Are your kids high on food dye?

My oldest son is in half day kindergarten at our local school.  There are so many things I love about the school.  His teacher is great.  The administrators are very friendly. They have an awesome reading program that I volunteer and participate in every Monday for a few hours.  One of my friends helped develop and implement this reading program.  My son is loving it and so am I.  I love that kindergarten is half day (most days!!) because we can rest in the morning and work on little projects and eat healthy meals.  There is no rush for fast breakfast or lunch because we have time to make it and eat it.  This works great for our more relaxed family living.

Today my son jumped in the car with a bag full of skittles…. most of the skittles were eaten and there were about 5-7 left.  He was pretty excited to have a bag of candy.  I immediately asked him why the teacher handed out candy… you know…. do teachers really need kids to be more sugared up and hyper? If I was a teacher I would be handing out grapes and bananas…. I am sure I would be a very UNPOPULAR teacher (with the kids).  Here is the paper he handed me —>

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SKITTLES MATH?!?!? Are you kidding me? My family members are laughing at me right now! (They know me too well).

At this point in the conversation I am driving out of the kindergarten parking lot and he shoves another few skittles into his mouth.  I prepare myself for the meltdown that is approaching (from the candy).  He starts to pick a fight with his little brother.  I am trying to keep the boys from freaking out while I am driving around the block (you know trying not to get in an accident).  Grant starts crying and saying that I am mean to him and that I am NEVER nice to him! I just love these sugared up tired meltdowns.  They are classic reactions for my boys… to a sudden sugar crash (or access to food dyes).  When my youngest son gets his hand on food dye… oh man…. you do not want to be around.  It takes UGLY to a whole new level!  But it happens EVERY time…. the food dye is the culprit!  Luckily today I had an apple in the car.  I am usually prepared and have healthy snacks right when he gets in the car.  I hand him the apple and tell him to start eating it.  The meltdown begins to fizzle.  Too bad I didn’t  have a little protein…. works even faster.

Back to the point here….why is my son learning to count and measure with Skittles?  The school system is failing my child.  My son (not sugared up and high on food dye) would be happy to learn with little counters or stickers and other non candy related counters.  My son is a great listener and very focused when not affected by negative environmental factors.  Are kids too hard to teach now a days that teachers have to bribe the kids to be quiet and do their work?  Or is the Big Food Industry infiltrating our school systems and getting our kids addicted to their “food like products” early on!?!

This is a video that talks about how the Food Industry really does target children and in doing so they get (in return) a child and then later a teenager and finally an adult that is a USER. Mass Marketing at its finest!

It is upsetting to me as a parent.  We work so hard to raise healthy, strong, and gentle hearted children.  We are fighting Big Food Companies at every soccer practice, church event, swim meet, grocery store entrance and exit, birthday party, holiday party, etc! It is EVERYWHERE.  I fail as a parent way more than I succeed.  But I guess that is the reality for raising kids these days.  Now it is in the schools…. and I know that it has been there for a LONG time.  I was all about the candy in high school.  It is an easy sell.  I remember eating a Blow Pop every day at lunch (so gross!!).  I had a hard time focusing and often fell asleep in class after…. sugar crash.

If you have a child that is unaffected by these “drugs” count yourself lucky because you are not the norm.  I talk to countless parents that experience the same results.  When asked, most parents would chose a healthy snack alternative or NO snack alternative at all.

What is a food dye high?? Here are a few articles on the subject (or just come over to my house and give my boys some skittles…. wait 5-10 minutes and BAM!)

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#1 12 Signs of Food Dye Sensitivity:

The 12 Signs:

Do you or anyone in your family exhibit these signs of dye sensitivity?

1.  Hyperactivity:  Can’t stop moving, runs most of the time, constant movement of hands and feet.

2.  Lack of attention:  Cannot focus either at home or school – without affecting all areas of life all the time (not ADD).

3.  Sleep problems:   Has a hard time settling down for sleep, or has sleep disturbances throughout the night.

4.  Mood swings:  Unexplained emotional problems, hours-long tantrums, inconsolable crying, paranoia, and meltdowns over tiny things or schedule changes.

5.  Violence/Aggression:  Biting, spitting, growling, hitting, kicking, and uncharacteristic mean talk.

Read more about the other signs here….

#2 Why Food Dyes May Cause Child Behavioral Problems:

The type of behavioral problems caused by food dye will depend on the child. Common symptoms of food-dye-related behavioral problems are:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Insomnia (Which Contributes to Poor Behavior)
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Irritability
  • Tantrums/Meltdowns
  • Frequent Crying Spells

These symptoms may also indicate a mental or physical illness and your child may be diagnosed as having one. However, before putting him or her on medication, which might cause unwanted side effects, take a closer look into food dyes first. Read more here…..

#3  From 100 days of Real Food:

“Even though these dyes are still widely used in the US, I did find this statement on the FDA website, “Exposure to food and food components, including AFC [artificial food colors] and preservatives, may be associated with behavioral changes, not necessarily related to hyperactivity, in certain susceptible children with ADHD and other problem behaviors, and possibly in susceptible children from the general population.” I’d also like to share a link to a really interesting science experiment conducted by a kid who tested the effects of yellow dye in mice.” The results are rather astounding –> Read more about it here….

Lisa lists 7 reasons why she hates artificial food dyes—>

1. They are made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum, a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar.

2. They’ve been linked to long-term health problems such as cancer. If you’re a child of the ‘80s (like me) do you remember that rumor about red M&Ms causing cancer? Maybe it wasn’t just a rumor after all.

3. Did you know that food products containing artificial dye are required to have a warning label in the U.K.? The label states that the food “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” So speaking of M&Ms, they aren’t so brightly colored in some countries outside of the U.S. because manufacturers would rather do away with the artificial dye than have to put a warning label on their products. Continue to read her list here….

Her list covers many more disturbing reasons to avoid artificial food colorings!!! 

Needless to say, I try to avoid artificial food coloring and candy as much as possible (as a parent and consumer).  When my boys get food dye into their little systems they become like drug addicts “getting a high” (or what it looks like on TV).  They become hyperactive (which they already tend to be high energy), vicious, mean, teary-eyed, weepy, and all other symptoms related to an undiagnosed bipolar person!  They are very hard to talk sense into or calm down.  They are hypersensitive and will crack at the slightest disappointment (while still high on food coloring).  I am sure the sugar cocktail is part of the problem too.  Hugh Fructose Corn Syrup and artificial food coloring is a nasty combination.

Food coloring is not just in candy.  It is everywhere! Check your labels.  It is very difficult to avoid.  It takes real effort and buying pretty much NOTHING that is processed.  That is how we eat in our home.  We eat unprocessed, “un-dyed” real food.  I am not perfect though.  Food dye sneaks into my home from time to time (usually from another household or now SCHOOL).  But I make a real effort to limit it at all costs.  Healthy Parenting is exhausting! There is never a day off or an end to the struggle.  #tryingtokeepitreal (in food and healthcare…. real food and real natural healing).

Maybe I will get up the courage to approach the school sometime to talk to them about their candy policy.  I am against the sugar just as much as I am against the artificial food coloring!  It is not necessary and needed in a learning environment.  I know schools in the Salt Lake County have banned candy and treats in schools for birthdays and parties.  I love the sound of that.  Parents are making a difference and administrators are listening.  Time for me to get involved in the discussion. :)

GreenBootGirl

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