Salicylates and Phenols / Feingold Diet

Feingold Diet / Phenols
The Feingold Diet removes phenols and salicylates. Artificial ingredients such as artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, aspartame (Nutrasweet), and artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, TBHQ are made from a petroleum base and are strong phenols. Salicylates are naturally occurring phenols in plants – particularly in many fruits such as apples and grapes.

For some children, their bodies have difficulty processing phenols. Build up of phenols in the system can affect behavior and the body's physical condition. This was first discovered by Dr. Ben Feingold, when he noticed that these phenols created hyperactivity in some children. Phenols can have negative effect on the brain when our chemistry can't processes these phenols and they build up in the body. Although phenols and salicylates do occur naturally in healthy foods, children who are sensitive to these chemicals can have significant reactions.

Many children with autism, ADHD and other neurological and immune system disorders commonly have faulty sulfation systems and cannot process phenols and salicylates well.  Common physical signs of phenol sensitivity in children include dark circles under eyes, red cheeks/ears, ear infections, asthma, sinus problems, diarrhea, hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, headache, head banging/self-injury, impatience, short attention span, difficulty falling asleep, night walking for several hours, inappropriate laughter, hives, stomach aches, bed wetting and day wetting, dyslexia, sensitivity to noise/lights/touch, speech difficulties, tics and some forms of seizures.

When implementing the Feingold Diet, people avoid phenols and salicylates that are not tolerated – typically determined through food trial/testing. These substances and foods may include: FD & C colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, vanillin, aspirin, almonds, peanuts, oranges, apples, apricots, all berries, cherries, chili powder, cider and cider vinegar, cocoa, cloves, coffee, cucumbers, pickles, currants, red grapes, raisins, plums, prunes tangerines, tea, tomatoes, wine and wine vinegar and oil of wintergreen.

Feingold Association of the United States reports that 70 out of 100 people using this diet can expect good results, although their studies used only approximations of the diet. Member of their surveys have indicated that the diet success rate is just above 90%. A qualified nutritionist can help a parent implement this diet and suggest supplements and substances that add sulfate to aid sulfation and enzymes to help break down remaining phenols.  Some children may need to keep phenols very low, while others may only need to reduce phenols by avoiding the high phenol foods such as apples and grapes.

We avoid strawberries but will re-introduce them this summer with berries from our strawberry patch.  We eat plenty of other fruits including pineapple, mango, bananas, watermelon, kiwi, and golden delicious apples and they are all well tolerated.
I just read this from We deal with many of the issues listed but I wasn't aware of speech problems.   Now that I think about it, it all makes sense.

Jaime Oliver Food Revolution Season 2

If you’ve been wondering where Season 2 of the Food Revolution had gone on ABC do not fear the show is taking a short break following the recent positive events in the Food Revolution in L.A - in particular the superintendent of the LAUSD offering to recommend to the board to remove flavored milk from schools and agreeing to work with Jamie - and will return with all new episodes beginning Friday, June 3rd at 9pm ET/8pm CT.

If you’ve missed either of the first two episodes, they will be airing back-to-back on Friday May 27th at 8:00 and 9:00 pm ET (7 and 8 CT) or you can watch them on!

We invite you to our new Lake County Food Revolution page supporting Jaime Olivers Food Revolution.  Become a fan and join the conversation.  We are in Northern Illinois but have no boundaries.  Everyone is welcome.

ADHD? Say Yes to Vanilla, No to Vanillin

This is the first of a series of posts about additives and potential effects. If you are dealing with ADD / ADHD, have a child with or know someone with adhd, you may be interested to know consuming artificial vanilla could have a nasty effect.

In the early 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, then chief emeritus of the Department of Allergy at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital and Permanente Medical Group in San Francisco, reported a link between diet and several physical and allergic conditions. Thirty to 50 percent of Feingold's hyperactive patients said they benefited from diets free of artificial colorings and flavorings, and certain natural chemicals called salicylates which are found in apples, berries, tomatoes, and other foods.
The Feingold Diet is based on the premise that allergic reactions or sensitivities to certain types of foods cause or contribute to ADD/ADHD symptoms, such as problems with:
  • Behavior (marked hyperactivity, impulsive and compulsive actions, emotional concerns)
  • Learning (short attention span, neuro-muscular difficulties, cognitive and perceptual disturbances)
  • Health (physical complaints and/or sleep problems)
Artificial flavorings are made up of hundreds of combinations of chemicals, both natural and synthetic. A popular flavoring agent is "vanillin", also listed as "vanilla flavoring".

Most chocolate chips contain it. Most store bought chocolate cake contain it, (many contain Red 40 too!).  Candy bars contain it and lots of other sweet foods have it too.  The chocolate and ice cream industry together make up 75% of the market for Vanillin flavoring.  Vanillin is also used in the fragrance industry to add hints of vanilla to perfumes, the wine business to smooth the flavor of wines,  the pharmaceutical industry to neutralize foul tasting medications, and in the process of chromatography where it is used as an all purpose stain.

Why is it used so often,'s cheap!
Today, a small amount of synthetic vanillin is made from with lignin wastes, a by-product of the paper/wood pulp industries. However, most of the synthetic vanillin is made from guaiacol, which is a petrochemical precursor.

Petrochemicals are important...for my car, for my plastic lawn chairs, maybe even for something I wear, but I do not want to be ingesting petrochemicals.  I prefer the real thing, pure vanilla to add flavor.

Read the ingredient label.  If you see Vanillin, put it back.  Look for pure vanilla.

This year I'm making several batches for holiday gifts!

Vanilla beans - 9 You can use less or more.
1.75 liter of Vodka or try Rum 
You can make the vanilla right in the liqueur bottle.  Keep it in a cool dark place but handy because everything settles at the bottom and you will want to give it a shake every few days.  The vanilla will soon take on a darker color.
If you want to make small separate batches, use 1 cup liqueur to 3 vanilla beans.  Make sure your jar is clean and has a tight fitting cap.

Using a sharp knife, slice the beans open lengthwise to expose the seeds. Put the beans in the bottle. The mixture will get darker and darker over time.
You can start using your extract by the end of the eighth week. After you have used say 20% of the extract -- top it off with more liquor (preferably of the same type) and shake again.  A tip--drop the beans in with the stem (hooked end) up. That way, if you need vanilla seeds in a recipe, you can use a little piece of wire with a hook on the end, to 'catch' one of the beans to remove it from the vodka.

Get yourself some dark or amber colored bottles and make some cute labels.  Pour your homemade vanilla into the bottles, cap, slap a label on and you have the perfect gift!  You can also leave some of the vanilla bean in the bottle and all your recipient needs to do is top off to keep the gift going indefinitely!

School Lunch Line Offer vs Serve

Have you heard this term, "Offer vs. Serve"?  It is used regularly in the school food industry. 
What is "Offer versus Serve"?

"Offer versus Serve" lets students turn down foods they do not plan to eat. This helps reduce waste by not making students take food that they don’t like or won’t eat. "Offer versus Serve" gives students flexibility. Meals still meet federal nutrition standards. Depending on how menus are planned in the school, a set number of food groups are offered. Students must select a certain number of food groups for a school meal. The number of food groups that are offered and the number the student can decline varies.

What are the benefits?
Reduces plate waste, thereby reducing disposal costs.
More students may purchase lunches resulting in increased revenue for the school.
Increases the consumption of fruits and vegetables because kids will only take what they will eat.
Fewer students may bring their lunch from home so there could be less packaging waste.

How does "Offer vs Serve" work?
School meals are priced as a unit.
The menu may have 5 items planned as part of the meal, but at least 3 items must be chosen in order to qualify as a school meal.
The student can take 3, 4 or all 5 items and be charged the same price.

Does your school lunch program operate this way and what do you think of it?