Friday, April 23, 2010

[JessFinds] Report: Die-Die-Dye!

I tripped across an article online that led to more articles (and then more medical studies and finally to Web MD) about the impact of artificial dyes in children's diets.

There are kids who have dye sensitivities / allergies and will break out in hives, etc... when exposed. But then there are the rest of our kids.

My kids have been consuming an ungodly amount of those crappy anything-but-fruit gummies. MIL loves to buy them, the kids love to eat them. Multiple times a day. It has really ramped up over the last four months or so. They have no nutritional value. I was concerned about the sugar content.

I am concerned about everything. I have a heightened awareness of foods right now thanks to two years of avoiding poultry and red meat, my struggle with losing weight, my new nutritionist, my kids being picky eaters, etc... The nutritionist has mandated (I need mandates) that I take control of my kitchen, pantry and groceries. I have been a fan of Mark Bittman forever and love his healthy outlook towards food. I love the idea of sustainable eating, buying foods in season, supporting farmers markets and "shopping the perimeter" of supermarkets to avoid all the processed junk found in the aisles. As you know from my posts, I think Jamie Oliver is dreamy for attacking how our kids eat.

So I am committed to eating good food. Less food but better food. Healthy eggs from healthy chickens. No sickly meat products. Knowing where my food comes from.

Ahhh... but the kids. The kids want hot dogs and mac n cheese. And I allow it. Because if I didn't, my 5 year old would look like we were starving her. She lives on air as is!

Fortunately, they do love carrots and broccoli and edemame and whole grain breads/ pastas. So that is something.

And that brings us back to dye: It is poison. Plain and simple. It can cause reactions ranging from mild moodiness to outright sociopathic behavior. It mimics ADHD. It can cause sleeplessness and irritability. In other words, as if it were not hard enough to raise rugrats ... we have dyes making them behave worse?

Most European countries have banned the use of Red and Yellow due to their adverse affects on children and the UK followed suit. Us? No way. Pretty colors sell food.

So I am going to try something. We are going to extremely limit and/or remove all dyed processed crap from our home. And I will report here, what we observe.

As many of you know - Miss Crab is, well, already sensitive. And my perfectly happy Miss Gonzo has been anything but happy over the last four months. I wonder how closely that is related to her consumption of non-food foods. We may have reached dye overload. I am interested to see how this plays out.

Miss Crab asked me: "Why would they put stuff that is bad for kids in foods that kids eat?" How do you explain to a 5 year old that the food industry is anything but safe? That it is all about bottom line, not quality of food? Or that the people who make food targeted to kids don't really care a rat's ass about kids?


Joie said...

You do know about Amy's Mac and Cheese, right? Organic! Patrick loves it. The only time he had Kraft Crap was the week his school was out and he went to a baby sitter. That's the week his face broke out with acne.

Marie said...

I am also a big fan of Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks. Yes, they are still sugar packed non-fruit, but the ingredient list is thus: (all specified as organic) tapioca syrup, cane sugar, tapioca syrup solids, grape juice concentrate, pectin, citric acid, ascorbic acid, color from black carrot juice concentrate, sodicum citrate, sunflower oil, carnauba wax from palm leaves. So, while not exactly healthy, there is no dye in them or some of the other crap. In our house these are "treats" used as take alongs on picnics, daytrips out and about, the zoo, etc. about once a month they are an after school / before dinner snack.