Sneak Peek at The Ultimate Parenting Toolkit: Connecting With Kids in a Disconnected World: Part 2

Are you a mom who seeks ways to improve your parent-child relationship, but you don’t have time to read a book on it? How about an online course you can listen to while you drive to work? 

I’d like to share another piece of my upcoming course for helping the mother-daughter relationship: The Ultimate Parenting Toolkit: Connecting With Kids in a Disconnected World. I chose this segment from Busting Those Parenting Myths, since this month’s theme is Food Focus.

Sneak Peek to The Ultimate Parenting Toolkit: Connecting With Kids in a Disconnected World: Part 2

… Here’s a scary thought. What do you think next year will look like for your child if the causes of these stress symptoms continue?

My second point is about the asterisks next to some of the symptoms. Every marked symptom can be attributed to ingesting chemicals, like sulfites, monosodium glutamate or MSG, and the like. How does your child get these chemicals? They’re in the food coloring and food additives your kids consume in fast foods and snack foods, and they’re marketed to your kids.

That’s the good news… and the bad news.

It’s good because if you can keep fast foods and snack foods away from your adolescent, you will have identified the source of any symptom that vanishes or reduces.

When I was a teenager, I greeted many Monday mornings with a headache, or an overall icky feeling. My mom thought I was stressed out about school, which was a logical conclusion, despite the fact that I enjoyed school, and ignoring the fact that stressors — like tests — didn’t generate headaches.

In hindsight, I realize my Monday Morning Headaches were far too regular not to have a regular source. Looking back, that would be my weekend job at the local movie theater, where I ate a ton of candy until it was time to close up and go home. We didn’t have sweets and junk food in our house, so basically I’d O.D. on it Sunday night, and wake up Monday morning feeling yucky.

Years later, I’d come to understand that I was feeling hung over from the sudden high concentration of sugar in my body. But at the time, it didn’t occur to anybody. After all, how could something as delightful as Milk Duds cause a problem?

Are you surprised that once I quit my job, the Monday Morning Headaches cleared up? I’m not, not with what I know now.

The bad news is you must keep fast foods and snack foods away from your adolescent to see if the symptoms diminish. And withdrawal, for a junk food junkie, can be pretty messy, especially if you both eat the same things, because you can’t keep eating it in front of your child if he or she is trying to stop.

If you want to be able to tell if the junk food is causing symptoms on the list, clean up the nutrition in your household for three weeks, and see what happens to the both of you. It’s called an Elimination Diet.

During the three weeks of elimination, your bodies will have time to process out most of the junk you find in junk food. By the end of the 3 weeks, you should 

  • feel more energy
  • think more clearly
  • have better skin and nails
  • and be in a better mood.

Plus, many of the symptoms on the list should start easing up… if not disappearing completely. 

If the symptoms persist anyway, they could be attributed to a different food source, or, it could indicate an underlying physical problem. In either case, try getting an allergy test to rule out other physical causes. 

At the end of 3 weeks comes the final step of the Elimination Diet. Take a day to eat that which has not been eaten, and see if it does anything to your body, or  your mood. Have at least 3 servings of the contraband junk food over the course of that day. Then, keep checking for symptoms over the next week to see if anything changes.

I strongly suggest you start on a Friday after school so the more immediate reactions happen in the privacy of your home. Be on the lookout for mood swings (beyond the initial delight of having your snacks back), or 

  • headaches
  • gas
  • diarrhea
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • irritability 
  • or any symptom that previously disappeared.

Be forewarned that some of the reactions may take a day or two to surface. So if your child feels fine on Friday or Saturday, Sunday may be stomachache-day.

So, how do you bring up this idea to your kids?  

“Sweetie, I’m going to deprive you of your favorite foods for almost a month, and then I’m going to let you eat a lot of it and see if you get sick. I’ll be doing it too, so we’ll both be in a bad mood for a week or so.”

Yeah, that won’t be met with much enthusiasm. 

No problem. I have a solution (of course).

Begin with the focus on you. Since this list is also a list of symptoms caused by food additives, select your most frequently occurring symptom. Then: 

  1. Read the ingredients of a favorite processed/snack food that your family consumes. 
  2. Pick one of its chemical-type ingredients, like monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  3. Do an Internet search, like “health problems with MSG,” and see what comes up.
  4. Check it against the symptoms on the list that you, and others in your family, experience.

Now, go have a conversation with your family. Say something like this:

“I just learned that [symptom] that I/you have is caused by food additives in [FAVORITE FOOD]. We’re going to try an experiment. 

I’m not going to eat [FAVORITE FOOD], or anything else that has that additive in it, for 3 weeks to see how it affects [SYMPTOM] in me. At the end, I’m going to ask you if you see in changes in me. 

This is going to be hard for me. I’d like you to support me on this by not bringing that stuff into the house. It’s too tempting.”

At the end of the three weeks, have the food three times in one day. Then see how it makes you feel over the next few days.

An Elimination Diet like this… is an inexpensive way to test your body’s reaction to something. That’s how I learned I couldn’t have dairy or gluten. By the way, reactions to dairy showed up within an hour for me, but gluten took 2-3 day. It varies with everyone.

I know. I know. Its soooooo inconvenient!

But, here’s some food for thought. 

Look back on your health 3-5 years ago. Also, look at your kids’ health back then. Compare the size of all of your bodies from back then to now. Are things improving… or declining?

What if you don’t get a handle on your family’s nutrition? Where will you, and your symptoms be 3 years from now? Or, in 5 years?


I hope you enjoyed this second segment. If you missed the first part, go here

The course will be coming out in a couple of months. If you’d like to be notified, send me an email at

And keep an eye out for Part 3!

Have fun with your family,