A story I hear often enough is “What do I do with my child? She is out of control, so hyper and I don’t want to put her on meds!”
Fake foods can cause children to feel out of control and anxious or sad, doubled with hyperactivity. For adults, they can make you feel anxious. Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are in sooo many processed foods. They are in medicine, in candy, in boxed foods, even crackers, tomato sauce, and sports drinks. This is not new information. The trouble is that avoiding these additives isn’t easy- they are everywhere, they are embedded in our over-processed, over-medicated, and unhealthy society. But, once you get used to avoiding them, it becomes second nature.
Once you stop eating artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors, you will not be able to tolerate them, in taste or in your body. They taste and feel horrible after eating clean. You will see the difference in your child immediately, if they consume it “once in a while”. I urge you to be vigilant.
Our child accidentally ate some candy at school this week, and the night was a horrible, horrible night. He literally ate only 3 red dye m&ms and he was screaming, crying, hyperventilating, and acting just completely out of character all night. I thought he was exhausted or something worse, until he told me about the candy. He’s only 6.. he didn’t realize they were the kind he can’t eat. He asked me repeatedly when he would “stop feeling this way”. It was terrible! Reminds me that I am not being hyper-vigilant about this stuff for nothing. Although, honestly, it’s not that hard to keep up once you are used to it.
Avoiding Artificial Ingredients:
1- Check ingredients. The truth is, anything vague like “natural flavors” can be artificial ingredients. Anything that sounds chemical or has numbers or capitol letters E102 or FCF is not something you should put in your body. If you cannot pronounce it, pass it up. This includes the sneaky Tartrazine ingredient- yellow dye. Here are some other common names for artificial ingredients, from this good WikiHow article:
If it sounds like a chemical, it probably is. Look it up if you aren’t sure…
2- Shop at a place like Whole Foods, who bans all preservatives and artificial ingredients in every product in their store. Trader Joe’s bans it -but ONLY in their own products, so you have to watch labels there.
3- Eat only real foods. If this seems like a HUGE change for you, check out a diet like Whole 30 to start. Your health is important! Stop feeding yourself and your family chemicals!! Eat REAL food.
Sometimes food intolerances or allergies makes kids behave the same way. Once I felt bad that I never let my 2 year old eat gluten, so I let him have a cookie at a party… never again. Meltdowns and crying all afternoon… misery. Now I know it is not worth it. Anything my child wants gluten-free, I can make it or buy it, with natural colors, etc. He is not deprived. We mainly keep him away from sweets but for special occasions, I usually make something he has seen and wants, gluten-free and artificial free. At 6, he knows these things make him feel horrible.
Try Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT), which is an amazing naturopathic allergy testing and removal- cheap, painless AND removes the allergy at allergytx.com. This has saved us so many times. When my baby kept getting double ear infections over and over again, we brought him and found he had a dairy allergy. They removed it, no more ear infections and guess what.. the horrible baby reflux stopped immediately. I was so sorry I waited so long… I was pretty skeptical that allergies could be removed. Since then, I have removed many allergies from myself and my child, which has been amazing. The one thing it may not do is remove a food allergy that has some other cause, forever. For instance, gluten allergy may come back and best to be avoided. Perhaps my child is actually a Celiac, it does seem to run in my family. Sometimes dairy allergy comes back, for me it came back after 2 years but was worth removing. But the other foods and environment allergies never came back for us.
I have done so many expensive rounds of allergy testing and allergy shots at regular allergy doctor’s offices, my whole life. None of that ever helped me, but this treatment was amazing. one treatment and an entire group pf allergies, gone forever (example: Tree Flowers, or Grains).
If all these things don’t clean up behavior all the way, test your child for for Pyroluria. Pyroluria is a blood abnormality which keeps B6 and other B vitamins and minerals from being absorbed properly. It causes ADHD, anxiety, depression, behavior disorders, and a host of other problems. It is genetic. If your family has a history of depression, anxiety, ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s, schizophrenia, bipolar disease, or mental disorders, you likely have this in your family. It is a hugely undiagnosed disorder that most doctors don’t know anything about. The medicine is only supplements…. cure is supplementation of special B vitamins and minerals. Makes a huge difference. I have a Pinterest Board full of articles, if you would like more information.
For our child, Pyroluria shows itself in extreme anxiety, mood swings, and other picky behaviors like Meat Aversion (yes that’s a symptom). He takes Food Science of Vermont’s Behavior Balance (pills contain folate instead of folic acid in liquid so we empty the pills in elderberry syrup).
Sensory Processing Disorder:
If none of the above works, have your child tested for Sensory Processing Disorder. Trust your intuition if you feel your child is not progressing like other children or exhibits extreme reactions and behaviors. Please try the food first though- if you stick to it 100% you will see the difference.. especially when there is a slip up.
I hope this helps! Being a parent is hard, and being a kid is hard. I wish you all a smoother time at home and life with your beloved children. These things have made huge differences in people’s lives. I also recommend the book Cure Your Child with Food: The Hidden Connection Between Nutrition and Childhood Ailments by Kelly Dorfman – very very eye opening, also easy to read.