The Diet that Finally Broke our Sleep Crisis!


Occasionally I think I’m pretty smart. Most of the time however, I battle a wicked inner voice that tells me I’m an idiot daily. Right now I’m in the latter camp wondering how the heck I went almost 2 years with the level of sleep-deprivation we’ve had and NOT experimented more with further altering our youngest daughter’s diet.

Our sweet baby, now almost 2, has never slept more than 2 hours before waking in upset. I expected some level of this for the first 6 months and then kept thinking we would go down to 2 wakings per night like I experienced with my first daughter. But no. It just went on and on and on. After 18 months (coming off of 2 years of broken sleep with our first), I began getting concerned about my health, decided something had to give and opted to night-wean and claim a bed for myself elsewhere.  Our Littlest began sleeping with her Daddy so this could take place and then he took over the crazy sleep-deprived role. No good for a man with serious Provide-for-the-Family pressure days!

Now, with respect to doing the same thing over and over again with our baby’s lack of deep sleep and expecting her to snap out of it, I haven’t been completely dense. I actually was wise enough to try all kinds of things — including some diet modification —  to influence her ability to sleep more deeply and for longer periods of time.  Massage, Lavender Baths, Aromatherapy, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, and most recently – energetic treatments.

But, you know what never occurred to me to monitor carefully?  Sugar of all kinds!!

Thanks to our new Naturopath’s recommendation to radically alter our youngest’s diet, together with the energetic treatments she is receiving from him, we now have a sleeping baby (who is almost 2 years old now)!!  She is now consistently sleeping 7-8 hours straight almost every night. This is totally changing our lives! It feels like a miracle to me — truly — that we have a fully rested household with very minimal wakings now. Talk about functioning better on all fronts. Wow.

THE DIET

Almost zero sugar.  No grains except occasional brown rice (no breads, crackers, noodles).  No fruit juices.  No fruit except apples and berries which are relatively low in sugar.  And definitely no obvious sweeteners like agave, maple syrup, etc.  To be clear, I don’t think it’s realistic for us to remain virtually grain and fruit-free long term.  Eventually we will need to add some back — while remaining very careful about processed grains (breads/tortillas) and desserts.

No Dairy Except Raw Goat Yogurt/Cheese. Local resource is White Egret’s Farm and they deliver!  They offer a lot of interesting information on their web site about cow versus goat milk.

Doing this AND maintaining the ongoing desire to eat vegan has proved to be a significant mental challenge for me since my job is all about advocating for a pure, plant-based diet. I know that it’s fully possible to get all the protein we need without adding animal products into our diet.  And slicing cheese or spooning up some yogurt when packing lunches is conveniently easy compared to soaking and cooking beans and or preparing leafy greens in a way that children will lap them up (see smoothie recipe below).  And yes, I know there’s soy substitutes for cheese and yogurt — I’m just not a fan of most soy-based food products for a whole host of other reasons.

So, keeping some dairy in our diet along with the radical sugar restriction is what we’re doing for now because everyone in our home is happy with it and most importantly — everyone is sleeping and is more agreeable during the day.  I simply have to continue to claim that we’re “mostly” Plant Strong.

Our Kid Happy Kale & Protein Smoothie

In a blender, add and mix the following (and modify measurements as you like):

  • 1 cup Coconut Juice
  • 1/3 can Lite Coconut Milk
  • Bag of Frozen Organic Mixed Berries
  • Handful  of Organic Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Two big spoonfuls of Almond Butter
  • Steamed/Chopped Kale (leaves only)
  • Add filtered/bottled water for desired thickness
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6 Responses to “The Diet that Finally Broke our Sleep Crisis!”

  1. Sounds tough! I’ve pretty much been there. One of my kids has multiple food sensitivities (especially to artificial stuff but also to random things) and one has a peanut allergy, plus I have been vegan or tried to be vegan much of my parenting journey. Add in that we live in the boonies and we were never sure exactly what my daughter was reacting to, and it was a lot of years of crazy-making foods and diets. 🙂 Glad to hear something is working!

  2. chelsea says:

    Yay!! That is such good news that Izzy’s sleeping better. And thank you for sharing the info about White Egret’s farm, I didn’t know about them!

  3. Mom says:

    What a wonderful breakthrough!

  4. Monica says:

    Yes – very exciting!! We’ll see how the girls like the raw goat yogurt. We plan to mix in pureed strawberries to make it more palatable.

  5. Dawnie says:

    Great news!! Food is so tricky – and powerful!! Will talk to you some more later about it all! Glad you are sleeping. What a relief. Love the smoothie recipe! Reagan, on the other hand, probably won’t. 🙂

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Yay! I love the diet recommendations. And I’m sure the whole family loves that she is sleeping. I’m definitely will look into some goat’s milk yogurt!

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