Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And then there was food....BPA and Food Dyes

I'm not going to make any New Year's resolutions. They never come to fruition when I do. And quite frankly, I'm on a pretty tight regimen with this whole baby thing anyway. But I am thinking about changes I want to make in the upcoming year to help ensure our family stays healthy and happy.

I've always kind of paid attention to food. I've been aware of the dirty dozen for years now. I know that BPA is bad, bad, bad. I pay attention to the level of fat in our meats. But I really haven't had a lot of follow-through on working out and making constantly healthy choices. For instance, I was tired Monday. Too tired to cook. We got ANOTHER pizza. It's becoming a weekly thing! I need a change.

So I have this friend on Facebook that never transitioned from her hippy ways into mature adult. There are many times I wish I could've stayed in that world, but that just wasn't my path. And so she posts all this crazy stuff about our food and vaccines and this and that. In fact, she posted once about cellulose in our food and that it's wood fiber and not even digestible. Cellulose, while it can be derived from wood, is found in the cell wall of plants. It's an insoluble fiber, which is necessary to the digestive system. If you eat lettuce, you eat cellulose. Simple as that!

And while some of these things should be taken to heart, I usually find myself researching many of them and finding that the truth lay somewhere in the middle.

So with all that said, let's go back to food. Naturally, my friend is for organic and home-grown foods. I am too...but I'm a realist as well. I recently also read a fiction book where the main character had a son that had ADHD. They tried an elimination diet....cutting artificial dyes from their foods. It helped. That intrigued me, so I started doing research on food dyes. What did I discover?

Artificial Food Dyes, contained in everything from Fruit Loops to Nutri Grain bars, are BAD! Mood disorders ADHD and food allergies can all be (partly) attributed to food dyes. Of course, it would be silly to think that food dyes cause ALL the problems or that they explain every case of ADHD. That's just not true. But while the FDA refutes a link, there are several parents and health professionals that have seen marked changes in behavior and mood once eliminating the food dyes. Not to mention that my husband's aunt avoid Yellow #6 like a plague because of the issues it causes her. There's something to be said, but it's not my job to convince you.

Shortly after I discovered I was pregnant with Ethan, I was anxious to buy something babyish. And so I got a few bottles. Right after that, the news broke about BPA and all of a sudden, all the bottles were BPA-free. I took mine back and bought the BPA-free. But even so, the majority of Americans have detectable levels of BPA. Why? Easy enough to answer. BPA is in our tupperware, in our pre-packaged foods, in our canned foods. Eliminating BPA requires eliminating processed foods and pre-packaged foods. Pre-packaged lettuce? Yep. The packaging has BPA. Canned Beans? BPA. Even the FDA "shares the perspective of the National Toxicology Program that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostrate gland of fetuses, infants, and children." It's also been linked to heart disease and cancer. Good news is that BPA levels decrease once you start avoid BPA. Your levels drop. Why wouldn't I want to do this?

Alright. So that's food dyes and BPA. And so as the new year begins, I have strong plans to begin a systematic elimination. I should actually say a more consistent elimination. I have already begun to eliminate food dyes, but I'm weak and it's the holidays. I have a hard time taking those M&M's away from Ethan that he got from his holiday party. Hell! I have a hard time not asking for some of them!

And BPA, I started eliminating it a long time ago, but I believe it's time to update what I have in my house with BPA-Free and Glass. You see, I just stopped buying the stuff, but I didn't get rid of what I had.

I'm not crazy enough to push my "agenda" upon those that believe artificial food dyes, preservatives and chemicals such a BPA is okay. I just know what I've researched and what I've come to believe through that research. I have looked at both sides of the food debate, just as I have the vaccine debate (and I vaccinate) to develop my own thought and determine my best course of action for MY family. This isn't a one size fits all. And I was telling a good friend, a person could drive themselves crazy with all the don'ts out there. Seriously!

And the thing is, I know I can't eliminate ALL of it. But I can start slowly and that's what I plan to do.

Next up (probably next year): Sugar. And then Meats.


  1. I read that about the food dye not too long ago, and it totally makes sense. I buy mostly organic these days, just because I've started educating myself on everything. It's crazy the stuff people put into their bodies.

  2. good luck! you have a lot of resolve.