You are my Wylde
I get asked about this a lot, so I'm going to try to put the full story here so anyone who is interested can read up and ask questions if they want.
Lucas Wylde, my now 3 yr old, can't have food dye. We discovered it last October...the month before he turned 3. He has been a hard child in many ways for a long time. Endless energy, very determined and quite the little fearless one. After he started walking at 9 months and 1 week...my prayer quickly became "please let me keep him alive until his next birthday". I have called poison control so many times, I have talked to his doctor about head injuries and when I should truly be worried, I have rescued him from the arms of strangers when I turned my back for 1 minute and I have called PA friends to help me figure out how bad his injuries really are. And for every crazy story I shared on Facebook or on my other blog, there were 10 more that I didn't really feel good about sharing on social media. I just wanted to keep him alive and unscarred if possible.
So he turned 2 and we were in the middle of selling our house and moving across the country....he was still nursing several times a day and it was a big season of change. After life started to settle down and we moved into our new house in AZ (so March of 2014) we started potty training. We finally got into some routines and life was clicking along. I noticed that he was becoming very aggressive. Always wanting to fight and punch and kick things. I used to jokingly tell him to "go fight the couch" and he would. He would take out all of his energy and aggression on it. He would also do it to me, his brother and anyone around. I was at my wits end with his aggressive behavior. We still were nursing which was the only positive touching we had. He didn't want anyone to hug him or touch him....he only wanted to fight and hurt people. Potty training was a bit of a disaster because he still at almost 2 1/2 yrs old was having loose BM's. I probably should have clued in that it was an issue, but it was just "normal" for him and I didn't think too much about it. Eye contact was not happening much either...not that he wouldn't look at us, but it was a crazed look if and when we could get him to keep his eyes in our direction.
Well, I was complaining on Facebook about a hard day we had had and how I just wasn't feeling connected with him and how I wasn't sure what to do about him any more. I was sharing how the Young Living Essential Oil, Peace and Calming was helping us but I wasn't sure what else I could do. Thankfully a dear friend of mine spoke up. And I am so grateful she did. She said that I may want to look into something called the Feingold diet and removing food dye. And then described her own journey with one of her sons. It sounded just like mine. So I took note of what she shared and I spent several hours reading and researching this diet and why it was helping so many children. I never have done the full Feingold diet but I decided that I wanted to go dye free and see what would come of it.
So based on my friends advice, we went to Trader Joe and stocked up on snacks (their brand of products are dye free). I got new candies for potty training and off we went! It was a very noticeable difference in just 3-4 days. He would actually sit still next to me and lay his head on my arm. Something he had never done before. He let me give him a hug. I was in shock. He still had his moments and I figured out that minute maid lemon aid had yellow dye in it, so we cut that out (it just didn't occur to me that they would add dye to lemon aid, I mean, it doesn't need it....why?!) and when we did that. He was truly a new child. He went from impossible to sweet. I was so so so relieved. Oh, and for the first time ever, he had normal poop. Clearly his poor tummy was a mess from the dye.
So that was in October of 2014. He was so noticeably better that even on a 'bad' day I didn't think to much about it. I found a natural candy store online to get us through all the holiday baking fun so he wasn't missing out and things were going pretty good. We finally weaned right after he turned 3...which I never thought I'd nurse him that long, but like I said, it was one of our only positive interactions so I know it was wise and right that we kept that going as long as we did. And it was probably one of the things that was keeping him as healthy as he was considering his body was fighting this battle I didn't even know about for so long.
This is a photo of a print I bought and had framed. I started crying in the middle of a vendor booth when I read it. Our nursing sessions were our only quiet moments before we adjusted his diet, and now I was finally feeling connected and like he and I were a team....after eliminating the toxins out of his system. He is still my Lucas Wylde man, it's just more of an "all boy" wild and less of a "I'm afraid you're going to hurt someone or yourself" kind of wild like it had been for so long.
In January of 2015, we decided to put him in preschool. I was, of course, nervous about the food side of things but the staff was so accommodating and they were already doing such healthy choices to start with. Well, his first week at school, they served Cheeze-it crackers and he was a maniac. All of his old behaviors rushed back. He spent extra time in the potty and he was a mess. I emailed and asked what the snacks had been and went to town researching. As it turns out, something like 50% of kids with a food dye reaction, also react to Annatto. Annatto is natural, made from a seed, but it is what makes cheese yellow and other yellow things yellow. So now we knew it was also a trigger for him, which eliminated a whole other set of foods and things he could no longer eat. And kind of explained some of his bad days.
I forgot to check his vitamin at this point and it turns out that every few days, when he would get one of the yellow vitamins, he would have a bad day. His teachers would give me a poor report and he was aggressive and hard again. I knew it was coming from something he was eating, I just couldn't figure out what it was. I remember being in Trader Joes (now not a totally safe option because Annatto is considered natural) because we were almost to the bottom of the bottle of vitamins we had. I, on a whim, decided to check the ingredients (a bit of a new habit really) and I had this sinking feeling in my gut when I realized that Annatto was indeed an ingredient. It was the final piece of the food puzzle for us. The very last trace of bad ingredients was finally out of our home.
It is a challenge to do things like attend birthday parties, play dates and go out to eat in new restaurants. I have to ask people to show me ingredient lists wherever we are so I can assure myself we aren't poisoning him. (that's what it feels like to me now, deadly as poison and worth avoiding at all costs.)
I think about how people say anger is stored in the liver, and his poor liver was working overtime trying to filter out all of these awful toxins. And failing. I ran a zyto scan on him that tells you what Young Living Oils someone needs and all of his had to do with his liver. I was not shocked.
I realized even his tooth paste (dyed bright blue) was not okay any longer. Thankfully, Young Living has a really great kids tooth paste and a great vitamin that he can have. I searched high and low and it is next to impossible to find a good multi vitamin for kids that doesn't have Annatto in it.
So it has been a journey. And I have not done any "official testing" but I promise you, if you give him something he shouldn't have....you don't need anyone to tell you, you can see him change into a different child. Even he has put together the fact that food dye hurts his tummy. After a couple times of the neighbor kids sneaking him a treat here and there and paying the price afterwards, he himself knows it isn't worth it.
I am nervous for kindergarten and beyond....so many environments out of my control. But for now, we have this under control and I am so beyond thankful for discovering it when he was little. And I am so thankful for my friend who spoke up to me about her own experience. We can learn so much from each other if we are open.