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The following is an email I received from a friend, that gives a first hand account of how artificial food dyes and other artificial ingredients can impact the behavior of a child.  Her success in eliminating artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from her son’s diet speaks for itself!

Jonathan’s* behavior was awful. I used to dread when he would have to come home from school because his mood swings were really bad. He had so many tics and it was getting out of control. He seemed to have all the signs of Tourette’s. I really wanted to take him to a psychologist because of who he had turned into. I have been always careful about what I give the kids (food wise) but for a while due to budget constraints, I wasn’t able to live that lifestyle that I had become accustomed to. I was doing research and I just had a feeling that maybe getting him back on natural food would make a little bit of a difference.

Right after school let out, I put Jonathan on an all natural diet. I am so happy to tell you that when the dyes got out of his system, he became 100% tic free. I will remind you that he had motor and vocal tics all throughout the day. It WAS getting pretty severe. I repeat, he is 100% tic free.. As soon as he cheats, I can tell. He will get a tic in his throat. One night he had a fever and without thinking, I gave him Motrin. He started to tic. Then his fever got really high in the middle of the night and I had to give him Tylenol. He started hallucinating (that is what it seemed like). As soon as the dyes got out of his body, he was back to normal. He slept at my parents one night in the beginning of the summer and he was so restless. I asked my parents what he ate. He had pizza. I was surprised that pizza would make him that way. I asked what he drank and voila! He had pink lemonade.

Jonathan’s body is super sensitive to dyes and anything artificial. He knows that he has to stay away from this but when it is around him (at friends’ houses), he doesn’t always make the right choice. If he is unsure if he should eat something, he always asks me. If he spends the night at a friend’s house, I just pack a bunch of food for him and explain to the parents that he is sensitive to dyes/artificial food. I spend more than we can really afford on some things (like candy) but I don’t want him to ever feel left out.   As time goes on, this will just be the way of life for him. I realize that when he was really bad at school with his tics, it was because everyday he was taking in dyes. I gave him jelly (dye) and roaring waters etc… I am relieved to have figured out Jonathan. I would also like to add that his mood swings are completely gone besides what would be typical for a 10 year old. I know this wouldn’t work for everyone but I am happy to share what has worked for us.

I believe we had this under control since June. His tics started in January. I really want to share my story. We can’t believe that we have our Jonathan back. It truly is amazing. Please share this on Babyminding.

I suggested that she check out The Feingold Association, which is a great resource for eliminating artificial ingredients from your child’s diet.

Do you have a story to share?  Please contact us by clicking the tab above, and we’ll post it to Babyminding!

*name changed to protect privacy

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  1. melanie

    My child wad diagnosed with tourettes in his first year of kindergarten. Our pediatrician gave our son a six month window of opportunity to return to normal as he believed it could have been stress induced from sstarting big school. If no improvement he wanted to start medication. Tristan had five different tics going a mix of vocal and motor. It was heartbreaking to watch as we could see it was physically hurting him. He was also hypersensitive to touch so we had to remove all tags from clothes ..turn his socks inside out but even then he would still have meltdowns if his shoes moved when he walked. His behavior was explosive some days. One day whilst sitting and reading with me he said out of the blue that he felt like hurting me and then he broke down crying and said he doesn’t know why he said that and he loves me! At that point I was willing to try anything and thinking back I realized how much his diet had changed to packaged food for lunch boxes . So we eliminated everything processed and packaged! No aspatame no food colours no preservatives! Within a couple of days his moods improved ….within one week he was no longer complaining about his clothes rubbing and to our complete amazement and relief within two weeks every single tic was completely gone. He is now in yr 2 (8yrs) we never went back to pediatrician simply because we didnt need to. Its not easy but it is 100% worth the effort and our other childten and ourselves are benefitting from a healthy diet also.

  2. Becky

    Hi Tela,

    Thanks for your comment on my article and for the link to this one. Wow! What a powerful story. I’m so glad Jonathan and his family are now healthy and happy.

    Also I really like your website. I truly believe good, natural parenting is one of the most important and least explored lessons in our society. In case you’re interested, I am a children’s health writer for examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/childrens-heath-in-austin/becky-peters. I’m a little behind on writing for it, but I will get back to it very soon.

    Anyway my point is I’d like to stay in touch with you since I also want to educate parents about raising happy, healthy children!

  3. Gina

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. Ours is a similar one with our son. He gets fidgety, can’t make eye contact, his speech deteriorates, he doesn’t have control over his muscles, has spasms, and has practically convulsed. We didn’t know what the triggers were for years, and our doctors had no answers. We tested him for food allergies and learned he had some sensitivities that were affecting his sleep and behavior.

    But now we know it’s food dyes. It breaks my heart to see him struggle. He’s been off food dyes for about two years and has come so far. It took one dip and lick of a finger in “green” water in science class last year to get a response that lasted about four days. Thankfully, he recognizes how horrible it is and won’t touch any food that he doesn’t know the source.

    It’s not been easy and we’ve learned a lot. Which is probably why we started Feed Our Families to help other parents feed their children healthier foods.

    I applaud your friend for taking the extra effort to keep her child free of food dyes!

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