Friday, January 30, 2009

Cheater Chicken Divan with veggies

You can omit the breadcrumbs or use approved ones, use approved cheese or (whole milk, white or annatto)
For the sauce you may use whole milk or approved rice milk.

Seasoned breadsticks

Do not use pan spray on the might just stick a little, that's ok. Or use approved oil or spray.

Do not use parm. in the seasoning unless it's whole milk real parm. I think it's fine just with the garlic and salt.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

chinese beef and broccoli

Got that Chinese food craving? This doesn't have the yummy red dye I crave there but it'll do...

1 pound boneless sirloin or round steak, cut into thin two-inch strips
1 pound broccoli, cut into pieces and steamed until barely tender
1 pat butter or approved oil
Dash pepper
6 cloves garlic, pressed or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pdrd ginger
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup water

Start cooking your rice or noodles

While prepping the beef, steam the broccoli.
In a skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon butter or oil. Add beef and a dash of pepper, stir-frying until browned. Remove beef and keep warm. Next add garlic, ginger, and mushrooms. Stir-fry these for about 2 minutes. Add back the beef, and add the steamed broccoli.

In a separate cup, mix together cornstarch or arrowroot, soy sauce and cold water, mixing until lumpless. Stir cornstarch mixture into skillet; cook and stir about 30 seconds or until thickened. Serve and enjoy!

Serve over rice or noodles.

My own little brag

I don't talk a lot about Alyssa on here cause she's the kind of SID/ADD kid who floats by life. That's how I was. She's so smart but when on petroleum she spends all the time doodling in her head and can't concentrate for a second on an assignment.
FFWD to these days when she's a FEINGOLD girl...I'm pleased to announce that Alyssa won the Constitution Bowl because she studied hard AND memorized just about a whole book about the U.S. Constitution. She does just great as long as she's eating well. No head doodling anymore.
She won a gold medal, a banner, and $165 certificate to a Constitutional Convention simulation that she has been wanting to go to.

p.s. I don't understand how to move pictures around...that's why they're skewed. She's cute anyway though, right?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

easy crockpot dinner, I love coming home to food

So, today we had a basic meal in a crockpot because we have crazy orchestra days where we're gone for 4 hours and we come back home, have 15 minutes, then have to leave again for a church outing.
This morning I put on high in the crockpot a london broil roast ($1.99/lb sale), 2 lbs of cut carrots, 8 potatoes, cubed, filled it with water and 1 TBSP of salt, some garlic cloves, and a bay leaf.
It cooked all day and we came back to a wonderful meal.
We only eat a little meat, mostly the veggies, and then the broth will be used for potato soup another day this week, the meat will be used for sandwiches and the insides of tamales this week.
mmmmmmmmm, how much easier can dinner get?
oh, btw, my crockpot is huge. I always cook on high all day for tender meat, and I usually boil my water in the teapot first.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WARNING-"solution" in wal-mart meats

Well, I don't buy meat very often but I went to Walmart today and was going to do a price match on some London Broil. I started putting the meat in bags when I felt a strange prompting to check the label. Guess what? In teeny tiny letters in the corner it said that a 10% solution was added. I don't have any idea what the solution is but I would guess it would include red dye to make the meat look fresh and MSG to make it taste "good".
I was pretty mad as I left and I traveled the whole extra 5 minutes to get to Kents where the special originated. I double checked with their butcher and they definitely do not add a solution to their meats.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ADD drugs cause hallucinations,2933,482829,00.html

Drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can cause children to have hallucinations even when taken as directed, U.S. government researchers said on Monday.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers analyzed data from 49 clinical studies conducted by makers of the drugs and found they can cause psychosis and mania in some patients, including some with no obvious risk factors. In some cases, children hallucinated that worms, bugs or snakes were crawling on them.

"Patients and physicians should be aware of the possibility that psychiatric symptoms consistent with psychosis or mania" might arise in the course of treatment, Dr. Andrew Mosholder and colleagues wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

Their analysis provides fresh detail about known risks of the drugs, which include Novartis AG's Ritalin and Focalin XR, Shire Plc's Adderall XR and Daytrana patch, Johnson & Johnson's Concerta, Eli Lilly and Co's Strattera and Celltech Pharmaceuticals Inc's Metadate CD.

It also includes data on Cephalon Inc's modafinil, sold as Provigil, a narcolepsy drug that was rejected as an ADHD treatment in children.

FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh said the data formed the basis for recent warnings about psychiatric side effects that have been added to product labels in recent years.

Millions of children use drugs to treat symptoms of ADHD, which affects about three to seven percent of U.S. children.

ADHD is marked by restlessness, impulsiveness, inattention and distractibility that can interfere with a child's ability to pay attention in school and maintain social relationships.

"The numbers of cases of psychosis or mania in pediatric clinical trials were small," Mosholder and colleagues wrote. "However, we noted a complete absence of such events with placebo treatments."

In one account, they described a 7-year-old girl who took an 18 mg dose of Strattera or atomoxetine who started talking nonstop within hours of taking her first dose.

"Two hours after taking her second dose of atomoxetine, the patient started running very fast, stopped suddenly, and fell to the ground. The patient said she had 'run into a wall' (there was no wall there)," they wrote.

"These adverse side effects are rare," said Dr. Harold Koplewicz of New York University Child Study Center, who was not involved in the study, adding that they are reversible,

"Once you stop the medicine, the side effects go away," he said in a telephone interview.

He said children under age 10 are susceptible to negative drug side effects in the same way that older adults are.

"We know that medications that affect neurochemicals in your brain to increase your attention and make you less impulsive also can have an effect on other neurochemicals in your brain that affect mood," he said.

Both Koplewicz and FDA researchers urged doctors to discuss the potential side effects with parents and children to help ease their anxiety if such symptoms should occur.

A great day for Elizabeth

A great post from Eileen, a newbie, and in addition she said that this week she has also had 2 people comment on her daughter's intelligence...

I haven't posted since I introduced myself months ago. I have
procrastinated starting the program because I was a bit overwhelmed.
My target child had a horrible week at school last week (first grade)
so I felt I had no choice. I started Tuesday at dinner, and today
the teacher sent home a note commenting on Elizabeth's good behavior -
- two days in a row! -- and asking us if we were doing something
different. *grin* Here is my email to her:

"We saw the note today. I had debated whether or not to tell you and
decided not to. I figured it would be helpful to have an unbiased
observer! We started Elizabeth on the Feingold Program on Tuesday
with dinner. Clearly it is making a big difference already!

Last Thursday, her homework took 2 hours when it should have taken
maybe 20 minutes. It was because of her yelling, whining, and
crying. Even then the only reason it got done is because I told her
she if she didn't finish it, I was going to email you and explain why
it wasn't done. On Monday I forced her to sit down and do the
homework you sent home. Same scene. Yesterday she came home,
watched one TV show, and then got her homework out of her backpack
and sat down and got it done. I didn't have to say anything (beyond
suggesting and spelling words). I was amazed! She was so polite and
helpful at dinner time. I even asked her if aliens had abducted
Elizabeth and replaced her with such a delightful child, which she
found amusing. Today I asked her if she thought the diet was helping
her, to which she nodded vigorously and said she wanted to keep doing
it. She and her dad made that (Feingold-approved) cake this
afternoon. She made that goal, which I didn't think she'd have any
chance of making.

Anyway, I figured you'd share in our joy. It certainly hasn't
magically made her perfect, but if you're noticing a difference in
the classroom without knowing we made that change, it's working!"

We're so excited! I needed to share!!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taco Soup

1 can of any beans (plain or just with salt) or homemade beans

1 can of tomatoes (just tomatoes and possibly calcium chloride)

1 cup of frozen corn or 1 can of corn

1 lb of hamburger, cooked, optional

Cook all together and add water or approved chicken stock if needed. This is also good with a little whole milk added after it boils. Serve with real sour cream, approved cheese, and if you want, approved tortilla chips or fritos.

lunch ideas

There's a great discussion on lunchtime ideas on the Feingold board so I'll post a few here. Remember to look on the always acceptable list to see if you need a brand name or if it's always ok.

hummus with veggies, chips, crackers, or pretzels
to make hummus just blend up garbanzo beans, salt, and if desired garlic and tahini.

"jello" blocks with juice and gelatin

Chicken, turkey, shrimp, egg, macaroni, or ANY salad with some crackers or rolls.

Protein balls made with nut butter, agave, honey, carob, raisins, approved nuts, coconut shreds, etc. Combine them all, roll into balls, and roll in something to keep them from sticking like carob powder or more coconut.

Cook chicken legs in bulk and send it cold in a lunchbox. I think any chicken would work for this.

Hard boiled eggs with salt.

Salad with cold meat, hard boiled eggs, or olives

cut up fruit in a container

"trail mix" made from odds and ends of old cereal and crackers

apples and cheese

apples and p.b.

homemade soup in a thermos

any dinner heated and put in a thermos

crackers, cheese, lunchmeat, fruit, let the kids assemble like a lunchable

Just about done and...yummy tortillas

I hope Andy is just about done with the nerds thing. His lips have a rash all around them from his sudden chewing and licking reaction. His hand thing has stopped and he's sitting a lot more today. I still see his lips going and he's smacking a lot. No more random "eek" noises though.

And...lunch today was tostadas. We warm up Ezekiel corn tortillas, add homemade refried beans, a little cheddar in a block with annatto, and some real sour cream with just cream. We usually eat this with a salad and homemade ranch dressing. This is one of our favorite lunches.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

NERDS, sneaking, and Andrew

Well, we'll just try to get through today won't we? LOL

Yesterday after orchestra (we wait for an hour for Alyssa to finish) Andrew started wigging out, a colors reaction, licking things, doing the hand thing, making random eek noises, etc etc etc.
The kids had just shopped with their Mozart money and I thought, maybe he bought something. I asked the teacher and she said no, I didn't let him buy anything cause he didn't bring his Mozart money today.
OK, so what the heck? We had a little talk, I reminded him that he was trying so hard to be honest and that I would be proud of him if he would tell me what he got.

He wouldn't look me in the eyes the whole time (another colors thing) but he showed me a small box of NERDS. I asked him where he got it and he said in the BATHROOM! It was on the floor and it still had 3 nerds in it so he ate them! UGH gross DISGUSTING!

How desperate is my son to fulfill his addiction that he has to eat 3 nerds from the bathroom floor? We had a talk about it and how they were probably full of "potty germs". We also talked about how because his body wanted 3 nerds that he would end up in trouble and in the corner for 3 days. He felt bad and we'll talk about it when he'll remember better.

Just thought I'd share for those of you who think, what could my child have gotten into? Hey, it may have been nerds from the bathroom!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ranch dressing

I've been asked to share my ranch dressing recipe. I don't have good measurements for this so hopefully I get it right. Mess with the seasonings if you need to.

1 cup real sour cream with just cream
1 cup best foods mayo (not lowfat)
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder or a clove of fresh garlic
1/2 tsp salt (add more later if needed)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP Bubbies pickle juice
stir all together for a great dip (for veggies or chips) or thin with whole milk or water for a dressing. Tastes better the 2nd day after the flavors melde together.

I love the squeeze bottle of mayo and we clean it out, thin the dressing, and keep it in the bottle for easy access.

A frustration

Today I just have a small frustration. I'm sure I've blogged about this before but I'll do it again and probably again later.
I'm frustrated when people say they tried Feingold and they've missed a lot of things. I realize with my kids, especially ds #2, that even the slightest infraction can bring on the symptoms again. So many people will cut out all visible petroleum but not realize all the hidden things.
Ds #2 has severe reactions to hidden BHT in tiny amounts on a package.
Or, if people did Feingold officially but never did the stage 1 or messed around with the () in the book. Many kids have huge reactions to salycylates or corn syrup. For us, we react to every () in the book except for calcium proponiate. I still choose to feed some salycylates although we react because the reaction time is short and they're raw and full of good enzymes.
I've heard a lot of people going GF/CF also to add to the good behavior.
We've done a lot more GF/CF meals since the celiac baby was added to our family and I've noticed a big difference with ds #2.
Also, pasturized milk products. When we get pasturized milk in the wintertime it's hugely obvious that we have behavior problems with it. We rarely buy it but sometimes we do when the goats aren't in milk. The hand thing comes back immediately in ds #2 and they all start to get ecxema.
I can see how when other people try what they think is Feingold and they don't complete it, that things just don't get better and they think it doesn't work.
There's so much more to it than the obvious. For me, absolutely necessary because once I saw the change I just can't go back to how we were. I feel like if I did I would be stealing life from my children.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

chicken and veggie alfredo

We made a terrific lunch today that just hit the spot. It has more ingredients than normal but it was very easy to do.

I boiled pasta (tinkyada rice pasta for us since we're doing more gf), and the last 3 minutes I put some chopped up broccoli in the boiling water.

While the pasta boiled I pan fried some premarinated chicken breast (in braggs aminos, olive oil, garlic and onion powder, 1/2 cup arrowroot or cornstarch, and pepper) in a large frying pan with a little extra olive oil. When it was cooked all the way through I added 1/2 cube real butter, about a cup of milk (you could use rice milk) and a spoonfull of real sour cream. The arrowroot slowly comes off the chicken and mixes with the milk to make a sauce.

I strained the pasta and broccoli and added that to the chicken and sauce, then sprinkled real shredded parmesean over the whole thing.

It was soooooooooo good and just hit the spot. We had all been craving an olive garden outing but we didn't need to with this dish.

Next time I'll make some breadsticks to go with it too.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Purple funeral potatoes...

We were gifted 100 lbs of potatoes yesterday. I was excited but imagine my surprise when I started grating and they were bright PURPLE!
I googled purple potatoes and found that they were Peruvian but are gaining popularity in the U.S.
My kids love anything with big color.
So, today we are having purple funeral potatoes, veggies, and Bryers Neapolitan for dessert.

For the funeral potatoes I raw grated a casserole dish full, added enough milk to almost cover the top, some real butter pats, real sour cream with only cream as an ingredient, and sharp cheddar cheese with annatto grated very finely. These all got mixed together and afterwards I'll taste and salt cause you never know how salty the cheese is. Some of us also like garlic sprinkled on it.

These cook for an hour at least at 350.

BTW, I use way less sour cream and butter and more milk than most recipes call for. I just feel like it's more affordable that way and I can have it 4 times for the cost of 1 normal time.

For lunch we had bagels and lunchmeat with lettuce, and a smoothie just for a quick idea.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One mystery solved and...a rant

Well, we went to get the orchestra stuff ready, hadn't played since Dec 10th, and I found a load of candy in Andy's cello case. I've told those gals who knows how many times that he's allergic to a lot of candy and they need to check with me first. They keep offering him candy at parties, usually when I'm there.
Well, during the Christmas concert the parents were watching and they had a party while the other ages played.
He stuffed his case there and was going to eat it at home. He said he ate it once (usually if he gets packaged stuff he'll hoard it for months.
so, that would explain his unexplainable freak out 3 days when everyone else was fine but he was off the wall.
We're to the point now where the people at church are pretty good but dang those orchestra teachers, college kids, they just don't get it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A list of ok recipes from another website

Lemon Slushie, use fresh lemon or approved lemon

citrus refresher

southern cornbread is ok if you use butter instead of margarine

multi-grain cereal is ok with no TVP

basic vanilla frosting is ok with real butter, whole milk, real vanilla

chocolate frosting is ok with real butter, whole milk, real vanilla

tomato, green pepper, and cucumber salad is ok with olive oil

pantry pesto is ok with olive oil, real Parmesan, and approved or in shell walnuts

homemade chicken broth is ok with just the chicken, water, and veggies using a minimally processed chicken.

homemade sprite

Sunday, January 4, 2009

yummy garbanzos

Today we had a favorite but a little different...

Usually I make garbanzos and serve it with a flatbread type meal. Since we've been going gluten free for my baby we decided to do an eggy pancake instead.

The garbanzos were soaked overnight, then thrown into the crockpot with hot water to cover. I added a pie spice sort of mix, turmeric, stevia, garlic, and salt yet!
Cook this overnight, then in the morning I added salt and cooked till noon.

For the pancakes (trying to replicate somewhat the concepts of injera used to scoop the other stuff) I used a gluten free pancake mix that we'd made previously plus 4 times as many eggs and normal to make them springy.
They worked great and were perfect for dipping and scooping up the garbanzos.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Beans by Marty, in a crockpot overnight

Here is how I cook dried beans in my crockpot without pre-soaking.

Combine the following in a 6 qt. crock pot:
3 pounds of dried beans - I use 2 lbs. black beans and 1 lb. pinto
1 tsp. cumin
3 TBS kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
3 TBS olive oil
6 TBS minced, dried onion
Water to within 1 inch of the top of the crock

Set to cook on low. These beans are delicious for breakfast.

Use the leftovers in one of the following ways:

1. Refried Beans: Throw into a food processor with enough juice to keep them moist, then heat.

2. For Chili, combine beans with:
8 14-oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
6 - 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth (approved or made yourself from a minimally processed chicken and/or veggies)
3 TBS sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 TBS cumin
4 TBS chili powder
1 lg. onion, diced and sauteed in 1/2 cup olive oil
Simmer on stove top for at least one hour for flavors to blend well, longer if able.

Friday, January 2, 2009

we're all spoiled!

I don't feel well today and in consequence, will be a bit snarky that ok with you all?

Why are we all so dang spoiled? Why do we eat the way we do? Can't we just eat what we need? What our ancestors used to eat? They didn't spend hours in the kitchen.

Breakfast=cornmeal mush
Lunch=leftover cold cornmeal mush squares with an apple
Dinner=lentil soup

The lentil soup was probably made weekly and by the time the week was done might have been nice and fermented. LOL

Why do we think we need a 3 course meal plus dessert for every meal? My kids have started to get into the habit of asking what's for dessert even for lunch. I'm tired of it. I'm done.

I didn't sign up to be a gourmet cook and a restaurant.

They used to be happy with maltomeal with water, a pb and j sandwich with water, and beans for dinner, A treat was when once a week we'd make carob brownies for family home evening.

OK, snarkiness done, now after I'm through being sick i have to do something about it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Another great article, thanks Frankie

Never mind the sugar! Are our children being poisoned by their sweets?

By Alex Renton
Last updated at 10:05 PM on 01st January 2009

How one father found his daughter's treats were full of additives linked to eczema,asthma and hyperactivity.

My four-year-old daughter and I sit in front of a great heap of sweets. Her eyes are alight, like a pirate's with his treasure: Sweets are her greatest passion. Just back from a friend's party, she thinks she's hit the jackpot.

But I'm going to have to tell her she cannot have any of them. Not a wine gum, not a chewy snake, not one Roses chocolate. I've been sitting painstakingly going through the ingredients list on the back of each jazzy-coloured packet - occasionally with a magnifying glass. Amazingly, almost all of them contain some additives that I've had to decide are actively dangerous to her.

These are additives that are banned in many countries, ones that our government's Food Standards Agency (FSA) decided over a year ago should not be in our children's sweets. But they are still on sale in every supermarket and sweet shop across Britain.

Alex Renton's four-year-old daughter Lulu with her pile of banned sweets

Alex Renton's four-year-old daughter Lulu with her pile of banned sweets

I'm no health-obsessed 'helicopter parent'. We don't hover above our children, banning sweets and sugar. In fact, I roll my eyes at the army of organic-only fusspots: Children can usually be relied upon to eat what their bodies need. A little pleasure won't hurt them.

But what I've discovered about chemical food colourings and preservatives terrifies me, as it should the most happy-go-lucky parent. British sweet manufacturers, I've had to conclude, no longer deserve our trust.

Six commonly used colourings in sweets, soft drinks and even children's medicines have now been proven to cause attention disorder and hyperactivity in children - not just those already prone to such problems, but all children.

What that means is that the notorious 'sugar rush' that we've all seen in children on a sweetie or pop binge may not be caused by sugar at all, but by obscure colourings and preservatives.

And there are added dangers from these completely unnecessary chemicals. My daughter, like nearly one in 20 British children, is prone to allergies: in her case, severe asthma that means a trip to A & E once a month during winter.

During my investigation, I found dangerous colourings and preservatives in famous names such as Cadbury Roses chocolates, Maynards, Wrigley's gum, Jawbreakers, Jelly Babies, Kiddies Mix, Refreshers, Lovehearts, Hubba Bubba bubble gum and Fizz Bombs, as well as a huge range of corner-shop sweets sold as Nisha's or Family Favourites.

Novelty sweets branded on Bratz dolls and cartoon character Scooby-Doo had them too. A build-it-yourself gingerbread house from the John Lewis toy department had more bad dyes than any other item I found.

If it's cheaply made and highly coloured, it seems, it's more likely than not to have an 'azo-dye' (a synthetic nitrogen-based compound dye) in it - and that includes all the children's favourites: the snakes, marshmallows and bootlaces sold loose in corner shops.

Cadbury's Roses chocolates

Dangerous colourings and preservatives were found in famous names such as Cadbury Roses

The chief villains - the ones everyone agrees are dangerous - are mainly colours derived from coal tar. These are known as the 'Dirty Six' and go under the names sunset yellow (or E number 110), carmoisine (E122), tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red (E129).

They're reds and yellows, and commonly found in sweets, jellies, ice lollies, fizzy drinks and many obviously coloured foods, such as icing on cakes. Three of them have been linked with asthma and other allergies. Many of them are banned in medicines, or must carry warnings.

All of them, government scientists now agree, can cause or exacerbate hyperactivity or attention disorder.

For my daughter - who's pretty busy, not hyperactive - the worry is what's known as the cocktail effect: these colourings combined with commonly used benzoate preservatives (which go under E numbers 210 to 219) may exacerbate other allergic conditions as well as hyperactivity.

The benzoates, according to the FSA, are thought to worsen symptoms of asthma and eczema in children who have these conditions - and they're banned in food products for the under-threes.

Yet they appear in all sorts of soft drinks, from flavoured waters to Scottish favourite Irn-Bru and many brands of cola. Amazingly, carmoisine colouring is in the best- selling children's pain reliever, Calpol - which we use during our daughter's asthma attacks.

You would have thought there would be no question over getting these chemicals out of our children's diets. After all, ponceau red, quinoline yellow and carmoisine are already banned in the U.S. and several other countries.

This summer, European Parliament members voted to overrule the EU Commission's own food standards agency, and demanded warning labels for the Dirty Six colours (these won't be introduced until mid-2010 at the earliest).

The FSA decided in 2007 to call for a ban on the Dirty Six, after research it commissioned from Southampton University convinced scientists of the risks. But the Government, under pressure from the food industry, vacillated.

It took until last month for ministers to agree to a much watered-down idea: a 'voluntary phasing-out' of the Dirty Six by the end of this year.

That's not good enough, says additives campaigner Anna Glayzer: 'History shows that voluntary agreements with the food industry don't work.

'As soon as the publicity dies down, the substances creep back into ingredient lists. And many of our sweets are now made in places such as China. How is a voluntary ban going to work there?'

Mother checking additives in sweets

Even the most happy-go-lucky parent should be terrified by these discoveries about chemical food colourings and preservatives

Irish manufacturer Zed Candy makes some gobstoppers, which it exports to Britain and all over the world. Many of the firm's sweets contain three of the Dirty Six, as well as a notorious colouring that's now rarely seen, E133.

It's called 'brilliant blue': it causes hyperactivity, skin rashes and is suspected of being a carcinogen. It's banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden. But it isn't even on the British voluntary phase-out list.

I asked a spokesperson at Zed Candy what the company intended to do about the additives. 'We'll change the ingredients in 2010, because we don't want to have to carry the EU warning label,' said spokeswoman Eileen Maher.

Isn't that a little cynical? I asked. 'We don't believe any of our products can cause harm in proper doses,' she told me. 'There is recommended serving advice on each packet.'

That's true - on the box of 15 Mini Jawbreakers in front of me, it does say 'Serving size one piece', in a typeface a third as big as that you are reading here. You suspect such advice may not carry much weight with the average sugar-hungry small boy.

But the most outrageous thing I found on the sweet shelves was in the familiar blue box of family favourite Roses Chocolates. Their ingredients list has been cleaned up: the E numbers have all gone. Now under colour is listed 'sunset yellow'.

This pleasant-sounding phrase is the layman's term for the Dirty Six colour E110 - banned in Norway and Finland, linked to all sorts of allergies, banned for use in food here for the under-threes, and supposed to carry a health warning if used in medicines. It is a version of the notorious carcinogenic Sudan 1.

E numbers

The chief villains are known as the 'Dirty Six', and include the romantically-named colouring 'Sunset Yellow'

I rang the customer helpline at Cadbury, which owns the Roses brand. 'We don't use any artificial colourings - all the ingredients are natural now, and chocolates have never contained them,' a helpful lady called Audrey told me. So how come it's there on the label?

Cadbury makes Maynards wine gums, in which I found two of the Dirty Six, but Audrey insisted: 'Wine gums are all natural now.' This is plainly untrue. When pushed, on Roses she conceded that sunset yellow 'sometimes can cause problems'.

Another large manufacturer, Glisten Foods, is responsible for a lot of the cheap brands sold in corner shops and newsagents - often using better-known names such as jelly babies. Glisten, which is based in Yorkshire, refused even to talk to me about its use of the Dirty Six colours.

Some of the big-name manufacturers have made changes since the FSA reported in 2007. Swizzel Matlow, which makes Refreshers and Lovehearts, says the sweets I found must be old stock - the Dirty Six colours have not been used in its factories since last April.

Cadbury, Nestlé, Mars, Haribo, Coca-Cola and Hartley's jams have all begun changing ingredients and boasting 'no artificial colours' on their labels. You may, though, question whether their use of the word 'natural' has much to do with your understanding of it.

Nestlé's large tube of Smarties includes the following 'non-artificial' colourings: titanium dioxide, carminic acid and copper complexes of chlorophyllins. Carminic acid, for one, is made from insects and has been linked with the severe skin condition urticaria.

It would be wrong to think that it's just cheap sweets that contain the colours. To my horror, I found that my father's favourite treat - Meltis New Berry Fruits, 'made to a traditional recipe' - is laden with Dirty Six colours. Posh sweets such as the Ambassador's brand, sold in John Lewis at £4 a packet, also have them.

Alex Renton

British sweet manufacturers no longer deserve our trust, says Alex Renton

This is all the more surprising because John Lewis has a policy against additives. So does Co- op supermarkets, which in 2007 issued a statement saying that it was removing 12 chemical colours linked to allergies and hyperactivity from all its own-brand products - from sweets to tinned peas.

Yet the Co-op seems to have refilled its shelves with other manufacturers' brands that do contain them.

This sort of cynicism does not surprise Action On Additives' campaign coordinator Anna Glayzer. Manufacturers exploit the public's ignorance, she says. ' "Free of artificial colours and flavours" is the label of the year - it's fashionable.'

I asked Dr Clair Baynton, head of novel foods, additives and supplements at the Food Standards Agency, why politicians have been so slow to act on these colourings.

The evidence, she said, was 'just not strong enough' to ban the Dirty Six colours outright - and sodium benzoate plays a useful health role as a preservative.

Dr Baynton insisted 'voluntary phasing-out' will work, after talks with British sweet manufacturers. 'We're happy that they have been moving ahead with removing those substances for some time. We'll have the European label rules in 2010. And from early this year we'll be giving consumers more information on the FSA website.'

But that's going to make very little difference in the corner shop, I suggested. 'I appreciate it's difficult where you've got children spending their pocket money without parent control,' she agreed. She hoped that local council trading standards officers would be able to step in.

To me, as a parent and a food journalist, this seems completely unsatisfactory. The manufacturers are, surely, just taking these risks to maximise their profits.

As their changes show, there's no need to use these colours - they are all replaceable with fruit-based or other 'natural' substances. These are not even more expensive. The only reason for using the tar-based dyes and preservatives is to get a longer shelf-life.

It seems the height of greed. And it symptomises the great betrayal of faith that these old and much-loved food brands have practised on the public for decades.

A good recent example is the fuss over trans-fats, widely used in the snack and cake trade because they were cheap, stable and prolonged shelf-life. Companies resisted replacing them until public and scientific pressure became so great that they had to - and now packets boast that they are 'trans-fat free'.

Meanwhile, the very language that describes food has been perverted. Ordinary terms that we can understand have been hijacked by the food business, with the tacit approval of government regulators.

'Words such as "natural" and " farmhouse made" imply that food is traditional and of better quality,' says Emma Hockridge, of the organic lobby group the Soil Association, which allows hardly any additives in products that get its certification.

'But they're routinely abused by the big food companies. Government says trading standards officers can police these things: but how, say, is Slough Council going to take on the might and legal muscle of an international manufacturing giant?'

What distresses me as a parent is that it's now demanded that I be a scientist and an expert internet researcher just to make sure my children are not put at risk by their sweets and snacks.

No one wants a family row over what are supposed to be treats. But I'm just going to have to learn to say No to my children.

Pure Facts newsletters

This is a new section of the feingold board that anyone can access. It has archives of the old pure facts newsletters. There are interesting articles. DO NOT trust the foods mentioned in old subscriptions. You'll never know if they've been removed or not.

A great article

Dye Dilemma
By Karen A. Stephenson

Color additives have long been used as a means of enhancing the aesthetic value of food and beverages and, in fact, archaeological evidence dates the use of them in foods to at least 1500 B.C. Many food coloring agents (food dyes) used today have been linked to cause cancer, hyperactivity and inattentiveness in children and asthma.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the dye industry produces five times more dye than it did fifty years ago. There's no denying that we are naturally attracted to color and this has played a major role in how food is unnaturally processed and marketed in developed nations since World War II. Many countries around the world have recognized the dangers of synthetic food coloring and have acted accordingly. Other countries such as the United States and Canada have not been as responsive in helping to protect the health of their citizens.
The following is a list of the most commonly used synthetic food colors. They are listed with their code number (FD&C and EU) and common name. Some suspected side effects, where they are found and other information is listed.
  • FD&C Yellow #5: E102 (tartrazine): breakfast cereals, jams, snack foods, packaged noodles, soups, dry drink powders, candy, pudding. May cause palpitations, hives and itching in children, restlessness, sleep disturbances, asthma and allergic reactions. This is derived from petroleum distillates
  • FD&C Yellow #6(sunset yellow): cereals, snack foods, desserts, drinks, canned fish, some medications, ice cream, bakery items. Possible side effects are allergies, abdominal discomfort, hyperactivity, kidney tumors and nausea. This is derived from petroleum distillates
  • FD&C Blue #1 (brilliant blue): dairy products, jellies, icings, syrups, extracts, drinks and candies. Cause of death in some elderly patients due to enteral (tube) feeding. Banned in many countries but not the U.S. or Canada. This is derived from petroleum distillates
  • FD&C Blue #2: E132 (indigo carmine): baked goods, ice cream, cereals, snack food and confections. May cause high blood pressure and nausea. Suspicion of brain tumors when tested on animals. Used in textile dyeing and printing. Banned in the EU. Derived from petroleum distillates
  • FD&C Red #2: E123 (amaranth): cake mixes. Documented cases of birth defects. Extreme small amounts have caused birth defects, stillbirths, fetal deaths and sterility in rats. Banned in most of the world, still used in Australia
  • FD&C Red #3: E127 (erythrosine): used in dental labs, printing inks and food dye. Found in candies, baked goods, condiments and snack foods. Has estrogen-like growth stimulatory properties. Significant risk factor in human breast carcinogenesis. Possible thyroid tumors and chromosomal damage.
  • FD&C Red #4: E124 (ponceau): donuts, orange soda, tattoo ink, cosmetics. National Cancer Institute reports that precredine, a chemical used in the preparation of this dye is carcinogenic in animals
  • FD&C Red #40 (Allura Red): snack foods. Can cause tumors, lymphomas and adhd in children
  • Citrus Red # 2: Injected into the skin of oranges to make them look “more” orange. Has caused cancer in animals

Some Evidence

  • In February 2007, The Brazilian Journal of Biology published their findings on tartrazine (yellow dye). They found a nitrous derivative known to cause allergic reactions such as asthma and hives. Tartrazine belongs to the ‘azo class’ of food dyes, and is also a possible carcinogen
  • .
  • In a 1994 study completed at the Royal Children's Hospital in Victoria, Australia, it was reported that there were behavioral changes including irritability, restless, and sleep disturbances associated with the ingestion of tartrazine in children
  • The Food Advisory Consumer Service in South Africa warns about the use of Sudan Red 1, also known as Yellow 14. It is an industrial, red, soluble dye used legally to color a number of non-food products such as waxes, floor polishes and solvents. It has been shown to cause cancer in rats and, although its use is not allowed in foods, the dye has been found in food products such as chili powder. Related dyes that are similarly misused are Sudan 2,3 and 4
  • A report was written by the Consumers International Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and submitted to the World Health Organization. This report shows that in the Philippines, fifty percent of children are suffering from malnutrition. The main diet for many of these children is instant noodles containing dyes tartrazine, FD & C #6. In addition to the medical concerns expressed above, tartrazine is also a sodium salt that in addition to the other salts in these instant noodle products, many find a contributor to ill health
  • The UK Food Standards Agency commissioned two studies in 2003. Both in-depth studies concluded that food dyes adversely affect children. Some increased behavioral problems included a lack of concentration, lack of focusing, interrupting conversations, talking too much and fiddling with objects or their own body
This 2003 study coincided with results from an informal study conducted with 8 and 9 year old students at a school near Toronto, Canada in October 2008. For one week, students were asked what they ate for breakfast and their snack and lunch foods were recorded. Behaviors were monitored throughout the day. Those students who ingested a minimum of three food dyes demonstrated increased levels of lack of concentration, restlessness and fiddling with their shoes or their own body.

Professionals Speak Out
Beatice Trum Hunter, in her book ‘The Mirage of Safety: Food Additives and Federal Policy’ collected numerous statements from various professionals speaking out against the FDA in the United States:

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio believes it is preposterous that millions of dollars can go into prevention and treatment of cancer when “current FDA practice is deliberately allowing an increase in the total burden of carcinogenic elements in our human diet.”

Marvin S. Legator, Chief, Cell Biology Branch at George Washington University says, “It is one of the biggest deceptions propagated by public health officials to say that a compound … has been around for years and there is no problem. It takes 20 years of latency before you can see bladder cancer in humans.”

The late Senator Abraham S. Ribicoff stated, “The chemicals we ingest may affect more than our own health. They affect the health and vitality of future generations. The danger is that many of these chemicals may not harm us, but will later do silent violence to our children.”

The FDA in the U.S, and Health Canada in Canada are the governing bodies that decide what additives are deemed safe for human consumption. Europe, Australia and Asian countries also independently regulate what products they feel are safe for their citizens.

Unlike Canada, the FDA and EU are not as sanguine about the use of chemicals in foods. Most artificial colors have been banned in the EU, some having been banned for over two decades in certain European countries. Canada has banned the domestic sale of artificial colors that they deem hazardous but interestingly, the Canadian Health Protection Branch allows imports of foods that contain these same banned food dyes. Making things more difficult for the discerning consumer, ingredient labels on Canadian produced food and beverage products do not indicate specifically what food coloring chemical (or common name) was used in the product. Usually, only the word ‘color’ appears in the list of ingredients.

Food Dye Bans Do Not Keep People Safe
Mail Online News in England reported in July 2006 that Sudan 1 was discovered as a result of routine testing in Italy. The Food Standards Agency in England admitted that people may have been eating it for years.

On May 31, 2007 it was reported in TheStarOnline that cancer-causing rhodamine b was found in various foods in China. Rhodamine b was banned under the Food Regulation 1985 and Food and Drug Ordinance of 1952. It's used in the textile and plastics industries.

“Street Foods”, written by A.P. Simopoulos and R.V. Bhat for the World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, report that banned colors (rhodamine b and metanil yellow) appear in many street foods in several countries. 36% of soft drinks prepared and sold by street vendors in Hanoi, Vietnam, showed banned colors. Rhodamine b and metanil yellow appear in sweet meats and candies in India. Non-food additives such as textile color agents have shown up in several food samples in street foods in Indonesia.

Every country has some bans on some synthetic food colors. The FDA was even quoted as saying “there continues to be a large number of detentions for illegal and undeclared food color additives, from approximately 35 countries.” Products such as Canadian mouse, Vietnamese sweet and sour mustards, Chinese strawberry creme filled crackers and Orange Fanta from Mexico are a few products that have been detained.

Bottom line, no matter what country, not all imports are inspected and caught immediately. Food colorants that are banned in any given country still have imports on store shelves with food and beverage items containing the banned substance. Trade agreements should not override health issues. In order for bans to be effective, they must be global.

Calls for Change
Meanwhile the US-based Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the FDA to ban artificial colorings that are linked to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children. It has also asked the FDA to require a warning label on foods with artificial dyes, while a ban is considered.

Food and beverage processors in the EU have until January 2010 to comply with new labeling requirements and synthetic coloring warning labels will be mandatory. Any food placed in the market before this deadline will be allowed to stay on the shelf until the sell-by-date has been reached.

Naturally there are Alternatives
There are numerous natural ways to enhance food color. Tumeric and saffron has been used for centuries.

In the UK, McDonald's restaurants use real strawberries to color their strawberry sauce. In the US, according to The Center for Science in the Public Interest, it comes from Red #40.

Kellogg's strawberry flavored Nutri-Grain Bars in the UK use natural color enhancements such as beetroot, annatto and paprika extract. Kellogg's in the United States uses Red #40, Yellow #6 and Blue #1.

Vegetable and plant extracts are natural food colors that are used in the EU but for the most part can't be legally used in the US or Canada as the FDA and Health Canada have not approved them.

Carmine has been used as a red food color dating back to the ancient Mayan, Incan and Egyptian civilizations. Carmine is better known as crushed, female, cochineal beetles. The process in producing this powder is safe and has been a viable colorant alternative for years. According to BusinessWeek Online and, carmine has made it into several products found on store shelves around the world such as: Yoplait yogurt, Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, Hershey's Good & Plenty Candies, Pepsi, and Nestle's Smarties to name a few.

Do Your Research
Ultimately we must be responsible for our children and ourselves. Know what goes into your body. Read labels, and if necessary, ask questions. Most product manufacturers have their website address on the packaging. There are also numerous, credible online resources that can help you. There's ample proof that not all governments are doing what they need to in order to minimize synthetic chemicals in our diet.

Karen Stephenson is a writer who lives north of Toronto, Canada. She enjoys spending time with her three teenage children and her husband. Karen is a social service worker and enjoys her day job working with behavioral children. She also writes for Suite101, an online magazine. Her favorite leisure pursuits include: outdoor activities, staying fit, pen-palling (with pen and paper), photography and watching NHL and world hockey.