Friday, April 1, 2011

Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road - No Warning Labels for Artificially Colored Foods Just Yet

Blog post #6 ...

This post was going to be about artificial sweeteners, but I'll need to save that topic until next time and give you the latest word on the FDA's decision about artificial colors during their recent hearings:

No warning labels will be on food packages at this time, but they agreed on more research.  This sounds like a stalling tactic to me.  If they'd just visit the Feingold Association's website, they'll have all the research they need to support a decision to put warning labels on packages, let alone ban that bad stuff.

Despite the lack of immediate gratification, I believe that these hearings and all the publicity are raising awareness of the negative side effects of these petroleum-based chemicals.  While the FDA calls for more research, families across the country are taking charge of their own health ... and their success stories will support the formal, scientific studies yet to come.

Here is just one of these success stories, as told by Kim - an avid Feingold supporter who saw her child's out-of-sync behavior completely turn around within 2 days of removing the artificial colors from his diet.

Watch Kim's address to the FDA this week:

The Feingold Association is a volunteer-run organization that is funded by membership dollars.  Your membership includes an extensive list of approved foods that you can purchase at most popular stores, and access to an online support forum, and more.

Please consider becoming a Feingold family.  You'll be supporting your family's wellness, and helping the Feingold Association continue to be a leader in education about the effects of artificial ingredients on ourselves and our children.

For more information, visit

Impulsivity, fidgeting, meltdowns, sensitivity to lights and sounds ... common signs of several subtypes of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  Imagine what positive shifts we can make by shifting our children's' diets.  

That's great stuff in .... great stuff out (tm) for ya

Next blog ... artificial sweeteners ... what I have to share isn't for the faint of heart.  

Until next time, I bid you fare-well. 

Ida Zelaya
sensory street(tm), inc.

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

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. 

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