthy food, and less environmental competition from the bad bacteria.

Also, taking a probiotic supplement is a good ways to add more good bacteria to your intestines. This will also help crowd out the bad bacteria.

Remember, taking the probiotics supplement is not enough. You need to feed your “pet” (probiotics) with a healthy diet. Otherwise, they’ll keep dying of hunger and starvation. And you’ll be wasting your probiotic supplements.

What are some good ways to add probiotics to your diet?

The best sources of probiotics are in fermented foods and beverages. It sounds quite disgusting, but these products actually taste pretty good.

Kefir. Kefir is a fermented yogurt drink made from milk. You can also get Kefir made from coconut water, if you’re allergic to milk. You can purchase your own kefir grain, and make your own kefir from organic milk or coconut water. The kefir grain can last up to couple of years.

Kefir is different from the commercial yogurt drinks (ie Danimals), which has only sprinkles of probiotics.

Kombucha Fermented tea. I think you can make your own, but I wouldn’t trust myself with this one.

Kim chee This is a spicy fermented vegetables in Korean cuisine. The vegetable is usually marinated and fermented in Korean chili pasta and salt. The most common kim chee is made with Napa cabbage. But you can also get cucumber kim chee.

Probiotics supplement Start with at least 1 billion colony forming unit (CFUs). Don’t waste you time and money with anything less.

Just a word of caution. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. That’s why a course of probiotics during antibiotics therapy is beneficial. Be sure to take the probiotics and antibiotics at least 2 hours apart from each other.




ADHD Diet that Works

ADHD Diet That Works

Before we ponder further about various ADHD Diets out there…let’s first discuss whether diets works for ADHD.

So Do ADHD diets help?

In March 2011, FDA started looking into science review of the relationship between ADHD symptoms and food colorings. Until now there are no conclusive studies or research to show that any diets are effective in treating any symptoms of ADHD.

Science or myth?

So science is telling us “no, ADHD diets do not help”. But interestingly, many referrals I received are parents of children with newly diagnosed ADHD, and would like to try diet first before starting ADHD medications.

Do parents know something intuitively?

Mmmm…

If you change your child’s diet in a good way and you notice improvements in his behaviors, then who cares what the study said.

In my opinion, after working in the healthcare field for over 10 years, scientific studies and researches only prove, at their best, what is most likely to happen to a certain population. Just because 70% of the studied population response to a certain treatment does not mean the other 30% possibility does not exist.

We all need to remember each of us is genetically different in some minor ways, that is, each of us interpret taste and smell differently, react to food and chemical differently. Thus, it makes sense that it is possible that some children are more sensitive to certain food coloring and preservatives used in processing food, and some of us just have a harder time excreting environmental toxins in our food supply.

Some of these claims of ADHD diets have to be legitimate for people to continue to talk about it and trying it despite inconclusive scientific results. Especially with how fast news spread nowadays. If none of these ADHD diets work, we would have heard enough of it by now. Besides, I have seen enough patients in my practice to say that I believe in dietary approach.

If you are willing to accept the challenge of a new diet and lifestyle and know what you are doing or have a registered dietitian, who is knowledgeable in these ADHD diets, willing to work with you, why not give it a try. That’s the only way to know if it works for YOU or YOUR children, not some research done on other children or adults.

So let’s get started in exploring different diets that may help with alleviating some ADHD symptoms.

We need to start with basic…is your child eating a well-balanced diet with 3 meals and 1-2 snacks throughout the day?

Always remember to start with a good nutritional foundation for your child. Otherwise, you’ll be just running in circles with all these ADHD treatment options.

Ensure that your children are well-fed in the morning with a champion high protein breakfast. No one can focus and think well on an empty tank. This is the simplest thing you can do to help your child start the day out right. Give them fuel for their brains so they can focus.

To understand how and what diet works for ADHD, we need to understand the Causes of ADHD – abnormal physiology of the ADHD brain or premature prefrontal cortex, systemic oxidative stress, poor food and nutrition intake, leaky gut as a result of candida overgrowth, food allergy or sensitivity and environmental toxins.

Please refer to Causes of ADHD
Based on the possible causes of ADHD, our diet needs to be nutrient-dense, free of toxins and allergens,, and rich in antioxidants that promotes detoxification, enhance immune system and reduces inflammation.

Wow…is there really a diet that does all of these?

In fact, there is…

Eat a Plant-based Whole Foods Diet

Watch Food Matters

The plant-based diet is nutrient-dense, free of toxins and allergens, and rich in antioxidants that promotes detoxification, enhance immune system and reduces inflammation.

In a plant-based diet, nutrition comes mostly from plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds.
Unprocessed whole food from various plant sources are naturally rich in antioxidants that promotes the nutrients our body needs to function optimally, supports detoxification process, reduces inflammation and immune-enhancing.

Animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, pork, seafood) are restricted as they induce inflammation, and not to mention filled with antibiotics and growth hormones. Excessive cooking or overcooking of meat produces carcinogens that are harmful to our body.

Not to mention…the plant-based diet is also animal-friendly.

Watch Vegucated

Processed foods and fast foods are avoided because these are loaded with toxins ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, food coloring, and preservatives that damage brain cells.

In fact, some food colorings and high fructose corn syrup are banned in some European countries due to the documented hyperactivity in children after consumption. We are so behind in the United States.

Organic options are emphasis to ensure the both natural ingredients without toxic pesticides and genetically altered species.

Read Plant-based Diet

What about the Gluten-free Casein-Free Diet that You Hear Everyone’s Bragging About?

Well…I would say it doesn’t hurt to try it for a while along with the plant-based diet. After all, many children with ADHD and even adults have problems with dairy and gluten.

In fact, dairy products are not even good for our body, and we don’t need dairy in our diet to get calcium.

In the book China Study, Dr. Campbell reveals that the whole dietary recommendation to have daily intake of dairy product is a scam. In fact, countries that consume the most dairy products also have the most incidences of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Dairy products can also cause liver cancer.

In my practice, I see so many constipated kids. And many parents can pinpoint the cause to dairy products.

So, yes to casein-free or better yet dairy-free diet.

Gluten-free diet is a little tricky.

I would say eliminate gluten only if your child is sensitive or has reaction to it.

The Feingold Diet is the first ADHD diet known. It focuses on eliminating artificial food colorings, preservatives and natural salicylates (a cousin of aspirin).

The Candida Diet focuses on treating the underlying leaky gut, which is the result of candida overgrowth. It emphasizes on low simple sugar and low carbohydrate intake to starve off the yeast population. Antifungal medications or herbs may be used together to facilitate the eradication of yeast.

While starving the yeast to death, you also bring in new residence, probiotics (good bacteria) and a non-pathogenic yeast, into the picture.

The Body Ecology diet encourages fermented vegetables and beverages, such as kim chee and kefir, to re-introduce beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet introduces beneficial bacteria through a homemade goat’s milk yogurt.

Low FODMAP Diet maybe used to reduce symptoms of gas, bloating, cramping and/or diarrhea as a result of excessive fermentation of fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols. FODMAP is an acronym for “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols”. FODMAPs can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and are then fermented by gut bacteria to produce gas. Current research strongly suggests that this group of carbohydrates contributes to irritable bowel syndrome and functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Interest in juicing has exploded in the last decade due to a number of books, videos that claims the extraordinary healing power of juicing or juice fast.

Documentaries such as Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Beautiful Truth have increased the awareness that many disease can be cured by simply changing one’s dietary habits. Drinking freshly made juices daily is advocated to cure many currently considered “uncurable” diseases and illnesses, such as cancer (including end stage), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Are You Ready for a Change for the Better?