Monday, March 29, 2010

The Things We Miss...

It only took a few days of my kids being in public school to re-affirm something to me. Because our kids are in school all day, there are things that parents miss. Not the fun 'lightbulb' moments, or the laughs, or the hugs and fun things like that. This is a bit more serious.
I figured out long ago that my daughter was very sensitive to artificial colors in foods. Had I not had her in my care 100% of the time, this is probably something I would have missed. As her full time parent and teacher, I saw how everything she ate affected her, whether it was in her behavior or in physical complaints. But parents often don't realize there is a problem until they get a note from school mentioning 'testing', 'ADD', or 'ADHD'. Houston, there might be a problem.
I did a lot of research on artificial colors specifically, and found two sides. One that says it affects children, and they should avoid it. Another says that it does not affect children, and it is safe. If you know with 100% certainty that your child becomes a different person after consuming artificial colors, what side do you get on?
Well, the problem is that many parents never see the link...and here is why. IF they eat breakfast at home, children go to school soon after. The parents do not get the chance to observe their children's behavior. But the teacher does. (Does Suzie need to be tested for ADD?)
At our school, the children are led to the lunchroom by the teacher, who then goes to eat somewhere else. There is a cafeteria worker who supervises the kids to make sure nobody gets out of line. (It is a very small school). When the kids go back to class, the teacher has no idea what anybody ate. Some kids are fine, others may be bouncing off the wall. Some are not hyper, but in a drug-like trance (this is my daughter). Nobody is following these kids all day, seeing what they eat or drink and wondering if there is a connection. Even at recess there are stand-ins for the teacher.
Do you understand why so many people don't see the connection between food additives, colors, preservatives, and even high fructose corn syrup? Our children are like tiny scientific experiments that were abandoned by their scientists (parents!). If your child seems to have trouble concentrating, staying still, or getting work completed, try changing his diet before you put him on drugs. If your child is like my daughter, there is SO much intelligence there that the drugs are only going to squelch. You may not ever get your child 100% compliant with diet (what child IS 100% compliant?!) but if you see a positive improvement, keep the change going and it will only get better.
We are proof that food additives cause problems for kids. And we are proof that these problems can be avoided. Take the weekends to watch your children and how food affects them. Or better yet, just feed them natural, fresh, real food and enjoy them for two days!

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