May 6, 2022

E292: Understanding ADHD in your children with Avigail Gimpel | Mental Health Podcast

In this episode, I sit with my friend Avigail Gimpel who is the author of hyper healing, the empowered parent's complete guide to raising a healthy child with ADHD symptoms. I wanted to have Avigail on this podcast because, growing up, so many people labeled me.
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In this episode, I sit with my friend Avigail Gimpel who is the author of hyper healing, the empowered parent's complete guide to raising a healthy child with ADHD symptoms.

I wanted to have Avigail on this podcast because, growing up, so many people labeled me. Many of you have experienced with ADHD, with being hyper kid, with being the bad kid, with being the kid who campaigns to pay attention because I know Unbroken Nation you have children; many of you reached out to me, I've had a ton of you asked me over the years if I could have somebody on having this conversation and so thrilled to be able to do it finally. Avigail and I dive into what ADHD means, how to navigate it, how to combat it as a parent, how to deal with behavioral issues with your children and discipline, conversation, empathy, the list goes on and on. This is just a great conversation, and we're going to go deep about ADHD, the symptoms, gut health, the whole nine!

Have you ever felt like you've been labeled and diagnosed as something even though you don't think it's true, but maybe you have some symptoms of it?

Come On and Listen Today! Avigail will bring us an informative and powerful message!

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest Avigail Gimpel, who is the author of hyper healing the empowered parents complete guide to raising a healthy child with ADHD symptoms. Avigail, my friend welcome to the show, how are you today?

Avigail: Oh! I'm great! I've been really looking forward to this interview, thank you for having me on.

Michael: Yeah. It's my pleasure the honor is all mine. I've been looking forward to having this chat with you for quite a while. So, for those who do not know you, tell us a little bit about your backstory story and how you got to where you are today?

Avigail: Absolutely! So, first I wanna start with my most important role which is that I am a mom of six amazing kids and to back up a little bit I'm from New York and living abroad right now expat. And I start at the beginning where actually as a little kid I would definitely today be diagnosed as ADHD but I'm decidedly not ADHD and you have my book in front of you, so you know that a person could sit and write such a dense book four pages is definitely someone who could focus for quite some time. But I didn't do my homework, I really didn't do very much of anything actually and when I looked back at that and I wonder what was going on back then it was really an overcrowded brain. I was not able to focus because it was a lot going on in the background, I did not have the support and security that I needed, my parents breaking up, I have myself you think I have a big family but I have seven siblings, so there were a lot of us in a very, very noisy big household with the unstable parent’s situation and all sorts of other stuff going on. Therefore, while my teachers were expecting me to sit study there was no way, my brain could absorb that and I'm grateful that I wasn't born today because I would definitely have been diagnosed ADHD and put on medication which would made me a lot quieter and perhaps more studios but certainly would not have addressed the trauma I was going through as a young child. So, when I look back at that and certainly when my kids were starting to be diagnosed with ADHD, I said one second, I would have been diagnosed ADHD but I'm not someone with ADHD today, what's going on here? Because we get a very kind of simplistic description of what ADHD is, it's some kind of neurological condition and I've started questioning it when I'm seeing my kids and my students, I'm a special education teacher as well and I'm looking at my students and I'm saying really all these kids have sorted brains or are we missing something, we’re not seeing their backstory, we're not seeing the challenges that they're going through. What I realized was that ADHD really is a clash between a healthy person and their environment that doesn't mean the environment is necessary to blame but we certainly have to look at that, so, when I realized that I went in see special education and started really developing programs for my students. I met my husband about the same time when I was teaching in my first class and he was over the top confident and energetic and I'm like, wow! This guy is amazing. And then I realized that it was very similar to the students that I was crazy about those kids that loved everything we're interested in everything but couldn't sit for half a second. So, he definitely passed that onto our children and we've had definitely very ADHD marriage, we just had this week our 24th anniversary and thank God, I'm very grateful for twenty-four beautiful years.

So, when I look back at it we moved to a foreign country twice with our kids, you know, went all over the place just this week we took a vacation with our kids and we started in southern Israel and we ended up in the sun bathing and scuba diving and we ended our week in northern Israel, skiing. So, that's just us and we love it that way and I've definitely spent the last twenty plus years really trying to advocate and help children and families that are dealing with ADHD.

Michael: That's powerful! And as I read through the book, I was thinking so much to myself. You know, when I was growing up, I would have fully been classified as that, you know, violent child, ADHD child, like destructive child like all those things so much of it does have to do with your household. But I think also a lot of it has to do with like, I just hated sit like, why am I sitting in this classroom right now? That was the thing that I always came to. You know, when we were doing create of things, when we were in recess, when we were doing anything but sitting and learning like, I was good but you put me in front of a book, I didn't know homework in school obviously, many people on this show know my story. I never graduated high school, they just gave me the diploma like, we're done with you. And I just can't help but think like, how many times Doctors tried to put me on medication and this was in the late eighties, early nineties and honestly, I would just throw it away, I used to give so much trouble, I'm taking this is crazy to me. One of the things that really stuck out to me about the title of your book is you labeled it ADHD symptoms and I think so often people look at this as a mental disorder. So, what I think would be very practical to start this conversation with is twofold fold, (one) can you define ADHD and (two) can we look at the symptoms as opposed to this being as disorder?

Avigail: Excellent question, I love that because it really puts into focus for anyone who's listening that we really have to drill down and see what's going on with the kid.

ADHD is a list of symptoms – real symptoms definitely exist the kid is struggling, the kids having a hard time. The symptoms are caused by many different things which is why I said before it's extremely simplistic so in my case not being able to focus was coming from it stress at home and the minute, I was able to work that out my focus came back into order and I was able to get going and really rise to the top of my class.

I was actually absolutely valedictorian in graduate school it took a long time to get there. But what we're seeing with kids with ADHD symptoms is difficult symptoms and what we're not doing is asking the question why – why is this child struggling? And there are so many different reasons why a child struggling. And when I listen to your story, I'd say to myself wow, I would have said about you that sounds like a gratification personality because that's a person who's interested in being active things that in everything around him is draws him in, he likes to build things, create things and all that but they're sticking him into a box he doesn't fit in. Of course, usually ADHD comes with multiple causes it could be trauma plus an instant gratification personality. We can throw into that screen addiction or other addictions which are crashing to kids and we have lack of nature, lack of movement and exercise which is really bad. And another big one that I see all the time especially with younger kids is the kids are just not physically healthy, they're not doing well physically, you see running noses and bad skin and headache, a stomach ache, asthma, allergies, autoimmune conditions and instead of saying well, maybe what's going on is physiological we're saying, oh, he has asthma and a comorbid ADHD well what came first and what's causing what and that's something that we're not asking the questions of.

So, when we look at the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) we just looking at a checklist and it's kind of like odd to me and as a mom, I kid my oldest was diagnosed I said, well how did you diagnose her? Well, you see, you filled out this checklist and the teacher filled out this checklist and therefore she's got ADHD which is neurological condition. And where'd do you get the checklist from and what does that means? It means that we're seeing external symptoms but shall we ask why she's having these external symptoms, this a kid who moved to three different countries, she's trilingual at the time that she was diagnosed reading and writing in three different languages maybe we want look at for backgrounds and see what else might be going on along the way. So, the symptoms are real and what I think is hurting children the most is that we never asked the question, why, and that's a real shame.

Michael: Yeah. I totally agree. You know, I think about quite often this idea that we kinda get pigeon hold into these boxes based on list that really have no foundational evidence on your particular DNA and I think about the idea that people doctors particularly and I'm not trying to like throw doctors under the bus, I promise but you know you're in this situation where maybe you're ill, you're sick or something's wrong and they go, oh, it's in your family, it's in your DNA, it's in your genes and I'm like, well, what gene is it? Can you tell me? Can you give me the exact gene that this has been traveled down through for generations that led me to this place? And they can't because for many things I just don't think it's true. Now that said like, I definitely think that I'm kinda you mentioned something about an instant gratification personality definitely fascinating to me. What I'm curious about is there other personality is that kind of fall within these different chasm?

Avigail: Well, every personality is different and personalities are healthy. When you look at yourself you say, okay, who I'm more similar to my mother, my father, my aunt, my uncle; you're gonna find yourself in the family not perfectly because you're a different combination of person but we are gonna find ourselves as within the family. All personality types are healthy variants of a personality and therefore we have to look at it and say, okay, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this personality?

I see mainly that instant gratification is we're gonna see more ADHD symptoms that with that kind of personality that's that type that's just wants everything here and now and fast and interesting and fun and slightly dangerous. I know my kids were always the ones that climbed to top of the monkey bars first and we're just kind dangling off of it with one leg so there's that. Of course, you're gonna have the ADHD which is the more passive type the kid is whose kind of unengaged but they're not unengaged there in a dream world where everything is fascinating for them and they're escaping this here in now world but they're finding something that interests them. They're always finding something else that interests them because they don't wanna be where they are right now. So, I think those are two are very similar although and I always just example that let's say, you have a kid who's kind of a shy kid. So, a shy kid might do great at tasks that require real good focus and other things like that but that shy kid is going to struggle when it comes to engaging their environments and making friends. So, they have their strengths and then they have their challenges. ADHD which is when it is caused by an instant gratification they have their strengths and they integrate with their environment very quickly; that's the kid who's gonna walk over to a stranger and ask the question and learn something new very fast and that's the kid who's going to find novelty and I say, that this will be an inventor, a scientist, a someone who's in high tag and entrepreneur someone like you kind of, you know, getting out there and spreading your voice and your story and helping people out and in a very unique way. So, those people are the ones that are gonna shine there whereas as someone who doesn't engage us quickly because their shy is not gonna do as well in that kind of environment. We have to look at each environment and figure out what we're gonna build, we love that novelty, we love that you're looking for, new things all the time and seeing things other people don't see. But we're having trouble with the fact that when you do that, you don't develop habits because you're not doing things over and over again because you're always jumping from one novel idea to the next. Once it gets boring and you have to dot the eyes and across the t's, you don't wanna do it anymore.

The two things we're learning is okay, we've gotta to work on habits and number two, we've gotta pair you up with somebody who's good at that. Nobody lives in a vacuum, we're in a kind of a weird world, where everybody kinda lives for themselves and expect and is expected to be this kind of perfect being but that's not the way we're meant to live; we're meant to live with within community, where one person has a strength in getting out to the forest and finding the food and the other person as a strength in organizing it when that person brings at home now obviously, I'm going back a couple of generations here. But that's an example for what we would talk about that we are meant to work together. So, one kids in accountants and the other kids in entrepreneur let's put them together they're gonna make great team.

Michael:Yeah, hundred percent. One of the most difficult things I've had in my journey was being habitual about things and not having this like squirrel brain where it's like, nah, nah, nah, all the time. And in that it was incredibly difficult because I had to effectively like retrain my brain and one of the things, I often think about is like as a kid like, I wanted to be successful and as an adult I wanna be successful as defined by me obviously in what that means in my life. And I think people look at children like me, who are just not flourishing, they're not able to keep up with the other kids especially on school. I had straight f's like fine whatever. Why is it that we aren't seeking the why? Like, how do you seek the why and trying to figure this out instead of just going no, no we're gonna diagnose you, here's some medicine because I know that there are parents listening right now the Unbroken Nation who are like, yeah, my kids kinda like this psycho and school running around a hundred miles an hour, you know the doctors wanna put them on medication, I don't necessarily wanna do that, you know, where's the causation and correlation here? Where's the why?

Avigail: So, we don't ask why for. I think a very simple reason we are a fast-food quick fix generation and a pill is much easier and it's easier, it's a wonderful quick fix because you know what? It works. The kid gets quieter, so everyone likes that. And not only that, if the doctor says, it's neurological condition then the teacher doesn't have to work hard, the parent doesn't have to work hard, nobody has to work hard because the problem lives inside the child's brain but it doesn't. And we're not asking the question why because it's really uncomfortable we turn up the answer. For example, let's say, in my work obviously when I meet with a client the first thing, we do is get the full story from pregnancy all the way up to date and the parents turn up with things like wow, the discipline is it really needs to be worked on. Now everybody's discipline worked on, nobody comes into parenting knowing how to discipline their child and therefore that should be obvious but it feels uncomfortable like oh, the discipline blends off that means I'm bad, I messed this up; no, you're not a mess up, you need to keep building your skills. Like, in anything you go into any work you do you have to keep building your skills. Or for example we turn up a gut problem, we're seeing with the kid is a constant runny nose at but that's a lot of work for two busy parents who are working full time, try to get the parents to now commit to completely overhaul and change the kids’ diet, it's hard work. And something that no one told us as parents is that parenting is hard work and we have to work hard it and we have to constantly be changing and try to raise teenagers it is absolutely the best way to really raise ourselves as adults is raising our kids because they put this big old mirror in front of us and they're like, here flaws, take a look at them, enjoy them because you're just sprinkling them all over the place. So, that's why we go with the quick fixes and we don't ask the why, it's not popular, nobody likes it.

Michael: Yeah. I think it's very unfortunate because I found in my own journey and many of the people have coached like that causation and correlation is literally everything, right? And because if we don't have rhyme and reason like, I think to myself, how do you make meaning of that? How do you create a structure and a foundation for understanding what the game plan is? How to implement tools like, how to even if it is a diagnosis that does require medication like, why? You know, as opposed to just that us. I think you're right we do live in a very odd society and I don't think that your message in this is to like single out parents who are busy and running multiple jobs and to tell them they're not doing a good job but as opposed to like, this is just the culture we live in. And I think that so often people want the quick fix, but in that and as parents that are listening right now, you know, you wrote a chapter in the book says; if mommy happy nobody happy, and I thought to myself that's really fascinating. How important is it as parents that you're putting yourself first especially when dealing within navigating this?

Avigail: We must take care of ourselves. Nothing's gonna work well if we don't take care of ourselves and I'm the biggest parent advocate, I do parenting, that's my full time job besides for my other seven jobs that is it and nothing's more important to me than making sure that I had just took a week off because my son is in the military of course a combat soldier just to give his mother white hairs and as many wrinkles as possible. So, I just said, okay kids, we're going on vacation because it's had the week off and so important to me that the family be together and really spend that quality time. If we don't get ourselves an order first moms and dads then everyone's gonna suffer, starting with us. Our kids see us, they watch us when we are stressed our kids absorb it immediately, they know what's going on us, they read us and they feel every bit of our energy. So, we start with really working out what's going on in our own emotional suitcases that's just like, the way I feel it, it's like we come into parenting with this enormous emotional suitcase of all the stuff that we've been through, all of our successes and failures and every other story that we've been to all the voices in our heads and then when our kids started talking back to us instead of it being a five year old saying, no, it is every single person that's ever said, no to me in my life and every failure I've ever had and all that stuff piled up and our response becomes incredibly aggressive and way out of line for what we had dreamed them and hope of as parents. So, in order to really take care of our families we have to feel calm, we have to feel in control which is why begin my book and actually with the first three chapters being about us and it's interesting. I love quoting Jordan Peterson on this one thing, I mean, I love Jordan Peterson’s work in general but this one line that really speaks to me where he says that; ‘when parents don't discipline their kids and they let their kids climb all over them and do ever they want we think we're good being parents, we're being permissive, we're letting the kid express themselves but what happens is it causes us so much anger and shame and it really knocks herself filter that later on we take revenge.’ So, if we can't figure out how to discipline and how to become ourselves and how to know where our own red lines are, I cannot tolerate this kind of behavior, that doesn't work for me, if we don't do that, we're gonna land up acting like really crazy parents and we see them all the time. I used to ride a train in from Faraco to Manhattan, I don't know if we have any New Yorkers listening but it's yes, are you from New York?

Michael: No, not, but we definitely do.

Avigail: Okay, good anyway. So, I survived that line all the time and it was pretty rough, a pretty rough line, interesting things going on all the time. But what I saw was a lot of angry parents, they had no support, there was no community, they were coming on the train, dragging kids that were acting wild and they did not know how to discipline the kids because they were never taught and when we get upset it ourselves for not knowing out a discipline we have to stop and say, wait, did I learned this or did I expect myself to know this by myself? So, they weren't taught to discipline properly and I see some serious violence toward children that should never ever be accepted by any parent and the parent that smack their kids head into the poll on the train it feels very ashamed but has no idea how to handle it because she hasn't worked out her own voices, in her own anger and she doesn't have the skill she needs, which is why I'm the biggest parent advocate because I'm like here, let's talk, let me give you skills that I had to learn myself after making a million mistakes as well.

Michael: Yeah. And I think the only way you figure those things out is you have to make a million mistakes or you come and you learn in aspects like this one of the things is like, I look at the episodes of this show where I have amazing people like you on and I think to myself, I don't have children but when I foster them which is a huge part of my life mission, I wanna be prepared for that because I'm like, holy shit, when I was a kid, yeah, I get it, right? And I think a lot of that's a trickle-down effect. But you know, I wanna talk about two things here, (one) is this word discipline and I think it's really important to talk about especially in the guise of ADHD because I think parents often think that perhaps violence is the solution for that behavior but you talk about behind every challenging behavior is empathy and being willing to show empathy. And I think that is so incredibly important, so where the parallels and the distinctions between those two things that can be beneficial for parents listening right now?

Avigail: Okay. So, first of all, raising a kid with ADHD symptoms and definitely if it's caused by an instant gratification personality is really rough because it's very, very hard to discipline these kids because they want our attention and they want it strong and they want it immediate and just like everything else and therefore they're paying attention to us. And if we can give that attention in the loving kind way with compliments with engagement with playing a game, making a puzzle at them or even sitting and watching a movie with our arm around their shoulders they're gonna glow from that, that's what they're waiting for. But most time because they're so difficult they trigger our anger and our criticism and therefore we land up yelling at them and the minute, we yell or we're aggressive physically they're gonna invite more of that not because they want it, it's really subconscious but they need our attention. And if we're only giving it negatively, they are gonna demand more negative attention, so that's the first thing we have to know.

The second thing we have to know is we have to respect our children and when I talk about discipline and this is the empathy part. First of all this an important thing I wanna add here about empathy, when we don't discipline our children what we're saying to our children and to ourselves is this child is not capable of behaving better and that message to our child is this is it, this is all I expect of you, I expect of you to be tantruming out in the supermarket, I expect you to not listen to me when I talk to you and to throw your stuff all over the place and never clean your room, that's what I expect you. And that's a terrible message, because it's this terrible message of low expectation but when we are feel sorry for our kids what where we're doing is turning them into sorry children and we don't want to use our sympathy or empathy in a place where our kids can do better. And the kind thing we could do is stop them and say that's not right, you are better than that, you made a choice, that wasn't the right choice and you can make a better choice. So, our kindness comes in this case in saying, stop. And how do we say stop? We say first of all we don't yell; we don't raise our hands because that will make the child behave badly again. What we do is very calmly, we give them either community service something small and often the kid and parents are listening and say yeah, like kids not doing community service like, you just spilled the cereal all over the floor and now I'm gonna tell him to clean it up and then go organize a drawer that's cute but that's not happening.

The second choice and they be right but since we're trying to be as respectful as possible, we wanna give the child a choice to do an action that what I say is, brings light back to the house. You made a mistake it's kind of brought a little bit of darkness because they our interaction is now much more negative, so you bring light back to the house it's kind of like, paying for a speeding ticket like, there's no real connection between the ticket, the speeding and the ticket but it's kind of like goes into the taxes and then therefore the state has more money, okay, so it's uncomfortable you had to pay but you got to do something, you did something about it and now you're clear in the glare, of course with the speeding ticket you get points so it's not an exact parallel. But in this case, we're saying that the child has done something wrong they can do better we believe in them, we have faith and how they can do better by choosing to do something that will bring lights to our home, straighten something, organizing fold and some laundry something like that, our children are very bright, they get that what they're doing is making us happy and therefore giving them the opportunity to get out of the mess they put themselves in. But if they're refusing to do that and that's fine, that they will refuse and my daughter says to me, our job is soon behave and your job is to forgive us and I hear that, she's very cute and but the second step is taking away some kind of item of privilege for a short amount of time, we are always basing it on respect. We're not trying to cause our child pain and suffering, we're trying to bring him back from where he is; he made a bad choice, now make a good choice you didn't wanna do community service, no problem you loved and respected, you are now going to lose the game you were playing on or your laptop or whatever it is, your iPad for half an hour and then you're gonna get it back now the child's tension and get very upset and that's also okay, that's part of childhood, he's trying to defend his rights to this behave.

So, then we up the punishment just a bit another five minutes and we walk away and the child will work it out but we have to know the other part of empathy is understanding that the child's misbehaving because there's some kind of emotional trigger, something's bothering the child and therefore is it looking for attention or can't really right now figure out how to do the right thing. So, besides for a punishment we also to have a communication with a child – what's going on with you? What's bothering you? Let's talk. And that's the next step but we keep seeing that the same behaviors repeat themselves we don't ignore that, we don't keep resort to punishment because it's not working the punishment is just kind of a red line saying, I trust you, I've faith you and what's amazing about punishment is that when a child has been punished first of all we don't mention it again he is now fully forgiven and we've moved on and that's super important for parents don't keep her mind you kids yesterday you did this in that; that doesn't matter he's already been forgiven for that but we also what we're giving them is a space to grow, space to make choices, space to tell us what's going on with them. If we keep on punishing then we're missing something, so take a deep breath and say what am I missing here, again we're asking the why question. Why does this behavior continue? Not because my child is disabled and has ADHD but rather something is bothering this kid and we need to find out.

Michael: And I would have to assume and this probably I'm gonna base this off my own experience. You know, the more that there were these negative ramifications for me I was very violent but a lot of the words being used would slowly start to adapt and they would become my identity and I think that's part of what you're putting towards in regard to, it’s not about reminding them letting go because I think that just says human beings like, we hold on this shit and I'm like you just gotta let that go because if you don't book, you're setting them up for failure. I've remembered distinctly being like, everyone views me in this way so that must be true about me and I need a really powerful word for that and curse. What I wanna talk about here is like, how do you change that voice to and move it from a child being and thinking like oh, I'm cursed and how do you have that; that symbiosis of a relationship around that nomenclature with parents in children so you don't end up doing what happened to me and that became my identity?

 Avigail: Yeah. Oh, my god that happens to all of us. And when I talked to before about the voices; those voices in our heads are those curse the way we were defined as kids. And I had a nickname growing up it was beautiful, I was called mouth, so mouth which is really funny because I'm a public speaker now but as a little kid what it really means is big mouth and so that starts making you feel a little self-conscious when you're speaking oh, I'm the big mouth or I'm the person who doesn't get things done on time in an orderly way. All the curse that we give our kids first of all as parents, we have to stop putting our kids in boxes, when we talk about compliments we talk about complimenting not the natural gifts our kids have, you're smart, you're beautiful, you're talented but rather what are they doing with it? How are they using their talent and their skills to move forward? What step did they take today to do better than they were yesterday? The colors you chose on that painting really bring it alive, you blended it so beautifully. Your singing voice really made me happy when you were singing the shower today, just I was dancing on the other side of the door so it's not about your voice because that makes you self-conscious. Now you always have to have a good voice and now you're always performing and that's on the positive side and even on the positive side, I have no idea how many clients I have that I'm helping them work through being smart because they always have to be smart if they were the smart kid then they could sad to stop asking questions because then someone would know that they weren't so smart, that would be revealed and they had this horrible secret of that, wait, one second, I'm not so smart, I'm not just like an average person and someone's gonna find out then I'm not this brilliant kid at the top of my class all the time. So, that's on the positive side how damaging that is but think about it on the negative side, you're lazy, you're stupid, you're good for nothing, you always cause problems in the house, mouth, all that stuff definitely gets into our big giant suitcase of emotional stress that we carry on into our adulthood like you were referring to.

And there are ways to get out of that first of all as parents we have to stop doing that so that we don't imprint that onto our children, also for teachers in anyone who deals with children or even call workers or spouses, we have to stop calling people names of any sort positive and negative. But as adults we have to redefine ourselves and we have to stop and say really am my mouth? am I stupid? am I lazy? is that me? And we have to redefine ourselves because that really closes us in and makes us it puts us in this kind of fixed mentality, I must be this and what happens to us is that it's like, a prophecy. If I'm that lazy person then I need to be that lazy person all the time and I need to kind prove that on that lazy person so that's terrible. So, we have to kind of redefine ourselves and then put ourselves in a process mentality where we're moving forward all the time. I don't have to be anything; I have to make choices today to be my best.

And what I found to be the most powerful way to really get ourselves out of that curse is it to have gratitude. Gratitude for now and here and what's happening in my life this second what are my gifts? What did I do today that made myself stronger that made my home better? What choices? So, it's about moving forward, choices and the blessings that we have and if we start our day with a blessing and we end our day with what did I do well then slowly, we start to shrink those horrible curses and move it into our better selves.

Michael: And so much of that feels like ending generational trauma because I think that unfortunately so much of that is the continuation of the experiences that we have because we live entirely based off of learn experiences which help identify and create who we are and it's not until you bring attention to it that you can shift that. And I think that's so incredibly powerful, you know, I recall all of these terrible things; my step father used to call me and in some weird way they actually came to fruition. So, I'm right here with you, I mean we've gotta be positive, we have to be encouraging, we have to be able to give kids the right tools and the right nomenclature is about who they are to give them the ability to be successful so that you know years down the road we're breaking this generational trauma. One of the things I wanna kinda go back to where we started this conversation you mentioned gut health in this process and I recall as a child the most terrible gut health. Part of it, I know it was from the food, part of it was from stress, I mean the list goes on and on. But what is the ideal way to help parents be able to help their children especially they have sick kids, who are also dealing with ADHD symptoms right now?

Avigail: Well, let's start with the most basic no more elective c-sections because natural birth is where we actually seed the gut, it's the mom's first gift to her child, is a natural birth where the child absorbs the gut microbes from mom. So, we have to just I understand the c-section save lives but if we're choosing it then let's choose health for our children and less about convenience of setting a date for birth. The second thing is the best way to really get a healthy gut is by eating tons of different colored fruits and vegetables and trying to avoid antibiotics as much as possible of course if a child needs antibiotics again, lifesaving. But in many cases as a matter of fact a study in England that said that fifty percent of the times the kids took antibiotics, they didn't meet it but the doctor was just trying to give them mother something to do. So, we have to kind of back off a little bit and wait and see if the child really needs antibiotics because that's a real gut killer while it is very powerful and helpful to us.

So, I had my first pediatrician when my oldest is twenty-three was a baby he said listen this is the rule… ‘don't come to the doctor until your child's wouldn't sick for at least two days’ because in most cases children have very resilient bodies and they could bounce back and the body will resolve whatever it is that's going on, after two days go and do what you gotta do. Food coloring is awful for the gut and because it does the same damage as antibiotics but what it doesn't do is save your life and make you well, so those are things that we wanna really stay away from food coloring preservative and we wanna move toward healthy and natural. Basically, the food has to look as close as possible to the way it looked in nature, so cook and bake, that's fine, but you want the food to not look so completely far away from what it originally grew as that you can't identify it as food anymore, that's a basic thing. But let's say the kid now already has an injured gut, I have two children with celiac so they already had injured gut, what we're doing there is we're clearing the gut we're bringing it back to help and this have done with many, many clients over the years and the results are unbelievable. Again, hard work, for the parents like, I mentioned before but this is something that has to be done if we wanna get our kids back focused. So, I take out gluten dairy and try to reduce sugar as much as possible, I add Omega-3 as well as probiotics and I try to stay as close to vegan as possible at the beginning.

My kids in celiac what I did last summer is we put actually the whole family onto a rub diet for two months and amazing things happen. First of all, they got their number their celiac number down to zero, meaning they had completely healed the gut which, there's no feeling better for a mom than knowing that finally their kid really is healthy. But then my oldest daughter who had terrible period cramps, the cramp went away and everyone's faces cleared up and good things happened all around and what was really nice is that then the kids had a much, much better school year because they were way more focused even with the zoom school and all the craziness that's been going on the last two years, they were able to focus much better because our gut is our second brain. And all of the neurotransmitters that doctors talk about connected with ADHD like, dopamine, those are actually formed in our gut. So, if our gut is in good shape then our brain's is gonna be working really, really nicely. I also had a pretty mess up bet as a little kid, I was not oh, nursing moms please do that, that's really, really helpful, akin who's not nurse also is gonna have a harder time having a healthy gut, I had strep all the time every winter four or five times and it led to all sorts of dry skin and headaches and things like that, so, that's really difficult.

Another thing I like to add is hang out with animals and go on hikes because we need to have diverse gut, we need to breathe in everything, have your dog, lick your face and have all sorts of pets and not my face my kids face is obviously and go out into nature as much as you can because the microbes that are floating around in nature, they go right into you absorb them and you're much healthier from that.

Michael: Yeah. As you're going through this, I'm like checking off all the things that you said not to do that work part of my childhood and as an adult like, those are behavioral patterns even had to break the Unbroken Nation knows my affinity for gummy bears and like, finding how toxic they really are between the sugars and the dies and all the other things and like having to go through this gut healing process and learning how to take care of myself, how to eat well and and so on and so forth. And I think one of the greatest things now is we have access to more information like this than ever before and it's really about the execution at this point, right? How do you take these ideas, these concepts, these things that you learn bring them into play, so, that they make your life better. And look it's not easy like there's nothing I'd rather do than like bag gummy bears, eat chocolate cake and watch cartoons all day but you know that's not conducive to the life that I want to have.

Avigail, this conversation has been absolutely incredible before I ask you my last question can you tell everyone where they can find you?

Avigail: Sure, absolutely but I wanna add one more sense. “Anything that you do; do with a friend, do in the community, you wanna change your diet? Do it with a friend, you need support. Get to the gym, have a gym buddy, that's the way we get things done best.” Now with that said you can find me on Instagram @hyperhealing.adhdand at my website, you're always welcome to send me notes directly on hyper healing and I will always respond, I love having conversations with the people that are interested in this topic. And you can get my book Hyper Healing on amazon.

Michael: Amazing! And of course, we'll put all the links in the show notes. Avigail, my friend my last question for you what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Avigail: Well, we did talk about the curses and I think that being unbroken is getting rid of all of those curses and those frequency notions of you that were really attached to you by other people that are not your own personal truths and looking at yourself again and saying I am a powerful person who can make choices, who can make changes and today as a new day and today I'm gonna do great and what's gonna be my step today in the right direction.

Michael: Brilliantly said, my friend thank you so much for being here. Unbroken Nation, thank you for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

Avigail GimpelProfile Photo

Avigail Gimpel

Author, Mother, College Lecturer, Teacher

Avigail was born in 1974, the 3rd of eight children.
She got her first teaching job in 1996, in a school for immigrant children in queens New York.
That same year she ran a Sunday school for Jewish public-school children.
She got her BA from Touro College and completed her graduate studies at Touro college graduate school for Special Education in Manhattan, New York.
She married Daniel Gimpel in 1998 while teaching in an all-boys orthodox elementary school. In this school, she developed an intervention program for students struggling with ADHD symptoms.
She and Daniel moved to Israel soon after their marriage. Avigail continued her education there, earning advanced degrees in teaching reading to children with Dyslexia and cognitive education for children with ADHD symptoms.
In 2003, she and her husband, with three small children moved to Moscow, Russia. There she taught in three different schools and headed up the English department in one of the schools.
Upon our return to Israel, she emersed herself in studying and developing treatment options for ADHD for her own six kids and many struggling students. She collaborated with her father-in-law, Dr. Amnon Gimpel (psychiatrist and neurologist), and developed a parent training program. She moved on to develop a teacher’s training program. Avigail teaches in Hertzog college as well as lectures in Israeli schools and to parent groups all over Israel. She works in private practice, training parents to become ADHD coaches to their children, and spouses to learn a new love language to communicate with respect.
She recently published her first book “HyperHealing”, based on many years of research and practice both as a mother of a good number of kids diagnosed with ADHD, as well as a classroom teacher of children struggling with ADHD symptoms. Her second book HyperHealing, Show me the Science is expected to be published in the next few months.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.