Our littlest Miss has been a fussy little one. She started out that way. Recently though, we had been noticing that some days were much worse than others. Some days she would cry, scream and throw tantrums and would not be consoled. I had started to keep an eye on her to try to figure out what might be the cause of her sadness. I had decided that I thought it might be dairy and/or food dyes. But without any evidence it was hard to really figure it out.
My dad came to town to visit with us for a week. One of his favorite treats to share with my kids over the years has been M&M's. So, true to form, he took the little ones on a walk with my husband while I had the boys at Scouts. They stopped and got M&M's for them and proceeded to have a GRAND old time. When they told me what they had fed her I was a bit upset. But my husband was not convinced that the food coloring made any difference in her mood at all....until the next day.
For the next 3 days we dealt with a lot of screaming, and tantrum throwing. NOW my husband is a believer.
A couple of weeks later, when my mom was visiting, my husband made our favorite cereal treats with marshmallow and cheerios. We didn't even THINK to check labels. Everyone enjoyed yummy treats. Later, in the evening, Littlest Miss, who was tired, began fussing. This wouldn't be abnormal for most 19 month old children, but it was the way in which she fussed and carried on. There was thrashing, flailing, screaming, kicking, arching of her back,biting, and she wouldn't let me hold her. During her fit we discussed what she had eaten and looked online for a list of ingredients for the marshmallows. I finally ended up emailing the company to get the info.
After about an hour of this behavior she finally crashed and fell asleep on my lap. But it was a fitful sleep. She didn't sleep soundly for the rest of the night. She woke several times and couldn't get comfortable. In the morning I checked my email and LOW and BEHOLD at the very bottom of the list of ingredients was Blue 1.
Blue 1...I don't like you very much right now! In fact I might just hate you! LOL!
So, now we are going to be CRAZY and INSANE label readers.
Here is a blog I found with some great info about food dye sensitivities. I am very aware of how food can effect our bodies both positively and negatively. It's a passion of mine and maybe that is why I was so aware of this. BUT I was NOT like this years ago. I gave my kids whatever I felt like...without a second thought. Not anymore. It's simply not an option for our family. *sigh*
The above site also talks about the connection between milk and food dyes and other petroleum based ingredients. Very thought provoking. A friend of mine mentioned that her son couldn't even wear red clothing because he was allergic to the red dyes. Basically anything that touches your skin could possibly cause a problem IF the individual has a severe enough sensitivity. *wow*
Another great blog with a lot of useful, helpful insights on the terrible, awful, horrible-ness of petroleum based food dyes that are used ALL the time in the USA.
I will continue my research and hopefully arm myself with enough information to protect my family from the negative effects of food dyes and other artificial ingredients. My journey to rid my home of artificial ingredients and sometimes gluten and dairy has taken many years...8 1/2 years so far...and has evolved and morphed as I learned about different things. If you have a desire to rid your home of artificial ingredients and preservatives, start small. It can be very overwhelming at times. Just take your time and start small. Here is a suggestion for where to start:
If you have a family you may keep peanut butter and jelly in the house all the time. I know we do! It's a staple in our home! One of the first things I changed was the kind of peanut butter I purchase. Look on the label. Make sure it has simple ingredients like...peanuts, sugar or molasses or honey for sweetener, oil and salt. Now, some people would just buy the ones with peanuts or just peanuts and salt, but I don't care for those as much. We like both the Jif and Skippy natural peanut butters. I prefer the one sweetened with molasses though. The next thing is the jelly or jam. Try to find one that has fruit and sugar. The two that I am fairly sure are okay...notice I said fairly. I don't have a jar in my house to check right now....is Smuckers Simply Fruit or the Polaner All Fruit. And last is your bread. Most breads have high fructose corn syrup. Do some research of your own on that. It's not good. I will still use corn syrup once in a great while but NOT high fructose corn syrup. It's been processed and really not good for you. Anyway, look for a bread that is as healthy as you can get it for now. If you don't recognize an ingredient go research it and see what it is.
I'll give you an example. Do you know what cellulose powder is? It's made from trees. Tree pulp...if I remember correctly...it's been a while. Some people say they add "sawdust" to bread and other pre-made products as a filler...well they're right. My sister was the one who actually asked me what the ingredient was and I looked it up. We laughed. I guess if you WANT to eat tree... that is up to you, but I'd rather not.
Also keep in mind that when they put "natural flavor" and "natural color" on a label you need to be cautious. It's a "catch all" phrase. It can mean too many things. It can even mean MSG. I try to stay away from it because it's a company's way of not being 100% honest about their ingredients.
Now I have spent far too long on the computer and the children are beginning to revolt! Until later...