Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Sugar Wars
Our 7-year-old daughter has complained of headaches for as long as she could say the word headache. It's no surprise really, because every woman in my family suffers from them also. I remember that in third grade we kept a bottle of children's tylenol in the school nurse's office for me. By junior high, my mom had taught me some relaxation techniques, something that was still developing. My heart breaks for my daughter because she says that she has a headache almost every day. After several visits to our family doctor and no progress, we began seeing a neurologist. One of the first recommendations: cut out the sugar as much as possible. I was absolutely willing to do that, we had already greatly limited sugar in our household. My daughter and I agreed that it would be better to have less sugar and less headaches. Treats don't have to be sugary because they could also be stickers, extra play time, etc. As we left the doctor's office determined to make this work, the receptionist offered my daughter a snack to eat on the way home. My daughter eagerly viewed the selection, but the smile quickly turned to a frown. The choices: fruit gummies, granola bars, and other sugar-loaded yummies. Ugghhh! Fast forward two weeks and we are back at the hospital working with the nurse who teaches children biofeedback techniques to deal with their headaches. At the end of the hour-long session, the nurse praised my little girl for working hard and pointed her to the prize cabinet. Upon opening the cabinet, my daughter smiled a huge smile. The cabinet was filled with an assortment of toys, coloring books, and candy. Weeks one and two were uneventful because she chose a coloring book and a bracelet. Week three was a little more difficult. My daughter whispered, "Mom...there's nothing I want in here except a piece of candy. Can I get it?" Double ugghhh! Mind you, this nurse also told my daughter that sugar was not good for kids with headaches. All in all, we are doing better with the sugar wars. We keep snacks with us so that when we are at sporting events, church, and other activities we can whip out the better snacks and turn down the junk snacks. I just didn't expect to fight the battle at the doctor's office too.