Who knew food dye could be so bad for us? Well, 2 years ago I had no idea. My oldest was just done with Kindergarten and about to enter 1st grade. Near the end of Kindergarten, his teacher (who I very much trust) told me that if he continued down the same path of interrupting and impulsive behavior that he was going to be tested for ADHD. I don’t believe any young child with mild symptoms should be stamped with a label so I decided it was time to do some research.
I had read through Jenny McCarthy’s book on Autism when my son was 3 years old. So I was aware of the different diets. In fact, we had done a Gluten Free Casein Free diet when my son was 3 years old. Sadly, we didn’t see any changes in his behavior. But this time was different.
Can you guess how long it takes to shop when you are constantly reading nutrition labels? It would take me over an hour to shop for just one week. I read each and every label. We had to cut out most cereals, certain juice boxes, some mac and cheese box mixes, and cheap syrup just due to the red and yellow dyes. At the same time as the dyes, we cut most white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. My son’s diet selection quickly diminished and had to be replaced.
The results were amazing. We found that red dyes make him really hyper. Like bounce off the walls uncontrollable can’t listen hyper. Once we eliminated them, he was able to focus and listen a lot better. Although he still interrupts in class and has a hard time listening, it is easier to work with. The high fructose corn syrup makes him spacey. It’s actually kinda scary how disconnected he becomes. And the sugar…well, it’s sugar. Each of these takes 3 days to work out of his system. If there ever is a slip up, we can peg it pretty quickly.
His new diet consists of his favorite cereals, my homemade mac and cheese, homemade pizza, peanut butter, chicken, tortellini, a few select veggies and fruits, milk, and water. It’s not much, but he’s healthy.