I rarely accept book reviews, but when I received an email offering me a copy of What’s Eating Your Child?: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Your Child’s Well-Being, my interest was immediately piqued.
What’s Eating Your Child? is about the hidden connections between food and childhood ailments such as anxiety, recurrent ear infections, stomachaches, picky eating, rashes, ADHD and more. And what every parent can do about it.
When I received the book and started reading, I knew we were soul sistahs. Kelly Dorfman is a nutritionist who describes her perfect world as one where farming would be considered a noble profession, chemicals would be tested for safety in combination with already approved substances, pediatricians would be required to take a year of nutritional training, and sugared cereals and breakfast toaster pastries would be kept behind the pharmacy counter with warning labels.
Okay, the last one may be a little extreme, but it made me giggle.
Basically, Kelly has made a career out of figuring out what is causing an individual’s health problems and finding nutritional treatments. Doctors refer cases to her for insight when traditional methods don’t work. She explains that with so many of the modern ailments that plague our kids, there is either a food irritant or a crucial nutrient that is lacking in their diet. Unfortunately kids are usually put on medication before diet is addressed.
Kelly acknowledges that psychological issues do exist but feels they are probably over diagnosed. I so agree with that sentiment. She states that so often nutritional and biological imbalances cause psychological and behavioral issues, but unfortunately they don’t get treated as such. Or in her words, “we just do not access nutrition’s full healing potential.” Parents tend to bring their kids to Kelly when all else fails, and evidently she has an uncanny ability to assimilate the facts of a situation and identify the dietary links.
In her book, she goes through various real life situations from the clients she has seen over the years, and explains the background and nutritional issues surrounding the particular ailment — from picky eaters to chronic ear infections to reflux to poor growth to mood and behavior problems.
One thing that I found very interesting is that being a picky eater is usually a sign that there is a food irritating the system. I admit, and I have written about this in the past and had some very defensive comments, that I don’t have a lot of tolerance for the whole picky eater phenomenon. I was pretty much convinced that if you offer your kids a variety of tasty, nutritious foods and keep the junk out of the house, they won’t be picky. But evidently, being a picky eater is often a sign of a greater problem. Who knew?
Kelly also has an E.A.T. Program for picky eaters that she developed that she swears will work if the food irritants are taken out of the diet.
There are lots of other fascinating tidbits in this book, and I can’t possibly go into everything here. Her section on how studies are conducted and often colored by those who have a vested interest in the outcome is interesting and pretty much mirrors the information I learned in Robyn O’Brien’s The Unhealthy Truth.
I also liked her section on “Guess What Replaced Transfats” — basically, beware of anything that has an extended shelf life, and don’t trust the FDA to keep our food safe. Nothing new here, but it’s one more voice crying in the wilderness. If we can get more voices, perhaps we can change things for the better.
The purpose of the book is to help parents become food detectives and identify possible dietary links to their children’s issues so they can address the problem at its root. Of course, she recommends seeking professional help if you don’t achieve the desired results, but at least her information might give you a place to start.
Even though I’m not trying to identify the source of a problem with one of my kids at the moment, I found this a fascinating read, and parts of it did pertain to certain issues we struggle with even though they aren’t overwhelming problems at the moment. I’ll be using some of her advice to tweak our diets and supplements.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of What’s Eating Your Child to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.