12/18/11

The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony & the ADHD Diet


I'm not saying I did this on my own.

I'm not saying I didn't.
When I was a baby, my nickname was “Buddha Belly.” I loved to eat. My pooch hung far beyond my diaper like an inflated kangaroo pouch. And as my mom tells it, my first hard food was not one but two peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches. (I kept whimpering until she gave me both packed lunches.)

When it comes to ADHD’rs, I find that we inhale food like few others. My uncle Michael, whose energy is similar to my own, was known in his family for emptying the entire refrigerator. Little Mary Jo Wilson (my mother) often worried that there wouldn’t be enough for her to eat.

Considering our hyperactive temperaments, it’s easy to reason why we need extra sustenance. I often forage my refrigerator for squirrel snacks between meals because my Monkey Mind can’t focus without them. And on days when I’m not particularly attuned to my eating habits, I become as crabby as the honey badger during the dry season.

We are gluttons. But only because we burn through so many calories with our fidgeting, running, playing, dancing, jiving etc… we’re forced to keep up.

For those of us with ADHD, it’s important to keep nutrition in mind. Certain foods actually support sustained focus. Check out my list below*:
1. Protein:
I enjoy my cookies as much as the next gal, but protein not only fills you up, it encourages your mind to focus. Some ADHD’rs claim that a good helping of protein does much as a dose of their prescribed medications.

2. Fish, Flax seeds, & Fatty Acids:
Studies show that individuals with learning and behavioral differences often lack Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Incorporating more EFAs into your diet can help reduce the negative effects of such deficiencies; for example, your brain’s ability to fire and receive information between synapses.

3. Vitamins & Minerals:
Included in my own morning concoction of vitamins (along with Fish & Flax Oils, see #2), Vitamin B plays a vital role in converting of essential fats into prostaglandins. As with EFAs, those of us with ADHD often lack Vitamin B3 and B6, as well as Zinc, biotin, and magnesium. Including these vitamins in your daily diet can help ease anxiety and stave of inattention.

4. Herbs:
Valerian, ginkgo, and chamomile are anti-stress, anti-anxiety herbs that promote focus and memory recall. Even as I write, I’m sipping a mug of chamomile tea instead of my usual morning coffee. Of course, as with all natural remedies, their effects have been less researched. Even if my present calm is a placebo effect from my associations with chamomile tea, it doesn’t hurt to try something that might better your mind and well-being.
*Of course, before drastically changing your diet check with your doctor to make sure you’re maximizing your nutrition & including all major food groups. 
Drat. Holiday peeps are also on that list!


Scientists are now proving that certain food additives actually encourage inattention. For more info on these, see Health.com’s article: 9 Food Additives That May Affect ADHD
(It’s too bad. I love my Cupcake Pebbles.) 

Are your eating habits similar to mine? Have you ever filched your way through an entire fridge? Comment below or write to me a WriteToJulianna






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