New FDA Labeling

This new FDA labeling is a step in transparency.  4 grams = 1 teaspoon.  Reading labels, understanding ingredients and avoiding chemical additives like Red 40 has been crucial to my family's health.  We can't stop here though.  Better labeling and consumer education needs to go further.

Getting Through Halloween - Making it Teal

Launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project™ raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. Teal is the color of food allergy awareness and has been used to raise awareness about this serious medical condition for nearly 20 years. Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.  

Join me! I’ve pledged to support FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project to create a safer, happier Halloween by offering non-food treats as well for trick-or-treaters. 

Halloween can also be a nightmare if you or your kids have ADD/ADHD tendancies and have an intolerance to artificial colors like red 40, yellow 5/6, blue 1, artificial flavor, vanillin, or preservatives like BHT or TBHQ. These chemicals are found in many candies and gum. Try a trade in policy with your kids. I've heard it called the "switch witch".   After trick or treating help your kids go through their candy and have them trade in all the yucky chemical candy for approved candies without the chemicals, stickers, a special toy or game, maybe even a little money! In my area there are schools and dentists who will take donated candy and arrange to send it to the Troops.  Do you have a trade in policy?

We follow the Feingold Diet removing all artificial colors, artificial flavors, vanillin, and preservatives.  Check the label on your next candy bar, m&m, skittles, etc and you will see these treats are made up of dangerous chemicals. Click here to read my post about the Feingold elimination diet and symptoms commonly helped.  

Last year, households from 50 states and 7 countries participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project™.  Raise awareness by becoming part of the teal pumpkin project. We did this last year for the launch and it was very well received. Tons of parents of the little trick or treaters asked about it and some even asked questions about how we started out with Feingold. Everyone liked seeing the options of treats and non food treats.  I purchased a can of teal spray paint at Home Depot and wola!  Such a beautiful color!

As you trick or treat this year, take notice. For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, click here. Take the pledge to join the 100,000 households who are raising awareness for a safer, happier Halloween experience for all those who struggle with serious food allergies and side effects and interactions from unsafe chemical additives found in most US candy.

Candy Cooties

Another holiday.  Valentines Day.  Do you know what's in the chocolate bar you are eating?  Do you suffer from migraines, irritability, skin problems?  Are your kids eating chocolate?  Are they impulsive, un-focused, quick to rage?  Take a look at the ingredients in your candy bar.  You might be surprised to see a range of chemical ickys in there.

Chocolate ingredients to look out for

Luckily, there are choices!  We sub with Sundrops, UnReal, and Clark.  It doesn't just stop at candy.  When we started this journey a few years ago I discovered the importance of reading ingredient labels.  Do not assume your food will help you stay healthy.  You need to know what ingredients to avoid. So many ingredients in the US food system will effect your well being and that of your children.

Yesterday was an ice cream social at my son's school. We've been mindful of toxic ingredients for some time now.  I knew what the spread was going to be without even seeing it.  I wish I had snapped a picture of the table.  There was every kind of candy topping you could think of.  It would surely make other like minded folks cringe.  I brought my son simple substitutions free of dangerous chemicals and he was still able to enjoy the party and didn't miss out on a thing. Funny, he was quick to point out all the kids running around willy nilly a half hour later and we both noticed a host of impatient adults trying to deal with the chaos.   oy.. 
Does your school have these kinds of celebrations?  Do they follow a party and treat guideline? 

Happy Valentines Day!
graph courtesy of foodbabe
Cheap toxic chocolate - Foodbabe

Dye Free Easter Eggs - Yes!

With Easter just a couple weeks away it's time to start thinking about dye free egg decorating.  Did you know that the typical Easter egg dye kits you buy in the store are chock full of red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 1?  You usually add some vinegar to the concoction for more vivid coloring.  The problem?  Well, the dye leaches into the egg.  You definitely don't want to eat these eggs.  But there is more, you really don't want this dye to be absorbed through your skin.  These kinds of dyes have shown to have effects on children with adhd tendencies.  Artificial food dye is made from petroleum, a crude oil product.  This is the stuff that is also used to make gasoline, diesel, tar, and asphalt.  Yuck.  

Click here to read my post about the ADD/adhd and artificial food coloring connection.

Look at the eggs we color with natural dyes.  They may not have that artificial vivid color look, but to me, they are even more beautiful.

Here are some simple recipes to color your Easter eggs naturally.  Do you color your eggs with natural ingredients?  What do you use?

PINK~ Mix 1 cup strained juice from canned beets, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and 3 cups water.  Soak cooled eggs for about 1/2 hr, less or more to your desired color.

ORANGE~ In a pot, mix 1 cup yellow onion skin (about 2 onions' worth), packed loosely, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature, strain out the onion skins, then add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

PURPLE~Mix 1 cup purple grape juice, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Soak cooled eggs in the dye for 1/2  hour.

YELLOW~In a pot, mix 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature, strain out stray turmeric grains, then add cooled eggs and soak them in
the dye for 1/2 hour.

LIGHT BLUE~In a pot, mix 1 cup red cabbage leaves, torn and loosely packed, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water. Boil mixture for 1/2 hour, cool to room temperature, strain out the cabbage leaves, then add cooled eggs and soak them in the dye for 1/2 hour.

Mom Says No To Shamrock Shake

ohh, it's green shake time.  McDonalds, How I wish you would improve in your ingredients.  You may have noticed the addition of this leprechaun seasonal green dyed item on the menu.   Please don't consider yourself lucky by having access to this chemical fest.  

If you’ve ever wondered what gives the shake its famous green color, the secret is in the syrup. The Shamrock Shake syrup contains yellow 5 and blue 1, both of which have been linked to behavioral problems and hyperactivity in children. Blue 1 is also poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, and yellow 5 can be linked to cancer. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the additives since 2008, and they have already been phased out in the United Kingdom. The syrup also contains — surprise — high fructose corn syrup.
And take a closer look, there is no mention of mint in the emerald colored drinks.  But there is Carrageenan which is widely added to ice creams and yogurts.  Carrageenan is linked to inflammatory illnesses.  Chronic inflammation is the root of many diseases including Parkinsons, heart disease, Alzheimers, and cancers.

Just take a look at the lengthy ingredient list.

Allergens: MILK
Ingredients: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Nonfat Milk Solids, Corn Syrup Solids, Mono- and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Dextrose, Sodium Citrate, Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Disodium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate.

Ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Natural Flavor (Plant Source), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Yellow 5, Blue 1.
May contain small amounts of other shake flavors served at the restaurant, including egg ingredients when Egg Nog Shakes are available.

Allergens: MILK
Ingredients: Cream, Nonfat Milk, Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Contains Less Than 1%: Mono-And Diglycerides, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80, Beta Carotene (Color), Natural (Dairy and Plant Sources) and Artificial Flavor, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) to Protect Flavor. Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide).

Ingredients: Cherries, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Natural (Plant Source) and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Red 40, Sulfur Dioxide as Preservative (Contains Sulfites).

That's A LOT of ingredients!!

When this post was originally written in 2014 the serving count looked like this: Notice the increase across the board in March of 2016.

Original - A 16 ounce serving is 550 calories. 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, no fiber, 82 grams of sugar and 13 grams of protein.

Update March 2016 - from McDonalds website - A 16 ounce serving is 660 calories!
19 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated ft, 1 gram of trans ft, 93 grams of sugar and 210 milligrams of sodium.

Instead, try this easy recipe which has pineapple, banana and kale.  
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach
1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)
1 ripe banana, chopped
Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.

Nutritional Information
Per Serving
Calories 253
Fat 13g
Sat Fat 11g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 38mg
Protein 5g
Carbohydrate 36g
Sugar 18g
Fiber 5g
Iron 3mg
Calcium 119mg

Do you have a recipe for a healthy "green" shake?  How about a "mint" shake?


Artificial Food Dyes

This is such a great visual article about red 40, yellow 5 and 6, blue 1, etc.  Click artificial colors to learn how they may be effecting you or your kids?
Did you know that Kellogg's and Kraft don't use artificial colors in their products in Great Britain?... that yellow 6 is banned in Norway and Sweden?.. that Red 40 can cause hyperactivity?

We have been a dye free family for several years now.  I don't buy or offer anything to my kids without first reading the ingredient label.  It's easier than it used to be but I can't assume anything is safe because companies can change manufacturers who may in turn use cheaper ingredients.

Arm yourself with information.  Know what you and your kids are eating.  You might be surprised by what's really in that breakfast cereal.  You might wonder why your son or daughter has sleep problems, focus issues, keeps chewing on his collar...any of which could be due to a food color sensitivity.

Try an easy experiment.  Remove artificial colors from your diet for a couple days and see if you notice a difference. 

Mars Inc. Ditch the Red 40 Petition Alert petition.

My children have an intolerance to chemical additives including artificial colors, red 40, yellow 5/6, blue 1, artificial flavor, vanillin, BHT, BPA and TBHQ.  I do not buy products containing these additives.

Several years ago it all started with an itchy tongue.  We were also having problems with focus in school, impulsivity, behavior, self esteem in my then 5 year old.  My other kids had problems falling asleep, staying asleep, night terrors, gait problems, migraines.  I started researching and thankfully learned about an elimination diet called the Feingold diet.  We have not looked back. Today my kids are honor roll students and involved in many extra curricular activities.  They demonstrate self control, and have confidence in their abilities.

There is a petition on that is asking Mars Inc., makers of M&M's, to replace artificial dyes with natural coloring.  They already do this in Europe. Why is the US so far behind?  More signatures are needed.  Please sign and share with your groups and blogs.  Together, we can make a difference.