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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Red Dye: The Whole Story to this Point

image: reverbnation.com
I've been blogging about red dye since the beginning of our detection of it, but since friends have asked, I'm thinking it might be time to revisit the beginnings of these experiences. If you'd like to read more, there is a label for it on my sidebar. Click on that, and it will take you to the posts regarding this topic.

I need to share from the very beginning that my family really has no allergies or sensitivities to food, so I tend to be on the disbelieving side of things when it comes to this kind of stuff. That's where I was before this all happened.

Sweetie's (I have referred to this child as "Sweetie" for identity protection. This name was chosen as a result of my original plan to withhold sugar from Sweetie) actually been having problems with sudden violent mood swings since Sweetie was 2. I was pregnant with #7. I didn't have the energy or the ability with some health problems I was experiencing to restrain this child. I thought the rage would eventually die down and that we'd all be happy. I would put him in his room and let him rage and rage and rage. It didn't die down.

image: artexpertswebsite.com
When Sweetie was four, I ended up with a black eye during one of his rages. That finally woke me up to the fact that this wasn't normal behavior, and it wasn't getting any better, but it also wasn't consistent. It was time to mess around with things and see if there was more to this than met the eye (pun intended).

image: forum.baby-gaga.com
It helped that I was raised with a brother like this. The sad thing was that I was his target too, so I feel like I'm reliving my childhood and am desperately trying to erase the target that seems to sit heavy on my chest (or eye, as the case may be).

My brother was diagnosed with "hypoglycemia" on his mission, which is no longer a valid diagnosis, from what I understand. It is known as a symptom of diabetes, so my first action was to remove sugar.

image: 5dollardinners.com
I happened to go to a girls night out a few nights after the black eye incident and was talking to a couple of women. They asked about my eye, and I shared what had happened and what I had started with the diet. They both shared their experiences with red dye. I left that night solidly planted on the idea of removing the sugar and half-hearted about the red dye.

There have now been four incidents that have made it more than clear that this is the main problem. There may be others, but at this point, all I know is that when there is no red dye in Sweetie's system, life is good.

image: blog.foodnetwork.com
By the way, Sweetie had been trick or treating at the high school earlier in the day yesterday--that's how he got the ring pop to begin with, so the experience had been there. There was a bucket full of goodies to begin with.

Okay, so other than yesterday's experience, there have been three others. Oh, I also have found out that yesterday, on the way home, Sweetie had candy corns, so there was more than just one exposure yesterday. That makes so much more sense as to his behaviors and the timing of it.

Incident #1: Spring break was a few weeks after the girls' night. While there, things were going great. Sugar was being withheld. There had been no rages. I felt that we were on top of something. I hadn't discussed the withholding of red 40 with anyone, but it was in the back of my mind.

image: cutcrystal.com
We were at the beach visiting family. During lunch one day, red Crystal Lite was being served--sugar-free, right? I thought it'd be great, so I left it alone. By the time lunch was over, so was the vacation. Sweetie started in raging. I was grateful we were leaving the next day. I felt terrible to be that kind of guest in someone else's home.

Incident #2: Sweetie went to a friend's house. I had discussed our food issues with this friend. She was very aware. When Sweetie got home, I realized that things weren't normal. Sweetie was slow to comply and ended up in the bedroom. The raging continued. I called the Warden because I just wasn't getting it. I had been so careful. Everything had been removed from the house. I was ready to cry.

image: en.wikipedia.org
The Warden encouraged me to call our friend to see if she had fed Sweetie. I did. She said she'd just fed Sweetie the normal stuff--peanut butter and jelly and "Oh....Doritos." There it was.

image: mexicanpharmacy.com.mx
Incident #3: I'll just link to this one. It's a bit longer and more complicated. It ended up being a more than week long experience.

Before any of this, I'd never heard of red 40 causing behavior problems. Since our experiences, I've read up on it quite a bit. It's astounding.

image: plannedovers.com
According to my friends from the girls' night, the United States is one of the only countries that allows it to be put in food. The other fact they shared that I now firmly believe is that it lasts in the system for days before it's gone.

Yesterday, after I'd been hit twice and another door had been broken, it was time to pull Halloween.


Julia Shinkle said...

Thank you Julie soooo much for posting this....beleive it or not I am wondering about Red 40 and my own moods. I really need to try to eat clean for a few days and see if I feel better.

Tonya said...

SO crazy that he reacts that way to Red dye. I really do wonder what it is about the dye.... so weird. And not fun at all to deal with. Your such a good mom to help him figure out that he can't eat it. And your also a good mom for giving him consequences to his actions. Nope, he belongs in your home. No foster parenting necessary!

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