Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple

I had to giggle when Calvin told me his favorite color was rainbow in his birthday interview.  So cute.  Later he clarified by saying if you say rainbow it means you like all the colors.  Thanks for the additional info buddy, but it’s still cute.

Speaking of rainbows this fall I started reading about food dyes from Brooke, and their effects on kids behavior.  If you’ve read our blog you know about Micah.  He’s a handful and if you’ve ever been around him you know what that means.  He requires constant supervision, he’s a very physical child, and can throw some pretty epic tantrums.

When I started reading some of the effects that food dyes have on children, it got me thinking about whether his tantrums, impulsive behavior, aggression, and difficulty sleeping were partially due to food dyes. 
We were a little creative when it came to colors on our gingerbread houses this year.
But dried cranberries did the trick.

I immediately went to the kitchen and started to look into things that might have food dyes that he eats.  Sure enough the yogurt I was buying for the boys had food dyes (Micah can eat 3 of these in one sitting).  The sliced cheese I bought for grilled cheese, my precious imported mac and cheese packets, both lunch staples around here have food dyes.  Don’t even get me started with candy.  The boy loves it and Marvin and I have commented more than once that it turns him into a little monster.  We’ve even said that about M&Ms and Calvin.

So I did a little experiment.  I eliminated food dyes.  And while it didn’t eliminate all the tantrums (he is a toddler), we didn’t have an entire day defined by fits, screaming, and constant melt downs.

I was convinced, but it took a little more convincing on Marvin’s end.  Then he ate a decorated frosted sugar cookie.

Some friends came by to go caroling and brought us some yummy treats.  Calvin and I left with them to do some more singing and I forgot to tell Marvin not to give Micah anything with food dyes.  I got home to find out he’d given him a sugar cookie.

The next day was hideous. 

Tantrums.  All. Day.  Long. 

Everything was a big deal.  He was more aggressive, moody and it was at this point Marvin knew.  No more food dyes.

For us it hasn’t been that difficult to make this switch, although we have to watch what neighbors give him.  Thankfully we live in a place where they are not in everything.  But when his brother gave him an M&M one day you would have thought he was holding poison, I literally dove and pulled it out of his hand before it could reach his lips.  Being a nice mom I gave him a piece of chocolate instead. 

It seriously makes that big of difference for him.  I think we’ll have to be a little more creative when it comes to cookie decorating, birthday cakes, etc. until I can get some natural food coloring but it’s something that is completely worth it.  

1 comment:

Sharon Osborne said...

Erica, our 'baby' is 39 and I discovered early on (age 18 months or so)that red food dye triggered irratic behavior (hyper-activity, sleeplessness). He didn't have tantrums, but he was not happy and neither were we! Eliminating artificial red made a huge improvement in our household. He did not have the same negative reaction to other food dyes. Hope this bit helps!
Sharon Osborne