and FASD kids

by Teresa Kellerman

This is what I have learned about foods and how certain ones have affected the kids in our FAS group:

Pizza: Some causes a reaction and some doesn't. Depends on who makes it and what's on it. Pepperoni or sausage pizza sometimes causes a reaction because of the MSG in the meat. I try to stick to cheese  pizza for this reason. 

Note from Jodee and Liz: Different types of cheeses cause Liz reactions we have found sheep cheese or soy cheese works the best. We also make our own Pizza crust from brown rice flour and potato starch.  And our own tomato sauce. Liz cannot tolerate wheat and gets violent throbbing headaches when she eats anything with wheat or corn syrup this includes many tomato based products. We try to stay as close as possible to a wheat free and gluten free diet.

Chocolate candy: If the chocolate milk and chocolate icing were okay,  then it's probably not the sugar, but the additives that are in the candy. Solid chocolate can contain artificial colorings and flavors and maybe other additives. Check the labels.

Note from Jodee and Liz: Chocolate without milk products may be okay. Also check what else is in the chocolate.

Sweet drinks: Drinks like Hi-C, Gatorade, juice "cocktails" and other packaged fruit drinks are usually packed with additives, including artificial colorings, and have very little real juice. I only buy the Dole 100% fruit juices. Some soft drinks have lots of additives that might set our kids off. Fortunately, Johnny is not affected adversely by soft drinks, and does better not worse with a Mountain Dew, which is packed with sugar and caffeine. But, if he has a particularly bad day with no impulse control and an "attitude," I can usually go to the garbage container in his room and find one or two empty diet drink cans. The NutriSweet really sets him off, so this is absolutely off limits for him. I know there is a lot of controversy over NutriSweet (aspartame), and from what I have seen of the research, I think there is enough to the suspicions to be very careful about letting our kids have it.

The THREE biggies that I really try to avoid are:

  • MSG (fast food hamburgers and other prepared foods)

Note from Jodee and Liz: We have found that wheat, dairy and corn syrup were also our hidden biggies. Unlike John, Liz does very poorly with caffeine. Each child will be different.

There are lots of other things that might affect individual kids, but these three seem to be the worst for the most. I propose a challenge to parents whose kids will be home from school for an extended period, where you have more control over what they eat: After Christmas, throw out all the candy (that is FULL of artificial flavors and colorings), stay away from restaurants, cook from scratch, read your labels, and watch and see if there is a difference.

Then if you are really brave, do this:

Give them a McDonald's meal with a hamburger and a diet coke, a box of artificial juice, and watch their behavior during the following 24 hours. Just be sure they are at home where they can be safe from the reactions they might have.

Teresa in Tucson, AZ - mother to John -FAS, 22
Coordinator, FAS Community Resource Center

May our journey be a blessing to your home life also.

You'll make it and you and your family will feel better.

one meal at a time....

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