It was around Christmas of 2012. I had reached the end of my rope. Something had to change. I had to proactively do something…anything, to tame the chaos. We had just taken away my son’s birthday party for goodness sake. Nothing was making a dent in his behavior. I had read enough to consider that diet may play a role. I was willing and able to do or try anything. I didn’t even know what I was doing, but I was going to do something. I was going to jump in and sign up for this Feingold thing. What did we have to loose, it was healthy and no risk…let’s do this.
Well, of course when I said “let’s do this”, I was talking about my son. He was the one that needed it after all…not the rest of us. We would be along for the ride on a lot of things, but we weren’t all changing our lifestyle. He would have his stash of “safe” foods. Somehow I would cook two meals if need be. I could make this work. What ever it takes. Heck, there is no way I could afford to feed my husband this fancy special food with his big appetite! Absolutely not! But I’ll do whatever it takes to help our son. So off I went…shopping, reading, cooking. I also sorted out our pantry. I labeled everything that I knew was safe for G to eat with a green circle. Everything that was not acceptable for him got a red X. After getting over the initial overwhelmingness of finding my way down this unfamiliar path, I actually found it to be fun and rewarding. Our son was actually quite agreeable to the changes. I started cooking more real meals (not frozen or out of a box!) for all of us. Without even discussing or planning it, my husband and I both found ourselves going without our own staples (like ketchup on our meatloaf) in support of him. If he couldn’t have it, it didn’t seem fair for us to eat it in front of him, so we did without. We quickly agreed that our daughter would be put on the diet as well since we didn’t want her consuming the bad stuff either. But as for my husband and I, we were doing alright. I really couldn’t imagine eating full fat, full sugar stuff…I would certainly gain a ton of weight if I cut myself off of the diet, low fat, sugar free selections.
Of course the more I read about our food in order to better support G, the more I started to clue into the fact that maybe none of us should be consuming this stuff after-all. Even if our bodies appeared to be more tolerant to the garbage, maybe we were still being affected and hadn’t even realized it yet. Not to mention what affects we may feel from it years down the road. Then one day I came across Taylor’s Fuzzy Brained Mice on the Feingold website (http://www.feingold.org/PF/taylorsmice.html). In short it’s a simple kid’s science experiment showing the effects of yellow die on mice. I don’t know what it was about this simple experiment that finally got through to me when so many other publications had not, but it was my “ah ha” moment. We all needed to clean up our diet. I once again sorted through our pantry. This time, I packed up all those items with the red X and sent them to the local food pantry. I made a decision that I would not be making separate meals, there would not be a special stash of goodies for our son. The foods I bring into our house will be clean of all artificial colors, artificial flavors and petrochemical preservative. I am very blessed and thankful that my husband willingly jumped on board with me in this commitment. We would all embrace this change. We were all getting aboard this journey. We may not know exactly where we’ll end up as we continue to experiment with what works and what doesn’t for each of us individually. We will definitely need to ask for directions. We may come across some difficult terrain or even some road blocks, but we will continue to adjust, make corrections and keep going. Our house is now all on aboard.