About Our Guest- Denise Voight – Nutrition for Optimal Child Development
Denise Voight, MS is a Clinical Nutritionist with a Masters of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine specializing in Nutritional Intervention for autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. She is an expert in applying scientifically proven food and nutrition therapies to improve health, learning, and behavior in children with ASD and ADHD.
Denise is also the founder/ creator of My Spectrum Heroes, a superior line of nutritional support products designed to support the needs of the developing brain, nervous system and health of children on the spectrum, ADHD, or neurodevelopment delay.
Full Podcast Transcription
Denise Voight 00:01
You know, your child is having symptoms and behaviors that you know, no one’s able to really diagnose or help and they stamp a label on it. And then they just kind of throw their hands up in the air and kind of give you this impression that there really isn’t much you can do about it. And that’s absolutely not true if we can get down to the biochemistry and see where there’s imbalances are where we can boost the body’s own ability to do what it’s miraculously able to do. It’s quite amazing the symptoms and behaviors that we can improve in these kids. Hello, everyone and welcome to another episode of From Doctor to Patient. Today, I have Denise Voight. She is a clinical nutritionist with a Master’s of Science in human nutrition and functional medicine specializing in nutritional intervention for autism spectrum disorder, and ADHD. She’s an expert in applying scientifically proven food and nutrition therapies to improve health, learning and behavior in children with ASD and ADHD. Denise is also the founder, creator of my spectrum heroes, a superior line and nutritional support products designed to support the needs of the developing brain, nervous system, and health of children on the spectrum, ADHD or neurodevelopmental delay. Denise, how are you? Thank you for coming on the show this afternoon. I am Fantastic. Thank you so much for having me. It’s absolutely my pleasure.
Diva Nagula 01:02
So you are a rare breed in terms of what you do as a nutritionist and with how you specialize in nutrition for people who are suffering with ASD and ADHD.
Denise Voight 01:09
Right. Yes, it is. It’s a pretty small niche. It’s a unique field. And it’s where my heart and passion is.
Diva Nagula 02:00
How did you get into this field?
Denise Voight 02:03
Oh, gosh, so that’s a story. So my son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was young, right about kindergarten age, and he was struggling with not only behavioral symptoms and hyperactivity and such he also, a lot of his symptoms, sort of started manifesting as physical symptoms. So he had headaches and stomach aches and skin rashes and psoriasis and eczema and his asthma got to the point where we had several hospital trips where his oxygen level was just so low, and they couldn’t quite figure out why he continued to get chronic bronchitis and he was always sick and always having problems and we went to specialists after specialists we went to you know, pediatric gastroenterologist, we went to neurologists, we went to many different specialists, and he had very uncomfortable procedures done, the poor thing. And he was diagnosed with ADHD, but they didn’t really address the a lot of the physical things that were going on. They wanted to medicate him for his hyperactivity. But we were still struggling with many of these outward expressions and symptoms that we were seeing and weren’t getting much help. And so after a couple years of really struggling in it, his symptoms progressively getting worse. I found a naturopathic physician who happened to be a functional medicine practitioner. And at that time I didn’t have any clue what a functional medicine practitioner was, I didn’t understand that field or what it meant. So we went to him because at this point, I was just desperate and ready to try anything. And I was not a fan of wanting to put him on psychotropics and other you know, prescription drugs and we weren’t getting any help from the mirolax that the gastroenterologist had him on. So I took a chance and we went to him and lo and behold, he diagnosed him with leaky gut, some food intolerances, some candida overgrowth, and a couple other things. And so this was the first time that someone had really talked to me about putting him on a specialized nutrition plan and supplement regimen. And at the time, I was, uh, finishing up my pre med degree and getting ready to take MCATS. And I was actually the teaching assistant for the human physiology and anatomy lab. And so I thought I had quite an understanding of what being healthy was or how the body worked and things like that. So this kind of blew me away. And so we started doing these interventions, these nutrition interventions, and oh my goodness, it changed our world. It changed his life. It changed our life, his symptoms, just completely regressed. So many of the symptoms just disappeared, his asthma completely went away. We no longer had to do his breathing treatments. His skin eruptions, these cluster of warts that he used to get just miraculously went away his stomach aches, you know, subsided. His chronic bronchitis did not rear its head again, the constipation alleviated and it was it was just quite astounding, actually. And so, at that time, I started saying, well, I’m going to go to whatever medical school trains in nutrition and has the best nutrition program. So I started hunting out which schools would provide that. And none of them did. There wasn’t a medical school at that time that even had… I found one that had maybe a six week sort of additional elective kind of thing that you could take on nutrition. And it wasn’t at all what I had been seeing and learning. And so I was very disappointed. And right about that time, the University of Western States came out with their first of its kind, a master’s program in human nutrition and functional medicine. And I was sold I was in I wanted to learn how we could use nutrition and how we can use epigenetics to mitigate symptoms and diseases and chronic illnesses. And I was so excited about it. So I did that. And then I ended up going back and working for the doctor that helped me with my son. And then I started learning how we can reverse diabetes and all these other chronic illnesses. And it was just absolutely amazing. And what I started to see when working there is that this doctor, Dr. Whitney, he, healso was treating patients with autism. And I started to see the the correlation that he was treating a lot of these kids with the same sort of regimen that he had given Devin, my son. And I started seeing that they had a lot of the same underlying biochemical imbalances and issues that were able to be mitigated through nutrition and nutritional supplements. And that really surprised me, and it sort of changed my trajectory. And after working as a functional medicine, nutritionist for a couple years, I decided that’s where my heart and love and passion is, because I’ve been on the other end of that, where your child is having symptoms and behaviors that, you know, no one’s able to really diagnose or help and they stamp a label on it. And then they just kind of throw their hands up in the air and and kind of give you this impression that there really isn’t much you can do about it. And that’s absolutely not true. If we can get down to the biochemistry and see where there’s imbalances, or where we can boost the body’s own ability to do what it’s miraculously able to do. It’s quite amazing the symptoms and behaviors that we can improve in these kids. So I sort of niched down and decided that this is where I was going to be of service and because I feel like there’s a huge desire and need for it because it’s an really underserved population when it comes to talking about diet and nutrition, because so many of these kiddos have food aversions and food sensitivities, so they’re already not getting enough nutrients. And then in addition, not understanding which nutrients and which foods affect them and are irritating to their systems and which ones support their system. So it can be really overwhelming for parents. So this is where I decided to dive in and provide my help here in this in this field. That’s outstanding. And there’s so many questions that are running through my mind while you were speaking, but let me see if I can remember him. But with your child, how old was he when you started to take him to practitioners, and when you started to seek changes for nutrition and realize that that could be something that could help him? So he was he was around two years old when we really started seeing some severe health issues and concerns and behavior issues. By the time he got into kindergarten, he had seen quite a few doctors because he had severe asthma and stomach aches and he was crying a lot. And when he was a baby, they kind of pointed their finger at colic and just threw up their hands in the air and said, oh, he’s just colicky and that’s just an issue you’re gonna have to deal with and, you know, he doesn’t poop for days. But okay, here’s some mirolax, and none of those things were helping. He was in kindergarten, he was around five years old when we started to see changes. And then by the time all of his symptoms had quite mitigated, he was around eight and a half, when we really saw the changes that nutrition and all that can do. One of the things that we tried before we even saw, the nature path was we realized really quickly that he was sensitive to artificial food coloring, particularly red food coloring, that was pretty apparent. We didn’t eat it. We didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that one. I mean, if the kid had any kind of red food coloring, he would be bouncing off the walls, like it was his job. It was pretty dramatic. So there wasn’t much guesswork there. And then when we removed that, it definitely helped with that behavior. So that was I guess the first time I actually saw that, you know, Hey, wait a minute. What we’re feeding him actually affects his behavior. But, it didn’t sink in until we started getting the therapy for like the whole encompassing at all and trying the nutrition modification. And during the gluten and casein free situation, and taking some nutritional supplements, I mean, it didn’t ever occur to me to give my child… I was taking at the time, the supplements because at the time, I was actually a fitness trainer as well, and was working in nutrition already, but more in the sort of diet space, right, where we’re being taught about calories in calories out and all that crazy nonsense that I know now really doesn’t have much to do with how our body actually utilizes calories is more about the quality of that food and the effect it has on your hormones or your biochemistry and things like that. And so at the time it didn’t really occur to me, until we started seeing the improvements from the supplements the doctor had given me but I didn’t think to give my child supplements. And of course, you see the Flintstone vitamins out there and the gummy nonsense. But what I know now, after developing a supplement line is many of those products that are aimed at kids are full of fillers and junk and sugar and coloring and things that would agitate kids, let alone most of them don’t have nearly enough actual quality nutrients in it to be viable to have some kind of clinical outcome and actually improve anything. So that was also very eye opening.
Diva Nagula 11:20
Right. And interestingly enough your son was more on the ADHD side, not with the autism
spectrum disorder, right?
Denise Voight 11:28
Yeah. Yeah. It wasn’t until I started, when I started working for Dr. Whitney that I saw that he was treating many of those kids in the same way with the same symptoms, the same underlying sort of biochemical imbalances that we’re seeing and gut issues and leaky gut and, and, you know, their microbiome they had dysbiosis. And it was very interesting to see the correlation. And when I started working with these kids… I do get a lot of feedback from some families that don’t appreciate me sort of putting together autism and ADHD. It’s an interesting conundrum that families sometimes that have a child with ADHD, they don’t want to be associated with autism, because they feel that that is, you know, a more severe, and it’s considered a psychiatric disorder. And I don’t look at it that way, I look at all of them just the same way, as if someone was type one diabetic and their pancreas isn’t working properly, and we need to help support them with insulin, I look at all of these underlying issues it from a perspective of, if we have a chemical imbalance, or if a hormone isn’t working right, or a neurotransmitters and being supported correctly, if we can mitigate that, or correct that, or boost that with actual nutrients, rather than downregulate with some prescription drug, I think we’re going to be a whole lot better off and, and the research is there just to support that. We just need to get it out there and help people understand because what I try to tell most of the families that I work with is, many of us were not educated on how to feed our children, for neuro development, for growth, for repair, for detoxification, for all these things that help the body grow and let them play and learn and be the kids they’re supposed to be. Instead, we’re marketed what food to feed our kids, you know, that by a marketing cover that has nothing to do with health, right. And so that is one of the biggest things for me, it’s really about education. If people don’t understand, they’re not usually willing to accept. They don’t understand how their child’s body works, or how certain foods can they can be sensitive to them or have an intolerance to them. certain foods are aggravating some things that we call food, well, they’re not food at all right? They’re just some kind of chemical concoction that the food industry made, because they’re trying to make a profit. And so most of the time, my job really is to just try to help spread the word that the food we eat, affects our body, and that nutrients have the power to make the body function, right. Without nutrients we’re just dead in the water, everything runs off of the basis of the nutrients we eat. That whole you are what you eat kind of comes to play there. The food you feed your children actually becomes part of that may and helps them build tissues and repair tissues. But most of us we’re out there with some packaged granola bar or fruity gummy snack that doesn’t actually have any fruit in it at all and doesn’t have any nutrients at all.
Diva Nagula 14:28
It’s so true. And it’s interesting. These issues are coming more into play now than, say, 20 years ago. We can make some correlations and we could hypothesize when this all started, what was the etiology? And rather than doing that we just need to come to the conclusion that it does exist. And the most likely culprit is… whatever the culprit is, we’re not fixing it with the foods that we’re providing our children. And that’s the underlying issue. Right now we’re in a situation where I believe the stats are 1 out of 30 or 1 out of 40 kids are born with autism. And I think over the next 10 years, they’re projecting it to be one out of every two, or even one out of every three if nothing else changes. And that’s just darn right, frightening, and scary.
Denise Voight 15:21 It’s super scary.
Diva Nagula 15:22
I wish that people would really start to wake up and realize the problem that we’re having with the prevalence of autism and ADHD, and it’s not something that you’re sitting there and say, oh, they were born with that, there could be something, but it’s definitely exacerbated by the foods that we’re giving them. And it’s a huge component of how we can heal not only ourselves as parents, but also healing the children who are victims of the food supply that is given to that.
Denise Voight 15:55 Absolutely.
Diva Nagula 15:56
And what you’re doing is fantastic. And it resonates so much of what I believe in what I what I do and what I preach. And it’s as interesting that I knew that the amounts of foods or types of foods that you’re eating, did indeed have a role in healing people suffering from autism, but I wasn’t sure if it had anything to do with ADHD. But as you were saying that the physician is actually treating both diseases, if you want to call them diseases, with the same type of protocol for nutrition. So let’s really dive into that more. So what kind of nutrition protocols are you using and seeing to improve children’s symptoms or behaviors?
Denise Voight 16:35
So the very first, when I first start working with someone, the very first recommendation is to try to reduce or completely remove some of the toxins that are coming in. And when I say toxins, I mean nutritional toxins. So some of the things that we find in our food supply that are actually quite toxic. And kids with autism and kids with ADHD are both particularly sensitive to some of these, like the artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives and the like. I also have a ebook that I usually have people start with that shows the top eight sort of nutritional toxins that are found in most kids foods, that I usually have people start there. If we can reduce some of the burden on the child’s body from having these toxins put in, then right out right out the gate, we can already boost some of their ability to function because their body is you know, less burdened. So things like hydrogenated oils, MSG, the overabundance of artificial colors and flavors and sweeteners, right, so all those artificial sweeteners that are just plain neurotoxic. They damage the cells of the brain, like MSG, I mean, it’s a perfect example, it’s basically an excitotoxin, it literally excites the brain cell so much, that it kills it, right. And so it excites it to death. So these are the kinds of things that get snuck into our kids food and our parents and brother, sister, cousin, uncle, I mean, all of us really should be trying to avoid these additional toxins that get snuck into our food that really shouldn’t be there. And what I tell parents,the very first thing is, you know, start considering when you when you buy a product, and you know, you want to become a food detective and read that label, what are you actually feeding your child, and if there’s something in there that you would not have added to that product before you cooked it yourself. Like, let’s say you’re making cookies at home, if you weren’t going to add Red Lake #40, or all these colorings? Why would you give your child a package food that has that, right, so that’s number one, let’s try to reduce the toxic burden. We’re surrounded by toxins in the air and the environment in our water and all these things and we can’t control some of them. And we certainly can’t live in a bubble. But we can reduce some of that junk that’s coming in and sort of being masked and called food and it’s not food at all, it’s just it’s literally toxic to your child’s system. So that’s the first place we start is trying to get this foundational diet where we’re decreasing some of the toxins that come in, and then we’re increasing some of the nutrient density in the food. This is where the big challenges for most kids, especially kids on the spectrum, they have a lot of food aversions and also sensory issues. So they have a very small repertoire of food that they eat. And once they do, they typically have just one or two items that they lock on to and that’s all they eat. I’ve had clients who their child only eats crackers and a particular brand of crackers. So obviously, they’re not getting the full array of nutrients that their body needs to grow, to function to detoxify. So that’s where the supplement line sort of came to be. So I developed my spectrum heroes brand of supplements based on when working with these kids. I realized really quickly that you can make dietary protocols, right we know that the gluten and casein free diet It’s very effective for kids on the spectrum. And also kids with ADHD we hear a lot with the spectrum kids, we don’t hear it that often utilized for ADHD. But I found it to be just as effective for kids that are suffering with hyperactivity, ADHD, and actually a lot of other neurodevelopmental delays, because we see that gluten and casein and also soy, I like to put in that mix. There’s a lot of things about those particular proteins that can be agitating to the gut, to the brain to that inflammation in the system. And we can talk in more detail about those. But that’s usually one of the more strict protocols that children get put on to try as a dietary implementation. But until we can remove the toxins… so one point that I tell them when trying to gluten and casein free diet, if you just remove the regular Oreo cookie, and you give them a gluten free version of that Oreo cookie, we’re still going to have problems with too much sugar, artificial colors, flavors, too many carbohydrates, all of those things. So when it comes to the dietary protocols, there are quite a few, I mean, you’ve got gluten, casein free, you’ve got the gaps diet, you got fodmaps, low fodmap diet, low oxalate, diet, losslessly diet, I mean, we could be here all day talking about the different protocols. But the, the main key to wrap the head around is that nutrient density is where it’s at, we need those nutrients for function. And so if we can’t get it through food temporarily, until we can build a child’s food repertoire and help them with their food sensitivities and maybe their sensory issues that are making them not want to eat certain foods, we’ve got to get nutrients in somehow. So supplementing is a great way to do that. The downside to that though, is that the supplements that are out there in the market are complete junk many times and to the point where not only are they junk, and not bioavailable nutrients, very low quality, very low dosing, so even if it was good quality, it’s not enough in there to actually help boost anything. But in addition to that sometimes there’s additives in there that can be toxic to the child. So if heavy metals got snuck through, and no one’s testing for that, or bacterial toxicants got through, and the supplement world is a fairly unregulated world. And it’s very difficult to find high quality supplements, outside of maybe a specialist office, like we were at and a biomedical doctor’s office will particularly they’ll carry high end nutraceuticals, which, you know, that’s typically what they call supplements that are of high end. And therapeutic dosing is very hard for some families to find that, and that’s where I jumped in. I had no intentions of becoming a supplement manufacturer, but there was there just was such a need for it. And some of the things that families were showing me that they were taking I Oh, man, it was very heartbreaking to me that they’re giving their child something that they thought was going to improve their health, but instead, there’s things in there that could actually damage their health. And so that’s honestly that ideally, the goal is to get the nutrient level that they need that will help support neurotransmitters support, detoxification, methylation, growth, repair, detoxification, all of these things. They all come from nutrients, and when we can wrap our head around that and figure out okay, how do I get the nutrients needed to support this system or that system? It’s amazing the improvements we can see, because most of us, right, when we think about what we’re going to feed our kids or our family or ourselves, for that matter, most people the first thing we think is oh, what’s easy, what’s convenient, what tastes good? What will my child eat? What comes in a little handy package that we could just take it to go? Not many of us sit down and say, Okay, I want to feed my child with intention, I want to feed myself with intention. So I’m going to pick Okay, I know he’s got a long school day today. And then he’s got soccer practice after so what can i fuel my child’s brain for school? And what can I give him for a snack later so that he’ll be able to perform well, at soccer practice? Most of us, we don’t run through that whole thing. Instead, it’s what’s fast, what’s convenient. What can I pack in a lunch bag? What can we drive through really quick. But when you can step back and realize that nutrients have power, and they can repair but the lack of them can cause some serious damage. And the sooner that people wrap their head around food matters, you are what you eat, and that’s a that’s a true statement. And the sooner that families can start really picturing that in their mind’s eye before they just grab something really quick, the better off everyone’s going to be. Right?
Diva Nagula 24:37
Right. And that’s a good point to make is that nutrition is obviously very important. It’s like a two step process that you’re describing here is number one, eliminate the toxicities and the toxins that are putting in number two is to put the right foods into your body. And that used to never be an issue years ago because the food supply wasn’t as tainted and now it’s something that we really have to examine when we’re looking into picking up some packages at the grocery store, we need to be able to read the labels. And if we can’t understand the labels that we should automatically think about food probably isn’t good for us. Do you advocate eating organic foods with your with your clients?
Denise Voight 26:26
Absolutely, and one of the reasons is because many of these kiddos have issues with detoxification, and they actually hold on to some of these toxins a little longer. And if we were buying organic, then you will have less likelihood of pesticides herbicides and you know genetically modified organisms getting snuck in. And we know that a lot of these products like just even our soil alone doesn’t have the same nutrients that it wants did back in the day because we’ve overrun and all the reasons, with the herbicides, pesticides and..
Diva Nagula 26:59 Lack of food diversity.
Denise Voight 27:00
Yeah, yeah. So you know it all of these things make it very challenging to find healthy quality food. But it’s possible you just, most of us were in such a hurry. That’s the thing. Everyone’s just in a hurry. You want it fast and easy. And we want it cheap, right? It’s very difficult to sort of go back to how our grandparents and their parents ate, you know, thinking more about whole foods, rather than now you can’t really give someone progress and be like, okay, here you go. You just push a button and dinner’s ready, and then go back. Oh, wait, nevermind, go back to wash, chop… everyone’s busy. I can’t tell you how many times a week I hear the statement, I don’t cook, I don’t know how to cook, no, I don’t like to cook. There’s a lot of things in the world we don’t like to do that we need to do that are just part of life and necessary for function. And learning how and understanding how to feed yourself and your family is vital to your family’s health. You don’t have to be master chef. But you certainly want to understand that foods and the food you’re feeding your family are what supporting their growth, their repair, their ability to think learn and all those things. And if you’re putting non foods in their system, they’re going to struggle and when it comes to like the food and my biggest push that I tell everyone, it’s quality over quantity. So many of the families that I work with, they’re concerned that their child’s not eating enough because they’re picky eaters, or they have food aversions and things like that, but what I tell them is if the food you are feeding them is of high quality, high nutrient density, low toxicity, you’re better off that they eat less of it and just have that rather than fill them with exactly that fillers, right? So you’ll give a child some goldfish. What exactly is the goldfish? What is the point in that? There is no nutrients in that whatsoever. There’s artificial colors and flavors and excess processed carbohydrates that the body doesn’t do well absorbing, especially these kiddos on the spectrum that have some of them mitochondrial dysfunction. And so when we’re putting excess carbohydrates of the cheap quality kind and they damage the mitochondria, and we need that mitochondria to produce energy for the brain and chemical functions and until we can really get the word out. But these are all important things. And most of the families I work with, they go to their doctors and they’re not having this conversation. No one’s telling them how important this is.
Diva Nagula 29:31
The doctors don’t even know how to consul their patience unfortunately.
Denise Voight 29:34
That’s what I was gonna say. I can’t tell you I’ve had many doctors, and it really is disturbing to me, literally look me in the face and tell me that nutrition doesn’t matter. And I mean, I know I’m biased because I’m a nutritionist. But I find that statement just absurd. There’s so much research and evidence out there that that’s not true in the whole field of epigenetics how we can turn on or off gene expression by the foods that we’re eating and our environment and our sleep and our stress and things like that. So it does amaze me. And when I hear that…
Diva Nagula 30:06
Yeah, and unfortunately it’s a industry driven condition where pharmaceuticals are over powering nutrition as a way of treatments. And that’s really unfortunate. That’s just how our society is becoming now.
Denise Voight 30:22
It’s a shame for sure, it’s hard.
Diva Nagula 30:25
The pill is a quick fix versus actually seeking and making and preparing nutritious meals. But the question that I have for you is that there’s a large amount of children that are dependent
on their schools to provide their meals. And so what do you do in those cases, we know that the meals that the schools are providing a crap. We know that it’s just as what might as well go to a fast food joint to pick up food. But so why are we doing those conditions when we have children who can’t afford decent meals and who are reliable on on schools to provide the meals?
Denise Voight 31:00
You know that that is definitely a challenge, with some of the families I work with, we just find a way to work with the schools and allow the child to bring foods from home, some schools are actually really awesome about food intolerances, food sensitivities, food allergies, and have alternatives, but even their alternatives would still make me cringe a little bit. The gluten free version of the same junk is not as helpful. So yes, you’re right, it is a challenge. But it’s a challenge that is worth fighting for. So what I tell families is, it does sound expensive when you go to let’s say Whole Foods. And you look at all the fun, cool, all natural, gluten free, low sugar really high quality snacks for kids, they’re expensive. So when I tell families is the easiest way to reduce that expense, and no one likes to hear it. And it doesn’t make me most popular but is to cook it yourself. There are many recipes out there, I’ve got a bunch of recipes for no cook cookie dough balls that are you know, full of healthy quality nutrients and quality fats and proteins. And they’re tasty, they’re so yummy. But the problem is, is that most of our kiddos their taste buds have been hijacked by all these artificial colors, sweeteners and of course the healthy food is not going to taste good when your taste buds are all you know hijacked from overly salted, overly sugared and processed foods. It takes a minute, it takes a minute to adapt, but I promise you, if you stick to it and you remove some of those artificial foods from their diet, their taste buds will adapt and grow. And you making it at home, you are able to make slight changes yourself to try to make it better palatable for your child, right. When you buy a packaged food, you’re stuck with what’s in there in the quantities that are in there, you make it yourself at home. And sometimes you can make an easy little tweak to make it more palatable to them or desirable to them. Even one of the biggest things that we do in my work is learning how to use cookie cutters and silly things like that to just make the food look more fun, more appealing, right? Because that’s how the marketers do it. Right? They have these cool, fun shaped gummy, fruity things, right? Why not try that at home, even when it comes to making dinner, there’s no reason why you can’t use a cute little star cookie cutter to cut food into a fun shape and get kids involved. But right now, the hard part is overcoming our habits and the society’s sort of push to have everything quick, fast, cheap, packaged, but trying to cook at home. And many people are surprised when I give them certain recipes that there’s three, four ingredients, it wasn’t you know, we don’t need to have this huge dilemma about oh, I don’t know how to cook. I don’t you know, if you know how to read, you know how to cook, you can follow a recipe. And there’s, you know, we’ve got the Google it’s a really good place to find recipes and things like that. And it shouldn’t be difficult to eat our families, but it can be challenging.
Diva Nagula 34:14
When we implement specific strategies for changes, and when you implement them as for families with kids who have development delay, or you know, ASD or ADHD, how long can parents expect changes, positive changes, to occur with their kids?
Denise Voight 34:31
You know, sometimes we see it absolutely immediately if they were eating a toxin or a food that they’re hypersensitive to like we do a lot of food sensitivity testing and things like that. And if you just remove that item that’s been bogging down their immune system and causing them aggression or irritable behaviors, that within that day, you can see improvements. It’s quite amazing or when we increase certain nutrients. You know, there’s a clinical trial that I based my multivitamin mineral supplement on that was done. There was a 12 month clinical trial. And they put individuals on the spectrum on this multivitamin mineral supplement plus l- carnitine. And an omega3. And it was quite shocking the results at the end of that 12 month study, they also put them on a gluten and casein free diet. But there was improvements on all the autism rating scales, the cars test, there was improvement in nonverbal IQ, in verbal expression, simply from boosting their nutrients with the multivitamin mineral and the omega and then removing the irritants from gluten and casein and soy. So it was astounding. And some of them had dramatic, one of the little girls was actually in a wheelchair. And it turned out that she had a carnitine deficiency. So when they took the carnitine, all the sudden she was starting to be able to walk on her own and do things on her own. And they got rid of that wheelchair within the time line of the study. And there was a couple other really dramatic. One of the kiddos was on a catheter couldn’t urinate on his own. And they remove the gluten, casein, soy, and he started being able to go to the bathroom on his own. And they really kind of I think, if I remember correctly, chalked it up to the casing. Actually, it was the dairy because I think they slipped up and had pizza at school or something snuck in, and then he was unable to urinate again. So it can be as dramatic as that. And it can also be something that oh, well, I, you know, I hear reports like, oh, well, we kind of saw some improvement, but we’re not sure. It could just depend on the child, right? We all have our own unique bio individuality, our own unique biochemistry, and everyone reacts a little bit differently. And in any given day, you might need more of this nutrient and that nutrient the body kind of shifts and needs as its needs different everyday. So it can be a little bit tricky. It’s not an exact science, right? I mean, the body is this crazy, miraculous system. And we can’t pinpoint every bacteria and every chemical reaction and everything that’s going to happen. But we certainly can support the things that we know. And boosting that nutrient level can have miraculous effects on the body. And then also eliminating the things that are causing disturbance. And we see a lot of commonalities in kids on the spectrum and specifically ADHD as well, they tend to have a sensitivity to phenols and salicylates and and so artificial coloring is can be problematic. Even some of the healthy foods like apples and grapes that are high in these compounds can be irritating and actually cause aggression in some of these kids. And so when we can identify those things, life gets a lot easier. And yeah, sometimes it’s like playing food detective, right. It’s tiring. And these families, a lot of these families, this is where my heart just goes out, because they’re battling a lot. And the last thing they want to do is battle their child over food, right? They just want to nourish their child, they don’t want to think about it, they just want to give them whatever it is that they’ll eat to be happy. And unfortunately, for some of these kiddos, it’s not that simple. But it has to be addressed. It’s the baseline foundation for life is the food we’re eating and the food, we’re feeding our children. And we just, we need to do a better job at getting this word spread. And I’m sorry, but the the food pyramid and the my plate and all that, that’s just the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.
Diva Nagula 38:31
Yeah, it’s unfortunate that all these societies, you’re talking about the American Diabetic Association, all the other associations that promote healthy eating, they’re actually promoting foods that are actually worse for you. And they’re supported by these food manufacturers and big food companies. When you really dig into it, it’s just like this big cycle that it feeds into poor health. And at the end of the day, it’s the patient and the children that actually are getting affected.
Denise Voight 39:03
It’s hard. It’s actually it’s quite heartbreaking when you really look at it. And I know when I, you know, part of our master’s program was learning how to read scientific studies and things like that. And I remember it was like, the first time that I was exposed to sort of not conspiracy theory, but how whoever was conducting the study can sort of lean the data… I just remember that that was one of the things we learned is that the first thing you should do is look at the bottom of the study and see who funded it. And I was like, why? I remember just going why would I do that? And then well, yeah, because if you have the Dairy Farmers Association, who just put out this article about the benefits of milk, it might be biased and I thought, gosh, you know, this is, this is how it is.
Diva Nagula 39:46
Pharmaceuticals. Same thing. You know, it’s interesting that I wanted to point out with your own child, you were able to intervene early, and your child was displaying a lot of medical conditions. That if you really went traditional route, you would have been cycling your child to many physicians, you would have had him to see a most likely and an allergist, a pulmonologist for the breathing issues, probably a dermatologist for all the skin issues of the eczema in the dermatitis he was having.
Denise Voight 40:19 Yeah, we saw them all.
Diva Nagula 40:21
That’s what’s happening to our the children in our society is that no one’s addressing what they’re eating. And they’re all not addressing the root cause, which is the food supply. Rather, they’re chasing the symptoms that are downstream as a result of the exposure of toxins, and they’re treating with modern pharmaceuticals, which of itself is a toxin and has adverse effects for developmental delay on children and other issues that we don’t even know about yet. So it’s very disappointing. I mean I could see it in my mind, I mean, your child would have probably had some issues with breathing, so would have been given steroids would have been given an inhaler, and it would have probably blown up and probably would have been developed metabolic syndrome, all because it’s iatrogenic, meaning that it’s been caused by the pharmaceuticals that the physicians are prescribing.
Denise Voight 40:50
Exactly. Exactly, it was like a vicious cycle. And it was exhausting. And it was disheartening, it was just it was so it was awful. Finding that naturopathic physician who identified the root cause and taught us this, I mean, and my hope and dream is that then all this cycle will change, because now I’m out here trying to be an advocate, same with you and what you’re doing, because we were the ones that we’ve experienced it, we saw it, we know we can help. And now it’s our job to get out there and spread the word and help people understand this. Because if you don’t understand it, and you’re sucked into the conventional medical model, well, I’m sorry, you’re screwed. It’s terrible to say, because there’s, of course, there’s many physicians out there that are doing their best, and they’re doing amazing jobs. But for the most part, the conventional model of this almost McMedicine, right, where it’s like fast food medicine, you’re in and out in 15 minutes, you can’t possibly get the care that you need. And if you don’t have a symptom, that they can mask with a prescription or cut out with a surgical, they kind of throw their hands up and you are left spiraling with this system, and it’s just really inefficient, and it’s really heartbreaking. So to me, this particular population of kids, I think are a huge need, because it’s increasing. And like you were saying earlier, I mean we’re in the trajectory to start seeing one out of every two children having some kind of label stamped on them of some kind of disability, learning disability, behavioral disorder, developmental delay, or something of that sort. And that’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable.
Diva Nagula 42:56
I agree. And it’s also unacceptable being complacent about what is at our supermarkets, that’s considered as food. I’m very passionate about about talking about how toxic our foods are, and how much they have an impact on our overall health. We’re right now facing a society where 70% of our adult population are either overweight or obese, and 40% of our children are considered obese, and are overweight. And it’s all really linked to foods that we’re putting into our bodies, and the sugary beverages and all the processed meats and processed foods that we’re putting in. And then it’s also causing these neurodevelopmental delays and having kids that are that are suffering better in this spectrum disorder, or ADHD, and these are all things that can be mitigated by really balancing a good healthy nutrition, reducing the toxins, putting in nutrients that can help support the body and detoxify the body that’s necessary to get rid of the toxins that were put in our children with.
Denise Voight 44:01
I absolutely agree. Absolutely agree. And the sad part is that many of these kids are being stamped with a label and a disorder and behaviors or things that it’s not that there’s a disorder, their little brains are being poisoned. And we need to get that education piece out there. And that’s where I think the conundrum is is that the education that’s out there, or the lack of education is the problem. Things that get put out there that are just kind of what is in popular media about what’s a healthy diet and what’s not is we’re just so misinformed. It’s scary. And so, we got to get that information out there so that people understand it, because then that, when we start incorporating, they’ll see it for themselves. I mean this is what I do, I work with families and at the very beginning, they’re kind of in disbelief, like, I don’t know, are you sure this is really good? And then they see this huge impact that not only, the best part is that not only do they see these improvements in their child’s health, but when they incorporate it with their family, cuz I’m a big proponent of like, hey, he’s not in this and isolation foods are not good for sister, brother, Dad, Mom, anybody so let’s so it’s amazing to see how many like
moms that had autoimmune disorder or chronic illness… whole families losing 15-20 pounds. Yeah. And they’re like, wow, it makes me I get excited about it because it’s so amazing, but at the same time, it breaks my heart, because this information isn’t common practice and, and that’s what bums me out, you go to a doctor, many doctors aren’t educated in this. So they’re not helping families understand this, nobody’s out there really doing that. And so, that’s the key here is to, you know, we’ve got to learn how to spread this information so that it’s well known, because the big powers that be in the pharmaceutical companies and the medical associations in the American Heart Association those unfortunately, those entities are tainted, and we can’t accept that information. I hate to, I try not to go down the whole conspiracy role. But you know, those these entities that have money and power, and they’re not in it for your health. This is not, it’s unfortunate. And people think that, but that’s not the case, they did not produce this granola bar, because they really wanted to support your child’s health, they’re, they’re a company, they’re trying to sell a product, they’re trying to make a profit. And it’s your job to be the food detective, it’s your job to figure out how to feed yourself and your family for your health. Rather than just as a babysitter a lot of kids like to snack or whatever, because many parents get… I know I’ve done it too, where you give a child something yummy or good as a treat or something because you want them to sit or behave or be occupied. And it’s created some some real, real bad habits for sure.
Diva Nagula 46:55
I think it’s really a great thing to that you’re doing for your clients, and not only helping the clients up, but you seem to also make an impact on the families itself to lead a better life, and to lead a more healthier life. And that in itself has downstream effects. Because you’re changing the interaction that people have with other people because you’re improving their their biochemistry, you’re improving their brain chemistry, and it’s everything is becoming more of an interaction, where you can see the positive effects instead of the negative effects. I mean, there’s a huge, huge issue where you were mentioning earlier on the show, where aggression can be mitigated simply by changing the diet of these children. And that has been shown even in adults, they actually did a study where I believe they changed the diets of inmates. And within like six months, there was a significant reduction in prison inmate violence and aggression. And it’s all because of the foods that we’re putting into our bodies. So I could sit here and spend another hour, probably longer talking with you and debating, not really debating because I think we both agree on everything here. But yeah, it’s this kind of information that I feel is necessary to get out to the public. And I so I applaud you for what you’re doing. And it’s people like you that give me the inspiration to put these podcasts out and continue to try and promote these types of discussions on my podcasts and shows. So thank you so much for being on the show.
Denise Voight 48:33
I appreciate you doing your part to help spread this information. You know, the challenge is real. It’s not the most popular information to put out there. People don’t like to make diet changes and food changes. And a lot of it, they like to put this in their circle of denial, they just don’t want it to be true. And so you know, the more people that are out there given this information and helping people understand it, the better off we’re all going to be. I mean, I know right now with COVID. And everything that’s happening, I’ve had some colleagues and friends who post some amazing information about how to support your immune system with food and diet and how you can mitigate and protect and all these things. And some of their posts and their YouTube videos. They’re being taken down. It’s really unfortunate, because this is amazing information and they’re being muted and it sucks. It’s very disapointing.
Diva Nagula 49:25
That’s a whole different discussion and rabbit hole that we can go into too, but for our listeners,
I mean if they want to find more information about you and what you do, what’s the best way?
Denise Voight 49:35
Okay, so at www.DeniseVoight.com that has tons of information and a free Getting Started ebook. I have an online course that is an amazing place to start for families who are just not sure and although it’s marketed towards kids with autism and ADHD, it is certainly beneficial for all kids to be honest because it goes down the path of artificial colors and flavors and toxins that are in food and, and foods that can aggravate the foods that can support and, and that kind of thing. So it’s a really great place to start. So you can find me there, I also have the entire supplement line of high end nutraceuticals for kids on www.myspectrumheroes.com And of course, you can always find us on social both of those names are pretty easy to find on Instagram or Facebook as well. We have lots of different blogs and downloads and things to get people started. We just kind of started this process of My Spectrum Heroes at the beginning of this year. So we plan on growing and having way more education and more outreach for families and things like that. So let’s hope we can spread this information quickly so that people can get help and the support that they need.
Diva Nagula 50:57
Awesome. Denise, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. It was great talking with you.
Denise Voight 51:02
It was absolutely my pleasure. Thank you so much.