I came across this article on facebook today and it made me remember very starkly how our changes in diet more than ten years ago affected my kids. I don’t agree with everything the author suggests but I can really relate to the experience.
My oldest was an anxious toddler. He had strange and intense mood swings. He had trouble controlling his emotions. He got overwhelmed in noisy crowds and overstimulated easily. This may sound like every little boy… and that seems to be true these days.
When he was about 5 we started changing our diet. I started reading more about natural foods and the affects of corn syrup. I already had a taste for whole wheat bread, granola, and quite a few vegetables but it wasn’t until I quit my job to stay home and homeschool my three kids that I started making serious changes. I bought fruit instead of soda and juice, whole milk instead of skim, and if I wanted to give the kids cookies I baked them with myself with real butter and wheat flour. My kids ate fresh strawberries, or cherry tomatoes, or sliced cucumbers instead of potato chips. I stopped buying boxed cereal entirely and served oatmeal or yogurt or scrambled eggs instead. I cooked and baked from scratch as much as possible.
And it helped. The most drastic change seemed to come from cutting out food coloring. Then my oldest and I started experimenting. After months with no food coloring and little refined sugar, we went to a birthday party and he drank a large amount of cheap bottled fruit punch. He observed the effect it had on him, his usually-minor tics were immediately worse and his emotions completely out of control. After that even he was on board with the red food coloring ban.
None of this can be scientifically proven, and I would never promise changing your diet will affect anyone else’s kids, but improving my family’s diet I believe made a real difference. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.