Saturday, September 29, 2012

Food Dyes are EVERYWHERE

So after my post about being fooled by labels, I've been scouring the house looking for other items that contain dyes. Holy moly, they are everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

I continue to be shocked and annoyed at all the things dyes are in. Did you know that there is dye in your pre-made pie crusts in the grocery store? Yep, of all places. I guess it's to make it that pretty 'crust' color? Whatever.

You know what else? I'm starting to wonder if our oldest boy is sensitive to these dyes. (I can just see the group sigh and eye roll by certain members of my family.)

I'm not a doctor, and I'm not trying to diagnose him with any type of disorder/issue/problem. I'm also certainly not trying to get out of parenting him because sometimes it's really hard and I want to categorize him and excuse his behavior. Nope, not at all.

Our oldest is active, active, active. He's resistant to sleep. He can be whiny. He can be mean. He can drive me nuts.

Now, let me say this. He's an almost four year old boy. I fully understand that those traits are normal for a child this young. And if he didn't display those behaviors at times, I'd be worried.

However, we've noticed that after he eats certain things, like processed foods, or a lot of sugar, these 'traits' seem to come out more.

For example, recently after he had a smoothie made from yogurt with Red 40 and 15g of sugar he was off the wall. I know my child. It wasn't late in the day. He was rested. He just started acting like a crazy person. Hitting his brother (unprovoked), slamming toys into the wall, cabinets, floor. Jumping off his bookshelves. Not his normal active behavior.

So we are embarking on a mission to get rid of the dyes in their foods. Because, why not? We are really just concerned for the health and well-being of our kids. We don't see any reason for giving them food, drinks, or anything else that has unnecessary ingredients in them. Because, besides color, what is the point? Our food and baby wash really just doesn't need to be fun, exciting, and colorful all the time, does it?

Check out this interesting chart from the Feingold Association.  For me personally, it's gross to see all the additive, preservatives, and dyes that are added to our foods.
What the child growing up in the U.S. in the 1940's got:
What the child growing up in the U.S. today gets:
White toothpaste Multi-colored toothpaste, perhaps with sparkles
Oatmeal Sea Treasures Instant Oatmeal (turns milk blue)
Corn flakes Fruity Pebbles
Toast & butter, jam Pop Tarts
Cocoa made with natural ingredients Cocoa made with artificial flavoring, & some with dyes.
Whipped cream Cool Whip
No vitamins (or perhaps cod liver oil) Flintstone vitamins with coloring & flavoring
White powder or bad-tasting liquid medicine Bright pink, bubble-gum flavored chewable or liquid medicine
Sample school lunch:
Meat loaf, freshly made mashed potatoes, vegetable. Milk, cupcake made from scratch.
Sample school lunch:
Highly processed foods loaded with synthetic additives, no vegetable. Chocolate milk with artificial flavor.
Sample school beverage:
Water from the drinking fountain
Sample school beverage:
Soft drink with artificial color, flavor, caffeine, aspartame, etc.
Candy in the classroom a few times a year at class parties. Candy (with synthetic additives) given frequently.

Let me say this: I grew up on a lot of these foods. Heck, sometimes we even buy them. I do love some Fruity Pebbles every now and then. But I know that if I eat too much of those kinds of foods, I feel gross. I feel bloated, my stomach hurts, I get a little cranky. I'm not talking about gorging myself on them. But if I have Fruity Pebbles for breakfast, a soda at lunch, and then maybe a processed dessert in the evening, then I go to bed miserable.

So why wouldn't if affect my kids, too?

Here's another very interesting article from Allergy Kids about one mom's experience with food dyes.

What do you think about all this? Do you think sensitivity/allergies to food dyes is a bunch of junk? I'd love to hear your thoughts!