Journey

I Tackled My Daughter’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Issues By Going Back To Natural Foods

Prashanthi was upset to hear that her daughter should visit a psychologist for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She began researching & talking to people around. She learnt the impact of artificial ingredients laden packaged foods on health. She began making an effort to know the source of food she buys, so that she can minimise negative impact of commercialised agricultural practices. Switching to a whole plant based diet & eliminating processed foods from the diet helped her overcome her daughter’s issues. Here is her story.

Prashanthi Atluri
40 years, Cardiologist
USA

Hello all – My name is Prashanthi Atluri, mom of two young, energetic, funny girls – 12 and 6, I am a Western Medicine trained cardiologist working in the US. I want to share my story- my story as a mom who opened up her eyes to the corrupt food industry, chemical pollution of our kids’ diet and how our kids are getting hurt by eating that fake food.

My daughter’s concentration issues in school

My journey for health and well-being began when I got a phone call from my daughter’s first grade teacher in 2012 fall asking me to come and meet her to talk about my daughter’s learning issues in class. Teacher suggested me to look into why my daughter was having problem focusing, concentrating and not able to finish her tasks. She said may be my child needs to be evaluated for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).That’s around the same time my husband asked me to look into Feingold diet program (as suggested by his colleague whose son was also grappling with similar issues) as a way to help my daughter. I started researching online about Feingold dietand postponed visiting psychologist. Borrowed few books from library, the next few weeks that followed was a big life changing experience for me!

Artificial ingredients are bad for health

All those years my life was very busy and hectic with medical training, kids and family – I was just eating and feeding my family what everyone around me was eating, shopping at the same stores for produce that were introduced to me when I first moved to the US. Once I read more about Feingold Diet which focuses on artificial ingredients and how humans react to them, that opened up Pandora’s box of global food industry scandals, health epidemic and the crisis and how we are being gobbled up by ignorance! The Feingold diet is designed to help kids with symptoms of ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities. This diet involves leaving out artificial food colouring or sweeteners, preservatives and some fruits and vegetables ( apples etc) out of child’s diet to help with focus and behaviour ( essentially if we don’t know what it is and if we don’t use it in daily cooking – don’t eat it!)

Know the source of your food

I grew up in a farming community in South India, my father used to grow most of our grain or buy them from reliable sources in my village. So for me just tracing back where my food came from and learning about farming practices became my first priority. During this extensive search I read Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan which gives a very detailed image of corporate agriculture, GMOs, pesticide and herbicides. All this helped me put together how chemical laced, toxin filled food made my daughter have poor nutrition and food allergies that put her health and learning at risk.

With this new awakening I started looking at each and every item in my pantry – we stopped buying any kind of processed (junk) food, started getting supplies from organic/ health stores, collected information about local farmers, went to their farms, asked around for their practices, did lots of cooking from scratch and went back to in depth traditional cooking.

Doing the difficult food transition for kids

In the past breakfast used to be cheerios, fruit loops, chocolate milk which was easy to pour out and kids ate on some days, put it in sink on few days but essentially they were eating a worthless, nutrient depleted, chemical food. Then their school lunch was through school which was one more worthless meal and this vicious cycle continued. Any day I tried to break free from that toxin junk and offered a decent home cooked meal, there was a big war of resistance, tantrums and throwing up. At the end I used to give up and resort to my old, unhealthy ways!

But when I realized what was going on, I set my foot down, took the girls for grocery shopping, made them buy healthy alternatives they liked and started making meal with the ingredients they bought. Slowly I got them involved in cooking; they would prepare batters, taste it and bake with them. One simple step at a time I was able to clean up their diet. Now we meal prep ahead, pack our lunches to school and work, watch lot of healthy plant based cooking shows together, and make a nice dinner with what we liked in those shows.

During this entire process (took me 6-7 months to transition my kids to whole plant based with zero processed food) I started noticing how my family’s health has improved a whole lot. My daughter is no longer having issues with focus in school. School is one of her favourite places to be these days. She is doing very well academically and socially.

The journey continues

This whole process is an ongoing process, any day she eats any chemical junk (at birthday parties or playdates) she will have issues with stomach cramps and irritability once she is home. She tries to eat more fruit, eat a big meal at home and take her own snacks to these events, but sometimes we don’t have too much control. At home meal times became more enjoyable; cooking was no longer a boring task but a fun chore! And my daughter felt a whole lot better, all issues in school resolved and she turned a new leaf!

We did a small kitchen garden with the help of my in-laws and parents that grew bigger in the past 6 years, started composting and we grow decent amount of summer and fall produce organically.

I started getting involved more in social media, following naturopath /holistic experts about Food as Medicine, this opened up my avenues to natural living. Documentaries on animal products - What the health and Forks over knives were helpful to make a well informed decision to quit dairy! After we stopped dairy, we noticed feeling more energetic, clearer skin and no more constant phlegm issues when my kids were down with cold.

I’m a cardiologist & believe food is medicine

I am applying this holistic approach to my practice now. My patients at the end of every consultation get to hear - no more sodas, drink plain water, no more fast foods, cook from scratch, eat lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, let go animal products, grow some produce and get lots of morning and evening sunshine! Lot of them already started decent results especially with BP control and glucose control just by stopping sodas and eating out fast foods. We have a seed bank in clinic where we give out moringa, greens and beans seeds to encourage home growers. One day I hope to write these messages on prescriptions and they no longer need to refill their medicines.

I dream about starting a large, organic permaculture farm that helps me provide home to rescued animals, heal my patients with food as medicine, help them be empowered to take care of their own health!

I like everything I do. Love reading books on any topic, always want to talk heart to heart on issues that matter the most to every being on the planet, like to tell folks about chemical free, organic living, animal rights and extremely passionate about warning folks about global warming, anti-plastic activist and an educated opposer of vaccines.

Eat food as medicine! Or else we end up eating medicines as food!

(About Prashanthi Atluri: Prashanthi is based out of US and is a cardiologist by profession. She loves reading books in her free time.)



Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food and lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. Wellcure believes that each human body is unique and hence no Health Journey should be construed as a "cure". The views expressed by the user in the above Health Journey are his/her personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.


03:54 PM | 31-07-2019

I agree. My sister's daughter too has the same problem eating all ready made foods. junk foods,Age 4+ has lots of learning problem in school, home. but my daughter Age 2+ is learning better than her. I go for all organic & home made food only for me and my child. Not even biscuits I gave her.

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10:32 AM | 29-07-2019

Such an inspiring story.
Hopefully more people will take cue from it.

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08:00 AM | 27-07-2019

Great reality shared...any advise for similar concern in India...

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Ajay Madan

06:31 AM | 30-07-2019

Hi Anju, that's heartening to read...

Anju Chhabra

10:39 AM | 29-07-2019

Hi Ajay,
I had a similar experience when I worked personally with 20 "ADHD labelled "children from a school in Bangalore. Changes in their diet to a whole plant based one brought about a phenomenal change.


10:37 AM | 02-07-2019

Great story. I look forward to your farm. Do share whenever you start

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10:42 PM | 30-04-2019

Really a great transformation of health for your Daughter by following natural way of healthy habits in food. Wish you all good luck and people like you are great example of great living by just following Nature cure.. stay blessed.

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02:35 AM | 05-01-2019

Thank you all. I shop at Whole Foods, local farmers and Costco ( occasionally) and I get most of what I need there. For Indian spices I get mantra brand or get them from India when we visit India.

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06:37 AM | 04-01-2019

Wow, its eye opening... whichborganic stores you found have organic food?

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02:41 PM | 24-11-2018

Hi it's so wonderful to know your story. May God bless you and your daughter

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