The Dramatic Effects of Salicylates: Hannah's story
Reprinted from Pure Facts, May, 1998, Vol. 22, No. 4
by Mundy Wilson-Libby
Hannah was a marvelous and happy baby, although right from the beginning a more needy child than her elder brother. Up until her second birthday I never had anything to say when the doctor asked at her well child checkups about any concerns we had about her (other than recurrent ear infections).Pure Facts Articles List (medical articles) | Pure Facts Articles List (food articles) | Home
Just before she was three years old, however, we started to feel the "terrible twos" would never end...and they didn't until recently when we were 10 days into the Feingold Program and she was 7 1/2 years old!
Hannah was impatient, irritable, had a short attention span, was disruptive at home and school, impulsive, loud, oversensitive, had myriads of physical complaints and was severely depressed. She had also become chubby and was very lethargic.
We were a family in crisis, overly focused on Hannah, my husband and I becoming angry and frustrated with her and each other, our other children being short-changed in our over-attention to Hannah's hourly outbursts and traumas. We dreaded picking her up from first grade every day because of the negative daily reports of her behaviors and her anger, tears and frustration only adding to her plummeting self esteem.
We were a family in crisis.
We tried everything we could think of: various discipline and reward techniques, food allergy elimination diets, environmental allergy controls, homeopathy, phytochemicals, complete medical and psychological evaluations, private counseling, changing her school for a lower class size, eliminating television, etc. We were working our way down an exhaustive list of things to do to try and help this very unhappy child, and only one of the professionals we encountered along the way ever mentioned the Feingold diet.
We began to suspect some kind of a medically undetectable biochemical imbalance or sensitivity but we truly felt our diet was excellent, based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, with no junk food to speak of ever in the house. As someone sensitive to additives in foods (which should have tipped me off sooner!) I was very aware of eating additive- and preservative-free foods, many organically grown.
We were members of the Association for almost two years before we actually started the Program. My very good friend had recommended it but I felt overwhelmed by having already eliminated dairy products (which did end the continuous ear infections), wheat and yeast from our diets in hopes of seeing her improve. I really thought that following the Foodlist would be an ordeal with which I couldn't cope.
What changed my mind was reading John Taylor's book Helping Your Hyperactive/ADD Child. Once I read that he believes the Feingold Diet is as effective as medication for certain children I knew we would get on the Program. Hannah's school had begun pushing for a special ed evaluation and her teacher even subtly suggested maybe Ritalin would be the answer.
Our belief that medication should only be a last resort spurred us into action and we began the Program. Within 10 days my husband and I agreed that Hannah's behavior had improved to 8.5 from 0 on a scale to 10. Her grandmother came to visit during the third week and couldn't get over the changes she saw. She and Hannah were actually able to begin to have a relationship that just wasn't possible before. I found them sitting together often, reading a book, both of them enjoying it!
Hannah is a different child today, only five weeks into the Program She is happy, doing very well in school, taking setbacks in stride, being much more patient and agreeable and is basically an enjoyable child. Her physical symptoms have also greatly improved: her skin is clear and smooth, the asthma almost disappeared, headaches and stomachaches things of the past. She has more energy, and now loves to play soccer and other sports whereas before the Program we could hardly get her to move. She likes the Feingold Program because she's actually getting more homebaked treats than she ever did now that the wheat and yeast sensitivities seem to have disappeared.
She's a different child today.
Hannah is still overcoming social deficits because of all the years she struggled with just being alive, but moving into a new school and community has helped her get a fresh start.
Remarkably the foods we thought were healthy for her (the naturally-occurring salicylates) were the ones she naturally tried to avoid, but which we encouraged!
We can't believe what this Program has done for our family. We have our wonderful daughter back and can't thank the Association enough for being there. We are angry that the information was so hard to come by, that only one of the professionals we consulted seemed to have any knowledge of helping a child like ours without medication, and that the food and pharmaceutical industries seem so greedily involved in keeping parents and professionals uneducated about the Feingold Program.