Last year my friend Katie from Kitchen Stewardship went to a local bookstore to hear an author speak. I watched her tweets fly by during the event and was completely sucked into a lecture that I wasn’t even attending. She later interviewed Kelly Dorfman about her book What’s Eating Your Child? The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments and I immediately checked it out of the library after reading Katie’s post.
Then I renewed it. Then I renewed it again, and still wasn’t finished. I read quickly but this book is dense with information and like eating a rich, heavy meal; I simply had to take breaks to digest it. My library fines were approaching the purchase price of this book and I felt bad about hogging it, so I ended up buying a copy for myself.
She starts right away by asking (and answering) the question, “How important is nutrition, really?“. Very important, it turns out. While doctors may reassure us that reflux, ear infections, and learning problems are normal; Dorfman asserts that they aren’t. These conditions can often be dealt with nutritionally; and she quickly assures us that this is not a book that “makes you feel bad for not raising your own chickens“.
And it really isn’t. By becoming a “Nutrition Detective” to uncover clues about your child’s ailments, you can solve many mysteries about the chronic health conditions affecting more and more kids. Dorfman attributes much of this increase in Genetically Modified Organisms. In a complete boost to my encouragement for this blog; she mentions that Sensory Processing Disorder (along with many other conditions) can be affected – positively and negatively – by a person’s diet.
In a particularly challenging (for me) section, she addresses picky eaters. How to handle them; why to handle them, and when to handle them. It’s worth winning the ‘food fight’ with your kids to get them to eat healthy. One bit of her advice for not letting kids eat junk? Don’t have it in your house. DOH! Dorfman also gives specific strategies for encouraging, firmly, that kids try new foods. I knew when my son took a bite of tomato a few weeks ago after using one of her methods for a week that she was on to something.
The book is full – I mean really full – of information, but it is presented via stories of patients she has helped. It’s a great context for learning her principles of “Nutrition Detective” because it’s a real person, with a real story instead of a bunch of statistics jumbled together. The thought of implementing some of the dietary changes she advocates is overwhelming, but she sufficiently equips her readers for the journey and sufficiently scares them from inaction.
The number of children mis-diagnosed with or unnecessarily medicated for behavior and mental health disorders is astounding. She tells of one child who was thought to be Bipolar by several psychologists; but was simply suffering from a particularly aggressive case of Celiac Disease.
That’s frightening. GMO’s are frightening. Our food supply and governing agencies are frightening. I needed the Nutrition Detective principles in Kelly Dorfman’s book to design a plan of action for my son, and the factual information to make it happen. I wish there were specific product recommendations for some of the supplements she recommends and more recipes; but I cannot imagine how big the book would have to be in order to include that information.
If you have a child with anxiety, ear infections, autism, speech delays, temper tantrums, rashes, hives, eczema or any other childhood ailment it is worth checking to see if your library has a copy of What’s Eating Your Child? The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments. You might very well find out you want one all for yourself, too