The Food Dye Buzz

My new garden is so green that it's almost fluorescent! But today, I'm all fired up about another kind of fluorescent: the petroleum-based food dye kind. {Soap box time!}

Why use chemicals when God-given colors are so gorgeous?

Have you heard the buzz this week? From the Washington Post to prime time NBC {and just about everywhere else}, people are talking about the link between food dyes and behavior. Why all the talk? Because the FDA met this week to examine the issue more "formally."

You can bet the food industry giants are throwing a lot of money around...hiring scientists who claim there's no link, paying big bucks for studies that are inconclusive...all to protect themselves {and their bank accounts}. But what about our children?

I wish I could invite these "scientists" over to my house for a real life experiment. If the change I saw in my child within 48 hours isn't real and conclusive, then I don't know what is! And if they don't think I can reproduce the results, just watch what happens when I give her a handful of Goldfish {or other artificially colored and flavored snack}. She becomes a holy terror in a heart beat!

It would be awesome if the FDA followed the UK's lead and banned food dyes, but no matter what they decide, parents have the ultimate say in what they choose to feed their kids. We can vote with our wallets!

We can enjoy pink icing thanks to beet coloring.
{And you can't taste the beets...I promise!}

Before I step off my soap box, I'd like to share a story.
A few days ago, a precious boy sat down in the sunshine with a happy spirit, all dressed up in his baseball uniform, proudly clutching his new glove and a full bottle of Gatorade. A classic portrait of Spring, right?
But within five minutes of drinking only part of that Gatorade, his happy, boyish disposition switched. His beloved dog gave him a playful nudge, and he responded with all out drama. I watched as he threw himself on the ground, screaming, kicking and refusing to get up. 
His caregiver was confused. I'm sure he was, too. Poor little guy. What happened to the happy boy inside?   
Several years ago, I would've been tempted to blame the child for being unable to control himself or the parents for being unable to control their child. I was wrong.

After three years of my own "food experiment" {more on that here}, I'm convinced that the sudden shift in that precious little boy's behavior was triggered by the yellow dye found in his Gatorade {not to mention the artificial flavor}.

My girls would choose this all natural
green tea lemonade over Gatorade any day!

Yes, there may have been other factors overloading his system that afternoon {emotions, environmental allergens...it all adds up}, but a food reaction is unique. It's like stepping on a landmine {and the straw that breaks the camel's back}. Zero to 60 happens fast when you give a chemically sensitive child artificially flavored and colored food. It's a trigger like no other.

It took me years to figure out what was triggering such volatile, unpredictable behavior in my own child. {I thought it was sugar induced}. But once I figured it out {thanks to the Feingold Diet}, it only took 48 hours to see a remarkable, delightful change.

More naturally colored treats.

It kills me to know that certain scientists, food companies and even our government are turn a deaf ear to these real life stories. You'd think the rise in ADD, ADHD and all kinds of other disorders would be enough to get their attention! These are our CHILDREN they're ignoring!

{One of my Feathernest favorites.}

Change is hard. Trust me, I know.

But I also know with my whole heart that you are GOOD-HEARTED parents who want to DELIGHT in your children. If our big money food companies continue to add petroleum based crap {sorry, but that's what it is} to our food, you can become your own scientist and observe what happens when you remove artificial ingredients from your family's diet. {It just might shock you...in a good way!} 

This is where joining the Feingold Association will help you tremendously. The food maze is hard to navigate on your own, but they've done all the research and will give you all the resources you need to shop and eat well! {They give you a Food List that takes the mystery out of grocery shopping.} I'll even be your personal Feingold buddy if you need encouragement along the way! 

One of my blog reading friends has started the Feingold Program since I first posted about it, and she's already seeing big changes. Even the teacher has commented on the change in her child's behavior! So encouraging!

Real food rocks!

If you share my passion for this issue {or if anything I've written strikes a chord}, you'll want to visit my friend Robyn O'Brien. She's big time passionate! {And as smart and pretty as they come!} The New York Times called her "The Erin Brockovich of food!" {Read her story here.} Her book, The Unhealthy Truth, will light your fire! She's also the founder of the Allergy Kids Foundation. You go, mama of four! Thanks for blazing a broader trail!

Sweet Readers, I'm honored that you'd spend your time reading my words. Every now and then, my passion for real food just takes over!

Speaking of real food, I'm going to cut a little of my lettuce for a small salad this weekend! I hope it grows back the way I'm thinking it will!

Happy eating...happy weekend!
P.S. I didn't make it to Round Top and Marburger this week, but there's still time this weekend for those who need a dose of "beauty in the fields!" You can see my fall photos here and here. Or go visit Morning T to see what she spotted this week. She had a great time!


  1. I clicked over to link up to you for my post tomorrow and you had another one already up! It goes right along with my food post! I so agree with you here Lins,, stay on your soap box. The more people who are passionate about their callings the more positive changes it evokes.
    God gave you this passion for a reason! I learn much from you and others like you.

  2. You're so sweet, Tiffini. Thank you. I do feel like it's a God-given passion. I've so often kept it to myself for fear of making people feel judged or overwhelmed. But God is giving me more and more nudges. I'm especially passionate about encouraging parents who are at their wit's end with their children. The POWER of food is amazing!

  3. WOW! Thank you for sharing this. I have been making changes for about a year now in my family's eating habits; learning more all the time. This is so interesting/incredible/scary! I am glad to know the facts!! I just ordered Robyn's book. I am also considering the Feingold plan you mentioned.
    Tammy : )

  4. I think it's wonderful that you have found something that works for your children.

    I have a kid who was requesting salmon in restaurants when he was three (instead of the standard kid fare of mystery chicken fingers), loves vegetables and fruits, and drinks water.

    Some people seem amazed by this, but the truth is I never started him on junk food, so he doesn't have a taste for it. He'll eat the occasional cookie, but he could just as easily do without. He definitely doesn't suffer from the food cravings I've been plagued with most of my life.

    I think you're on the right track. Any food additive should be questioned. One of the biggest problems is high fructose corn syrup. Don't believe those ads that say it comes from corn and is therefore healthy. I recently watched the following video on the recommendation of a friend who is a doctor. It's long, but worth watching.


  5. I've been thinking along these lines for about six months or so, and getting ready to make some changes (maybe Feingold, not sure yet) for the sake of one of my three who has *something* going on and we can't seem to get to the bottom of it. I may have to take you up on your offer of a Feingold buddy, I am intimidated about doing it to say the least!

    Also, was wondering if you are reading the great blog The Lunch Tray by my friend Bettina Siegel. She mentioned the Unhealthy Truth book and gave away copies this week!

    Happy Friday,

  6. I'm so happy to have found your blog! I found it through Stacy Teet: http://kidsstuffworld.com/ I have ADD and my oldest son has ADHD. We both struggle terribly and are trying to slowly eliminate processed foods from the family diet. Thank you for all the info. I can't wait to dig in :) And I have several friends with children with severe ADHD that I'm passing this along to!

  7. Ok I am running out the door & only read half of this post before my heart started pitter pattering all over the place....I am sooooo with you!
    I will be back soon!
    Xo Lisa

  8. i am so happy to have found your blog i have read several of your posts and you seem like a wondrful person and your family is darling. i am so ready to begin planting.. the feel of the dirt in your hands... the best...
    hope you are having a great weekend... x pam

  9. I'm loving these posts Lynsey! I forwarded it to my husband because we've been having some food issues lately with more than one person in the family. We are very good about organic & meat, etc . . . but there is just so much more in our food that I don't think God intended to be there! Keep it up! We all need more help in this area.

  10. I am so encouraged by all of your words here and by the many emails! It really excites me to see that so many of you are eager to feed your families well! As long as God urges me to speak up on this, I will. More to come (like details on how to eat well on special occasions. It can be done!).

  11. OK Lins you really have me thinking about all of this. I've been trying so hard to not eat any processed foods myself for the past month and I feel great. Naya asked me to buy her some goldfish crackers at the store this week and after reading your post a few times I'm thinking I'll cross it off the list and start reading up on how to give her better foods. She definitely doesn't have any behavioral issues but she loves junk food and I feel so guilty letting her have it on a regular basis. I might be sneaky and just stop buying the junk with dyes and transition over to the other side. ;)

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this with us.

  12. T {and anyone else who's reading this}: can I encourage you and share with you that if you provide your children with tasty alternatives, they will rarely miss the junk. Real food tastes so dang good that they'll get hooked! No sneaking required! :) Kids are more adaptable than we grown ups can imagine.

    I'd love for you to come over for my kitchen chat. Details to come, but I mentioned it in today's post. Just waiting to see how many are interested. So far, some really great people!


  13. Linsey, I love reading your blog! I am intrigued by the Feingold Diet, and hope you post more about it. I have been on the real food bandwagon for a while, but when my now 4 year old was diagnosed with celiac disease, and we then moved to France (no goldfish here, but lots of white flour!) it has really changed the way we eat. I am amazed that my super picky 3 year old who won't eat much, will dig into plain yogurt, because she doesn't know the difference. We have ADD in our family (ME!) and I'd love to hear more about what your experience has been with foods that can trigger it. Thank you for being such an inspirational writer! Meg

  14. Linsey! I continue to soak up your blog! My monkeys have been dye-free (almost preservative free) for three weeks . . . We still have a ways to go, but are making great strides! Is there a chance you make the pink-iced chocolate cupcakes pictured? I think I can figure out the icing with some beet juice . . . But wondered if you had a healthy cupcake recipe? In Him!!!! Amanda

  15. I love this post! My sister-in-law sent this link, and I couldn't agree with you more. I have started a facebook page to remind everyone to do exactly as you mentioned: vote with their pocketbook! I hope you all will like the page as support for the movement.....and keep up the great work!


"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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