Saturday, October 23, 2010

What Are The Kids Eating?!?

Just a quick PS announcement and a request.

A little background: I have two children.  My son has "issues" at school.  Sometimes at home, but mostly at school.  Strictly for school purposes, we have an ADD diagnosis which gets us a little leniency when it comes to his behavior.  It does not excuse it but, without going into too much personal detail, in order for it to be dealt with effectively, there has to be a medical "reason" on file.  I think it's total crap, but whatever.

Anyway, as most parents of children with these problems, I am always, always looking for a reason.  There HAS to be a reason why some days are hell and some days are not.  Well, I think we have finally had a break through and it's one of my greatest passions.  Food!!  Children prone to ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, etc. can have hyper sensitivities to certain ingredients in their favorite foods and treats.  Mostly the artificial additives and chemically altered foods.  Huge shocker, right.  LOL

After conducting my own little experiments, we have eliminated any and all high fructose corn syrup and red dye 40 from his diet and monitor his salt intake.  Now this is not easy as both of these ingredients are showing up in so many of the kid's favorite things and all those super attractive convenience foods are loaded with sodium.  I have had to go through every single thing in our home, right down to the nestle syrup I use to make hot chocolate every now and again, and yes, that had to go - full bottle right in the trash.  The last thing to go were the Triaminic dissolving cough medicine strips.  Never thought to look at those ingredients and the three evenings that I gave them to my son were followed by three of the worst ever days he had at school.  What is the second ingredient in those strips you ask?  That'd be red dye 40.  This has what to do with suppressing a cough?

Is all this a coincidence?  I'm not so sure.  I won't post links to all the various websites I have viewed to support my theory, but a quick google search will bring up TONS of info if you are interested.  To go into detail on everything I've gone through at home to support this claim, well that would make this one seriously long blog post and I won't bore you with more words than I usually spew.  You're welcome.  :-)

So my request is, please look into the ingredients in the foods you feed your family.  With the introduction of all these chemically altered ingredients, food additives and convenience foods, we have a growing epidemic of childhood obesity, psychological problems and recurrent illness in children, reliance on medications for school age children, etc.  Conduct your own experiments, introduce your kids to new, healthier foods and treats - they do exist.  They will stop complaining and just eat it eventually, I promise.

I cannot tell you the difference eliminating these items from my son's diet have had on his behavior and entire emotional state.  It is immeasurable!  We are not looking forward to sorting out all the "bad" stuff on Halloween, but I am planning to have plenty of approved treats on hand to trade with him.  It does take a bit of extra work and planning, but look at the end result.  So well worth it if you ask me.


  1. Very interesting! You are a good mom to take care of that. I agree with you totally! I have been watching what my daughter has been eating since she was born. She didn't have sweets except fruit the first few year of her life, and she really doesn't eat a lot now,(she does like ice cream and Reese's). She won't drink milk and her doctor said that was fine as long as she gets calcium elsewhere, which she does she eats broccoli, yogurt, cheese and I get things with added calcium. We've eliminated HFCS for years, even in her ketchup. Behavior was never an issue with her, but I believe many foods are a factor. It amazes me what some of these kids bring for lunch at school!

    You realize you spoil your family when one night for dinner she threw in the microwave one of those steam bag meals, chicken and summer vegetables. She couldn't eat it all so her father finished it, he said the veggies weren't any good the squash was mushy, my daughter agreed. I said that's shows how spoiled you are I always use fresh veggies, not frozen or canned, you guy aren't used to that!

  2. We have removed red dye from my nephew's diet, unless we are out doing something highly active, because he goes psycho with it, even something as small as an M&M.
    When he was about 18 months, his Dad and a friend gave him red Jell-o and he literally ran circles around the living room. Quite a feat for a child that age. He is 4 now, and thinks boys can't have red because red candies etc. always go to Mommy and Auntie, while he and Daddy have all the others! :-) Although that is not fully correct, it is good that he knows he can't have the red color.
    For now, red dye is removed from his diet. He gets soda as a treat, and it is only orange or non caffeinated root beer; chocolate milk is a treat as well, and very few sweets. Thankfully, he knows that no means no when we are in a supermarket. He may pout a bit and ask why he can't have a treat, but if you explain (we don't have the money, to close to dinner, etc) he will say 'Ok' and be on his way. No tantrums! :-)
    He is an active, athletic child with a brilliant imagination; i am a bit worried that he may be labeled when he starts school next year. But, so long as he stays away from the reds, he knows how to behave!

  3. Good for you!!! We are a no HFCS household as well. FYI Hunts now makes a HFCS free ketchup :) Hooray!

    Its amazing when you eliminate the fake and junk thats in food how much better our kids, and ourselves, act and feel. I'm really happy for you and your family that you've found something that helps.

    And good to know about the triaminic cough strips. Never thought to look at the ingredients there, beyond the active ingredients.

  4. I get Publix(our store brand) organic ketchup, it's priced reasonable and no HFCS. I know Motrin make a dye free children's medicine. (My daughter never took liquid or strips, she was funny that way) I've seen it at school, since I work in the clinic, someone brought it in for their child!

  5. Where I work, we deal with a lot of dietary issues and more often than not, they link up with behavioral "issues". The first "ingredient" we remove is any and all refined sugar. You know, the white stuff: bread, tortillas, chips, cookies, pretzels, etc. Like you, we see a change (for the better) pretty quickly. I know it's hard to just dump all that stuff, but it works.

  6. thanks for this post. if jonas ever has problems, i'll remember what you said.

  7. I'm glad to hear you share on this matter. I don't have kids, but I can you tell my own personal challenges with ADD. I wasn't formally diagnosed until 24 because many doctors had dismissed the possibility given that the distribution is 95% male. Well as it turns out I am one of the 5%. Over the years I have found that eating natural and organic has been a significant influence over how well I am able to focus. For instance, earlier this year, I went to the Food & Wine Festival, and without thinking ate about a pint of conventional raspberries, blueberries and strawberries (berries are some of the most sprayed fruits out there). Over the next day and a half I was a space cadet, felt horrible and had no idea what had happened. Also I didn't have a drop of alcohol because I was driving, so I could only conclude that on one of the few days of the year that I deviate from my organic regimen, that the berries were heavily sprayed.

    I don't think that everyone has the same sensitivity as I do to pesticides, perhaps I do not have as strong a sensitivity to red dye as your son, but I think it is important that we all become aware of how we react to certain foods.

    If there is a silver lining in your situation, I'm glad that you are able to work with your son at such a young age. Adult ADD is hard, and people are much less sympathetic of the condition.

  8. Thanks everyone. Hey, my son will still have his version of ADD, but this has really made a very big difference. We've been HFCS free for about 2 years and then I removed all white and refined stuff (almost) about 6 months ago. I just stumbled upon the red dye 40 thing by accident and that seems to have the largest impact. Glad everyone else is so up on this stuff - I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of it before.

  9. Fresh Local and Best - I'm sure that you have such a huge stuggle being an adult female with ADD. I totally forget that it applies to adults too. Thank goodness you are aware of your sensitivities to certain foods. I just wish the good stuff wasn't so much harder to find. These problems will only multiply if we don't shed light on them and hold these food companies responsible for what they are putting out there.

    Hope you have a great weekend - oh, and after reading your post about the New Amsterdam market, we are heading there tomorrow! I can't wait.

  10. what a very insightful are right about ingredients that we don't think about affecting us, there are so many additives in most foods we just take them for granted. thanks for a great post!

  11. Wow... great post Betty! I never knew those things... especially about the red dye! My house isn't 100% HFCS free, but for the most part I think I keep fairly healthy food and snacks in the house. It's all about moderation here b/c hey.... I love some junk food sometimes. I know... bad to admit, but I do. :)

  12. I love junk food too. :) I do have to do 100% on omitting those things now because of my son, but thankfully I'm so close to Whole Foods and I can get plenty of naughty, tasty stuff there that doesn't have HFCS or Red dye but does have plenty of calories. We all have to have that stuff sometimes!!