Family Magazine

What's Eating Your Child?

By Thismomloves @ThisMomLoves
Food Week will soon be wrapping up here at This Mom Loves (collective "awwwwww"!) and I wanted to share a fascinating book with you.
"What's Eating Your Child?", written by nutritionist Kelly Dorfman, reveals the hidden connections between nutrition and chronic childhood ailments (recurrent ear infections, anxiety, ADHD, stomachaches, picky eating, rashes, sleep issues, growth problems, etc.) and offers parents solutions.
As the back cover reads: "Why treat your child with drugs when you can cure your child with food?"
What's Eating Your Child, by Kelly Dorfman
I was a bit skeptical at first, as I was worried that the book would be a little too "Eastern-Medicine-y" for me, but that's not at all the case. The underlying point is a good one: yes, medicine can treat certain issues, but if you can go back to the cause of the problem and eliminate it, why wouldn't you?
As a teacher, I almost always see huge improvements when a student diagnosed with ADHD takes medication. However, I'm no drug pusher. I would be even more thrilled if a nutritionist could solve the problem without requiring a prescription pad.
While I'd like to doubt some of Dorfman's findings, her case studies and science speak for themselves.On the website for the book, Dorfman explains that while many informative nutrition books existed before hers, many of them were boring. Her goal was to write a book that would be not only useful but entertaining. Mission accomplished: her book is overflowing with nutritional information, but also engages the reader with real-life anecdotes and humor.
Some of my favorite points: 
  • "We eat fast food because everyone else does...By showing continuous images of busy modern families grabbing burgers on the way to soccer practice or eating together at the local fried chicken establishment, the fast food industry has successfully defined the norm, and helped pattern our behavior."
  • Studies of identical twins with different diets have shown that picky eaters may have lower IQ's {I take offense to that one, although I have no twin to help me disprove it.}
  • The difference between food allergies (which by definition cause a histamine response: itching, swelling) and intolerances/sensitivities
  • Dorfman does recommend multivitamins for children, but avoid artificial colours and gummy-style multis which often lack B-vitamins.
  • She is also a supporter of using Melatonin to help kids sleep (and note: it is not addictive, as it is a hormone which should be naturally produced in the brain. Taking a supplement just adds the extra that a particular child - or adult- may need to trigger sleep.) By the way, I've tried it for myself, and it works!
Here's the quote that hit home with me the most, as a "healthy" picky eater with a daughter who is a "healthy" picky eater:
"Nature is not wasteful. Everything you eat is expected to have value, and to get 100 percent function, you need to 100 percent of the diet working for you. If 20 percent of your diet is made up of empty sugar calories, then you're operating on 80 percent." Defensively, I think my little girl and I are just fine. However, how much happier, more energetic, and brainpower-boosted could we possibly be if we could function at even a higher level? Definitely food for thought. So to speak.
The one aspect of Dorfman's book that I know I cannot adopt is her "EAT" program program for picky eaters. "E" and "A" are fine: Eliminate irritants and Add foods one at a time, but I struggle with "T": Try one bite of this food each night for two weeks. Dorfman stresses that this can be difficult on parents, and offers scripts and reward ideas for getting through it, but speaking for myself, I would be traumatized if someone forced me to take even one bite of something that I knew I did not want to eat.
That one sticking point aside, the book is very detailed with a thorough index and FAQ section at the back. If your child suffers from any chronic problem, or you're just interested in learning more about the topic, I'd strongly recommend you check out "What's Eating Your Child?"Visit the website at
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own. Why would I make this stuff up?

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