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.