Thursday, March 31, 2011

Preserving our Children's Sweet Dispositions

Blog post #5 ...

Shortly after I posted The Rainbow Connection about artificial colors, I learned that the Food and Drug Administration is considering adding warning labels to processed foods that contain artificial colors:   This is a brave move on the FDA's part, considering how loudly the 'food' and 'colorant' manufacturers would scream against any move to shift away from their chemical-laden bounty.  

Warning labels can help raise our awareness, but will they really make a difference?  Will our children stop to read the labels when they reach for a bright blue Gatorade, a package of M&Ms, or some other 'treat' in their pantry at home, in the vending machine at school, or in the convenience store after school?   You know the answer to that one!

And will adults pay attention to the warning labels?  Will "Cereal with Blue Milk" continue to be a surprise 'treat' for breakfast?  Maybe. Maybe not.

Now that the US government's addressing colors, let's start raising a stink about the chemical preservatives, shall we?   Like colorants, preservatives negatively affect our children's developing brains and bodies (and are surely not good for adults, animals, or the environment, either). 

Many types of preservatives and it's not easy to identify them as preservatives on a package label:
  • Benzoates
  • Butylated Hydrozyanisole (BHA)
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Disodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA)
  • Nitrites
  • Polyphosphates
  • Propionates
  • Sorbates
  • Sulfites

For your learning pleasure, visit for a nice explanation of these preservatives. 

On a personal note, hot dogs were a weekly staple on my family's menu, and I even ordered it for my son's hot lunch when he was in Lower School  ... until I learned about the hazards of chemical additives, and joined up with the Feingold Association. When I found out that hot dogs are filled with preservatives (and other unmentionables), I immediately removed them from our diet.   A year or so later, my son went to a ballgame with an older friend and had a hot dog there.  Within minutes, he developed a painful headache, and stomach pains shortly followed.  He felt so sick that he had to leave the park early.  It was like he melted into a pile of mush when he got home.  He swore off hot dogs after that.  I attribute that to the nitrite preservative in the hot dogs. 

My son didn't willingly give up hot dogs.  Oh, no.  He put up quite a fight.  But when he experienced the effects of the chemicals in the hot dogs, after being chemical-free for a long time, he swore them off.   His body taught him an important lesson. 

Preservatives made my child melt into mush, but it can have the opposite effect on other children ... hyperactivity and dangerous meltdowns. So if your child's experiencing frequent meltdowns or blow-ups, I highly recommend removing colors and preservatives from his/her diet. 

Until the battle against preservatives is waged and won, I recommend two wonderful resources for learning about these additives:
  • 1. The Feingold Association:
  • 2. An A-Z Guide to Food Additives: Never Eat What You Can't Pronounce, by Deanna M. Minich, Ph.D., C.N. This pocketbook-sized reference offers explanations of just about every preservative, as well as a rating system of their safety.  

Removing chemical preservatives from our children's diets will definitely help bring back their sweet dispositions.  And maybe some of those behaviors you attributed to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) might disappear with the colors and preservatives. Something to try!

Next blog ... artificial sweeteners. 

Until next time, I bid you fare-well. 

Ida Zelaya
sensory street(tm), inc.

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

1 comment:

  1. Great post Ida, I so support you in what you have written here. I have often heard from other parents that if the child stops these types of foods and additives and preservatives, and then has something and the child reacts why not stay on them if the reaction is so severe?

    Our naturopath always says, if the body is fighting daily to deal with these toxins, it can't support the body/gut/brain in other areas so these are the same children whom have chronic colds/flu's/sinus infections, etc.

    I would rather have a much healthier child with a much stronger brain and have them react appropriately to the toxins when eating these "foods", then to keep them on them to avoid that type of reaction.

    Slowly but surely we will demand these food companies come clean and not have food that is able to be on the shelves for years without going bad.

    Soon the morticians won't need any formaldehyde at funerals, we will all be so full of them, but we will nicely call them preservatives.