Posts tagged ‘artificial color’

April 26, 2011

What are we feeding our kids? Food or chemicals?

This is my first post ever…………

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how messed up food in the United States really is.  There almost seems to be more chemicals in our food than there is “REAL” food.  It infuriates me that it isn’t that way in Europe.  I recently watched a video of Robyn O’ Brien doing a presentation about her story and the food industry in the United States.

She is being called the Erin Brockovich of Food. Her question is one  I have often pondered myself, What has been added to our food that just wasn’t there when I was a kid 30 some years ago? There has been such a rise in food allergies, intolerance or sensitivities lately it just makes you wonder WHY?

You may be wondering why I am so interested in this issue, well a bit of background is necessary.  I am the mom of a now 5-year-old girl, who we now know has sensitivities to artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and even something naturally occurring in foods that a mom would never think would be harmful to her child, salicylates.  Salicylates are naturally occurring aspirin like chemicals that are found in many fruits and vegetables that we serve our children everyday. In the plants they act as a natural immune hormone and preservative, protecting the plant from insects, fungi and disease.  So, having said that now you may be thinking what fruits and veggies have I been giving my kids that could be making them hyper, emotional, have asthma, eczema, dark circles under the eyes, poor concentration, irritability, poor sleep, mood swings and the list of symptoms just goes on and on.  Well, for my child some of the biggest offenders are the ones she would eat non-stop if I would have let her.  Apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, watermelon, tomato, cucumber and corn.  Now I just think about that list of fruits and veggies and all the ways they can be served, juices, salads, just fresh, popcorn, spaghetti sauce, pizza.  It just saddens me a bit that she can’t have many of the foods that I grew up on, because her little body can’t handle the chemicals in the food that is on our grocery store shelves, that we think is safe and healthy.  Luckily for us we found the Feingold diet and life has gotten better.  She has been on this diet for almost a year now and her behavior, hyperactivity, tantrums, etc have gotten better.  Now that isn’t to say that she is completely fixed because of this diet, but life is more tolerable now.  I think that there is still something we are missing, but we will get it all figured out in time.

We are taking a natural approach with her health.  I am not against medicine when used as a last resort, but I’m not going to take the easy road when it comes to my daughter’s health, and I do see that medicating her for her hyperactivity at this age is the easy road.  Don’t get me wrong some days I wish there was just a pill I could give her to get her to calm down and be “normal”, but she is worth the world to me and I just can’t do that.  I know that she has ADHD.  It hasn’t been diagnosed, but its in her genes, so it is inevitable.  I will try everything in my power before I choose to give her meds though.  I just think that they are given out like candy these days and we just don’t know what they are doing to these children’s little bodies, long-term.  I don’t judge other people for making that choice though.  It isn’t easy living with a hyper child who gets into trouble for being themselves.  It isn’t easy putting your child on a special diet that eliminates the “cheap” processed foods and replaces them with organic whole foods either,  it’s very expensive.

If I were to suggest one change to make in your child’s diet, it would be to remove all artificial colors from their food.  With the recent FDA hearings on artificial dyes and there possible links to hyperactivity, I’m sure that many parents have realized the connection.   This connection came to me back in the fall of 2008, my daughter was almost 3 years old then and I gave her some brightly colored sprinkles, they were primary colors (red, blue, green and yellow). Well within 20 minutes she was just bouncing off the walls uncontrollably.  There wasn’t anything we could do to calm her down.  This lasted for about 4 HOURS!! It was at this point that I looked at the packaging for the sprinkles and saw RED dye #40, and then did a google search and found all the articles linking this dye to hyperactive behavior.  This is also when we began the journey of eliminating all artificial colors from our diet.

We have decided to homeschool our daughter for many reasons and this chemical sensitivity issue is one of the biggest.  Its not just foods you have to watch out for, anything you put on, in or even near your body can cause a reaction.  Just think of a public school setting, there is glue, art supplies, the soap in the bathrooms, air fresheners, not to mention the school lunch.  The school lunch can actually be avoided, but the other things not so much.  So, we will homeschool and make the most of it.

Thanks for reading my first post and I can’t wait to hear your comments !

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