Today is the first of many of Summer Share Saturdays where I’ve asked other bloggers to share their amazing ideas, skills and experiences with you all. You can see the full lineup here!
you Megan for asking me to share today! I am very passionate about
this topic and excited to share our story with your readers.
is the first post of a blog series I did back in November called Bye
Bye Food Dyes. The response and feedback I have received since the
series has been incredible. Just last week I received an e-mail from a
mom who’s 3 year old daughter had been under psychiatric care due to
massive tantrums and self-harming behavior. I could almost see the
tears running down her face as she told me that she “had her sweet baby
girl back” after simply removing food dyes and preservatives from her
time last year, I was in crisis mode. Parenting two, two-year-olds
girls was much more difficult that I had ever imagined. My days were
filled with shouting, crying, and pity parties. Unfortunately it wasn’t
the girls who were shouting, crying, and pity partying…it was me. I
was just a few steps away from falling off the mommy cliff and landing
myself in the loony bin. Seriously.
I made an appointment with a therapist. I needed a professional to give
me some ”tools” to help me deal with my mommy
feel like you are…
getting kicked out of the YMCA because more than once she scratched a
little girl made her bleed. About her uncontrollable tantrums. About
how she couldn’t sit still for more than 15 seconds. About how her
little sister was scared of her. About how she seemed to have zero
impulse control. About how play dates were non-existent because I
couldn’t trust her around other kids. About all of the biting and hitting and pinching and massive tantrums. And how consequences seemed to have little effect.
told her that we
had an appointment with our pediatrician and he referred us to a Child
Behaviorist, but we couldn’t get in to see him for 6 months.
mommy gut was telling me that something deeper was going on. That
these behaviors weren’t normal. But I was scared. I didn’t know what to
do, and her adoption opens up so many questions that I can’t answer.
I shared all of these things with Miss Therapist, she was giving me the
affirming “I totally know how you feel/you are not crazy” nod…and that
felt so good. She shared with me that three of her six kids
had behavior problems as children. And then she said “it sounds to me
like Q may have ADD.”
But, at the same time it made me sad for Q. What in the world do you
do for a two year old struggling with ADD like behavior? What
were we suppose to do for the next 6 months as we waited for our
appointment with the behaviorist?
I could ask Miss Therapist those questions, she handed me a magazine
called ADDitude and said “you need to look into natural treatments and
at Q’s diet. Specifically, look into food dyes and preservatives.”
you read any further you need to know that at this point I was about as
crunchy as a bowl of ice cream. The closest I came to eating organic
was passively rinsing my apple off before eating it. So, if you are
rolling your eyes right now, you can know that I would have been doing
the girls were in bed that night I read an article in the magazine
about artificial colors and their effects on children’s behavior. Later
that night, I got an email from a friend who knew what we were going
through and she shared about her experience of removing synthetic dyes
from her child’s diet. And the very next day Jer and I ran into our
friends, who happen to both be doctors, and after sharing our struggles
they suggested that we look into the effects of artificial dyes and
the effects food coloring had on my children and in less than 24
hours four different people recommended that we remove artificial colors
from Q’s diet. It was a clear sign that I needed to really consider
with eggs and fruit. Instead of mac and cheese (yellow 5) we had peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch.
came home for a dye-free dinner and was a bit shocked at Q’s
calm demeanor. Neither of us wanted to get too excited though, it had
be a fluke right?
72(ish) hours of being dye-free I knew that we were on to something. I
will never forget the moment when I realized that we had our sweet Q
were at church (my husband is a pastor) and Jeremy offered to take Q
with him to their daily prayer meeting. I thought he was a
little nuts to take her, but it’s a short meeting and I had things I
needed to get done for my upcoming Sunday School class so I didn’t refuse his offer.When I met him and Q in the hallway, he had big tears in his eyes. When I asked what was wrong he smiled and said “she did so good! she stood there and held my hand the whole time! She’s going to be okay!”
School teacher asked if she was on medication because her behavior was
so different. Or when when Nana called me and said “I’m a believer! Q
just sat in my lap and we read a whole book!” Or when I would sit a
rock her for an hour because it felt so good to cuddle with my daughter
who until we shut down the dyes, had shown little affection.
it was apparent to everyone around her that something had changed, many
of them would look at us like we were nuts when we would tell them
about our dye-free experience.
so would they if they would have seen how frantic and CRAZY she acted
after just two bites of a pink frosted sugar cookie (red 40 and yellow
5) that was accidentally
given to her by a college student from church. Or how she was
literally running into walls after she ate a Twizzler. Or how she bit
CeCe and acted like a crazy person after having a few sips of my Diet
Coke (caramel coloring and artificial sweetener.)
Let me assure you, I am DEAD SERIOUS. And if it didn’t mean 24 hours
of torture for not only Q, but for the whole family, I would give the
child a hand full of Fruit Loops and video her behavior for all the
world to see.
of today, we have been dye-free for 15 months. Yes, it can
be inconvenient at times, but not as inconvenient as getting kicked out
of the YMCA, or having to apologize to your friend because your
daughter bit her son, or laying in bed weighed down with guilt because
you are don’t want to face another day with your crazy toddler.
would rather read a million food labels and be on the receiving end of a
zillion “that’s the crazy mom” looks than see Q struggle because of
some stinkin’ sugar cookie or petroleum colored cereal.
every child’s behavior issues, I have heard from many readers who have
now taken their children off artificial colors and have seen
remarkable improvement in their child’s behavior.
the FDA suddenly finds nutritional value in petroleum (yes, food dyes
are made from petroleum. gag!), it can’t hurt your child if you remove
dyes from their diet.”
doctors are not directing parents of children with ADHD like behavior
to remove food dyes, then they are not up to date on the latest
scientific studies. There is no question in my mind that food dyes
negatively effect children’s behavior.”