Scattered, maybe even a bit disoriented. It was hard to focus my mind, and there was a hard-to-explain urge to yell and run and bang my head on the wall. People shouted at me but their voices would sometimes blur into a general noise.Sometimes it would last for an hour and sometimes it would last all day. It had nothing to do with weed or too much tequila. I was just a little kid and certain foods, or combinations of foods, triggered something that I only know to call rage.
For the most part, this reaction comes from food additives: monosodium glutamate, nitrates, nitrites, artificial colours, sodium benzoate, and the like. There are a couple of other foods that will give me hives, risk anaphylaxis even, but the only physical signs I have eaten food chemicals might be some water-retention and mild swelling in my face, hands and feet.
Knowing what food chemicals do to me, even as an adult, I have to wonder about kids who get a steady supply of the stuff. How many children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as a result of eating Froot Loops for breakfast or processed slop in the school cafeteria?
We have seen what food colouring can do to our three-year-old son. Like many youngsters, he hoots from his perch in the grocery cart at the site of anything with familiar cartoon characters on it. Gummy likenesses of Thomas, Kai Lan and Buzz Lightyear came home with us one day because he spotted them, brought them to our attention, and they were on sale. Within a few minutes of eating an ounce-sized pack of gummies, G-man got hyperactive and rangy. One minute he was bored, the next he was shouting. He ignored my "get off thats" and "don't touch thats." He even hit me.
I did this to him. I remember how it felt to be disciplined by teachers for my inability to pay attention and to be yelled at by my parents when I seemed to be out of control. Sometimes I was just a saucy, headstrong kid but often I was confused and not able to act the way I was supposed to. So no, G-man did not get a trip to the pack-n-play that day.
Pardon me for being a Polar Bear Mama for inspecting goodies at the door and for turning down treats on the kids' behalf. You may roll your eyes and think I am granola-munching loon for reading ingredients lists and quizzing food servers. Feed your own kids whatever you want. I do not like how it feels to react to chemical food additives and do not wish that for our children.
Shared with Tutorial Tuesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday and the Living Well Blog Hop.
Did you know Kraft foods has a different ingredient list for food they sell in Europe - they don't include artificial food colors? So sad that so many Americans don't seem to care.ReplyDelete
I did not know that, but I cannot be surprised. Americans would care more if they weren't shielded from the information. Consumer demand is powerful; we are seeing more annatto and beet powder in mainstream groceries, but progress is slow.Delete
Have you ever used beet powder?Delete
It's great that you have recognized the connection between the food and behavior. I think lots of people don't realize what a big impact food makes in all areas of their well being.ReplyDelete
It is sad, isn't it? When I was ten, my mother took me to a "quack," also known as a Naturopath. He gave me a list of 23 things to avoid, many of which were food additives.ReplyDelete
Hives, according to some doctors, are the only sign of a "true" allergy. Anything else is all in your head. The FDA recognizes most food additives as safe, and not all reactions involve hives, so it is not always taken seriously.
When I worked at a juvenile treatment facility, I would pass out ADHD and anti-psychotic meds, with a generic version of Sunny D to waash them down. Nothing wrong that picture. eh?
No eye rolling here. Food allergies run in my husband's family really strongly. I'm already getting some head-wagging at the things I won't let my 8 month old son eat. :PReplyDelete
I don't get why anyone would see the benefit of giving a kid that young anything that is not pure nutrition. His little body and brain are developing as fast as they can. There will be plenty of opportunities for treats when he is older.Delete
A gal visited me when the Cadet was about three months old and stuck a sucker in him mouth when I was not looking. She laughed at me for being uptight. I haven't called her since then. Funny, that...
YES!! I too wonder how many behavior problems are caused by poisons in kids' food? I know my little girl gets pretty edgy when she's had too much. It's not extreme, but, like you, I know it's my fault when she's had too many compromise snacks lately and becomes a little pill.ReplyDelete
Thinking about it, I might have made it seem kind of extreme. It wold take a cumulation of birthday parties and hot dog days at school to get THAT bad. But there would be that edge...Delete
"Compromise Snacks." Awesome term!ReplyDelete
Good for you.. I have started reading every label...and wow, what an eye opener. Wheat and sugar in everything. things we do not want in our house any longer.ReplyDelete
Keep doing what you are doing.
When my 6yo son was about 2, we noticed that everytime he ate candy, he had an allergic reaction, coughing, difficulty brathing, vomiting. We stopped giving him anything with Red40 food dye. Problem solved! Many European countries do not add food coloring to their food. For years, the only candy we could find without food coloring was Mentos, made in Holland. Now there are more and more products without food coloring. I've talked about this with our peditrician. I think he thinks I'm nuts. Oh well! Why do we need so many chemicals in our food anyway? Just more poison we are consuming.ReplyDelete
(If people saw how much simple, plain chocolate our kids eat...) I totally hear you! It is sad that your pediatrician didn't take you seriously. Red and yellow#5 (tartrazine) were outed in the 70's as messing with the thyroid glands in children. Speeding up the thyroid= hyperactivity, among other things. The wheezing and coughing is scary, scary, scary. Without "hives," so many doctors dismiss a reaction as a "mere" insensitivity.Delete