I love Toy Story, don’t you? And Rex is the best… well, I love all the main characters. Although Harrison gave his Mr. Potato Head away because he said Mr. Potato Head has bad behavior and isn’t always nice.
As usual, I digress.
Back to my guilt.
Last week I started Harrison’s valentines for his class. I planned to get Trader Joe’s Organic Lollipops, but I was rushing and happened to be at Target where I spotted some heart-shaped lollipops on the cheap.
On the cheap.
Translation: filled with high fructose corn syrups and, more so, several artificial colors and preservatives that I can’t announce and would never endorse. Plus there was my internal voice saying “WHAT?!!!”, that I was ignoring with a figurative hands-over-the-ears-saying “la-la-la-la… I can’t hear you!!” motion. (I learned that from a college boyfriend who did that to me once – literally. [WHAT?!] But that’s another story.)
Anyway, I bought them and moved on.
Then, earlier this week, I was reminded about the evils of food dyes when I posted an article about the subject on my Facebook wall. That’s when I felt it, I looked at that pile of valentine cards with a shoulder-slumping sigh of defeat. That was not what I planned, heart-shaped or not, I can’t in good conscious give a candy to another child that I wouldn’t give to my own. (Even though I let Harrison try one – DOH! Maybe that’s why he was hyper the other night.)
Food coloring dye. Maybe you have heard of Red #40 and are familiar with the studies on the effect of [petroleum based] food dyes on children’s behavior, especially children with ADHD. I first heard about the effects of red#40 from a friend while at Disneyland in 2008, she asked me, “Do you notice a difference in Harrison’s behavior when he consumes food with red#40?” “No”, I answered. She responded by telling methat it’s in everything including Kraft Mac and Cheese. I thought for a moment and realized I hadn’t bought Kraft Mac&Cheese for some time. I went home that night and looked through my cabinets and I discovered I no longer buy most name brand packaged foods. […reason why I suck at collecting those silly Box Tops.]
Fast forward to today and the ongoing war against food dye, while the FDA has recently concluded that there is not enough evidence to link food dye with hyperactivity and voted not to add warning labels to ingredients, others beg to differ including the CSPI. Even the UK removed artificial dyes from the food beginning as early as 2008.
Consider this from the CSPI:
On my Facebook page alone, a friend brought up that her son is allergic to all synthetic food dyes, which is in EVERYTHING from our food (including fresh fruit) to our clothing. I’ve heard stories from friends about the change in behavior they observed when they cut out the artificial colors and preservatives from their child’s diet. But my other concern is that most of these dyes are more carcinogenic than once thought to be. Why do we continue to fill our bodies with petroleum based preservatives? It doesn’t even sound appealing!
And I’m not even going to start on High Fructose Corn Syrup, that’s another entire can of worms.
But think about this – HFCS and food coloring started to be used in mass in the 1970’s, less than two decades we began to see a shift in the health and weight of our children and now we are in an obesity epidemic.
Just to keep it real, I am not perfect and I’m not a food Nazi either. We do consume HTCS and food colors when were out and about it can’t always be avoided, but I don’t buy products with those ingredients. It’s one of my baby steps to better eating along with better planning and fresh ingredients.
So when Harrison takes his completed Valentines cards with a little treat attached to school next week, I will have no guilt.
Next to a home baked goodie, it’s a treat that a mom can be proud of giving.
Okay, I’m pushing now.
But even a 1st Grader can pronounce every ingredient on this lollipop label.