Sunday, March 27, 2011

the rainbow connection

Blog post #4 ..

Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet

In the opening scene of The Muppet Movie (1979), Kermit the Frog sits on a log in the middle of the swamp, pining away for something more in life as he sweetly sings "The Rainbow Connection."  Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz (1939), dreams of escaping home to find a more exciting place where 'troubles melt like lemon drops' in "Over the Rainbow."  And Leprechauns store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  

As a magical gift of Nature, the rainbow takes our breath away as we gaze upon the colors reflecting from water droplets in the atmosphere after a rainshower.  And Nature gives us another rainbow to gaze upon:  an array of colors of fruits,vegetables, nuts and seeds in every season of the year ... a feast for the eyes as well as for the body. 

FD&C Red #3 and #40 Orange B Yellow #5 and #6 Green #3 Blue #1 and #2 Caramel Paprika Oleoresin

Equally beautiful and enticing is the man-made rainbow that is added to most of the 'foods' on store shelves today:  a cacophony of chemicals, synthetics, and toxins that lure the eye, but break down every system in our bodies.

Researchers have found that these man-made food colorings negatively effect our children with increased hyperactivity, impaired brain function, lack of impulse control, difficulty focusing, and more. Thankfully, countries around the world have banned these chemicals from food manufacturing, and the U.S. is starting to take note of this issue.   

For those of you who love to delve into the world of scientific studies, my friends at the Feingold Association compiled a lengthy list of research about food colorings on their website:   

Although many studies have been done on the effects of colors on children with ADD, ADHD, Autism and other challenges, none exist for children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). 

That's A-OK by me, because my common sense tells me that eating petroleum-based artificial food colors can manifest many of the frustrating behaviors we see in our children with SPD.  I will bet my name on it, and don't need a research study to prove it.   I have anecdotal evidence from real families who've said that their children have turned around as a result of removing the chemical colors from their diets.  

Here's just one story from my online support group:  A Mom couldn't understand why her young child was  out of sorts every time he'd go to his Occupational Therapy sessions after school.  The OT would spend more time disciplining, than working on sensory issues.  Turns out that Mom would give her son a long, red, chewy Twizzlers in the car on the way to therapy, figuring he would get the calming and deep proprioceptive input to the jaw that the licorice stick offers. I applauded the Mom for being so sensory-minded, but gently pointed out that Twizzlers might be the culprit in her son's issues and suggested that pretzels are a nice substitute - a small change with great results!  

Hundreds of parents have shared success stories when they removed just ONE artificial color (Red 40) from their children's diet: calmer, more attentive and some sensitivities to their environment disappeared.  You can read more about Red 40 at www.red40.comAnd when the U.S. government bans artificial colors from manufactured food items, we'll hear even more of this wonderful anecdotal evidence from sea to shining sea. 

I agree that some children are more sensitive to this junk than others, but just because a child doesn't have a negative reaction doesn't mean that the chemicals aren't having a negative effect on the body.

Here's another popular chewy and colorful 'treat' that kids get on their way to therapy sessions ... can you guess what it is? (answer at bottom of blog)

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil;, less than 2% of Apple Juice from Concentrate, Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C),  Coloring (includes Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 1), sodium citrate, carnauba wax.  gluten-free gelatin-free.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, artificial food colors,"Offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; correct natural variations in color; enhance colors that occur naturally; provide color to colorless and "fun" foods."

I don't see the 'fun' in chemically colored foods ... a child in a meltdown can become a danger to himself and others around him.  I don't see fun in foods that alter our children's brain chemistry and take away their ability to learn, resulting in plummeting self-esteem.  Do you? 


sensory street's Universal Law of great stuff in ... great stuff out(tm) rings true:  If we want our children to be more comfortable in their bodies, then we need to give them foods that promote wellness, not brain fog.  Let's take out the rainbow of artificial colors from their diets, and infuse our children with the beautiful colors of Nature's bounty - like green peas and kale and spinach, blueberries, orange bell peppers or butternut squash, white mushrooms, brown nuts.  Foods that we can pronounce.  Foods that our children's growing bodies know what to do with.  

To learn more about removing artificial colors (and other synthetic ingredients) from your child's diet, visit and watch the presentation given by Jane Hersey, Director of the Feingold Association. She'll teach you what's in those colors, and show you some alternatives of products you might already be buying in the market. 

Coming back to the theme of Rainbows, I'd like to share this rendition of  "The Rainbow Connection," played by the concert band at my son's school.  You can spot him seated in the back row next to the left of the large screen.  He's wearing a white yarmulke (or skull cap), and is playing the trumpet ... the same one I played in High School.  (Momma swells with pride.)

And for a peek at Kermit singing this beautiful song, click here.

Until next time, I bid you a colorful fare-well. 

Ida Zelaya
sensory street(tm), inc.

(c) 2011 sensory street, inc. all rights reserved. 

ANSWER:  Skittles - Pastel Colored

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