A friend asked me the other day what I was most thankful for in 2012. It took me all of 3 seconds to know the answer. The thing that had the biggest impact on our family was food dyes, or the removal of them.
This time last year I was at the bottom of the mommy barrel. I was unsure how to parent a child with behavior issues and was so discouraged to see my sweet Q regularly struggle with aggressive behaviors and impulse control (you can read more about our story here). Removing food dyes from Q’s diet has been a blessing on many levels…
1. My own mental health. If you have a child with behavior issues or ADHD, I want you to know that there is a frazzled mom in Kansas who understands the challenges that you face on a daily basis. The discouragement and weariness is palpable. I pray that you have lots of support from family and friends who know how wonderful your child is regardless of their behavior.
2. Q’s well being. Obviously, life is all around better when Q isn’t biting and hitting and getting us kicked out of the YMCA. BUT, what is even bigger than that is the difference that removing dyes has had for Q. She is so much more peaceful and secure now. A couple months ago she accidentally ate pancakes that had Yellow 5 in the batter. I could tell within minutes that she had eaten something with dye. She couldn’t sit still and those aggressive behaviors were in full force, poor CeCe was on the receiving end all day long. She didn’t nap that day because she was so hyper and by bedtime she was an exhausted wreck. She finally went to sleep that night around 10pm (8pm is our normal bedtime). When I was trying to get her to sleep she said “I’m so tired, but I feel all crazy inside.” This was the first time that she put to words how she was feeling. It breaks my heart to think of how she must have felt before we removed food dyes. It must be a terrible feeling to “feel all crazy inside” and be a toddler who can’t do anything about it.
3. The impact of Q’s story. Last week I received three emails from parents who have removed dyes from their kids diets and were beside themselves with relief and excitement. I can’t tell you how much it means to get those emails. It’s not easy to be so transparent and honest about Q’s issues. I love my daughter and am 100% convinced that she and her sister are the smartest, cutest, most wonderful three-year-olds in all the Earth. So to relive the dark days and risk portraying Q to be a toddler terror is something I have chosen to do because I want others to know the truth about food dyes. I want the kids who feel “all crazy inside” to quit eating Fruit Loops and be able to chill out for the first time in their life. And I want that weary mamma to be able to take a deep breath and schedule a play date without fearing that your toddler is going get in a fist fight with the first kid who walks through the door.
Yes, I am thankful for my therapist and friends who were brave enough to point me in the direction of food dyes. And at the risk of being pushy, I am going to challenge you to do the same.
Starting next week my sweet team of dye-free mommy bloggers over at Bye Bye Food Dye are hosting our very first Dye-Free Challenge. If you have been curious to know if your children are dye sensitive or maybe you just aren’t okay with feeding your children petroleum derived foods (jet fuel fruit snacks anyone?) now is your chance to test drive a dye-free diet. It will begin on Monday, January 14th and last until Friday, January 19th. The best part is that we will be here to answer any questions that you might have. Like, what to do about your beloved Mac & Cheese? Or what restaurant foods are dye-free? Don’t worry your pretty little head, we have lots of experience behind us and can help you every step of the way.
If you want to join us, the first thing you should do is get the eBook. It will tell you more about our story and also give you lots of helpful tips as your prepare for the Dye-Free Challenge starting on January 14th. Also, make sure and check-out www.byebyefooddye.com throughout the week. We will be posting grocery lists, meal ideas, dye-free snack options, and other yummy tid bits.
Check out www.byebyefooddye.com the next few days, we will be posting helpful information to help you prepare for Dye-Free Week (starting Monday, January 14th).
And remember, if you have any questions about food dyes don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org