Seeing Red?

Jack & Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of …Red #40?
by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Pleasant Prairie, Bonnie Hahn

For the past two months or so, every time I scold my son, make an unwelcomed suggestion (clean your room?) or…speak pretty much anything out loud or breathe, he asks ‘Who crapped in your cornflakes?’. Talk about beating a dead horse! AND…I don’t even like cornflakes.

I’ve been spending some time at my kid’s school helping out in classes, shortly after school starts in the morning. I’ve noticed a lot of ‘behavior’ that is puzzling to me. Given that these are 6-10 year old children I’m dealing with, expecting perfection is certainly unreasonable. Though, I find myself expecting much more than I am seeing…Read More…

I know there are a lot of legitimate cases of ADD/ADHD, but I also know that there are a lot more that could be helped by simple dietary changes and eliminating certain things from the home environment. As I was sitting there with a couple of kids, I started thinking…I wonder what these kids had  for breakfast today…?  I wonder how many of these kids eat crap at home…? How many had Fruit Loops, Pop-Tarts, or something equally artificial and disgusting for breakfast…? How many brought a Lunchable today (or everyday!), or drink Hi-C or Capri Sun or some other ‘juice’?

Is someone crapping in their cornflakes?

Just to clarify:
 ADD: A term given to the condition of children, teenagers or adults when they show poor attention, impulsiveness or unexplained emotional outbursts in normal day to day activities.

ADHD: A term used to describe children, teenagers or adults who have low attention span, exhibit high levels of distractability, are chronically disorganized and are in “perpetual motion”.

According to one source, the average attention span of a child age 6-8 is 1-20 minutes, and age 9-12 is 30-45 minutes. Now, I am 37 years old and I doubt that I have a 30-45 minute attention span. A more reasonable source says to add 2 minutes to a child’s age, and start there.

Taking the above into consideration:  3 to 10% of school aged children get diagnosed as ADHD every year.  That’s a ton of kids! Most of them go on to be treated with drugs that have both minor and serious side effects, like loss of appetite, insomnia, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and psychotic behavior. Neither of my children have ADD or ADHD, so I haven’t been in that position, but just thinking about what could possibly happen is frightening.  I, as a parent, would certainly try everything in my power in order to avoid something that would cause these side effects, and if doing something as simple as dietary changes and natural cleaning products could significantly change my child’s need for drugs, you better believe I would be ON IT.

Traits commonly observed with ADD/ADHD:

Inattention: easily distracted, can’t complete tasks, does not listen.

Impulsivity: acts without thinking, does not wait his turn, goes from activity to activity without organizing or completing anything.

Hyperactivity: can’t sit still, fidgety, bothers others, always on the go – “perpetual motion”.

Emotionally Unstable: social loner, angry outbursts for no reason, often involved in conflicts or fights, poor response to discipline.

A lot of people may not realize how significant of an impact that food ingredients and chemical exposure have on so many aspects of our lives! Food allergies don’t just cause hives or rashes, but can cause behaviors that may fall under the heading of ADD/ADHD, as can exposure to things like bleach or ammonia. An average child consumes over 10 pounds of food additives per year. TEN POUNDS! Of toxins, chemicals, artificial ingredients and colors, preservatives and who knows what else. Crap. Garbage. Disgust-o-rama!

Here are some of the conditions that have possible links just to food dyes in particular:

-Cancer, including brain tumors
-Asthma and allergies
-Behavior problems, ADD, ADHD
-Decreased cognitive function and lowered IQ

How many products do you have in your home, that your children consume, that include food dyes?
I bet it’s more than you think.

There have been studies upon studies done about this…I’m not just some radical fruitcake treehugger making stuff up. One recent study by the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics analyzed 15 other studies of the effect of artificial food colors and preservatives on hyperactivity, and found that 28% of the children (who had previously been diagnosed as ADHD) tested had increased hyperactivity after consuming artificial colors and preservatives.  And that’s just testing for those two items, not any of the other usual suspects.  Another study took children who had NOT been diagnosed with anything and removed artificial colors and preservatives from their diets for 8 weeks.  At the end of the 8 weeks, the children were given a juice beverage containing some combination of food colorings and sodium benzoate (a preservative). The results were clear in that the amount of artificial food colors and preservatives found in a typical child’s diet is enough to trigger hyperactivity in many of those children.

Studies have also been done regarding chemical exposure. Typical household cleaning products contain a plethora of dangerous chemicals.  But…they sell them at the grocery store, they must be safe, right?!  NO. Chemical companies don’t care if they are making you sick. They get away with it legally for many reasons that would take me another whole blog to tell you about.

Here are some of the conditions that have possible links just to bleach and ammonia:
-Cancer, neurological disorders, weakened immune system, autoimmune disorders
-Asthma and allergies
-Infertility and miscarriage
-Behavior problems, ADD, ADHD, mental retardation
-Decreased cognitive function and lowered IQ
-Alteration of hormones, endocrine disruption

How many cleaning products do you have in your home that include bleach or ammonia, not to mention the hundreds of other toxic chemicals?!
Again, I bet it’s more than you think!

If your child shows signs of ADD/ADHD, there are a number of areas to address:

*Clearly, diet and nutrition: If you feed your kid sh*t, they’re gonna act like sh*t. Cut out the processed foods, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, even sugar-free/artificially sweetened items.  Have your child tested for food allergies, including gluten. Consider nutritional supplements, especially Omegas.

*In relation to food and diet; bowel health: Get a ton more fiber into their diet, and definitely add a probiotic.

*Remove toxins from the home. Replace your cleaners with non-toxic choices. Choose better laundry detergents and fabric softeners. You and your children could be wearing chemical residue-laden clothing all day and sleeping in it (think about your sheets!) at night. You are absorbing chemicals into your skin.

*Consider an air purifier.

*See if hypoglycemia is an issue.

*Eye and ear disorders and psychological wellness can also be investigated.

Naturally, these solutions won’t pertain to everyone. It’s not going to be quite so simple for every child who has been diagnosed as ADD or ADHD to be ‘fixed’ by what I’ve discussed above, but how many does it pertain to?
I’m willing to bet…it’s more than you think.

There is help beyond drugs.  A lot of doctors would have you believe that pharmaceuticals are the only option, but that is not the case at all. Nutrition, diet and environment should be examined and appropriate changes made before resorting to drugs whenever possible, especially if those three steps solve or relieve the problem. If a pharmaceutical is necessary, then it should be used in conjunction with other, natural solutions. Could you imagine finding out that you had been drugging your child for a perceived problem, only to find out that their breakfast cereal (among other things) was causing the problem?!  Drug your child, so they can eat junk? I think not.

I have heard many people say they don’t care about food additives or ingredients, or whether they use chemicals in their homes.  I have seen a mom hand a kid a pill, then give them a can of soda and chips. What?! Noooooo!  It’s easy to make better choices!

Come on, we know better than this. We can do better than this. Make healthy changes! Quit buying crappy cornflakes! Start caring about what goes into and onto your body and what you bring into your home! Your children (and their teachers!) will thank you!

Bonnie is a stay-at-home mom of two kids, ages 6 & 10, with a Shaklee health and wellness business. She focuses on teaching her family how to eat right, why exercise is important, about recycling and composting, and why we should take care of our environment. They don’t usually take her seriously. She is also married, and she states “He doesn’t listen to me, either. HA!”

Read more of Bonnie’s blogs at


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    mollie said,

    Excellent information.

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