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Allergies, Recalls, Chemicals? How to Feed Your Kids Safely

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You mention a study in which 300 kids in England were put on a diet free of artificial coloring, sweeteners, and preservatives. Half were given a drink made of artificial colors and a preservative; the other half got a placebo drink. In the end, kids who got the first drink were far more hyperactive. What was the result?

After this study, there was a follow-up confirming it a few years later. The follow-up was so compelling that corporations in the U.K., including Kraft and Coca-Cola, said, "We're going to voluntarily remove these chemicals from children's products." It gave me hope, because it means corporations are responding to the needs of mothers overseas. And once we're informed the way the mothers in the U.K. were informed, then companies can bring those same products here to the United States if we want them.

Creating a chemical-free diet sounds time-consuming — and pricey.

I can totally relate. All I have time to do is stick chicken nuggets in the microwave and hit two-zero-zero-start. But I made really simple changes in super slow motion. I used to buy multicolored goldfish from Costco, so I thought, I'm just going to buy the ones that are all gold. That way, at least I've dumped the multicolored chemicals out. Once we got to gold, then we got to the plain ones, then switched to pretzels. It takes who knows how long to wean a kid off a sippy cup or to potty-train, and that's how I approached it — it wasn't going to be overnight.

I can totally relate. All I have time to do is stick chicken nuggets in the microwave and hit two-zero-zero-start. But I made really simple changes in super slow motion. I used to buy multicolored goldfish from Costco, so I thought, I'm just going to buy the ones that are all gold. That way, at least I've dumped the multicolored chemicals out. Once we got to gold, then we got to the plain ones, then switched to pretzels. It takes who knows how long to wean a kid off a sippy cup or to potty-train, and that's how I approached it — it wasn't going to be overnight.
Yeah, that was critical. If I had to do one thing, what would it be? My boys were milk guzzlers. So I thought, I'm going to buy milk that's rBGH-free. It's available in Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger. It's really, how do you reduce the load of chemicals your kids are getting? You can't go cold-turkey. These are kids, and I live in the real world, where kids are picky eaters. But if cutting back on chemicals meant my boys got an extra 15 minutes of sleep each night because they settled down earlier, I was gonna try it. Those 15 minutes — that's a gift!

I can totally relate. All I have time to do is stick chicken nuggets in the microwave and hit two-zero-zero-start. But I made really simple changes in super slow motion. I used to buy multicolored goldfish from Costco, so I thought, I'm just going to buy the ones that are all gold. That way, at least I've dumped the multicolored chemicals out. Once we got to gold, then we got to the plain ones, then switched to pretzels. It takes who knows how long to wean a kid off a sippy cup or to potty-train, and that's how I approached it — it wasn't going to be overnight.
Our food system is in dire shape. In 2007, the FDA stated that it is woefully underfunded and that "American lives are at risk." They don't have the money they need to investigate and protect us from potential toxins in the food supply. If we can bail out the banking system, then we need to prioritize funding the FDA. But to me, the most important thing is to believe in yourself and your ability to effect remarkable change for your family. We moms have incredible abilities, collectively. And we cannot be daunted. If the moms in other countries have spoken up and gotten corporations to make changes, we can too.

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