Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FDA to Evaluate if Food Dyes Cause Hyperactivity

Last week I posted about my morning routine...I may have left out an important piece.  Each morning I spend quality time with Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira.  I love the Today Show, and one day when I finally make it to New York City, I fully plan to be one of those folks hanging around outside with signs trying to get my pretty little face on tv. 

This morning after my daily dose of Libya and Japan news, I became interested in the report about food dyes and its connection to ADHD.  If it isn't already obvious on this blog, I am a firm believer in "you are what you eat."  I am directly responsible for my own health and I can control it.  Hippocrates said it best, "Let your food be medicine and your medicine be food."

Eating is the one thing that we do most often during the day.  Three times a day we eat a meal (some people eat 5-6), and the contents of that meal enables us to function throughout each day.  It is our source of energy and of life.  We all know how different foods can make us feel differently. 

Last night my dinner consisted of this:
Five Guys French Fries.  You can imagine my evening wasn't all that productive! 

The night before I devoured a salad like this:
When I eat lots of fruits and veggies I feel better, I perform better, I have more energy.

In the Today Show report this morning, they suggested filling up on natural colors.  AKA: fruits and veggies.  Foods that are naturally full of color.  Rather than these artificial flavors and dyes:
Since the 1970's there has been a debate whether these dyes are safe for human consumption when Dr. Ben Feingold claimed the colors were linked to hyperactive behavior and proposed a diet eliminating them.  Since, many studies have been performed but a conclusive report has never been made.  Meanwhile, these foods are placed in stores, brought into our homes and unsuspecting parents assume they are safe. 

The FDA has been petitioned to ban food dyes in food.  This process could take years.  There are claims on either side of the argument regarding the safety of food dyes.  While I do not have all the answers and along with the FDA cannot tell you if it is 100% safe, I will tell you I always err on the side of caution. 

Consider your food.  Take a good look at it.  Does it look like food?  Eat food closest to it's original, natural form.  Eat strawberries instead of strawberry snacks or fruit juice with artificial dyes and ingredients.  I know I've heard it a million times and I'm sure you have as well, but shop the perimeter of your grocery store. 
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Are you skeptic?  If you are seeking an answer or a cure for ADHD consider this, what could it hurt?  Using food as medicine does not result in side-effects (unless you consider the good kind, like improved health).  You won't get "small print" on an apple, and it never results in death. 

You may fight your child to remove food from their diet and input new foods so here are some tips that may help you:

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1. Be the vegetable and fruit eater you wish to see in the world. By far the most influential factor in your children’s diet is watching you. Set the example by making healthy choices, not just for your body, for your children’s as well.

2. Buy ONLY what you want them to eat. Kids only eat chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, mac and cheese, potato chips, and cookies if you buy them. When these options are absent new choices are made.

3. Let them shop with you, with rules. Include them in the grocery shopping process with one rule, that they can only pick foods that are whole foods. Play the One Ingredient Game by asking them how many foods they can select for themselves and the family to enjoy that are made up of only one thing.

4. Teach them to check ingredients. If your kids can’t read, read food labels to them. If they don’t know what one of the ingredients is, chances are they shouldn’t eat it.



5. Keep healthy options on hand. Let’s face it, no kid comes running up asking for high fructose corn syrup. They might ask for juice, cookies or chips, but even these have healthier alternatives with simple ingredients lists.

6. Cook with them. Make time to cook with your kids. When they make food, they become invested in their creations being eaten it and proud to serve it to their loved ones.

7. Play a game or start a challenge. Competition motivates some kids, and its stress-free if they are competing against themselves to reach a goal. Check out Raw Food 365 for games or take the challenge with your kids.

8. Disguise the vegetables and fruits. Add mild vegetables to dishes they love; shredded zucchini in mac and cheese, or spinach in pasta sauce. Raw food recipes are amazing for incorporating veggies.

9. Serve Finger Foods. Carrot and celery sticks are a great start, but try mixing it up with foods like nachos, kabobs, and chips made of thin sliced fresh carrot or jicama.

10. Give it a whirl… One of the easiest ways to get your kids to eat more greens is to include them in their juices and smoothies. Starting their day with alkalizing greens will help them make better choices throughout the day.

You will inevitably face challenges but STICK WITH IT!  Think of all the other things you do for your children...isn't their health worth it?

I have been reading an amazing blog for quite sometime and I am amazed at what this woman has accomplished in just a short time.  If you are thinking "no way can I do this," Lisa was very similar to you.  She took a challenge and changed her family's diet.  And they have reaped so many benefits because of this change.  Don't take my word for it...read about her journey at 100 Days of Real Food.  She shows that it can be done...and it can be done on a budget!

For ideas, another amazing blog to read is Peas and Thank You.  Mama Pea serves up wholesome, kid-friendly food to her family every day.  These two women are inspirational!  I encourage you to check them out!

Weigh-in: do you think artificial dyes are hazardous to your health?

1 comment:

  1. I am huge fan of the mommy starvation diet. It's not as hardcore as it sounds but here's the basics broken down for a kindergartener.
    1. Don't like it? Well, it won't taste any better for dinner. Eat it now while it's at least hot.
    2. Not hungry? Okay but don't ask me to make you another meal in 20 minutes. You can have an apple, banana or some other fruit from the fridge until the next meal.
    I really believe children will not starve themselves. They will eventually become desperate enough to eat whatever it is your serving. Even if it is healthy :)

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