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ADHD…or just an allergy?

With school starting next month, I find this is a topic desperately needing attention.  Did you know that allergies can cause the same symptoms as ADHD?  So much so that according to a NPR article, “64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food.” That is a really big statement.  Apparently researchers (along with many others) have figured out that changing kids diet, after a few weeks, had a dramatic effect and noticed “marked changes in behavior “.  In fact, the article said “they were flabbergasted,” at the results. Flabbergasted!!!  Wow, that’s huge.

They also said in the article, “We have got good news — that food is the main cause of ADHD”, and now we know. I know it’s not 100 percent, but isn’t that enough to make a change and see if that helps before we medicate? I know it’s not easy, but it certainly can’t hurt to try.

So now if you suspect your child has ADHD or a food allergey,  what can you do?  The best (and cheapest) way is to begin an elimination diet.  Begin by elimiating possible causes such as sugar and food color.  In addition, read the following articles to get start your education process.  If you still want more information, just do a search on “ADHD elimination diet” and you’ll be sure to find multiple articles.

If nothing else, be sure to add omega-3s (many kids with ADHD may be deficient in it), remove the sugary treats and processed foods, and eat plenty of protein, especially at breakfast before school. Who said chili spaghetti or sloppy joe is just for dinner?

Alright so on to the fun stuff!   I was first going to post this recipe talking about the top food allergies (eggs, soy, wheat, dairy, yellow corn and nuts) that children tend to have, but then somehow I ended up writing about what I learned about ADHD awhile ago.  Hmm, okay, so maybe I’m not the ideal person to talk about ADHD, but at least I eat well for it. Can you imagine how bad off I’d be if I didn’t eat how I do?? That’s a scary thought.

Anyway, we made these yummy dairy-free and nut-free treats for a friend’s son who has both dairy and nut allergies and they turned out ahh-maaaaz-ing!!  We may be fortunate enough to not have allergies in our family, but I can tell you, we will still be making these again.  These rich, need-a-sip-of-almond-milk-after-each-bite, brownies rocked! Mmmmm. My mouth is literally watering right now.

Here’s what you need for dairy-free, nut-free brownies:

  • 1 cup dark (70 percent cacao) chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup vegan palm oil shortening
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar (or 3/4 cup and 15 drops stevia)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut flour

Here’s what you need to do:

1.  Start by melting the chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat, then add shortening and stir until completely dissolved and then remove from heat.
2.  Next,  blend in eggs, palm sugar (and stevia), vanilla and salt to mixture in pan using a handheld mixer
3.  Blend in coconut flour until smooth.
4.  Pour into a greased 8×8 inch Pyrex baking dish
5.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, allow to cool and devour!

By the way, for what it’s worth regarding this ADHD post, coconut sugar is a natural sugar with a low glycemic index so in moderation, it shouldn’t affect anyone negatively.  And as always, I used 70% cacao for the chocolate.  But, for those caffeine sensitive, this might not be the ideal snack.  But hey, at least it’s summer. Maybe start the elimination diet after these brownies…


  • Catherine Williams - Thank you so much for the links on the way foods can affect a child with ADHD. Many think im crazy when I say my oldest cannot have something that the others can. While we have not removed all the “junk” food in his life we have removed one that we noticed affected him the most and are working on others. Red food coloring makes my child CRAZY! Many would be shocked to find out how many things it’s in that you don’t realize! And the protein but you mentioned for breakfast also is very true. I have lived with ADHD for 7 years and it can be a bear but everything is worth a try if it helps! Off to look into the omega 3’s you mentioned!!! CatherineReplyCancel

  • kristie - I am so glad you posted this. My son will start 1st grade this year. Last year we were having behavior problems with him in Kinder. When we finally met with the teachers, they skirted around the topic of ADHD and hinted that we might wanted to get him tested. I immediately got on the internet b/c I just *knew* that this was something that could be treated with a change in diet. Most of the websites I read screamed PROTEIN. We started giving him eggs instead of cereal in the morning and eliminating breads from his lunch…I can’t tell you what a difference it made in his behavior at school. I started eating paleo/primal in the last 3 weeks and have had such great success that we are going to transition my family of 4. I can’t wait to see what kind of results we’ll see in my son. And thanks for the cinnamon muffin recipe:) I made some tonight and can’t wait to try them!!ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Kristie, thank you so much for posting. I loving hearing stories like yours and think so many can learn from your experience! Good for you for figuring out how to help your son feel his best and do better in school. I bet it feels , doesn’t it?? 🙂 And the changes you made will not only affect him in school, but also in other ways for the rest Of his life!!! Thank you again for sharing your story! I wish y’all well and continued success on your nutritional journey as well! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Thanks for posting this. Food allergies and sensitivities are really common, but can easily go undetected when not associated with a major reaction. I’ve witnessed first hand how a change in diet has helped my 4 year old. I wish more people were more open to changing their children’s diet – like you said ” what to you have to lose?” Love your blog. The brownies look amazing, can’t wait to try them out!ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Thanks so much for sharing this Lisa!! It’s amazing the difference the diet can make! I’m so happy it’s working for your 4 year old!!ReplyCancel

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