Halloween in Crunchville – Dye Free Candy

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I grew up celebrating Halloween like millions of other kids in America. I enjoyed it. Probably for no good reason other than it was fun to dress up and I like candy. Is that a good reason to perpetuate the Holiday? I don’t know but frankly I’m not ready to morally question Halloween yet. I like it and for now that is enough. Rather than a moral dilemma, I have had a bigger concern with how to allow my daughter to participate in Halloween without being bombarded with artificial dyes and flavors that turn her into a raving lunatic as well as peanut containing products which could send her to the Hospital in anaphylactic shock.

I was VERY happy to have stumbled upon Yummy Earth candies. We purchased their 5lb bag of Organic Assorted Lollipops at a 50% discount since we are Feingold members. We received the suckers within days and let me just tell you these things are DELICIOUS! They taste way better than any store-bought suckers not to mention they are all natural. The flavors in the assorted bag are delectable – pomegranate, watermelon, tango mango & lemon. They are literally the best suckers I have ever had.

So for those of you also concerned with how to get your artificial dye sensitive child some safe candy you can purchase lots of different varieties online. We just plan on letting her Trick-or-Treat like normal and at the end we will exchange all of her candy for the “safe” candy. If I had more time and felt like it I would just pre-visit my neighbors and ask them to reserve the safe candy for her.

Here is a list of all natural and dye free candy:

Yummy Earth

Jewels of Denial

Squirrels Nest

Pure Fun

Divvies

Dolphin Natural Chocolates

Simon’s Candy Company

Sunspire

CrispyCat Candy Bars

Glee Gum

YC Chocolate

You may also have good luck finding dye free and natural candies at places like Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods.

It’s About Time

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The immature side of me wants to say “neiner, neiner, neiner” and “I told you so!” But instead I will clap my hands and be thankful that finally some scientific studies that corroborate what observant parents have known for a long time and that is that food additives (food coloring and flavoring) can cause far reaching effects in children’s behavior and health. This study simply addresses a short term exposure of 6 weeks and explicity examines hyperactivity but it is a good start.

Here is the article on the study:

New study links food additives to hyperactivity in children
23 hours ago
PARIS (AFP)
A cocktail of artificial colours and the commonly-used
preservative sodium benzoate are linked to hyperactivity in children, according to a ground-breaking study published Thursday by The Lancet.
The implications are far-reaching, say the investigators, who suggest that by
vetting their child’s diet, parents have a simple tool to help them tackle
hyperactive behaviour.
Researchers at Southampton University recruited 153 local three-year-olds and 144 children aged eight or nine and assigned them to either of two groups.

One group received an ordinary fruit juice and the other was given a drink
identical in look and taste that contained common commercial additives. Both
drinks were supplied to parents in identical, sealed anonymous bottles.

The “additives” group itself was split into two batches. Some children were given “Mix A,” a drink which contained artificial colourings typically found in a couple of 56-gramme (two-ounce) bags of sweets.

Others were given “Mix B” which had a higher level of colourings, equivalent
(in the dosage for the eight-year-olds) to consuming the additives in four
such bags of sweets.

Both mixes had the same amount of sodium benzoate.

Before the six-week trial began, the researchers asked parents and teachers
to assess the child for overactive, impulsive and inattentive behaviour — the
hallmarks of hyperactivity.

A third yardstick was given by trained observers (in fact, psychology
graduates), who sat discreetly in the classrooms and noted each child’s behaviour according to an international set of measures.

For the first week of the trial, the children followed their typical diet.
After that, sweets and drinks with additives were withdrawn, and parents were asked to substitute with the trial drink instead.

The amount of the drink given to the child was in proportion to the amount of
artificial colouring removed from their usual diet. The parents did not know
whether the drink was Mix A, Mix B or the placebo.

Six weeks later, the children were assessed again for hyperactivity.
Mix A had a “significantly adverse” effect on the three-year-olds, although
Mix B made no difference on this group. In the older children, both Mix A and
Mix B had a strong effect.

“Overall, children who took the mix moved about 10 percent closer to the
definition of being hyperactive,” lead author Jim Stevenson, a professor of
psychology at the university, told AFP.

“We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colours and
benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behaviour of children,” said Stevenson.

“However, parents should not think that simply taking these additives out of
food will prevent all hyperactive disorders. We know that many other
influences are at work, but this at least is one a child can avoid.”

The first caution about food additives and their impact on child health were
made more than three decades ago, but evidence to give flesh to this warning has been scant or contested as unscientific.

In the past decade, hyperactivity has — apparently — ballooned into serious
proportions in some countries, stirring controversy along the way.

US doctors commonly see hyperactivity as a medical condition
(attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD) and prescribe a potent drug, ritalin, to treat it.

Other experts speculate that hyperactivity has social causes such as home
instability and poor education, and say use of powerful, mind-altering drugs is
dangerous.

In the new study, Mix A comprised 45mg of sodium benzoate and 20mg of
artificial food colourings, namely sunset yellow (European food code E110),
carmoisine (E122); tartrazine (E102); and ponceau 4R (E124).

(P.S. neiner, neiner, neiner!)

Here are other things I’ve written about food additives and artificial dye:

Eating a Rainbow

Bathing in a Rainbow

Dangerous Popcorn

Dangerous Popcorn??

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There was an article posted today by the Associate Press warning consumers that the fumes from microwaved popcorn could actually cause cancer. It has been known for sometime that exposure to workers in popcorn plants can lead to “popcorn lung” which has actually spurred lawsuits from hundreds of workers. The chemical in suspicion is diacetyl which is used in the artificial butter flavor.

This is, however, the first case of a consumer being affected by the lung disease by consuming popcorn. Keep in mind this person consumed an extrordinary amount of popcorn (several times a day) but then again I used to work at T-Mobile where co-workers had microwaved popcorn at least once a day.

So, the chances of the average microwave popcorn consumer have to be pretty minute when it comes to contracting this lung disease. I think the bigger issue to consider is what exposure to this chemical (and the thousands of other chemicals in processed foods) does in tiny amounts over a long period of time. I feel like the additive nag over here but I can’t say enough times how bad artificial colors and flavors are. And the interesting thing is that all of these things are approved by the FDA to be safe. I won’t get started on my opinion on that.

Whatever your opinion, think twice about taking a big whiff of that popcorn when you open the bag…

Bathing in a Rainbow

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My daughter woke up from her nap and walked over proudly displaying a lifted shirt. “Look at my spots!” she declared. I ignored her at first. She had said something about her spots the night before and I hadn’t seen anything. Then I looked again and saw little red spots all over her torso. My heart panicked. I pulled her close to inspect her. She had raised red spots all over. Chicken Pox? No, definitely not. Rash? Doesn’t look like it. Hives? I think so. My heart is doing loopdey loops while I do a mental check of what she’s eaten the last several hours. You see, my daughter has a fatal peanut allergy that we carry an Epi Pen for and I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be needed. I removed her clothing and checked out the location of the hives. Stomach, back, thighs, butt. Hmmm? I snap some pictures. I’ve learned that if I need to take her in, the medical world really likes pictures. It helps to confirm you’re not crazy (well, maybe not – but my doctor’s enjoy using them to collaborate allergies).

The mom I babysit for suggests that maybe its location would be indicative of a reaction to laundry detergent. Hmm? I consider it. Perhaps. We did use a new laundry detergent a week and a half ago, while camping. I ponder on that one for awhile and then conclude that’s not it. We used it once and she hasn’t worn any of the laundry in the recent past. I consider a bubble bath she had the night before. Would a bubble bath irritate her skin that much? It was her first one.

My daughter is itching like crazy. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. I call my really knowledgeable mama friend that knows everything about natural remedies and herbs. Not home. I bound to the computer to pop off an email to my AP support group and then I wait. Yes, they confirm it looks like hives.

Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. I need to do something about this scratching. I look at her again looking for any signs of swelling, difficulty breathing, anything. She’s fine, just scratching. I rummage through the cupboard. We’ve got nothing topical. I conceed and decide I will give her some Benadryl. I was hoping for something more natural. At least it is dye free. Dye free. Wait a minute.

The wheels start to spin. I had grabbed the bubble bath out of my cupboard because Camden didn’t have any. It was pink. Oh man! I didn’t even think about it! The soap had been a gift years ago so I had never bothered to check the label, never even thought about what might be in it while I poured about 4 TBSP in her bath. I was used to reading the labels of food, not bath products. I went to get the bottle knowing what I would find.

There it was: Blue 1, Green 3, Red 4, Red 33, Yellow 5, Yellow 6

Ugh. Well, at least I had confirmed I wasn’t crazy about my daughter reacting behaviorally to consuming artificial dyes. If she got hives all over her body from soaking in them then certainly it isn’t unreasonable to assume she will have a very negative emotional reaction to eating them. What I found strange is that the bath was given the day before.

I ask my trusty AP group if a reaction can be that delayed. They think so. I google hives. Yep, delayed reactions. Well, I guess that makes sense. My daughter has delayed reactions when she eats dye too.

So there you have it. Conclusion? Don’t bathe your children in a rainbow either.