Imagine for a moment, if you will, a perfectly beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon at the baseball field. You are gathered with friends and family to watch your child’s game. Smiling faces all around and the relaxed feeling of an afternoon filled with quality family time – Americana at its finest. Suddenly, out of left field comes that unavoidable curve ball that sends the entire idealistic afternoon into a frenzy. The snacks! It’s as though suddenly everything is moving in slow motion and everyone is talking in that low-pitched monster voice.
Drop the Deadly Weapon!
“DROP THE DEADLY WEAPON AND STEP AWAY! Aren’t you aware of the danger? Neon colored sport drinks and the Sponge Bob yellow and blue cupcakes are the new menace facing our kids!” Or at least, you wish you could scream that. But it’s too late to be the hero. Your child has already sprinted past the dugout with an electric blue mouth guzzling down an alien red sport drink. For mothers of children with hypersensitivity to artificial food dyes, this seemingly innocent ritual can become a nightmare very quickly. Especially when coupled with a sugar induced high.
The True Americana
Fast forward 12-24 hours and that Sponge Bob blue dyed cupcake is now a glow in the dark floater (if you know what I mean). The body is begging for these chemicals to GET OUT of its system. Now that’s the true Americana no one really wants to discuss. Unfortunately, it really is an experience mostly reserved for Americans. Why? Because America is one of the only countries that still allow these harmful food dyes into our food supply. The UK and European Union have taken measures to ban these harmful substances.
Let’s face it, these artificial food dyes are EVERYWHERE! They are in our children’s medicines, toothpaste, chewing gum, lollipops, Doritos and snow-cones.
The two most offending food dyes are Yellow Dye No. 5 and Blue Dye No. 2. They are proven to cause hyperactivity and worsen the conditions of those who suffer from ADD and ADHD.
Effects of Food Dyes
I have three children and one seems to really go nuts when exposed to these toxic substances. The effects usually begin with bouncing off the walls and the inability to focus, followed by a loss of appetite and a night filled with restless sleep. We all know what a bad night’s sleep does to our kids (and us) the following day! These chemicals alter the brain and can change a child’s mood from happy to depressed and sad.
Stop the Madness!
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, (CSPI is a non-profit organization funded by its 850,000 members and public donations) most (if not all) of the 9 FDA approved chemical food dyes are harmful to humans–especially young children. For more data on these findings, refer to the CSPI report linked below.
So if these harmful chemicals have noticeable effects on one of my children, what is happening to my other two kids whose symptoms are not as noticeable? You may be aghast when you read the report. I say – just stop the madness and get rid of it all!
Don’t fear, moms. There are alternatives to these substances! There are natural food dyes out there made from whole food ingredients like carrots and spices like tumeric. We must demand more from our food supply. If we as citizens and consumers demand and buy more of these safer products, the large food conglomerates will have no choice but to follow the trend and design their products with natural alternatives. We must stop supporting those products that contain these substances.
Whole Foods Market, like other smaller health food stores, will not allow any products in their stores that contain these harmful substances. Don’t worry moms, your kids can still eat the fruit roll ups, sodas and cereal that they crave. I recently served my son an orange soda without artificial colorings and high-fructose corn syrup. I put a slice of orange in the glass to help with the visual since the soda was not a day-glow orange color. He LOVED it and wanted more.
Moms Can Make the Change Happen
As moms, we must unify and think about the health and future of our children. Next game day, bring sliced apples and water to the game for snacks. Unfortunately, our children’s eyes have been trained to see these brightly colored foods and they think these will taste better. We must retrain their eyes and their taste buds towards healthier alternatives. As adults we know that a real orange taste better than an artificial orange soda. Children will too, if given the chance. Our children are too important not to take action on their behalf. Go forth mothers and help bring on the change our country so desperately needs!