Life. Love. Family. Our Perfect Imperfection. Living life as a Catholic, homeschooling family with three amazing, unique boys, a too-oft serious, frustrated and anxious but also loving momma, and a fun-loving, hardworking dad.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Julie's testimonial about artificial food-dye

Anybody who knows me pretty well knows that I am always ranting (HA!) about food dye and why it's not good for us, etc. Today, I want to share a guest post from my friend Julie. This is her family's story and just one more reason I know I'm doing the right thing for my boys. :) If you follow us on FB, then I'm sure you have already read it, but I wanted to share it on here, too.

*Guest post, by Julie*

Before this past January I really never gave much thought to artificial food dyes or the effect they had on our bodies. I had heard tid bits about red 40 and yellow 5 & 6. The brighter and more colors, the more likely my kids would eat it, and they did.
I chose to try dye free for a week to see if it would help with some behavioral problems I was having with my son. He had been having an increasing hard time focusing in school, almost no impulse control, extreme mood swings, and was only getting 3-5 hours of restless sleep a night (which probably contributed to his mood swings). Many of his problems were possible side effects to his ADHD medication. He was diagnosed in kindergarten (4 years ago) with ADHD and promptly put on medication. The medication worked wonders, and when it didn't then his dosage or medication was switched. However it seemed the meds have stopped working and his doctor had started talking about my son having more than ADHD going on, because he was out of ideas of what other meds to try.
I had shared with Crystal some of what was going on and how I was at a lose for what to try next. I really didn't want my child diagnosed with a life altering label. She challenged me to try removing artificial food dyes for a week and to look into how food dyes effect behavior. Over the weekend, I looked into it and was first shocked then angry. There was so much research about the link between ADHD and dyes and hundreds of testimonies from parents. How could I never heard about this?! I couldn't believe there was a alternative to medication, and how could our doctor never offer this as alternative before he had me give my 6 year old pills. I decided it was worth a try, at this point I felt I had nothing to lose.
That Monday school was closed due to extremely cold temperatures. I told me kids we were doing an experiment and that we weren't going to have anything that had a number in the ingredients for one week. I didn't tell them what results I was hoping to see. They helped me box up all the foods that had dyes. We went shopping to restock our cupboards and they actually had fun reading labels and finding new foods to try. We were all surprised my how much stuff has dyes.
I was nervous about how they would do at school when I wasn't there to monitor what they were eating and about them feeling left out at snack time. The teachers were very supportive and had dye free alterative that I sent in.
Three days into the challenge I saw the first sign of improvement! My insomniac child fell asleep only after and hour of being sent to bed and slept all the way to morning!! I was so excited, but still cautious that it may have been a fluke. The following days he continued to fall asleep easier and slept through the night. His teacher told me that he was more on track than he had been in a long time. At home little things that would have sent him into a tailspin didn't seem to phase him. The other boys had also calmed down, had more impulse control, and better ability to handle their emotions resulting in less arguing amongst them. My son's eczema had started clearing up. The changes weren't only with the kids; my migraines were gone, I had more energy. When I slipped up and had a Mt. Dew, I would get a killer headache and would be more irritable and short with the kids.
Seeing the results removing dyes has made for us, we have chosen to stick with it. It didn't turn me boys into perfect little gentlemen. They still bicker and argue, the still run through my house and are loud; but they aren't completely out of control anymore. We have been dye free for just over 3 months. I know there are other reasons to avoid artificial dyes, but Crystal will have to elaborate on them she is more knowledgeable than I am on the topic.
I also commented with the following challenge in my comment to her FB post: Thank you so much for sharing, Julie!! I'd love to hear from any of our readers, too. 1.) Would anyone be willing to take up the challenge for a week (or longer?!) and go dye-free? or 2.) Are you already dye-free and can you share your testimonial here in the comments? ~ Crystal