Sunday, August 30, 2009

it's starting early

Can't believe I've already got a child with a sore throat and fever! We haven't even had a full week since school started. At least the Urgent Care doctor took me seriously and wrote the script for Augmentin (the while antibiotic) rather than the pink stuff. I told him my child reacts badly to food coloring and could I please have a medicine that did not contain artificial colors. I told him I have learned that many times medicines have colors in them already banned in food. He seemed surprised by that. I briefly explained that my children all show severe changes in reaction to food dyes and that it is very detrimental to them. He believed me and said we could get Augmentin instead of Amoxicilin.

In case you haven't read my early entries, that's how my whole journey with food dyes began. A dark colored antibiotic made my child look crazy hyper. That was 3 years ago. What a journey it has been.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What are the effects of food dyes?

Many people wonder what food dyes really do. How can they be detrimental if they are allowed to be in so many children's foods? Well, I'd like to lay it out there from 2 perspectives: 1. the research 2. my experience as a Mom.

Research has been showing food dyes to cause hyperactivity and irritability in "normal" kids, not just ADHD kids. Our FDA does not want to acknowledge the recent research, but it was enough for Britain to ban dyes from their foods. Hmmm, total denial, verses total action to protect children. Seeing any trends with out FDA? Check links to the side for articles about the recent studies.

Here are a few new ones I found:

Do food dyes affect kids' behavior? --LA Times

The truth about food dyes -Couric and Co CBS

Chemical food additive exposure during pregnancy

This last one is disturbing. In case you didn't read it all the way through, here's the conclusion:

Regarding the observations of hyperactivity after exposure to food dyes, there was enough evidence for the researchers to conclude,
"Our results provide additional support for the belief that administration of food colorings may exert significant effects in the developing organism. Thus, it is apparent that food dyes affect activity levels during the first month of postnatal life."
Dr. Bennett A. ShaywitzPediatric Neurology, Yale University School of MedicineNeurobehavioral Toxicology, Vol. 1:41-47

I wish I knew why this stuff has not been better studied and publicised, but it seems that it is still not common knowledge to many families. My hope is that my blog will help with that. I just wish there was a better way to shout to our country, "Wake up and look at your children! This is not how children are supposed to be. People were not made to eat petroleum by-products!"

As a mom I have seen even more dramatic effects. I have 2 children who become irritable, defiant and difficult to be around. The screaming, shouting, fighting, it all goes off the charts. It's not continual. It's more like it spikes without warning over the course of 3 days. One even spits, hits, sticks the tongue out a lot, but only within 3 days of food dyes. The behavior does not otherwise occur. I also see hyperactivity mixed in with the angry stuff on the same two. It's like the brakes short circuit and they jump, bounce and dash about much more than normal.

That leaves my other child, the "hyperactive times 100 when on food dyes" child. I don't see as much of the angry responses out of that one, but more of the crazy, "devil may care" attitude that revs from sun up to sun down with no break. It's like he's on drugs! And then I sat there thinking he needed to be one. Thank God I figured out the food dye connection and never had to go down that path. He didn't need Ritalin or any other drug. He needed healthy food. Again, the behavior stays under control unless there is an exposure to food dye. I've tried it out hundreds of times over 3 years. When the food dyes are not consumed, I have calm, considerate, polite children who do their chores and homework without incident, practice their musical instruments, and maintain a reasonable level of peace. It's honestly just that simple.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I decided to organize my links a little better, so that part of my blog will be undergoing changes over the next few days as time permits.

informing teachers about food dyes

As my children get ready to go back to school this week, I am composing a letter to the teachers. I like to introduce our family and tell a little about my child's interests, but I will also be making my preference to keep my children "dye free" known in writing. I am hopeful that having the preference known in writing will help prevent problems. I also found it helpful last year to voice the concern out loud to other parents at the "meet the teacher" night and request that it be treated as a food allergy. We had many parents who did remember about the need to be "dye free" when they chose birthday treats for their own child's party. Some went to great lengths to make sure my son had a dye free snack.

My letter to the teacher will go something like this:

Dear teacher,

I wanted to let you know that my child is not able to eat anything with the following artificial food coloring ingredients: red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6 and blue #1. These petroleum based chemicals have been found to negatively affect children by provoking emotional and behavioral responses. The response to these chemicals can last up to 3 full days. These food colorings are banned in Brittan and other countries, since research has proven their ill effects on children. As I want my child to be at his best for school work, I hope you will assist me in making sure that my child does not consume any artificially colored products in class. I will be happy to provide alternate treats so that my son can enjoy treats with the class. If you could please let me know of any special parties or activities in advance, I will be happy to send in appropriate substitutions for my child. I have collected a great deal of information and research on this topic on my blog: You could also say: I have found a blog that explains more information and research about food dyes.

Lets hope for safe eating and a successful dye free school year!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

dye free lollipops at Amazon

My friend found Yummy Earth on sale at Amazon. They have really good dye free candy. The Amazon link actually has a video where you can watch how they make them. The kids enjoyed hearing them talk about how they don't use red #40 and all that yucky stuff.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Feingold on youtube

Why is your child irritable, angry, hyper or upset? This is really worth checking out!
Feingold has short video clips on youtube about food dyes and reasons to avoid them. This is a nice clip to pass along to teachers or family members who do not understand about keeping children off food dyes. Pass this along to anyone who is interested!

Monday, August 10, 2009

surprising dye free cereal

While shopping at Kroger today we noticed a large display at the end of an aisle of a new line of natural cereals from Mom's Naturals. They actually have an all natural substitute for Lucky Charms, only without the junk. No kidding. I always loved them as a kid, so of course we bought them and tried them already. Picking the crunchy little marshmallows is still just as fun, only now without all the side effects of the dyes. Here's a link to the company where you can even get coupons:

I've heard that the demand for natural foods has finally increased such that companies are able to produce foods in larger quantities pushing the price down. Kroger is now offering more and more natural foods because the lower prices also make it more likely the average Kroger shopper will buy them. Isn't that a nice change.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

imagine paint poured over a cookie

That's what the snack at daycare looked like today. I should have taken a picture. They apparently mixed food coloring (the entire bottle from the looks of it) with sweetened condensed milk and poured it over a pan of bar cookies. I planned ahead and expected myself to forget to pack the cookies this morning so I packed up my own plain old chocolate chip cookies ahead of time and already had them in a bag in the car (Luckily it's been cool here). That way when I walked into the daycare kitchen this morning and saw today's cookies, all I had to do was go back to the car to get safe cookies for my kids. I wonder how many kids are going to be cranked up all weekend? At least it won't be mine.

I also think it's time to search for new info on how many countries have actually banned food dyes and their reasons for doing so. Of course I'll post whatever I find on that, but I'm thinking I need to print it out and hand it to the director of my daycare/summercamp/preschool just for good measure.

So today's lesson about avoiding dyes at day care. Always look ahead at the menu and always have a safe snack.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

what are the odds of this?

We rarely eat any restaurant food anymore. It's just easier not to. However, tonight Alex had a cello recital and we wanted to celebrate how well he played, so we stopped at McDonald's. We were originally only going to get fries, but Ben wanted a chocolate shake and that sounded good so we both got one. I was driving home drinking my shake when I suddenly found myself chewing on a piece of strawberry. Just as I was starting to grumble, Ben says, "Mom I think my shake tastes like strawberry."

You know what that means. McDonalds only has strawberries with red #40 in them. Of course they make dye free strawberry sauce for Britan. If you have not read my whole blog then you may not know that food dyes are banned in Britain and other countries. Those countries acknowledge the research that indicates negative health effects on children from consuming food dyes. I'm still wondering how our own FDA gets away with ignoring the same research and allowing neurotoxins in our food.

In the mean time, I'm trying an experiment. I told Ben I'll pay him 5 dollars if he shows no sign of irritability, defiance or the other negative results of food dyes for the next 3 days. I'm curious if he's old enough to summon the effort to over-ride it. We'll see how I do too. My guess is that Friday and Saturday will the "hot days." So the contest is on to see who can keep their cool longer, me or my son.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How is this legal?

I was cleaning through m medicine cabinet last week when my boys had poison ivy. I came across a package of Benadryl tablets that look hot pink and contain. D & C red #27. I found that interesting as I know only red #40 and Red #33 are approved for food. Tuns out this one's in lipstick and lip gloss despite it being known as a neurotoxin. Check out the link I found about that:

Now obviously I threw it all out before anyone in my family could accidentally take it, but how many people take that on a regular basis? Hmmmm.