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I’m so Mad I’m Turning RED (no. 5)

I have a renewed, deep distaste for the food processing industry.

I’ve been getting many, many comments from readers on previous posts about food dyes, and the more I learn, the more I get sick about what our country, big business, and the assenting families who purchase junk and don’t know any better are allowing to be packaged, sold and eaten as “food.”

It’s NOT FOOD.
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I don’t even know who to be mad at. “The system?” I’m just mad.

Why are products made from petroleum, which is already a bit scarce (anyone notice gas is over $4 a gallon?), going into food?

There were some really interesting comments from folks who thought I was being too strict on this post, about our experiences trying to avoid artificial colors for the duration of Lent. They wanted me to loosen up and let grandparents spoil the grandkids a little, to not make food a stressful thing. I admit I probably get a little too stressed out about food, and it’s something I’m working on. However, there’s a time and a place to be vigilant.

They were quickly trounced on by other readers, who make excellent and poignantly true points, and I thank them:

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?

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.”  (Read the rest here)

And:

I have to chime in here: there are some things that are not meant to be eaten.
There are many …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).

And a first-time commenter who had to speak:

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 child’s 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.

Feingold Diet

Probably the foremost authority on food dyes and physical/emotional reactions is the Feingold Association, which has been dedicated to helping people succeed with elimination diets to food additives for over three decades.

I have just started poking into the information at the website, and I downloaded the free eBook, but here’s what I’m seeing so far that helps contribute to my undies being in a bunch right now:

  • Sensitivities to one additive, like food dyes, often also means a person will be sensitive to other additives, like BHA, BHT, and TBHQ – and man, those are added to TONS of things! In fact, just last night, as I was opening one of my TEN bags of Diamond brand walnuts (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) to make crispy nuts out of them, I noticed that they add BHT to the nuts! Arg! I usually just buy Meijer brand or from Country Life Natural Foods, but they were on a really good sale. I never thought to check ingredients on walnuts – seriously?!?!? Now I wonder if Meijer walnuts have BHT too. I just emailed a contact there; I’ll let you know on Facebook if not on the blog!
  • “There are well over 12,000 food additives in our food supply today, nearly 2/3 of them flavorings, but few have been tested for their effect on the nervous system or the immune system. Furthermore, many of those tested and found to have unfavorable effects are still in use. It is, therefore, not surprising that scientists working with the food industry have convinced the FDA to use the De Minimis principle (“a little bit can’t hurt”) so that new flavoring chemicals do not need to be tested for side effects before being accepted for use.”
  • “Artificial color certified “FD&C” is permitted by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to be added to foods, drugs and cosmetics. “D&C” means the certified color may be used only in drugs and cosmetics. These colorings were originally manufactured from coal tar, but today they are made from petroleum.”
  • “The FDA certification rules list the permissible amounts of contaminants and residues such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and certain carcinogens such
    as benzidine. It is interesting to note that the D&C colors permitted only in cosmetics and in medications (and given to sick children) are often allowed to have twice the amount of lead contaminant as colorings
    allowed in food.
  • “In commercially available FD&C Yellow #5 and #6, benzidine (which causes cancer) has been found in amounts up to 200 times the officially allowed level of only 1 part per billion.2 FD&C colorings continue to be
    listed as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) despite studies showing neurological effects, DNA damage, and elevated cholesterol.”
  • “In 2006, almost 19 million pounds of color additives were certified by FDA inspectors. The FDA receives a “user fee” from the manufacturer for each pound of food dye certified. Note, that means each pound approved, not each pound examined.”
  • (quotes from the “Bluebook” free download from the Feingold Association – you should really grab it, even if it’s just for the story on p. 9 about the amazing success one school found by serving actual healthy lunches to their students.)

Is your heart rate going through the roof? I hope so. Let’s get mad about this, parents, grandparents, and other human beings who eat food!!

The Stories

You know, when people ask me what I do for a living, I never know what to say. Blogger? Food writer? Entrepreneur? Today, I feel like calling myself a “collector of stories.” Here are just a few that can’t help but give you pause and make you think about food dyes in a sinister light:

From a friend in real life:

My 15yo daughter will get a seizure if she eats artificial food dyes! Really, seriously! The seizure does not happen until that night when she is falling asleep, or the next morning when she is waking up. I am sure many times before we realized this, she would have seizures and us not even know. I could tell by her activity level the next day. If they cause a seizure in my daughter, what else can they do? The absolute fact that they are a neurotoxin is quite real to me.

A good thing, is the last time she was in the hospital (she got encephalopathy from H1N1), the neurologist said the brain does heal! Her brain has healed from her last EEG. She has until she is 16. We are hoping it completely heals, and she will have no life long limiting condition.

From a reader:

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.

and a response from another reader, very scary:

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.

And yet another reader:

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.

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!

Being Totally Out of Touch: Leah’s Story

Daffy Daisy Duck and us 2

In Leah’s lifetime, there have been a few incidences where she’s completely lost it and we can’t get through to her. I have no idea if those times have anything to do with food, or just lack of sleep, but because they seem truly neurotic, to the point where we worry and wonder if we should tell a doctor, I thought of them when researching neurotoxins that I allow my kids to eat all the time.

Last year, we vacationed in Florida, and although we could have sent Leah, then just over 2-and-a-half, home for an early bedtime with my parents, we decided that she had been doing so well that we would let her stay late for the fireworks.

When that show was over at maybe 10:00 p.m., my husband was carrying her down the busy Disney street to the exit when she starting throwing a fit and telling him over and over (and over) to, “Stand up, Daddy! I want you to stand UP!”

Since he was and had been standing, this was clearly a bit scary to us. We tried everything to break her out of what was almost like a trance, like she wasn’t even quite with us, and finally going into a store to buy a souvenir (not to appease the fit but because we had already planned on it) did the trick.

Clearly, on that day, she was extremely overtired and VERY low on the sleep she needed for a number of days. Such is the nature of vacations and being out of your routine.

She also would have had plenty of artificial colors and food additives, since even though we truly made about 75% of our own food the entire week, we were still reliant upon restaurants and processed food quite a bit.

In the year since then, there have been a few (maybe 3-5?) night wakings that are a little too reminiscent of that incident for my comfort. I’m sure all kids have times in the middle of the night when they’re not fully awake and are very out of it, but it gives us pause when a person does seem fully awake and yet (a) completely not in control of themselves and (b) seeming to not know what is going on around them.

Could these be related to colors or additives? Believe me, I’ll be paying closer attention and documenting it from now on.

One More Trip to Grandma’s

After the terrible awful fits Leah threw in the early days of last week, after spending a night at Grandma and Grandpa’s and probably having a little cheat on the food dye elimination (which I documented here), I was bound and determined not to let her go there until Lent was over. This was not a punishment, but just so we could complete the project and not nullify all the hard work and sacrifice our kids had done.

They were invited over the very next Saturday because the grands were taking them to Disney on Ice, and after a conversation with my husband, we decided that it would be okay, but NO eating out, no food purchased at the show, and I would bring leftovers for dinner (recipe here) just so I knew for sure what they were eating.

I tactfully explained the “not nullifying all the hard work they’ve done” and how we just don’t know what’s in things when you can’t actually read the label, and asked Grandma if I could bring dinner. “If it’s too much trouble and a pain, we can just postpone the sleepover until after Lent,” I said. “I don’t want to make more work for you, but we have to be careful because there are only 3 weeks left.”

They welcomed the kids with open arms (and we even sent some naturally colored lollipops and gummies for the grandparents to spoil them with).

Imagine my disappointment when I wrote down the following:

  • Monday: SO cranky and mini-fits all morning. Took 1.5 hour nap.
  • Tuesday: cranky in a.m., runny nose and sneezing. No nap.
  • Tuesday night: John cried and woke Leah up at 4 a.m., but she got out of bed about 5 times over the next hour.
  • Wednesday: better behavior in a.m.; no nap; SO tired by 8 p.m. that she was complaining about how tired she was! (What 3yo admits to it?) She woke up at 11:00 p.m. “feeling sick” and again called to me at 11:40.
    • She played with fluorescent playdough at 7 p.m. that night (at Grandma’s, while I watched). I knew that it had colors but hoped they wouldn’t impact her through the skin. I should know better – now after reading this comment, I’m wondering again.

After Tuesday’s night waking, I announced to the family: “The good news is that colors don’t seem to be the problem. However, going to Grandma’s does.”

Then I found out that the kids had turkey ham for lunch on Sunday, and because it had been frozen without its packaging, we don’t know if it had colors in it or not.

I’m kind of hoping it did.

The End Game

I let both kids have a jelly bean – before supper! – as we gathered at my in-laws’ for Easter dinner on Saturday. Leah was just excited to have a candy, period, because she always is and loves her sweets. Paul understood the full weight of the treat: “But they have artificial colors, don’t they, Mom?” he asked, wide-eyed.

“Yes, they do. Would you like one?”

He was geeked.

Results: No night waking or terrible, out of the ordinary fits Saturday or Sunday night and through Monday. The late night Saturday (bedtime after 9:30; our norm is 8/8:30) definitely affected Leah on Sunday/Monday, but nothing beyond usual 3yo girl tiredness.

Read all the posts from the “My Food is Not a Number!” series HERE.

The Easter Bunny brought only approved sweets and treats:

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  • Surf Sweets sent me some samples of their naturally colored, no HFCS gummies, jelly beans (new!), and sour bears to fill the kids’ eggs. I might have sampled some (don’t tell). They’re really good. You’d never know they were “healthier” candy.
    • You can find Surf Sweets at a number of online retailers, including here at Amazon.
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  • Yummy Earth Organics suckers, available at our local health foods store (but pricey, of course).
  • Larabars, which I usually make homemade, but since they were on sale for $1 each at Meijer a few weeks back, I couldn’t help but grab a few. When presented as treats, the kids are so excited to have them, and I love having a healthy, no-sugar snack available in the car.
  • A few eggs were also full of chocolate chips.
  • Garden clippers and seeds (from the dollar store). The Easter Bunny seemed to know that the kids are always trying to help trim old flowers, thus rendering Mom not able to work because they have her clippers. Now everyone has clippers! E.B. also picked out meaningful seeds for the kids, who were, no kidding, incredibly excited and wanted to run right out to the garden to plant!
  • Their own tape (another thing E.B. noticed they were always taking from mom’s desk).
  • And for Jonathan, some freeze-dried fruit , which he got to try and thinks is pretty interesting. (This is our only dry finger food so far, since we’re sticking to no grains until he’s one! More on how we’re feeding (and not feeding) the third Kimball babe.)
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What I think is great about this is that neither kid even knows the difference between the Easter Bunny’s contributions this year and regular junky candy. I’m pretty sure they don’t even know they got “good” candy in their eggs.

Grandma and Grandpa supplied plenty of junk candy to tempt us all, but I’m fairly certain that on Easter itself, the colors weren’t consumed.

But on Monday night…

Both kids joyously embraced their bags of separated candy full of “artificials” as Leah calls them. Quite literally. There was honest-to-goodness jumping up and down, and I think I may have seen one of them hug the bag.

Leah chose a Now and Later as her first treat back to food coloring and Paul had a fun sized Skittles. He had an achy foot (“growing pains”) about an hour later, which he hasn’t struggled with for quite a while. Coincidence? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Our Conclusions

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For us, I really don’t think the colors are making a difference, but it was an interesting experiment. We definitely haven’t proven that artificial colors cause any behavioral problems in our family. The night waking I mentioned in my last post continued to happen a few times near the end of the next week, when Leah would have been completely off food colorings for two weeks (although she didn’t stay up for an hour this time, thank goodness).

Many questions have been raised in my head about these colors, and I know they’re nasty, but I’m not going to avoid them whole hog right now.

I even just used the regular egg colors that I had in my stash, although I considered trying the natural egg dyes with chlorophyll, turmeric, and beet powder. It just wasn’t meant to be when it came time to dye eggs, and I was totally comfortable with the compromise. Plus, I saved the nasty colored water to re-test the Berkey filters like this next time we clean it. I know that natural colors aren’t all that hard, but since we only used 1/3 of a box of junk colors, it cost only about $0.3o to color a dozen. The natural way, including 2 cups of blueberries and red cabbage, would have cost over $3. Plus, I had an audience of family visiting to color eggs with the kids and wanted to focus on joy and fun, not trying something new. It’s just not something I’m doing while I still have egg dye kits in the house.

There are so many other issues possible in Leah’s behavior post-grandparents’ visits: TV, general excitement, lack of sleep, different SAD food in general…or just that she’s a feisty, stubborn, 3-year-old girl with immature emotions, who, like many preschoolers do after school, lets loose once she gets home because she’s used up all her effort trying to be so “good” at Grandma’s house.

What Will We do Now?

Moving forward, I’m going to work to avoid artificial colors more than I did before, which was zero. I’m not going to get worked up about them, but I’ll choose the non-colored option when there is one and be continuously taking mental notes on behavior, night wakings, and food coloring.

I cannot emphasize enough, however, because Kitchen Stewardship® is devoted to finding the balance, with budget as one of the four pillars, that buying pricey candy without artificial colors is dead last on my priorities. I would only do it if my kids actually demonstrated a problem with colors, and then only for special occasions. Like I always say about sweeteners like sucanat or coconut sugar, better to skip the candy altogether than stretch a budget to buy sweets that are only marginally better than the conventional and certainly not actually healthy.

In the end, I’m really glad we did the experiment, if  nothing else because these posts inspired at least a few of you to try it in your own home – and some discovered a new child you didn’t know you had, one who had been hiding under the influence of chemicals affecting their brains. I’m so honored to have been a part of your stories, and thank you for sharing them in the comments here at KS and by email.

Why Get Rid of Food Dyes? The Cliff’s Notes

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

Thanks to Jen’s guest post on artificial colors, I’ve learned a lot.

  • They’re a neurotoxin. That’s just what it sounds like. Whether you feel it or not, they’re affecting your BRAINS.
  • They’re made of petroleum.
  • Petroleum increases cancer risk. (source)
  • They have allowable levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic.
  • They cause clear reactions in some children and adults. (I know, I know…so does peanut butter, but only if you’re allergic to it. Still, that these numbers are rising, both on peanuts and artificial dyes, directs us to ask: “What are we doing wrong with these foods?”)
  • Many countries in Europe mandate a warning label about kids’ behavior, and you know what? American food companies simply changed their formulas to use safer additives so as not to scare their customers, but they continue to use the scary, toxic stuff here in the U.S.!
  • Since most kids don’t show a reaction, even though some clearly do, the FDA decided not to mandate specific labels on foods containing dyes. Now that just makes me mad! (source)
  • The bottom line? THEY’RE NOT FOOD. Food dyes have zero nutritional value and only add aesthetic appeal to our food.

We live in a culture literally marred by fake foods colored with fake coloring. I visited Paul’s first grade classroom this week to listen to kids read out loud, and an interesting incident underscores my point:

Leah pulled out a dried strawberry fruit leather that I made homemade. As she was enjoying it – that’s a “treat” in our family – one of the girls asked, “Whoa, what’s THAT?” with a bit of disdain in her voice.

I said, “It’s a dried strawberry fruit roll…from strawberries we picked last summer.”

“Ewwwwwww!” was the immediate reaction. “Old, dried up fruit? Yuck!”

My words, “No, it’s just like fruit roll-up…” died on my lips as I looked at the brownish red food in my daughter’s hand. She can’t understand a strawberry that’s not perfectly red, I thought.

Thanks goodness my own kids still appreciate the taste of summer when they experience it (and don’t mind how it looks).

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

91 thoughts on “I’m so Mad I’m Turning RED (no. 5)”

  1. Christine Robinett

    I’m 52 and have had adverse reactions since I was a kid. It’s probably a major contributing factor to 4 miscarriages and many other issues. Working to understand my own issues is what motivated me to become a CAM doctor. Most of my life I’ve been treated as a hypochondriac by many doctors so had to figure things out on my own, NOT mention symptoms to doctors or my parents (medical professionals) and suffer in silence. I was terribly abused physically and verbally, by my parents because they refused to admit I had REAL problems. I am highly skeptical of the medical-industrial complex, the motivations of the AMA, APhA, etc, and member professionals for omitting necessary information and lying to the consuming public. I can’t imagine how many children are abused because they have REAL adverse reactions to food additives, allergens, intolerance issues. To allow extended family to “spoil” your children with toxins is child abuse in my view from both my personal and professional perspectives. No one, child, elder or in between, deserves that kind of treatment from family, some impersonal industry or government.

  2. In our refrigerated meats section (where the cold cuts and bacon are), we have a brand called Nathan’s that is dye free. Of course, there are other things in them that may be questionable but no dyes. The whole pickle thing kills me, too.

  3. Chiming in again with my respectful dissent, if I may…certainly, avoiding foods with additives is a choice you can make for your family. One with which I will not argue when you are discussing life threatening issues. However, let’s be honest that there is a cost associated with this decision, and perhaps a higher one than we may realize. It is this: we put much credence in a “clean” diet and do our level best to accomplish this, and for our efforts, our children throw tantrums; our extended families are afraid to eat with our kids; we are so stressed about food choices that our kids hoard and sneak to get the foods that taste good to them; and WE suffer real, physical consequences from all the stress. On the other hand, if we are truly willing to extend grace to ourselves, our children, and our families regarding food choices, we do better – both emotionally AND nutritionally. Fear and avoidance do not generally last as motivators for eating in a certain way, and they have the potential for seriously distorting our children’s eating attitudes and behaviors. Again, I recommend resources at www.ellynsatter.com or get this book from your local library: Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to eat, how to raise good eaters, how to cook. Blessings.

    1. I will check out the book, I think keeping joy in our food is important. I know for me even though we restrict these items, I still try to make special treats that they might want like marshmallows or other things like that on occasion. I have one who doesn’t really show signs of a reaction when he eats those additives and one who has a very hard time controlling himself when not. (Notice the same in me.) I am not mean about it, but really eating some junk isn’t work a day in the principals office or crying or whatever happens because of that choice. So it is a balancing act of not stressing about it, but still keeping sane, because the reactions are rough. We can often make ourselves crazy about things that don’t matter.

    2. I understand your point, but do recognize that parents need to be the advocates for their children. I too have heard the, “It won’t hurt them!” line. Just because it isn’t obvious doesn’t make it true. I have a terrible reaction to ibuprofen, naproxen and related medications. BUT, it isn’t obvious without a scope, though the camera in my belly doesn’t lie. And without the random feelings of discomfort I experienced, and a unusual medical error that required the scope, I never would have known. How many others experience the same thing and don’t realize? Just because we can’t see the problems these things cause doesn’t mean they are not problems.
      As far as the social costs, children need to learn more about this. Not be told what to eat, but to be told the choices, and the reasons behind them. Tantrums over food need to be met in the same way as any other tantrum: firmly, and with explanation, but no change of mind. My children rarely argue over food, but on those rare occasions when they do, I lay out the issues. They are 5 and 7 and are well aware of why we eat the way we do. And after a food induced problem we have a talk about how we could have avoided that (by avoiding the food). My mother would like to feed them junk with abandon, but I’ve given her a list of okay treats and the directions to the coop nearest her. At first she wasn’t sure she liked this idea, but now she is a regular guest at the coop, shopping for organic fruit strips, juice gummies, fun crackers, einkorn cookies, and so on.

  4. Just wanted to chime in on the walnuts thing – it can be helpful to look at lists of kosher for Passover foods that can be eaten without special certification. I knew about the BHT because walnuts can be eaten as long as there is no Bht added, and it is ,listed on the ingredients. Look for the OU’s guide to Passover.
    Additional oddity – frozen fish can contain wheat derivatives in the ice glaze.

    Additional oddity – frozen fish

  5. Katie, you’re daughter’s issues sound similar to my daughter’s (i.e. night terrors and mysterious freak outs). In trying to figure out the problem we started with Feingold as well (which I think is important regardless of whether or not food additives *seem* to affect your child).
    We finally realized that she has a sensory processing disorder. She couldn’t handle all the extra excitment/fatigue that accompanied something as simple as a trip to grandma’s house.
    The main things that have helped us (in addition to a diet with no additives) have been going gluten free and being vigilant about protecting her from being over-stimulated (esp. being sure to protect her sleep).
    Not sure if any of this is relevant to you, but I thought I’d share just in case as SPD can be hard to figure out.

    1. How did you/ your doctor diagnose your daughter? My baby is only 13 months, but I’m wondering if this is something he’s suffering from. He cries a lot, especially when we go out or are driving in the car.

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Andrea,
      Thank you! Any information is helpful – I do totally think it could just be sleep/stimulation. I’m really interested to see how she acts this Monday (although brother is on spring break, so that will automatically change the way the house feels). Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  6. It is hard being the big, mean mom who won’t let her kids have anything “fun”. Now that Jonathan is getting older I’m having to prepare a little better. I started just bringing a healthy treat when we go to a play date so that he can have a treat when the other kids do, but I know it’s not bad for him.
    My in-laws are actually really great about the food issue. All it took was me having a mild freak out when someone fed my 13 month old cheesecake (?!?!?). No one gives my kids anything without asking me or my husband now! Sure, they think we’re ridiculously strict, but I don’t care. My MIL has RA really badly and I’ve brought up a few times that that disease (and all others) is greatly affected by her diet, for better or worse. That shuts down any arguments, because what grandparent would wish that disease on their grandchildren? It’s not worth 2 minutes of letting them eat a “fun treat”. I’m willing to be the bad guy to protect my children’s health.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Auto immune disease runs in our family (husband’s side) too, so we’re really watching gluten…Katie

  7. Katie, I am gald you read the blue book. Feingold has changed our lives for the better. You are right though food additives are in EVERYTHING and there are lots of loopholes to get those thinks like BHA in the foods, like spraying the plastic liner but not adding to to the food so it doesn’t have to go on the label. Or maybe they used shortening and it has THBQ in it but all they have to list shortening on the label. That is where joining the Feingold association and getting the food guide is so helpful if you want to work on behavior because they research the products before they are included in the food list. Those factors plus you didn’t mention artificial flavors so that can be a trigger too. Vanillin is one our biggest triggers and a very hard thing to avoid. When listed that way on a label it comes from an artificial (petro) source as opposed to Vanilla which is natural.

    The first few trips to the store after we started feingold were horribly long and while I thought I had mostly healthy food in the house I had to get rid of a ton of food. I was appalled at how little I knew about our food supply. Right now I really want truth in labeling though, we have the right to know what is really in our food, every bit and let us make the choice on what to buy. Angry that my food choices are limited to what is in my guide because those companies are willing to work with Feingold, because others that claim “natural” on their label but not willing to verify they don’t use any of the above in their food won’t cooperate with Feingold.

    1. i believed vanillin was sourced from wood pulp through a nasty process with solvents, etc. but not a petroleum by-product. it is in some regards “natural” as in the vanillin in the wood is the same vanillin in vanilla, but obviously the way they produce it is ghastly. i believe i read that on cook’s illustrated. vanillin isn’t only the trade name for fake vanilla, it also the scientific name for the flavor component of vanilla. kinda confusing. i definitely avoid it, too, just to be safe. i also read in the same article that artificial vanillin flavor can technically be labeled as “natural flavor”- just not as “vanilla”. so if you come across something like lower quality vanilla ice cream or milk chocolate candy, for instance, that says “natural flavors” you can bet it has fake vanillin. yuk!
      i didn’t know for sure that it really did cause reactions for some, so thanks for sharing- i will be ever vigilant to avoid it from now on!

      1. “Natural Flavors” Dont get me started. Watch this…http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7389748n&tag=api

  8. It’s not only food…the playdoh is a problem too. The dyes are also absorbed through the skin. My son had a severe meltdown in the middle of a department store after washing his hands with the soap (red dye). We make our own playdoh now or do without. We also read labels on soap, shampoo, lotion, bubble bath, etc…anything that will touch the skin. When we dye Easter eggs, he wears gloves to protect his skin from the dyes.

  9. I know! Will have to make my own, because I miss pickles. There are some brands like Bubbies you can buy online.

  10. Pamela Gosnell – thank you so much for that insight. Leah is really a good child overall, mostly a normal, sometimes whiny 3yo, but we wanted to tackle some of the infrequent odd behaviors to see if there was a reason for them. I could be in denial, but I would never see ADHD or autism in her…

  11. Brandis L Roush – that Feingold assn. does publish a whole book of brands that are “safe” and not safe as far as additives go.

  12. Jeanette Vasel Foster – I’m sure you have SO much on your plate that you want to learn about right now, but Cara Health Home and Happiness will be a great resource for you. She’s a mom who’s been there with autism and has great success with a GAPS diet. God bless you in this time of learning and transition!

  13. ok, the walnut thing makes me mad. if a food is sold as a whole food then it should not be allowed to have anything added to it. it should be illegal to label treated walnuts( or walnuts + anything else) as just plain walnuts. why should we have to read the ingredients on walnuts?

    i’ve noticed the same thing with tuna (tuna + msg) and beets (beets + sugar and vinegar). but they are labeled as only tuna or beets. it makes me sick (sometimes literally!)

  14. Heather | Mom 4 Life

    Thank you for addressing this topic, it is important and very upsetting as you have discovered. Our family began the Feingold diet a few years ago and as a result my eyes were opened to all the info you have discussed above. Because we eat “real” food at home from scratch it is not much of an issue. However, the hard part is knowing how to address the countless places that our kids are exposed to artificial food options outside of our family (at school, at church, at friend’s houses, etc). It is my hope that the information you have provided here will continue to spread and that with that information parents will equip themselves and their families for healthier eating decisions!

  15. Carma via Facebook

    Scary what is passed as food to billions of consumers. Even when you’re eating “Good” there are unnecessary fillers in it.

  16. Brandis via Facebook

    I have always assumed that we don’t eat many additives because we eat a whole foods diet, BUT your thing with the walnuts and the turkey ham made me wonder… how many additives are we eating, even in our whole foods diet? Is there a list anyone knows of that gives certain foods to watch for additives in?

  17. Jen @ TheUnProcessed Kitchen

    Your bottom line is exactly it – FOOD DYES ARE NOT FOOD. It’s not like peanut butter (regardless of how genetically modified it is) or dairy (regardless of how processed it is)… they are chemicals with no purpose or value. I learn a lot from Feingold, and they have done some great work – I am not in complete agreement with their entire diet, but they have been really influential in forcing the issue of examining food dyes in our food system for decades and are an important part of fighting and educating about these ridiculous, unnecessary, harmful additives in our food supply.

  18. Deborah Jennings

    All I have to say is this . . These are your children! They were left by God in your care. It is each parents responsibility to raise healthy children. If the dyes are not good for your children, then they can’t have them. Sugar, the same thing. There are too many healthy things that they can eat. Don’t lessen your standards! I am so proud of you for sticking to your guns!!!

  19. Oh and after so much explaining to the grandparents about things we don’t want to feed our kids, our family has STOPPED bringing TREATS for the kids. They just give money or a gift card and have us let the kid pick out treats we’re okay with them having. Maybe your kids grandparents will soon be at that point too!

  20. Katie,
    This post brought tears to my eyes. Mainly because I have TRIED doing the RIGHT THINGS. I spend most days in the kitchen, cooking up meals from scratch with whole foods. I subscribe to an ORGANIC veggie program to increase our veggies. I order our FRUITS in bulk so we can always have FRESH FRUITS on hand. After all this, my family still COMPLAINS. It seems as if they don’t APPRECIATE that I’m trying to feed them the best foods available and they would rather eat the processed “food”. I just didn’t know what to do. Tired of fighting about meals and who doesn’t like what veggies, I bought quite a bit of processed “food” thinking that will make them “happy”. After reading your piost, I know I can’t give up or give in and be the one feeding them that JUNK! So THANK YOU

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Nia,
      Good for you! Keep up the good fight..but battle the food companies, not your family. 🙂 Kids (and husbands) can learn to like good foods, but sometimes it takes creativity on mom’s part. Can kids help cook to get intimate with the food? Can older kids pick out recipes to help make – following your rules for whole foods but their for taste?

      Hopefully, even if they don’t appreciate your efforts, their bodies will!
      Keep up the good work! 🙂 Katie

  21. Pamela via Facebook

    You mentioned your daughter’s behavior problems in the e-mail on this topic. I wondered if she has been screened for autism or other neurobiological disorders which may be aggravated by additives such as artificial colors. Children with these disorders tend to be more sensitive to many food additives than most other children. I have one autistic son and one with ADHD who is hghly sensitive to corn syrup and its chemical cousins HFCS and modified food (corn, wheat, potato) starch. This is how we started on our baby steps towards real food. The turkey ham could also contain corn syrup or modified food starch, and probably does. Most processed meats do unless they specifically say they don’t have additives, fillers, or preservatives. My son gets extremely hyperactive and very easily agitated if he has any of these additives, and we are now working on eliminating artificial colors for good measure, even though we have not seen any obvious reactions in either boy.

  22. Kimberly Foster

    I would also question whether your children are experiencing night terrors. My Dr, many years ago, son is now 19, said it is when a childs brain and body are growing at such a rapid pace, they experience these night screams. They dont know what they are doing or saying. I have had a couple of other experiences with this in my other children and it only happened when they were over tired and we also took notice that they did grow fast that year. We were on the dyes from the beginning after seeing a child in church have out of control tempers as a little child! Their Dr had the family remove all dyes and he was a different child immediately!! I know it is hidden in many things, and now that my son is older, he tends to buy for himself drinks and candies that have the dyes, but he is fine. I am not advocating using dyes, but I would like to say all things including our foods are just chemicals. God designed our bodies so well that our bodies will get rid of all chemicals via throwing up or diarrhea if it is a chemical our body can not properly dispose of via our liver, kidneys and other God given organs to help us. Now again, I am not saying we have a right to eat foods that are poisons, or clearly not healthy and especially every day of the week for the rest of our lives. But an occasional something, unless we are allergic to it, and know it will cause severe vomiting or actual death, then we should trust God over our bodies and try to be good stewards of them. Again, eat healthy, look at labels, discern that companies are no longer what they used to be, and are more about greed then care whether they are actually making healthy foods for us. But we have the power through our pocketbooks. We choose what we buy and can use our voices that way! I dont live in a bubble, I make our meals, but I dont hyperventilate when my kids go somewhere or eat something I wouldnt fix for them, and the older they get, I let them make more choices of their foods, so they can see for themselves what helps their body and what doesnt.

  23. Joanne - The Real Food Mama

    Found this article!
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/222975-vitamins-without-color-additives/
    And
    VegLife Kids Vitamins!!!!!!
    http://www.amazon.com/VegLife-Vegan-Multiple-Chewable-Tablets/dp/B000POUIOE/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1333137409&sr=1-1

  24. Did you know pickles contain yellow food dye?? I sat at the grocery store the other day and did not find even ONE BRAND without yellow dye!! WHAT THE HECK??? WHY????

    >:(

  25. My kids always had problems after coming home from Grandma’s or after cheating two or three times a week on our GAPS diet. DD gets respiratory infections, constipation for DS. Grandma’s was the hardest to handle. We finally decided that when they go to Grandma’s I will cook ALL off their food and send it up- nothing else is allowed or they cannot go. Sounds harsh, but I can’t afford Urgent Care bills and DS not going number two for a week, plus all the money and time we put into their diet only to have it derailed. If they get to the point where they can cheat a little, we’ll be sure to include the grandparents. Just my experience. Can’t go with the flow any longer.

  26. Good for you! I am also sick of seeing so many bad things in what is labeled “food”. I would be upset if my parents (or in laws) gave my kids things I asked them not to. My brother had this problem with his in-laws and he was very upset. They gave his 6 month old daughter marshmallows and defended it by saying “that she liked it”. Eek!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Sarah,
      6 months and marshmallows???????Gah! I would seriously have a heart attack!!! A 2yo and marshmallows I could understand, but still would be no good if parents had asked not to, but 6 months?????

  27. Joanne - The Real Food Mama

    This too makes me very angry. I wonder what would happen to things like ADHD and Autism if this “crap” (excuse my language) was left out of our food!!!!

    Question: What vitamins for kids are there out there without the dyes and nasty stuff??

    1. Joanne, We recently started using Alive Multi Vitamins for the kiddos. They are gluten free (a must for us, my son is allergic to wheat), dairy free, nut free, yeast free, and egg free. They are colored by natural sources (vegetables), and non- GMO. 🙂
      http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Way-Childrens-Chewable-Multi-Vitamin/dp/B005XNXCMC/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1333157373&sr=8-13

      Thanks for a great post on food dyes. The more I learn, the more I’m mad. We recently found out about some food allergies in my son and we have turned our kitchen and lives upside down getting things cleaned up. In 2 months we’ve gone gluten free (that was done immediately, no cheating), HFCS free, we’re almost soy free, and almost dye free. Soooo close. Posts like this motivate me to KEEP going! Thanks!

  28. Jeanette via Facebook

    Ok my brain is in overdrive now. My son was recently diagnosed with autism and I’m wondering if cutting this stuff out will help him. Going to research more…

      1. And this site provides excellent whole food real food recipes and nutrition info in support of the GAPS book. The author of the GAPS has helped many children with autism and their families. Best wishes, healing and good health to everyone here. We change the corporate food supply paradigm back to the family farms in sustainable ways that support and nourish us. Rather than make everyone sick in exchange for a higher profit margin. Becoming conscious, educated and aware of the middle isles of our grocery stores and the truth of the unhealthy and toxic ingredients the boxes and cans of convenient contain will stop being profitable when the majority stop buying it.

        1. Another great resource: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Has the structure for changing school lunch programs.
          http://www.jamieoliver.com/foundation/

    1. Jeanette, this book (linked below) is fantastic at explaining how food affects our children, particularly autistic children. What I learned and applied from this book has been a tremendous help for my son. He is not autistic, but he has other issues. It has truly changed our lives, especially his!
      http://www.amazon.com/Healing-New-Childhood-Epidemics-Groundbreaking/dp/0345494512/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333250993&sr=8-1

  29. I would like to jump here again for the grandparents…I am a bit lost at how many of you say your parents feed them the vary things you ask them not to that you send food and they still feed them items you have said no to. Somewhere mom you are not getting a clear message to them about what is and what is not going into their little body. As a grandmother I am no more going to feed the grandkids something that mom or dad says no to then I am going to let them go play in the pool without a life jacket and no one to watch over them! Your parents need to know this is killing your child..not a whim you are on. You are not picking up random foods and saying..oh we are not eating X this week you are say this makes my child sick…perhaps they will understand if you call it an allergry. Most of the doctors today would stand behind you that food can and do effect them so ask the grandparents to ask their doctors about food reactions maybe they will listen to them. There is so much more to spending time with my grandkids then food remind grandparents that the way to a childs heart is not their tummy..its time..one on one..love love love…smiles and laughs…go for the heart parents and make the grandparents hear you in the end its a big win for the kids to have all of you.
    OH..and yes it could just be being with us that brings out the worst in them and that also needs to a talk with the grandparents. We love giving in but we also had the same problems when you were young..remind me of that and I know I will start to understand 🙂

    1. While my mom and mother in law want to comply she doesn’t want to really understand how it is in everything and I mean everything. And so they get frustrated, when they get buy something on their own they think is okay and I read the label and point out something bad. It is overwhelming to start and patience is key. However my mom has seen some of the reactions and gets it. She just doesn’t let them eat much with her. Of course she has the added problem of my neice and nephew not being restricted.

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Carol,
      I know my MIL did her best and would have read the label had the turkey ham had one. She just couldn’t imagine that there would be colors in the meat…and I wouldn’t expect them there, except that I keep being surprised other places! I never asked her not to feed them anything I didn’t bring, so she’s doing all she can! You are a wonderful grandma! 🙂 Katie

      1. turkey ham sounds like it is also probably loaded with preservatives, nitrates, maybe MSG, not to mention if it is CAFO meat your kids are getting a dose of antibiotics, etc. fake colors is the tip of the ice berg!

    3. Carol – I am a “natural food” grandmother, but my grandson’s other grandmother is a junk-food grandmother. She seems completely clueless at the way junk affects our grandson’s behavior, & completely ignores any requests to be more careful in her food selections. She may be well on her way to far fewer visits. She not only doesn’t know – she doesn’t want to. I have tried explaining, as has her own daughter – but she agrees, then does what she has always done. I guess some grandparents believe they have earned the “right” to spoil their grandchildren, without giving a thought to the fact that their “spoiling” could cause harm. Kudos to grandparents who stay informed and who respect rules & guidelines set by the children’s parents!

  30. Christine Robinett

    i’m posting on the fly between appointments. Here’s a few facts of whhy you’re jsutified in your anger: 1) CDC reprot released yesterday 1 in 88 kids are Autism Spectrum and 1 in 54 boys are on the spectrum, up from 1 in 130 a decade ago, 2) Stanford study stating that environmental factors including food a comprise about 2/3rds or 64% of the triggers for Autism Spectrum. You have every rigt to be angry at a fascist system that allows such incestuous relationships to be made between lobbyists and regulating agencies like the FDA, USDA, EPA, etc.

  31. http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2012/03/color-eggs-naturally/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=Grocery&utm_term=&utm_content=Recipe&utm_campaign=2012_03_28_Specials

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen this, but I thought I’d share since Easter is a little over a week away and coloring eggs is often a part of Easter celebrations. It’s about how to make food based dyes (using beets, blueberries, etc.).
    Food dyes are a nasty thing! Our second son is extremely sensitive to anything fake (and some real foods, too) and has wretched eczema. It’s so hard to control his diet when we are not home. Everyone wants to share their stuff with him and think that their one little bit won’t hurt him or matter. GRRRR!!! I HATE fake cheese crackers, too!

  32. Thanks for this post…I am usually really good about dyes and “real foods” but this past month my husband has been out of town a lot and we’ve had lots of help from friends and grandparents which means our diet hasn’t been very good. I needed this reminder to get me back on track. Thanks again!

  33. Mu son had the same severe reactions as a small boy. Scary stuff! We figured it out after he was gifted by a grandma with instant oatmeal with blue candy fish in it. We never had used a food product with dye in it before this as our diets were pretty natural for those days 20 years ago. My husda d worked for an organic natural food store back then. We had an employee discount so i shopped this store for everything since it wasnt as expensive. First day of kindergarten and we did the intro and drop off. A half hour later, we get a call from the office to come and pick up our kid! He was that out of control with a neuro fit! This happened 2 more times with a slurpy given to him at a fair by a friend. And then he gets a hold of a marichino cherry. OMG. It was epic! Soon as the food documentaries came out in early 2000 I made my children watch these and we worked hard on food education at home while his school was serving jello at lunch time. We’d bring them home for lunch to avoid the bad food served there. Keep up the good work educating families. This is the only way it will go away when everyone votes with their food dollars and declines these non food poisons.

    1. I was glancing at our school’s lunch menu today. One day there is jello AND ice cream. I guess the jello counts as the fruit???

  34. Marcia Van Drunen

    I’ve been looking around and most people opposed to dyes will write that they are banned in European countries but there is not link to prove that this is a true statement. I *WANT* it to be true. Can you or someone point me to a primary source on this? I’ve just started looking around and so far the closest I’ve come to see this is: “The European Union now requires most foods containing six specific food dyes carry a warning label stating that the “color may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Two years ago, the British government asked food manufacturers to voluntarily remove artificial dyes from their products, and many have complied.”
    Read more: http://www.wbaltv.com/news/26988865/detail.html#ixzz1qcyA9l00

    1. From what I have seen/read, the dyes themselves aren’t banned. Instead, they are required to put a warning label on the package, like you mentioned. Companies clearly don’t want a warning on their food and so they don’t use those ingredients.

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Marcia,
      You know, I think you and Helen are right. I didn’t have a source, but the article I read mentioned “not wanting to scare away customers” so it has to be the label thing. I need to update the language in the post…thanks!
      🙂 Katie

  35. I just want to let you know that I absolutely LOVE reading your posts! This information on food dyes certainly sparked my interest and have been doing my own research as well. I am beginning to follow your lead, but I do have one question: how do you explain to your family the importance of all these diet changes without them thinking you have jumped off the deep end? 🙂

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Kathy,
      The unfortunate simple answer is: tell them you’ve jumped off the deep end. Then say, “Wanna come?”

      😉

      I go with science – I try to share studies, anecdotes from others, and facts. Then there’s always the favorite – it can’t hurt to avoid these, but it might hurt to have them. Let’s see what happens.

      My husband has also pointed out to me recently that if I had sprung everything we do now on him all at once, it would have been a major problem. We started with one thing at a time, and now what is “normal” to us, like pancakes and hot breakfasts about 6 times a week, is totally far from what is “normal” to most people. It starts with just one thing at a time…

      Good luck!! 🙂 Katie

  36. New to all the dyes and stuff but new cranberry and blueberries helped my daughter with add issues was the only knowledge I had. Until 2 yrs ago dd2 (13) had a ruptered appendix and was undiagnosed for days because 1 doctor said it looks like this might have been an issue before it ruptured. 20 days in a hospital and your mind needs work I began finding everything I could from groups/blogs like this ( a true heartstring). Horrifying to know 30% of appendicitis cases will get cancer later in life. How do you tell your child that. So we started changing our diet over time and we have a ways to go but it gets better. But the 2 visit with her GI doctor about eating habits naturally its like she doesn’t hear me just take the meds ( gallon storage baggie) now they added a yearly 10 day cleanse. So we get more intense to avoid sugar and keep it low starch.
    Now I will check on the dye issue after reading all this. Thank y

  37. Diana via Facebook

    I was sooo glad to see this post!! My son is 26, and autistic, and my daughter is 6, and has trisomy 21. I did the Feingold diet with my son over 20 years ago, and am doing it with my daughter. I spend all day arguing with people, especially family, about this stuff!! All i ever hear is; “it won’t kill them”, and THE GOVERNMENT WOULDN’T ALLOW IT IF IT WAS HARMFUL!!! Sound familiar??

  38. Great post to read and share with my fellow moms! We’ve been food-dye-free for a couple years now. It took a lot of convincing the grandparents about this. We took the “if you do not want to help, that’s fine, but the visits will be limited and supervised.” Seems harsh, but it got the point across.

    My son is in a special ed preschool, and something the teacher that rubs me the wrong way is that she gives the students Skittles and M&Ms as rewards. Other than the whole food-as-a-reward issue, WHY on earth would you give preschoolers who already have some issues to overcome HFCS and food dyes? She knows to not give any to my son, but I think that if we hadn’t talked about his restricted diet with her, she wouldn’t have told me that she did this– as if it weren’t a big deal. Yikes on so many levels…

    1. Whoops. I meant to say “My son is in a special ed preschool, and something the teacher DOES that rubs me the wrong way is that she gives the students Skittles and M&Ms as rewards.”

    2. We had the same issue at school. When I said we don’t want her having sugar, food dyes, etc. she bawked. However, when I said “Doctors Orders”, that changed everything and she complied. I found out the “professional” has more to say than mom and dad. Ugh!

    3. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Pam,
      A friend of mine sub-taught in a special ed room and was also appalled at that EXACT same practice. You said it – ridiculous on so many levels. Sigh…
      Katie

  39. Diane via Facebook

    My husband coaches my kids’ sports teams and for some reason, everyone thinks the kids need a “snack” after the games. Since I’m the coach’s wife, I try to set the example and bring fresh fruit and plain water. So what happens after 2 or 3 weeks? Parents start bringing fruit roll ups, Gatorade (because, you know, they’ve been EXERCISING you know), chips, commercially made cookies. I told my husband when softball games start we are NOT bringing any food for them after the games. Seriously, how much have they exerted themselves after softball? Plus, they’re only an hour and in the evening.

    1. We found that no snacks never works, you will have some parent who just thinks they gotta have something and will send a bag of something that leaves some of the children out. What we found is sending out a list of “ok” snacks to bring and to stand up for it if a parent brings something that is not on that list. The kids love getting a snack and things like fresh fruit and bottled water are good for them. We send out a note the first meeting we have and ask parents to sign up with what they will bring. We just said there were kids on the team who could not eat certain foods and to keep it fair so ALL the kids could enjoy the after game treat we would only accept these items. No one broke the rules and the kids got a snack each week.

    2. My four-year-old daughter brings home a treat from dance almost every week. They encourage bringing Halloween, Valentines, and Christmas treats to share. I don’t get it–she enjoys dancing without all the junk. My son’s elementary school has a policy that they don’t bring birthday treats, which I like, but he always has his pockets filled with candy wrappers at the end of the day. He gets a candy when he deposits his dollar into the bank each week (they come at lunch time and collect). I stopped sending money!

  40. I also think its worth noting that even if we don’t see any direct links to dye or other no-no’s negatively affecting us or our kids that they are still very much worth avoiding!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Nicole,
      Yes, good point! I’m at the balancing point though where I want to know if I have to clamp down 100% or just “not buy it” for at home but be loose with it when we’re out…
      🙂 Katie

      1. Clamp down 100%! Very hard to do-we still haven’t managed after over 2 years-but I think it needs to be done.

      2. I totally get that. For us, right now we are not buying and avoiding as possible, but have not completely eliminated it….so hard!

  41. Petrochemicals are almost all derived from petroleum byproducts. Basically it’s our dependence on oil that makes these chemicals cheap and plentiful. That’s why plastic is everywhere – super cheap byproduct that used to be trash! It’s the same as with every bad ingredient in our foods – if it’s cheap, they use it. Corn and soy subsidies are what make corn and soy ingredients so hard to avoid – they’re cheap fillers and binders. The oil industry doesn’t just have the lobbying power of the oil companies, but also every company that can make cheap products from petroleum-based chemicals.

  42. I totally agree on the food dye and grandma visit issues!
    In regards to Leahs behavior, you may want to consider night terrors. My son had them and after my dr. gave us some info on them and observing him we noted that when he was over tired he always had these episodes. They are definitely scary! Once we adjusted his routine and made sure that he either always got a nap, or on days he didn’t put him to bed early we eliminated the problem. I do wonder if other issues accompany this though, because he did have some issues in non sleeping times as well that were probably related. I am sure dyes would only amplify these issues as well.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Nicole,
      Thank you for that – we’ve wondered if “night terrors” might be the proper name for what she experienced, although now it’s simply “night I’m awake!” times. Either way…I wonder if there’s a cause. I told her recently that she’s not skipping her nap for a week!
      🙂 Katie

      1. My daughter had some of the problems you mentioned in your article, and tiredness was definitely a factor. However, your article made me wonder if food problems or some other toxin was really the root problem!

    2. Yes, we’ve experienced similar issues. The night terrors and similar partial wakening behaviors definitely are linked to being overtired in most children, according to the medical literature. Now other environmental factors can make a child more prone to them, of course, but I wonder if she hadn’t dozed off on his shoulder and then “partially” wakened for that event. Normally the best remedy for night terrors is to not interfere other than keeping them safe, and encouraging calm. Elizabeth Pantley has a good chapter on them in her sleep book for toddlers and preschoolers.

  43. I didn’t know that homemade fruit leathers could last that long. Can they? The recipes I see always say “eat within a month” or something like that. Thanks!

    1. I think she meant the strawberries were from last summer and I’m guessing she had frozen them and then used those to make the fruit leather. 🙂

    2. I make fruit leathers in the summer and then freeze them. We just pull a bag out at a time and they last forever!

    3. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Lucy/Sam/Wendy,
      Really? Um….I just keep them in bags in the cupboard. They’ve done great since they’re totally dry, no moisture in there. I wonder if they’ve lost nutrients or something (?) but the taste is still great!
      🙂 Katie

      1. my fruit leather is also just in the cupboard! it is reallllly dry, true leather 😉 i always inspect it, just in case, but i have never found anything growing on it because it is dried out.
        in the days of old 😉 people preserved lots of things through the winter by drying. it had to last longer than a month then, so i think we are okay.
        those disclaimers in recipes are probably just in case you don’t get it totally dry.

  44. Kamela Barrier

    THANK YOU! Thank you for your candor and commitment. It’s a breath of fresh air! I am equally disgusted by all of the crud being forced on all of us. I’m hopeful though, that by getting the information out there and educating the otherwise uninformed it will effectively swing the pendulum in a more positive direction and encourage everyone to vote with their dollars. A local grocery store here in the Cincinnati area announced today that they will no longer carry in ground beef containing “pink slime”. If not for “story collectors” like yourself, this issue would never have made it main stream and change would never have occurred. We all have a responsibility, once we’re in the know, to take action! Thank you for standing up for what you believe in. I hope the rest of your readers will do the same, so together we can initiate more positive change for our food system!

  45. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I’m pretty disgusted by “the system” currently too…especially the medical community. Sigh. I just don’t know how we got to this point. I took my kids grocery shopping today and it was a long morning. I wanted to grab some food to go. I was so frustrated that there were basically no options! We made do with some Panera (not terrible) and some bananas from Trader Joe’s. Why is it that I have to think THAT carefully?? Sigh.

    1. I know what you mean! The days we’re out grocery shopping and the food I buy obviously needs to be prepared at home (and we’re all starving), it is so hard to find a decent option out on the road. Starbucks actually has some good grab & go options, but finding a drive-through and/or dealing with the prices does not make it a feasible option all the time.

      1. I agree! I often let my kids eat a banana on the way home from the grocery store, because I cannot think of anything else they could eat. (I have been working on our diet for over a year, but I am still not to the point of having snacks ready.) When we get home from the grocery store we hurry to get out the leftovers, and it is often around 1:30!

  46. Joan via Facebook

    Don’t you ease up one bit! Together, our voices are strong and we can affect good, healthy change.

  47. Camille via Facebook

    What makes me really angry is that companies will “clean” up their food to sell in Europe, but still offer the crappy stuff here! In essence, we are subsidizing the European clean food standards because our foods cost less to make due to all the junk in them. If we would just STOP buying this stuff, the companies would get the message. Look at Campbell’s soup and the BPA in their cans. Their sales to moms with young children dropped 23% so now they are removing the BPA. And pink slime? Gone! We have the power to make change if we would just use the most powerful weapon we have — our money!

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