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Do Yellow Pickles Keep You Up at Night?

Artificial Coloring Keeping you Awake-

“Looks like food coloring isn’t the cause of the fits,” I told Jen of The Unprocessed Kitchen just a few days into our experiment to cut food dyes out of our kids’ diets. “She’s just a 3-year-old girl…I had hoped we’d find a magic solution, but oh, well.”

I learned a lot reading Jen’s wonderful guest post about the hazards of artificial food dyes that helped me kick off the My Food is not a Number! challenge to avoid colorings in food, but I didn’t realize that I was making a hasty judgment in giving up on the theory so soon.

She surprised me saying glibly, “You know, it is a neurotoxin, so it can take a while to get artificial coloring out of your system. It took two weeks before we saw a change in my son, but when we did, it was like a switch had been thrown.”

Oh. Right. Those pesky neurotoxins.

It was rather jarring to hear a nasty word like “neurotoxins” thrown around so casually – but accurately! – about something that millions of children and adults, including my own family, consume on a daily basis.

I was happy to cling back onto the hope that maybe a full abstention from artificial food dyes would help us avoid half hour screaming jags from the resident waist-high drama queen.

Imagine my dismay when the experiment had the first “contamination” moment.

How Hard is it to Avoid Food Dyes?

A bowl with natural food coloring

Above are the natural food colorings I tested in frosting. I discovered that the beet powder on top there doesn’t hold its color after a few weeks – it turns brown.

I thought I’d share a little update on how our family has been faring so far (it’s about the halfway point for us), and I welcome any of you who tried the challenge for a day, a week, or longer to chime in on your experiences as well.

Has it been difficult?

Honestly, not at all when we’re at home. The only changes we had to make were so minor: avoid pickles (but I haven’t even had a meal that really called for them anyway), change our brand of tortilla chips (it was high time, especially when their packaging caught up to their contents and I realized they weren’t NEARLY as high quality/low ingredients as I thought, even if they are nixtimalized), and separate the colorful things out of the kids’ candy.

It’s kind of funny, once you get going, how many of the candy options have artificial colors vs. those that don’t. Paul (6yo) got pretty quick about figuring out how to sort into two piles: chocolate and Tootsie rolls on one side, just about everything else on the other!

Leah (3yo) would ask with each piece: “Is this good?” I realized we had to be careful about our language lest she think all the chocolate candies were actually good for her, so I kept repeating myself, “That candy still isn’t good, but it’s in the pile without artificial colors. It’s still dessert, junk food.”

Paul has had some food offered to him by friends that he couldn’t accept (although popsicles at 5:30 p.m. would get a “no” from the parents, anyway). We expected green frosted cupcakes the day before St. Patrick’s Day, and he nearly had a meltdown imagining having to say no to them. He got a special cookie (grain-free chocolate chip) in his lunch that he could trade for the cupcakes if they showed up – surprisingly, they didn’t, so the kid got a bonus cookie when he usually doesn’t get a sweet! I’m sure that part didn’t hurt his feelings too much, but he’s definitely had a struggle in social situations.

When we’re out, the biggest challenge is wondering whether we need ask about ingredients. Pizza sauce? Salsa? Burrito sauce? Could have red 40, right? Even vanilla ice cream could potentially have yellow no. 5 in it, and I wondered about movie popcorn “butter.

The Cheats

image

(photo source)

We don’t go out to eat very often, especially during Lent for many reasons, but the kids have been out for lunch with their grandparents twice now, and I’m guessing both times were “oopses” on the artificial coloring.

I reminded Grandma of the importance of keeping the food dyes away from them and that we’re really hoping to see what happens over the long term with Leah, even quoting Jen about the two weeks thing.

I went through the freezer and give the “okay” sign on various ice creams and bars that my kids like. I checked out the cereals. (Yes, you’re right, I don’t love the food they eat at Grandma’s, but I have to roll with it and know that it’s only on occasion…and I always send a jar of raw milk so at least they’re getting some goodness with the junk for breakfast! )

However, when they took the kids out for lunch, Leah had a sundae. With strawberry topping. My heart fell.

In spite of the fact that my mother-in-law claimed the strawberries looked like “just fruit,” I can’t imagine that there wasn’t red food coloring in it. If I’ve learning anything from reading labels, it’s that food processing companies put food dye in the stupidest places, and often to make “just fruit” look more appealing. I was so disappointed, but I figured that at least it happened fairly early and we could start over.

Leah’s behavior most definitely worsened after a weekend at the grandparents’, but it always does. It’s impossible to isolate whether food is the cause, or lack of sleep, or a change in routine, or whatever.

Take two.

This past weekend, just as we were reaching that two-week mark, the kids went to a play with the grandparents. I triple checked that they only had vanilla ice cream…but I completely forgot about the pickles on the hamburgers! That should have been such a tiny amount, though, right?

The Fallout (?)

DSC03211 (475x356)

At 1:45 a.m. the second night after that, she woke up wanting her blanket back on. Ten minutes later she said she thought she would throw up. Rushing her to the bathroom and raising my heart rate through the roof did nothing for the sense of calm and sleepiness that I prefer at 2 a.m.

It was pretty obvious that she wasn’t sick, as her demeanor was great, a little mischievous if anything. I saw her every 15 minutes for another hour for all sorts of wonderful 3-year-old reasons, each time wondering HOW IN THE WORLD SHE WAS SO AWAKE after getting to bed after 9:30 at the grandparents’ and at 9:00 the night before, with zero naps to help out.

It was like midday as far as her lucidity, the gleam in her eye as she realized she “won” again and got mom out of bed, and her perky little voice.

Aggravating!

She was told sternly not to call out again unless she WAS throwing up. “But what if I have poo-poos? I can’t hold them in!” cried my suddenly weepy, whiny little girl. (Ahem. Manipulation at its finest.) Since she had already gone potty once without having a bowel movement, I told her she had better not call unless she was on the potty, pooping.

I was a little glad Jonathan woke up so I got off the hook, but I did feel sorry for my husband, who had to go wipe her twice after 3:00 a.m.!

In case I sound insensitive, she was NOT sick in the least. Not a sniffle, cough, throwing up or near throwing up, and no diarrhea. She didn’t even poop.

Why was she so awake?

To add insult to injury, the fits she threw the two days following the fateful pickles on the hamburger were intense, massive, and uncontrollable.

I suppose I should also add that this morning, four days later, she threw up. We were at the doctor’s last week for John’s well-checkup, so that and a million other reasons could have given her a bug, but it’s worth documenting for the sake of documentation. (She did have raw milk with breakfast, along with soaked granola and pancakes that we all have had the last few days…so yes, I definitely considered if it was something she ate, and it doesn’t make sense that it was.)

Now I could have just written, “She had a bout of night waking for the first time in a while,” instead of those detailed paragraphs, but I keep telling my husband that we need to document behavior post-grandparents’ house. I feel like someone is always either getting sick or losing control the day or two after they return from Grandma’s house, but since I don’t write it down, it could just be me looking for a scapegoat and wanting to blame food other than mine.

Now it’s documented. For the world to read. (Sorry, Leah. You should stop waking up at night for an hour and a half.)

More Testing!

After this, I’m definitely committed to keeping the colors out of her diet for the next three weeks, with no possible sneaky buggers getting in there. I will be in charge of all of her food! After that detoxification time, I’m so curious what will happen when she gets colors back. (Here is the next update two weeks later…)

I’m determined to try to isolate the impact of artificial food dyes from other potential problems like lack of sleep, intermittent supplementations with cod liver oil (we get lazier with that as the weather gets nicer), and other dietary changes. If that means she can’t have jelly beans right on Easter morning because she’s low on sleep, so be it. I’m not fooling around with this after the questions I’ve raised.

You know, I never would have thought to try omitting artificial colors from my child’s diet if not for this blog and all the reading and interacting with readers that I do. I didn’t see immediate impacts in my kids’ behavior after a candy dessert, so I didn’t think it affected us. Maybe it still doesn’t, but I’m getting “curiouser and curiouser!”

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever tried eliminating food dyes (or wondered if you should – or are after reading this post)?

As for me, John just achieved forward motion behind me, for real, so I’d better sign off! Winking smile

Multi-colored candy sprinkles - My food is not a Number! A challenge at Kitchen Stewardship.

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Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

84 thoughts on “Do Yellow Pickles Keep You Up at Night?”

  1. (sigh) I have thought about eliminating dyes but it sounds so hard. I’ve purposely avoided reading about how bad they are so that I’m not too convicted about it. I don’t think we have too many in our diet but I’d probably be surprised.

    Our 2yr old continues to wake in the night but he’s done this his whole life. I do wonder though sometimes if it’s something he’s eating. I don’t think our girls attitudes are too non age appropriate but sometimes I wonder about that too. (another sigh) I should really give this a go.

    And just a question, do your in laws read your blog. I’m sure you’ve mentioned that somewhere but I’ve not noticed. I know mine think I’ve got lots of strange ideas but I’ve never said anything “out loud” about our differences. I can imagine the reaction though.

    Now, I’m off to read some labels…

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Sara,
      In the house, it’s not that hard…so if you think you should, you probably should try. I’m sure there are about 101 dietary and 101 other reasons for night waking, though…

      My in-laws don’t read my blog, but they do know a little about what goes on here…a very little! 🙂 Katie

  2. Just a note on “natural” colorings….which I think are definitely better than fake…but my husband just informed me last night that the Strawberry Creme Frappacino I had at Barnes & Nobles last night was colored NOT with strawberries, but with some bug. EWWWWW!!!

  3. I would love you to do a post Katie on what a typical day of food is for your kids when at home- including lunch, and snacks.
    I have a 18mo old boy. He doesn’t seem to exhibit these behavioural problems but he is home full-time with me. I think g-parents will be a problem as he gets older!
    I eat and cook healthy, from scratch, but am not as informed as you are about the nitty-gritty of additives, colouring, processing etc. I would love lists of your easy, checked-out choices so I can grab and go! Lunch and snacks is usually when I am using the most ‘bought’ foods for our meals (crackers, raisins, spreads, etc)– I think us moms need the most help there!
    Thanks for all you do and alerting me to think wider and bigger about food!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Sarah,
      I actually did just that for another blogger’s series a few years ago – it’s funny looking at it now, because we’re eating gluten-free or “low gluten” so all the wonderful sourdough bread isn’t around anymore…Here’s the old one, and I’ll put this on my post ideas list!

      http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/04/14/want-to-know-what-i-really-eat/

      🙂 Katie

  4. I think that a lot of it depends on the type of food you’re used to eating. I know that mother discovered when I was still very young that my brother had significantly fewer behavioral issues if he didn’t eat artificial colorings, so I’ve grown up instinctively avoiding the kinds of food that commonly contain them.
    Along the same vein, I have tried hardcore couponing without much success because I couldn’t bring myself to buy most of the items that I had coupons for. Just like any other aspect of our lives, we all have our quirks!

  5. We are not a 100% real-food family, but I am puzzled by all this attention to food dyes because I did a thorough checking of the kitchen last week and only found 1 item containing dyes. We do buy some processed foods, but the ones we buy do not have any dyes listed. It seems like most people are having to work really hard to avoid them, though!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Lucy,
      Good for you! My kids don’t have much of it, to be sure, but the candies that they would get from the ‘stash’ from holidays and banks and such definitely have it. They do sneak into many things…. 🙂 Katie

  6. We cut food coloring out of all our boys diets a year ago and its made a huge difference. My youngest (who is now 4 and didn’t speak at all by 3) started speaking words two months after we cut out all dyes. The fits lessened in all my boys and now I can tell if they had a treat at school the moment they come home…its horrible fits and mood swings like you can’t believe. People think I’m crazy but its true! Also, FYI, Trader Joes sells jelly beans with natural colors at Easter so Leah can have her candy too!

  7. We are a dye-free family here. Several years ago our pediatrician helped us decode some disturbing physical symptoms – not behavior, but horrible sudden headaches, several times a day – in two of our children. It was a very scary situation, and we were amazed to discover these head pains could be alleviated by avoiding artificial colors and preservatives. There are many great resources that got me into the kitchen so we never miss the packaged stuff that became “off limits”. If I read a food label, and I can’t identify something in the ingredient list, I don’t purchase that item until I know what it is – I keep some paper in my purse at the grocery store so I can look up ingredients later at home for the next time. Our pediatrician and pharmacist are great about dye-free prescriptions when necessary. Just ask! And perhaps the most amazing thing, we rarely have to refuse food for them. I have often heard them speak up and ask, or simply refuse a colored food item. At ages 4 and 6, they know when they don’t feel well!

  8. Our 4 year old has been off all artificial dyes, artificial and “natural” flavors for about 6 months now. We subscribe to the Feingold diet. It has made a WORLD of a difference in her, in every way imaginable. Before this she would never sleep through the night, and have terrible insomnia is given any dye whatsoever, even from markers!!! Her behavior has turned around completely too. It is SO hard though, and when I feel like just being a nice mom and giving her a piece of salami at grandma’s she’s up that night hands down. So I’ve gotten to the point where I apologize to no one about it anymore. She can’t have these certain things and yes I do know better than them because I’m her mom! lol 🙂
    Was so happy to read your post and realize I’m not alone!

  9. Thank you, Nichole, for your gentle dissent. While the majority (meaning over 50%) of people do not have known food allergies/intolerances, for those who do, it can be quite serious. Sometimes those intolerances go away as the body is given a break from the problem food and allowed to heal. Our own family is an example of this. We’ve seen healing from gluten and egg allergies/intolerance (non-anaphylactic)

    We found my parents to be very supportive and helpful during our times of diet restriction. Others would invite us for a meal with only 1 or 2 items we could eat. I learned to take food with us and to teach the boys to just say “no thank you.”

    We are talking about something much more than “I don’t like lima beans”–which I do detest. Or greater than not eating pork for religious reasons.

    It is okay to refuse food that causes harm. Once children are old enough to understand how certain foods are detrimental to their well being, parents do need allow the child more decision making power. But a child under the age of 4 or 5? Parents should speak up for the child’s well being!

  10. Hello to all, just offering a dissenting opinion. I understand that there may be some instances of allergies and adverse reactions to specific food additives, but I don’t believe they are very common. The danger in seeking a nutritional cause for so many of the problems we encounter is that we take the joy out of eating. And we and our children suffer as a result. I certainly advocate wholesome meals, but there needs to be wiggle room. If not, we run the risk of making our food rules more important than the people in our lives. Certainly NOT what God intended. I speak from the perspective of one who has long been an advocate for real, whole foods, but has seen relationships suffer as a result of my desire to do the “right” thing. Relaxing my standards a bit has allowed me to enjoy myself, my children, our extended families, and our meals together much more. Research is just beginning to uncover all the variables related to eating and health, and some of the most interesting involves how our feelings and attitudes toward eating impact the manner in which our bodies process the food we eat. May I humbly recommend the resources available at www.ellynsatter.com for anyone interested in relaxing about their food a bit? Blessings to all as we try to find balance and do our best.

    1. I have to chime in here: there are some things that are not meant to be eaten. For example, the famous Red 40 is “Red AC was originally manufactured from coal tar, but is now mostly made from petroleum.”

      “Sunset Yellow FCF (also known as Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6 or C.I. 15985) is a synthetic yellow azo dye, manufactured from aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum…..Tartrazine appears to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all the azo dyes, particularly among asthmatics and those with an aspirin intolerance.[5] Symptoms from tartrazine sensitivity can occur by either ingestion or cutaneous exposure to a substance containing tartrazine.[citation needed] Symptoms appear after periods of time ranging from minutes to 6 to 14 hours.[6]
      A variety of immunologic responses have been attributed to tartrazine ingestion, including anxiety, migraine [7], clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance.[8]
      Certain people who are exposed to the dye experience symptoms of tartrazine sensitivity even at extremely small doses, some for periods up to 72 hours after exposure.[citation needed] In children, asthma attacks and hives have been claimed, as well as supposed links to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, and hyperactivity.[9][10]”

      The last one I have seen first hand. My husband and children have these problems and I am just now finding out what has caused all these problems in my husband.

      There are many more poisons passing for food out there- many of which are banned in other parts of the world, but the FDA continues to deny any link (follow the money on that one). I do not think anyone who knows all of these things would be willing to allow “well meaning” people to poison their little ones. I have to watch my family like a hawk and I’m willing! I cannot stress enough that these things are not even foods! You would never give your child some freshly squeezed OJ with even a drop of gasoline (another petroleum product). Seriously, finding out these things is so important and it will change your life!

    2. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Nicole,
      Believe me, on a site dedicated to “finding the balance,” I do appreciate your dissent. However, I find just as many readers pick on me for letting my kids have too many bad foods, so do know that, outside of this experiment, my kids have PLENTY of wiggle room for junk food. We put very few restrictions on them at family parties, other than that they should eat some good foods before they get dessert, and they are allowed to eat out (usually with grandparents) more than most people expect from me.

      So.

      Do we need balance? Sure. But like a few other commenters have pointed out, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that although we are being counter-cultural, it’s the culture that is so messed up, feeding our children things are are not food.

      Thanks, Katie

    3. hi nicole, i’m wondering if you’ve read the material at the link that you suggested? her division of responsibility for eating clearly states that parents decide the ‘what’. so, katie is following her responsibility according to the link you cited. i’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with.

      also, regarding ‘joy of eating’, that’s why we are so obese and sick. we should find joy in life and eat to live not live to eat. having said that, we are on the GAPS diet now and i can honestly say that my children enjoy their food much more now than they did before. and hopefully it’s not making them sick while they’re enjoying it.

  11. AMEN Carol!

    Mothers,
    If someone was going to abuse your child would you allow it just because they are “family” and want to “love” on them?

    You have determined that food dye, gluten, dairy, corn, nuts, or whatever, is toxic to your child. Those items are causing your child harm.

    WHY is it okay to allow Grandma, Auntie, or whomever to continue poisoning your child, even accidentally?

    WHY can’t you stand your ground with Grandma and tell her, “NO, you may not give little Suzie anything that has ____ in it. Even just a little bit can cause harm.” Remember too, some poisons cause delayed reactions!

    Provide recipes, brand names of approved items, a list of “okay” restaurants to enjoy. Offer to pack the food. But STAND YOUR GROUND. Your child’s health depends upon it.

    Suggest other options. Instead of “illegal foods fest” at Grandma’s, how about a trip to the zoo, the park, bowling, putt-putt, a children’s museum, etc. Learn a new hobby together–stamp or coin collecting, sewing, building things, gardening, anything.

    Spend time together that doesn’t involve eating!

    Mothers, poisoning your child isn’t love. Gently teach the grandparents and other family what they need to know. Offer to help Grandma research, ask her to find new recipes that she can prepare (after you review them first!) Give suggestions for changing the old family recipes to make it “safe”.

    If she cannot or will not, your duty is to protect your child, even if that means limiting visits.

    Teach your children that certain foods make them very sick. Teach them the willpower to say “no.”

    “No food tastes as good as feeling good feels.” –source forgotten

    Remember, we are talking about food intolerance and allergic reaction. This isn’t just
    food preferences anymore.

    1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Kathleen,
      Thanks for your passion! You are dead on that “love” and “abuse” should not be synonymous, and if foods hurt the kids, the grandparents will figure it out or miss out. You said it very well… Katie

  12. Thanks for this Katie! My 3 year old daughter has also been having sleeping issues and diarrea the past two weeks – both episodes occuring after spending the night at Grandma’s (both grandma’s). Turns out they both fed her mac and cheese and hotdogs while she was at their house. Perhaps I should check the ingredients… We also switched to raw milk in the last 2 months, which seems to be agreeing with her. I wonder is drinking the pasturized milk at grandma’s house is messing her up. I should start documenting this, like you are doing!

  13. Great article! We have quite a few food allergies in our family. What struck me so much in your picture was her red rash on her face – that (to me) just screams food allergy. And yes, the hiper-ness and inability to relax and sleep is common in our house as well. And my friend’s house!

    I want to also say my kids do not go to grandma’s house anymore. In face she’s not allowed to bring food to our house either. I know that is not possible for everyone, but it is just too hard on their little bodies. And they are too young to say ‘no’ to grandma. It’s my job to protect them – even from well-meaning grandmas.

    I take heart when I hear of other people waking up and getting the made-up food out of their houses! Thanks!

    1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Kristina,
      Actually, that photo was totally random from a day not related to food…she was just hot and sweaty under her comforter. Both my older kids get red in the face when they’re running around a lot or sweaty.

      But we’re still experimenting with food dyes, so thanks for your comment and moral support! 🙂 Katie

  14. My most recent addition to strange places to find food coloring was in EGG Bagels at the local Giant Foods. Yellow food coloring was added. They looked very weird so at least it was obvious! Couldn’t help but share my concerns with the bakery manager. They buy frozen bagels and cook them on site.

  15. Huh, sorry about that, gals – this is an autofeed, so how odd that it didn’t work. Here’s the link: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2012/03/21/do-yellow-pickles-keep-you-up-at-night/ Kelly Kopicki Williams and Elaine Richards Hellmund

  16. I know how you feel. I always dread when my daughter returns home from a sleepover at my mother-in-law’s house. She gets McDonald’s, Fruit Loops, and tons of candy. She goes to bed at 10pm and wakes up early. She’s a disaster when she comes home!

  17. Jennifer (@GFAdvocate)

    Most people think I’m a food nazi because I don’t let my kiddos have the dyes. Sometimes they get yellow, but Red and Blue are OUT. Then on the rare accidentl occasion they do have dyes, people suddenely realize why I’m so hard core. My son gets mean, hurtful, violent. My daughter almost as bad.

    Dyes are even in chocolate, chocolate syrup and chocoloate pudding, so beware. It makes them more “black.” Compare Kozy Shack to Jello and you will see what I mean. Kozy Shack does not use artificial dyes.

    We love surfweets and they taste amazing. Dyes are also in medicines….and dye free can be hard to find. Dyes are really tough. That’s why I am more lenient of yellow (my kids don’t misbehave quite as badly) but I’m a stickler with the blues and reds…and remember, something orange- well it contains Red. Something purple contains blue AND red…..those color combos are such fun.

    Good luck, but yes, We try our very best to eat foods with only natural dyes. Oh, and beware of even juices- welches unless it’s 100% has red and blue. Most juice boxes except Capri Sun have dyes…..yeah, they are hard to get away from. Motts treats now make a dye-free and gluten-free “fruit” snack. We use them for speical treats- you can get them at costco. Gogurt makes a “simple” gogurt that uses natural dyes, and Fruit Rolls ups also now have a “natural” fruit roll up….

    It’s exhausting. After 3 years of reading labels for every single food I buy, I have bifocals now.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Jennifer,
      You know, this sounds crazy (and it is), but I almost wish one of my kids had such an obvious, violent reaction. (Almost.) It’s just that that would make it so clear to everyone (myself included) that eliminating dyes 100% is necessary and not just an interesting experiment. Like Antonia said, the detective work is exhausting, because it’s so hard to pinpoint behavior on one thing isolated from the rest of diet and life in general.

      Luckily for us, we don’t do juice, fruit snack, gogurts, etc except at parties anyway, so I don’t have as many labels to read (phew). 🙂 Katie

      1. Emily @ Live Renewed

        Eliminating food dyes is definitely something I have wanted to do, but it’s totally overwhelming to me, and my husband has the same reaction as many of the grandparents – he doesn’t think it’s that big of deal, and I just can’t get him on board.
        With our kids, the reaction happens pretty much right away – they get crazy and totally out of control – sometimes throwing tantrums, sometimes just so hyper that it really does seem like their on some kind of drug – which I guess they kind of are – and sometimes they do get more mean or violent than usual. To me, the connection is so completely obvious. And while you say, Katie, that you’d almost rather have such a clear and intense reaction, for us the problem is that it only lasts for an hour or two, and then it’s over. I really haven’t noticed any longer term, or days later effects. So, I think my husband (or others – grandparents) don’t think it’s that big of deal. To them, it’s like they have a little reaction and then they get over it. But to me, I feel like the fact that they are so obviously reacting to something they eat is just wrong! It’s so frustrating to me, but I just can’t figure out how to get my husband to see it from my perspective. Does your hubby ever think that you’ve gone a little to crazy with the elimination thing, Katie? If so, how do you respectfully deal with that?
        I really like the comparison that one of the other commenters made about not giving a kid a brownie made with pot, it seems extreme, but I actually think there’s a lot of truth to it, maybe I’ll have to try that one with my husband and see if it makes a difference.

    2. Any juice that isn’t 100% juice is likely to have a load of HFCS along with the dyes–or at least a lot of sugar (in addition to the sugars in fruit juice itself).
      We just don’t do any of the pre-packaged “kid” foods. Aside from crud ingredients, they are _expensive_ Yogurt costs about $3.50 and a total of less than 10 minutes hands-on time to make half a gallon in the crockpot–and that’s with organic milk. A few more cents per serving for a little homemade jam to flavor–or fruit, chutney, mape syrup & cinnamon, etc. What does 64 ounces worth of Gogurt cost?

      For those of you trying to cut “kid” foods and replace them with better quality stuff, might I suggest getting rid of the commercials! Those are what drive the desire for that stuff. A Roku box costs as little as $50 and hooks up to your TV. It’ll stream Netflix, do Hulu, and all manner of other channels. Streaming Netflix has TONS of kids’ shows on demand, with NO commercials!! The Netflix subscription is $8/month–a lot less than cable! We do this–my kids get mad when they watch TV away from home, and the show they are watching is interrupted by commericals. And I do NOT get begged for garbage disguised as food when we grocery shop.

      1. We have satellite because we live in the middle of nowhere and have a slow internet connection so when the kids do watch television, they do get to see some of those commercials. I think they’re good learning experiences. When they’re brought up in the store, I explain that our family doesn’t eat those kinds of foods and why we don’t eat those kinds of foods. My daughter (5) understands because at snack time at school they talk about their snack and what makes it healthy, vitamins, minerals, etc., and how it supports their bodies. My 3YO will ask for certain things and we have the same talk and I offer him something else, usually blueberries because as he says, “I Wuv booberries, they my avorite ood!”

        I think the key is to start early, get it in their heads. Tell them why, give them good alternatives.

      2. jennifer @gfadvocate

        I should have qualified a few things. We don’t do a lot of the fruit treats, go-gurt etc. My kids are both GF and son is also Dairy Free. Given that and snacks in school and preschool, I’ve had to find a few things to let them be “normal” sometimes. It’s hard enuf to not be able to have cupcakes, candy, etc at birthday parties. Go-gurt is nasty stuff, but I think at some point unless I want a total rebillion when they get older, I have to make some concessions. I make very few as it is. In regards to fruit juice, companies are getting very savy that moms are buying 100% and bow are marketing to that. So, Walmarts great value is now 100% + added ingredients which include hcfs, and red 40. Offer pops for instance are trying to pass off with 100% juice with “added ingredents” that include HCFS and food dyes. Oh, and farmed salmon, cocktails shrimp and a lot of cooked or farmed cooked shrimp….contain red 40.

        We do what we can, but with gluten free, that itself takes away so much from my life and leaves them so different, I ll allow the go-gurt natural….just for sanity. Rarely, but I do.

      3. I totally love internet tv! It is very helpful to not have to deal with all the “desires” that commercials create in our kids. My daughter watched regular tv at a friends house and that whole following week, she was asking about getting the things she saw in the commercials.

  18. Jennifer Perez

    We started fostering my nephew in June and had many many sleepless nights until we realized he had dye sensitivity. We have eliminated all dyes from his diet and most dyes from out daughters diet. I was shocked to see how many things we eat had dye in them.
    We live in a small town and do not have any healthfoodstores here. I did find a website that sells organic candy and that’s been great for us. My kids can have lollipops when they go to the bank with me now and they will have jelly beans on Easter. They just wont be unnatural. Might want to give those a shot. I got them on vitacost.

  19. Vanderbilt Wife

    I am trying to make a more concerted effort about eliminating dyes from our home. It’s so disgusting to me that you have to check EVERYTHING because it is added everywhere. I never would have thought of pickles! Anyone who’s ever seen green ketchup knows that food should just stay the color God intended it to be.

    My dad works for Hershey, so it’s definitely an issue when we visit them, but they live 11 hours away. It’s her Mother’s Day Out program that is problematic. They often give them treats without consulting parents first. Argh. And all the stupid parties …

    I also have a 3-year-old daughter and know the manipulation that can happen!

  20. This may help some of you. I have ordered special treats from these sites before and have always been happy with them. For those of us not close to Whole Foods and such ordering on line becomes a must. They are a bit high priced but for Easter baskets, birthdays and just to have few speical things on hand I think its worth it.

    http://www.surfsweets.com/
    The jelly beans from this place are AMAZING!

    http://www.indiecandy.com/?gclid=CJT1m6mr-a4CFbEDQAodBiiWxw

  21. I don’t usually comment, but I’m a faithful reader from the very beginning. I just felt like chiming in here that I identified my son has an allergy to blue food dye. The allergist did the skin tests, and he was allergic to “nothing.” But, he did say they can’t test food dye using skin tests. That takes the blood test, which I decided not to do, since I already knew it was blue dye.

    How did I know? Well, he always had the green poop issue, actually more like diarrhea. Then, one time, he had a massive quantity of blue frosting on a cupcake (the frosting was bigger than the cake part). That night (in a hotel, of course) he woke up vomiting with a high fever. Everything was blue!

    Anyway, the next time he had a blue lollypop a few weeks later, he broke out in hives. After a few more episodes like this, I had nailed it. Eat blue food dye, get miserable hives. We avoided the blue.

    But, once last fall and twice in the past week, he has had hives again. I never could figure out last fall (that’s when we went to the allergist for the skin test), and today has me baffled. This weekend, though, it was the blue dye in Hawaiian Punch!!! Yes, that bright red stuff actually has blue dye in it. (this was St. Patrick’s Day, and the poor guy couldn’t eat all the green stuff, so I caved and gave him the punch)

    Anyway, I am not entirely sure what caused today’s outbreak. Two days ago, he had one twizzler, so it could be red dye. The fall outbreak was after drinking a yogurt drink that had red dye in it (I remember suspecting it), but he’s had red dye in between then and now and not had the hives.

    My point? This detective work is wearing me out, and I think it is totally worth it to just get rid of all artificial dyes like Katie recommends. His behavior when he has hives is horrible, and he’s a really good kid. I’m going to be much more mindful of colored foods and hope it makes a difference!

  22. I have done this for my daughters. They are now teenagers (ages 13 and 16) but we went through so much hassle when they were 3 and 6 with the Grandparents! Even though I would say they could not have candy in any form, they would sneak it to them. I thought it might be sugar. After I learned about artificial color causing emotional breakdowns and ADD in some other children, I tried that. We have been doing this for a decade!! My girls now tell people they are “allergic” to artificial foods and colors. They haven’t gotten invited to many parties of family because they just don’t want to think about what goes into their food, and I understand that. I think they might do well however to consider their own children’s behaviors in light of this. Now my daughters are commended for their good behavior (especially for teenagers they say). Keep doing whatever you have to do to protect your little ones! You only get so much time with them- and everything matters. They might not remember what you did for them, but they will remember how you made them feel about things- if you want them to be able to control themselves as older children and teens, make this work. Grandparents want the best for your children too, but they have to be educated (slowly) without being made to feel stupid. We believe there are some things God made for food and e eat those- we don’t eat what isn’t made for food, and my folks are cool with that now! My girls also know what they can and cannot have and also they know how eating certain things make them feel. Just know this battle is worth it!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Mrs Wheeler,
      Thanks for the encouragement! I remember one of my third graders telling me she was “allergic” to food coloring, and I poo-poo’d her and told her that wasn’t a possible allergy, but I’d let her not try the “green eggs and ham” that we made for Dr. Seuss’s birthday! So you see, we all start somewhere, mostly in ignorance. I feel so badly about that now! I like your simplicity – “eat food God made and not thing He didn’t”
      🙂 Katie

  23. While I’ve never commented on this blog I just had to respond to this one:-)

    Yes you are right about gracefully accepting food as all good things are blessings from above. BUT any CHEMICAL that they add to food is not FOOD. If it alters your childs mind you have a right to gracefully refuse it.

    If someone were to offer my child a brownie laced with pot, which is probably safer than neurotoxins, I would refuse it as it would alter their brain. An extreme example I know but very comparable.

    Yes, tact is very important here dealing with families but they too are responsible to show us grace and respect our wishes also. As parents you have a right, more like a responsibility not to let other poison you kids. We all pick our battles and if this isn’t yours it doesn’t make it wrong for it to be someone elses.

    Okay, I’m stepping off my soap box now I got a little excited.

  24. While I appreciate some of the information provided by this site, I am so grieved by the lack of respect and grace extended to parents/in-laws/grandparents/well-meaning friends who are not able to adhere to your micro managed eating endeavors that I must respectfully ask to be removed from your mailing list. I know that you are concerned for the well-being of your children especially, but if you carefully look into your Bible you’ll note some special grace promised for those who graciously and with gratitude receive the food offered to them by others. You speak of balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth, and money. Consider adding relationships to that list.

    1. Where did Katie criticize the grandparents? I know some commenters have, but Katie said specifically that the grandparents were trying their best and missed something. Anyone can make a mistake. It does make it very hard to succeed on an elimination diet, but it’s no one’s fault. Katie has always been very gracious about her parents and in-laws, which can’t be easy when she’s shared their home while having very different opinions about food and recycling. I think she’s a great example for how to blog about family issues while respecting every family member involved.

    2. Perhaps you have mis read some of the commets here. With my grand children we are not talking it will hurt them we are talking it could kill them and when they get foods they should not they( the kids) pay the price in pain and sickness. I did not understand this until my daughter sat down and really explained it to me which is why I asked perhaps they could have a heart to heart with the grand parents. As Grand Parents we are to help guide them not make thier work harder. They are not asking us to never give them an extra treat or never let them stay up late or even watch an extra show they are asking to help make them healthy. Their very life depends on us understanding and willing to work with them. Many of us as grand parents have kids with special needs and we need to learn how to help our kids raise their kids not do them harm. The Titus 2 woman is to lead up and train those younger then her. Leading does not mean always doing it as we did, that is not always the correct way Katie lived in her In Laws home and did so with such a Godly heart how could you say she was not respecting them?

  25. Food dyes were actually what started our real food journey over a year ago. My youngest has severe eczema so I was willing to try anything. I was shocked how quickly the eczema cleared up as soon as we started eliminating the dyes. Thankfully we haven’t had issues with behavior related to food, but I can tell you it was definintely an issue for my brother when we were growing up. Any sugar, artificial colors, or artificial flavors would set him off. He’d get very violent. The worst part was that he would crave and beg for the very things that were causing him problems.

  26. have you tried bubbies pickles? if you have to have some, they’re the most natural i can find in the store…not sure where you are or what store are around, but i know stater bros. carries them.

  27. I had to read this twice because I was shocked that your kids ever got anything with food dyes in it from you. 🙂 My parents learned not to give him any after they did then spent the day babysitting. They had to learn the hard way. But now they’re good about watching what they feed him.

    My son’s been mostly dye free for about 2 years now. Feingold is what brought us to our real food journey. Cutting dyes helped my 6 year old son so much. Now the only time he ever gets them is at a friends b-day party or if we eat out and I forget to bring our own ketchup. When he does get dyes he’s defiant, super hyper, can’t focus or think straight, and wakes during the night and even has nightmares. It’s crazy what they can do to someone.
    I ordered natural food colorings from naturalcandystore.com . I order holiday candy from there, too. So he still gets special treats.

    And I totally make my own fermented pickles. They are so yummy!

  28. This is worth a try since my son and I both are prone to moods wings. I do believe I saw jelly beans at Harvest Health. It’s worth a look.

  29. Jen @ TheUnProcessed Kitchen

    OK, now I will give you some hope for this situation 🙂 I was actually hoping I would see you because I was wondering how Food Dye Free was going for you! The good news, for us anyway, was that once my son was fully detoxed for several months, he could tolerate a food dye here and there without a problem. Red and blue anyway – yellow is always a problem.
    Halloween was interesting, for sure. He did the same thing as your son – made two piles, and gave one to my husband to take to work or traded a few with his sister who doesn’t react the same way to dyes. He has learned that trading in a food dye treat or snack will get him something he likes once he is at home; check the grocery store for candy from the EU; even some of the Haribo gummy bears from the EU don’t have food dye in them! Good luck, stay strong, it’s worth it!

  30. I just read this twice..and could not help but write. I want to write a book to all those Grandparents not following the rules..sorry but I am a grandma and I would NEVER feed my grand kids something their parents said no to. Its not that hard, I have one grandchild with no dairy..NONE, one with no dyes as yours and two with gluten free diets and its no big deal. I have learned so much about cooking and love finding ways to make speical treats for them without breaking the rules. The first time we made cookies out of Chick peas I am pretty sure my daughter was going to die…now she makes them:). Do you know you can make ice cream out of nothing but banana’s and coconut milk? Perhaps you need to sit down with a cup of coffee and a free hour to talk to those grand parents open and honest about WHY you are doing this and its not a “would you try” its a way of life and if they are going to get them then they have to feed them the way you do. To me food dyes are the same as my grandson who will be in ER if you feed him dairy just because you cannot see their lips swell and hear them try to breath does not mean its not doing the same damage to their little bodies. As Grandparents we want to do whats right for our grand kids. Sometimes we need to understand why (its our age) but if you will take the time to talk to them I am sure they will understand you asking no make that expect them to do this in the same way you would expect them not to let the kids play in the middle of street just becuase they wanted to! If they like to bake print off a few recipes of some things speical they can make at Grandma’s, give them ideas of what you feed them at home. Find a couple places to eat out and tell them they can have this or this..nothing else. Keep in mind its not natural for us as we feed you guys anything…sorry but we knew no better…but we want only whats best for those little angels. Sometimes we are hard headed…and you wonder where your kids get it…but in the end we love them and will do anything to keep them safe, healthy and happy.
    You are doing great and what you need to as a family to raise your kids, now bring the grandparents on board to help you not work against you! How wonderful will it be when you know you can out and enjoy dinner while they are enjoying time with Grandparents.

    1. Oh, how I wish more Grandparents were like you! My mother just rolls her eyes at me when we talk about what my children can/can’t eat. Thankfully my kids do not go and spend weekends with her, but I guarantee she would “sneak” them absolutely everything on my “no-no” list. To so many people food intolerance’s are a joke. My mother is no exception.

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Carol,
      Thank you so much for this comment. We actually lived with my in-laws for 5 months just recently, so they saw the way we eat, precisely, and I tried to toss out little bits of the whys and wherefores.

      Soooo…they actually do take some steps to give my kids healthier foods, but they LOVE spoiling them too, and I think they really feel we deprive them of too many fun foods. Eh.

      Thanks! 🙂 Katie

      1. I do understand just where your parents are and many others. At one point I was close to being the same..I tried but just really did not understand and if something was not just right….I thought it was close enough. It was never that I did not care or just would not respest you it was I just did not understand why or how….give me ideas and recipes. We love you guys and we love our grand kids and in our minds we think we are being “wonderful” grand parents by giving them those “special” treats as that is what we got from our grand parents that is what we gave you. I really ask all of you to go …sit down…talk…no kids….no drama…just love them and really talk to them and help them to understand what its like when the kids come home. If you let them know that its not you who pays the price but the KIDS it will hit home to them, no grand parent wants thier grand kids to be hurting. Take them things to read on it…not a novel but a few short things… help them to understand other ways to do speical things for your kids. My twin grandsons who are 6 now cannot wait to come because we build things with them. Not something I would have ever thought of doing with little ones..but let me tell ya..wood, nails, glue and paint is way better then any “food snack” and they are going to recall what they built at our home for life unlike the candy bar. Its not the same for you to ask us not to give them X as it is for us to understand we are hurting our grand kids. Talk to all those grand parents…please…bring them on your side to help its to hard to do it alone! As a grand parent I would give my life for my grand kids not giving X is easy once I understand why. I know its asking a lot on your part to explain it all to us but those little bits of why and wherefores may not be enough..we need to KNOW what we do could hurt our grand kids and why. And if they want to buy the over priced no dye all organic candy for all means let them..give them sites and let them order a few things….the kids will love it 🙂

  31. I understand about eliminating food dyes and the difficulty there is. I have an anaphylactic reaction to red dye. It shows up in bread products like pie dough and crescent rolls. It shows up in many things made with fruit. The one place that I have the most problem is in medications. It is difficult to find an antibiotic that doesn’t contain red dye. I have to check and most of the time it means I have to have it compounded. I try my best to avoid medications, but sometimes they are just unavoidable.
    Red dye is everywhere. Toothpaste, beauty products, shaving cream, makeup…you name it, it shows up in it.
    My boys have learned to be very careful about it. I can’t be near them if they have anything with red dye in it. The hardest part comes when they are out and someone else gives them something with red dye. I have to be so careful that there isn’t any on their clothes or on little hands or lips.
    Good luck with ridding the dyes. I wish enough people would and then they would quit using them so often.

  32. The topic of differing opinions regarding food between generations has been in the front of my mind lately. I want my kids to be healthy, but I also want them to be normal. I find its a constant balancing act of picking my battles when it comes to food.
    We did “outlaw” juice with the grandparents and they did stick to that one. I always make sure they get lots of water to start flushing out their systems if it’s been an extended stay.
    I do know that I’m winning the battle when my 3 year old asks for yogurt and a banana for his snack and wants honey on his toast instead of sugary jam.
    We do try to avoid artificial anything but do know that we can’t control it completely because we aren’t with them 24/7.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Lisa,
      If only the world were healthy, then we could be normal too! 😉 I know, it’s SUCH

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Lisa,
      If only the world were healthy, then we could be normal too! 😉 I know, it’s SUCH a tricky thing…

      Sounds like you’re balancing it pretty well1
      🙂 Katie

  33. We’ve tried it on an off but in October I was convicted and convinced to do this once and for all. We’re noticing HUGE improvements with my 8yr old son. Actually, I notice HUGE problems when he does have them. We also are eliminating additives and perservatives. It’s hard but SO worth the effort! It’s a lot easier to make our own bread rather than fight him all day long! Some areas that tripped us up were toothpaste and the occasional OTC med. And most recently white (!) marshmallows that actually have blue dye in them. argh! Do check the “natural” colors and colors that are more than the standard number. Those are problems here too.

  34. What an interesting post! My friend’s daughter was just diagnosed with an allergy to red dye. It completely rocked their world! We deal with an allergy to tree nuts and peanuts in our house, which, in comparision to an allergy to red dye, is a complete walk in the park. However, in response to your comment about visiting the grandparent’s house, we see such similar results! We were just at the in-laws this weekend and instead of my daughter coming home sick (which is usually the case) my son was sick. It’s just gut wrenching. My husband doesn’t want to acknowledge a correlation–and I can’t fault him as it is his parent’s house–but it’s pretty hard to deny. I already pack much of the kid’s food when they visit the grandparents, but it looks like we’ll be doing more cooking while visiting instead of eating out. I’d much rather cook than deal with the aftermath! 🙂

  35. Becky via Facebook

    Another great blog on food additives is Our Family Eats. She has a 6 week challenge that you can check out too!

  36. This article was full of surprises for me. I’m shocked to hear so many people are struggling to eliminate food dyes. That was one of the first steps we took when we switched to real foods and we don’t have anything in our house that has food dyes in it. I admit to not checking when we’re out, but then, we generally don’t eat things like pickles and ketchup, either. I would be very curious to hear what foods are stumbling-blocks for others . . . I know everyone eats different things, but it’s kind of crazy to me to think there aren’t obvious solutions!

    I’m also surprised to hear your kids have “piles” of candy. Where are they getting it? I had to double check to make sure this wasn’t an article written just after Halloween or something. Do you buy them candy? I’m not judging, just curious. I’m imagining your relatives running around with pockets full of junk candy to hand out, haha.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Kate,
      I know, most people are surprised by that! No, we don’t buy candy (except Mommy’s dark chocolate) but the suppliers are many: Easter baskets, Christmas stockings, Halloween, bank tellers, awards at school or Bible study nursery…and although the grandparents don’t have pockets full, they do see Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and a few other obscure holidays as gift-giving opportunities, which usually come with candy. We just let it sit and they can have one piece a day, unless there’s some other dessert instead. My son ate a bunny from LAST Easter last week, so you can see how they have more than they need (and that it lasts a while). It’s not something I’m very proud of, and I should be better at just throwing it out, but I’m not.

      And for those struggling to get rid of food dyes, just remember that if anyone is eating any processed food, colors are probably in there, so the “baby steps” solution to moving to “real food” is tricky when you’d have to cut out everything at once and make homemade. Like I said, we personally didn’t have to make very many changes at home b/c I already make everything homemade.

      🙂 Katie

  37. Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple

    I tried to eliminate artificial colors from my daughter’s diet wondering if it was causing the extreme stubbornness or if it was just too many people and over stimulation — both happen on the same days (Sundays at church, Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings). Also at the same time the little girl that I watch every school day afternoon stopped coming b/c her dad was no longer OTR trucking. My daughter’s behavior changed with in the first week — we still have the power struggles at times that everyone has with toddlers but no nearly the screaming/fit issues that we had before. Our daughter likes people and enjoys her time at Sunday school and Awana, but she is an introvert and needs her “chill at home” time (and enough sleep). So we will still try to avoid food colorings — I’ll still be making treats for her to take to Sunday School and Awana, but I think for us the biggest issue is too many people causing over stimulation!

  38. This is amazing to me. I am not shocked or anything, but it amazes me that people think it is okay for all this artificial stuff to be in our food. I just don’t understand it. And the addictive nature is also quite disturbing.

    I also wanted to note that Bubbies pickles (while expensive) are lacto-fermented and have no added colors. And they are wonderful.

    1. I read somewhere that Bubbies was bought out by a larger brand and is now “gently pasteurized” and has calcium chloride added. The big corps are cashing in on the health conscious by buying up smaller brands and then changes are inevitable as they squeeze the most profit they can out of it.

      1. Oh no! Really??? We buy them because they are corn-free and we have several in our house with corn-allergy (along with several other allergies). There have been a couple reports of corn-reactions to them lately. I will need to follow up on that. So sad…

  39. Am I the first to say it: why aren’t you fermenting pickles?! 🙂 Or buying Bubbies brand? Mostly teasing here. But, so easy to avoid crappy pickle additives by making your own or buying a good fermented brand.

    It’s interesting that this came up today because my 8yo informed us at the breakfast table that they were talking about food colouring in health class and that it’s POISON! So I explained what a neurotoxin was and that sugar was a neurotoxin, as well. Blew his mind!

    I’m going to save this for him to read, if he’s got patience 🙂

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Leanne,
      I know, I know…last year I was having a baby during the short weeks of cucumber season here in Michigan, though…plus the year I did try it, my family didn’t like them. I’ll do it this year, promise! 😉 Katie

  40. Oh. My. Word. Thank you! I have an almost 10 year old that has “issues” every Monday. I’ve commented to my husband that instead of a fresh start on Mondays it’s a fresh fight. Over the weekend, we relax our eating habits and eat at Grandma’s. I’ve thought that food coloring might be causing her headaches, but when I mention to anyone that it might be causing her behavior problems, I get raised eyebrows and rolling eyes. You have given me motivation to keep documenting. I hope I can be successful in eliminating food dyes AND bad behavior. Thanks again!

  41. Oh man. After reading this I really am thinking of trying to eliminate food colorings from our kids’ diets (and ours, since we all eat the same thing). Our 3 year old girl is ridiculously stubborn and tantrum-prone, though those issues have improved since we eliminated dairy from her diet. I hate the idea of eliminating another thing, especially something as complicated at food colorings. :-/

  42. we’ve been avoiding colors for a while, before I even did much research on it, just knowing they weren’t natural (even the “natural” ones can be really scary now that I have researched it!), and as part of eating only a whole foods, completely home processed diet. so when my son does get offered the occasional “treat” from someone outside of our home, I can generally tell which symptoms over the next few weeks that can be attributed to it. the last contamination incident was a small candy cane just after Christmas from a very sweet and well-meaning post office lady. It resulted in my son having itchy, red, inflamed hive-like rashes all over his back and chest for almost three weeks..

    1. Laura-
      That is how my anaphylaxis started with red dye. Do not let him have anymore. The more times you get it into the system the more your system reacts. I can’t have even a little tiny bit or I am in trouble now.
      It’s tough to check everything. I have to ask anytime we eat anywhere other than home. If there isn’t a good answer, I don’t eat it. I don’t put anything into my mouth in which I haven’t read the ingredients list.
      Eliminating red dye and being vigilant has saved my life.

  43. I remember when I was a camp counsellor(many moons ago), they had to stop giving the kids ‘red’ juice because they saw their behavior change after consuming it.

    Right now in our family we’re trying to avoid refined sugar. My kids have become very good at reading labels.

    I have been able to find Smarties(I’m in Canada, so our Smarties are different) made with natural dye as well as Licorice Allsorts.

    And not all pickles have colour added, but maybe our brands in Canada are different as well.

    I always enjoy your posts. They are so informative!

  44. I have 2 out of 5 kiddos who can’t handle the dyes. They are also very sensitive to petroleum and vanillan, which is in EVERYTHING that vanilla should be. Vanillan makes my daughter violent.

    I also have a set of parents who just don’t seem to get it. My daughter is a MONSTER when they come to visit. Not only do they spoil her, but they take her out to eat nearly every day during their 2 week stay. When they leave and she has to return to being a sibling again, and not the favorite only girl grandchild, it’s emotional AND physical detox all over again.

    My husband didn’t believe me until we went to Ihop for dinner, at his insistence. He gave one of the twins, the sensitive one, the strawberry topping from some pancakes… it ignited nearly 24 hours of violent temper tantrums. It wasn’t an instant reaction. It took about 2-3 hours before it worked its way into my son’s system. I was furious… but at least my hubby agreed to never do it again.

    Hang in there. It’s the strangest things that set some little ones off. By the way, do you have a Whole Foods? I get my jelly beans there. They have LOTS of candy in their bulk bin section and in their bakery. : )

  45. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    We did. And last Easter when my daughter got some by accident (at Grandma’s), she was a whiny, screaming mess for 18 hours after. She had at least two accidents, too, despite having been potty trained for nearly a year at that point. For the second one she was just sitting in a chair, watching TV, and talking to us, and she peed her pants. We asked her why and she couldn’t tell us. After that she was okay.

    NEVER AGAIN. lol.

  46. We are currently de-toxing our 3 year old from food dyes as well. We spent a week with the in-laws and all the progress I was seeing went out the window. So glad to be home again and working on getting our little one back on track. Good Luck!

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