Butterfly grew up with food intolerances and was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger's
Syndrome, and learning difficulties. Now she struggles with OCDs.
This is the story of how we have faced these challenges.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Feingold Cookbook and Sleep

It was after I started using recipes out of the Feingold Cookbook that our lives took on a slightly saner pace. There were a few times when I actually got Butterfly to take an afternoon nap, something that usually just didn't happen. One time she fell asleep on my lap as I was reading to her. I actually hadn't noticed, except it seemed strange she was being so still. Butterfly was never actually still. She was snuggled into me and I couldn't actually see her face, so I just kept reading. It was Hubby who walked over, had a good look at her, and told me she was asleep. It certainly explained her stillness, but I had trouble believing it all the same. But, I gently laid her on the couch and covered her up.

Another time she fell asleep on the couch, I'd been explaining the fogginess of the windows. It was late fall and it was blowing cold outside. I wondered if I'd actually bored her to sleep and pondered what other bits of educational information I could bore her with another time. She was still snoozing when her dad came home. As he stood over her, marveling that she was really sleeping, she woke up, rubbed her eyes, sat up and looked at the windows. Then pointing, she said, "look Dad, condensation."

The look on his face was hilarious. He said later it was amazing enough to see her napping, but she woke up with a bigger vocabulary than his. She was two, and yes, the sparkle was starting to come back. We got glimpses of it, here and there.

Butterfly napped on those occasions because she wasn't in reaction. She was just Butterfly ~ the little girl who liked to have tea parties and do arts and crafts. Butterfly who was learning to count. Butterfly the bright, curious little cherub. But many other times, it was difficult for Butterfly to sleep at any time of day. During the afternoon I would read to her, or rock her and sing her favourites songs, like Piano Roll Blues or Teddy Bear's Picnic. Or I'd make up silly tunes ~ Butterfly has sunshine in her pockets, Butterfly has rainbows in her shoes, Butterfly has birdy friends in the sky above, and all the sunshine a little girl can use. ~ Her dad and I took turns rocking her at night. Hubby often sang to her too, in French, and that often did the trick.

If she wasn't in reaction, she'd go to sleep fairly quickly, like any tired kid would. But if she was in reaction, we could rock her for hours, spelling each other off. And when she finally did sleep, she would be up again in 20 minutes.. like clockwork. At first we thought she was just waking up again. But so often she'd get up on the wrong side of the bed and bump into the wall. Her eyes were open, but glassy. And she didn't seem to want anything, like a glass of water or a trip to the bathroom. After a while of this, we realized she wasn't actually awake. Our daughter was a sleep-walker ~ at least, when she was in reaction she was. So we just rocked her some more, then put her back to bed. Just another bit of craziness in our already crazy lives.

Once again, the only thing to do about it was to keep her out of reaction. The thing is, experimenting with food means experimenting... and not necessarily being in control of the outcome. It was my mom who found spelt flour and brought it to us, and it turned out that Butterfly could have it with no ill effect. Yes! An experiment with a happy ending! I learned to bake with spelt, making yeast bread, quick bread, muffins, crackers and more. Oh, it wasn't as simple as writing about it is. Spelt is tricky. But after awhile, even cakes and cookies were possible. I had been using rice cakes and crackers, which I didn't abandon, but the spelt gave us more to work with, including a new kind of pasta.

Often we would eliminate one culprit from her diet and see improvement, only to realize there was still something getting to her. Using the reference material we'd gotten hold of, including Feingold's books, we took all artificial colourings, then flavourings out of her diet. Since all this happened, I've figured out that kids probably shouldn't consume anything containing propylene glycol. This is found in most colourings and flavourings, as well as many other foods, and is used as a stabilizer in medications, including Ritalyn. In my humble opinion, it is the propylene glycol that's responsible for most of the side effects attributed to Ritalyn. But I'm not a doctor. I'm not a scientist. I'm a mom. Read into that what you will.

Armed with our arsenal of resources, spelt flour, determination, patience and love, we kept struggling to get it right and give our little girl a healthy life.

Pictures above: dress up time; that window that fogs up and Butterfly's duck duck goose.


  1. It took me 5 years to realize Goose was reacting to Red.

    It took me 8 years and a chance meeting with a chiropractor online to learn about Feingold.

    She is now almost 10 and I still don't have it all figured out.

    The sleep issues- been there, done that. The lack of naps, ohhhhh how I have been there. It was all I could do to get through the toddler years, and the the ones beyond were the same but with a bigger and more intelligent (and therefore more manipulative) child when she was having a flare-up.

    I am so glad you figured some of these things out so early. You saved yourself a lot of grief (and saved her!) What an awesome mama you are to have trusted your instincts so well.

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  3. I had the help of that great allergist my doctor actually tried to talk me out of seeing. But I went, and the list of reading material he gave me opened my eyes to what I was dealing with. And of course, those books led to others. I was getting a "big picture" that was disturbing, to say the least. But yes, I took his advice and listened to my instincts. Had to.. there were too many people giving me advice who didn't have a clue. ;o/ I don't know what would have happened without that allergist.

    (Note: above deleted just to fix some things.)