Monday, February 01, 2010

Coal Tar, Anyone?

I was never a stellar cook. This is a fact, despite working AS A COOK at a local diner. It was pretty easy to do it there because the customers were all redneck, roughneck, 'dead truck drivers' and truckers. Was it warm? Check. Did it give me the runs? Nope. Allll good.

And I had a storehouse of ingredients so if i screwed up I didn't have to cry over $20 of wasted groceries. Plus I had a few tired and trues that I could fall back on: spaghetti, sloppy joes, fancy mac and cheese.

But now that I have a family, I'm finding that I kind of like to cook and make them yummy things to eat. The kids are not always appreciative of my experiments (jambalaya FAIL) and I still have some fall backs: Jambalaya.... with a side of mac and cheese!

Now that my son has these "attention issues". I ... what? Shiny object.... where was I?

Now that I'm searching for ways to help my son focus better in school, his diet has come under scrutiny. I think I've done a pretty good job. I make them healthy breakfasts of bacon or sausage with eggs or maybe crepes. I don't use white sugar (I use splenda or a natural sweetener), I make their cookies instead of buying them.... I've even been known to make a yummy bread from scratch. The worst thing my husband could find was the store-bought granola bars. I just haven't figured out how to make homemade ones yet.

But tonight I decided to investigate food colouring. Those dyes that have been rumoured to be horrible and the source of all evil.

Yeah. I think they are right.

COAL TAR DYE, anyone?

I am feeding my children petroleum products? Come again?

Here's a WebMD article that says:

Can food dye cause hyperactivity?

A recent study by the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency in 2007 showed that the consumption of foods containing dyes could increase hyperactive behavior in children. In the study of 3- 8- and 9-year-olds, children were given three different types of beverages to drink. Then their behavior was evaluated by teachers and parents.
One of the drink mixtures contained artificial food colorings, including:
  • sunset yellow (E110)
  • carmoisine (E122)
  • tartrazine (E102)
  • ponceau 4R (E124)
It also contained the preservative sodium benzoate. The second drink mixture included:
  • quinoline yellow (E104)
  • allura red (E129)
  • sunset yellow
  • carmoisine
It also had sodium benzoate. The third drink mixture was a placebo and contained no additives.
The researchers found that hyperactive behavior by the 8- and 9-year-olds increased with both the mixtures containing artificial coloring additives. The hyperactive behavior of 3-year-olds increased with the first beverage but not necessarily with the second. They concluded that the results show an adverse effect on behavior after consumption of the food dyes.

Now my son does not have hyperactivity issues, he has attention issues. Does anyone think that these might be related? I do ... except I don't know the reasons behind it yet, but I imagine if it increases hyperactivity in regular kids then my Winnie the Pooh child would probably become hyperactive.... AND distracted. Great combo, huh?

So it's my intent to figure out a way to change his diet (and really, our diet, since we'll all have to change with him) and we'll see if it helps.

On a side note, it's kind of mind boggling to me that I have to fill out two forms with doctor's signatures if I want to send any vitamins or homeopathics to school with him. Instead, I just zip over to his school at lunch and get him to take a vitamin. I may enlist some family to help with that too eventually. Or I'll just spike his soup with vitamins and not tell anyone :)

I guess we'll also be removing: bacon, ketchup, lunch meat, mustard... dude, what am I supposed to feed this kid!?!?

Any good recipe help is appreciated.

It's funny that I fed him bacon tonight (and lots of it, I might add, since he got into the leftovers) and he's Very Hyper With a Side of Illogical.


Anonymous said...

Why do you think my Mom sent me out with a note on my back! The hardest thing for me was no ketchup - I loved ketchup as a kid!

Brittney said...

Yikes! This totally freaks me out!

Maxine Clarke said...

It's really scary all the nasties our kids are eating without us even knowing...and of coures, WE are eating them ourselves as well! Great blog.

Anonymous said...

Bacon and eggs is not a good breakfast for anybody, let alone a child. And cookies on a daily (or even weekly) basis? We all know better. I suggest you sit down with Canada's food guide and REALLY think about what you guys all need. Why don't you track your family's food consumption for a few days and then compare how many servings of what you are getting to what you need (and how much you are eating that don't fall into any category at all). There is no organ in our body more affected by food than our brains. Bad habits are hard to break, but can be even harder to recognize. Start taking a walk through health food stores, read some child nutrition books, and by all means, include your son!

Serenity Now! said...

How come whenever someone wants to criticize, they always do it anonymously? So disappointing.

You have good points. I don't think I said anywhere that I feed my kids cookies daily. I do try ensure they have something healthy and enticing... and I did make some really healthy "breakfast cookies" the other day that they liked, but they aren't allowed to have at school due to the nuts. (those would be peanuts, not nuts at school, lol)

I've taken many, many walks through health food stores. You probably haven't been around long enough to know about the allergies my daughter had when she was born. I think I'm actually feeding my kids some pretty healthy stuff... and I don't think one piece of bacon for tasty protein in the morning is bad at all...

And eggs and lean meat are listed on the Canada Food Guide... which is handily already posted on my fridge, so thank you for the suggestion of what a good breakfast is... but our doctor suggested adding bacon as a bit of protein since he wouldn't eat a lot else in the morning.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if you thought I was being too critical, I have the best of intentions. That being said I'm glad you are talking to your doctor about food, but do you really think your doctor is an expert? Check and see if you have nutrition services covered, lots of people do, and you'd be hard pressed to find a nutritionist that would recommend bacon (which is NOT a lean meat), ever (unless as a once a month treat on top of a healthy diet). Like I said, becoming aware is usually the hardest part, best of luck, I have no doubts that if you learn more about child nutrition, you will see a great improvement in your (already seemingly great) family :D

Serenity Now! said...

Actually the doctor we spoke to was a naturopath who recommended a very strict diet and helped us to adjust it. One piece of lean bacon (more like thick ham) is totally fine for my son, who needs as much protein as he can get for his Ferrari brain.

I just find anonymous comments that are critical to be, well, cowardly. You made several assumptions in your comment - that I feed my kids cookies daily, that I did not know to consult the Canada Food Guide, that I had no guidance on food...

I recognize that I am not a nutritionist but was hoping for some helpful comments on healthy recipes that are child-friendly.

If I had this to do all over again, I wouldn't have ever started my kids on anything sweet, even if it made them happy! Which it did! Which is why I fed them yummy things! Damn you sugar!

On a related note, my son came home from school today and said "is there sugar in this food mommy? i hear that sugar can kill you because it clogs up your heart."

Close, but I'll take it.