So, many of you may be asking “What is this Feingold thing anyway?”
The Feingold Association is a non-profit organization founded back in 1976 in order to educate the public on foods and synthetic additives within our foods and their affects on learning, behavior and various other health conditions. One of the comforting and deciding factors for me in deciding to buy into this program was the word “non-profit”. So, maybe they weren’t just out to make money from me after all! The Association is actually comprised of professionals, parents and volunteers who dig deep into food ingredients, packaging, handling and more to ensure their recommended brands and products from the supermarket shelves are free of artificial ingredients. They contact manufactures who provide in depth information and complete disclosure forms regarding their products. The association then reviews and compiles a list of “clean” products to families like mine. The shopping guide is actually over 300 pages and includes many many items that I find right on the shelves of the stores that I have always shopped! There is no way that I could or would want to do that research on my own. Reading and trying to understand a typical packaged food ingredient list sends my head in circles.
The diet is implemented in two stages. In stage one we eliminated all artificial colors, artificial flavors, petrochemical preservatives, and some natural foods including some fruits and vegetables that have chemical compositions similar to aspirin (these are called salicylate). After many weeks of consistent, improved behavior, you then can move on to stage two where we start to reintroduce the natural salicylate foods and monitor their affects. Each individual’s sensitivity to these foods can and will vary. Some foods, though they are pure and natural may cause reactive behavior in some and will need to be avoided still.
We eagerly began stage one armed with the provided shopping list and within days, we experienced a night and day difference in the child we saw at home. He was calm, peaceful, helpful, acted quickly when assigned at task. We had a brand new base line of behavior. All these years I had been pulling my hair out and the solution could be this simple? I was overcome with emotion. I was excited and thankful that we were seeing brighter days, that we were seeing changes so soon. But on the other hand I was upset with myself that it took me so long to get to this point. So much unnecessary arguing, discipline and frustration. All this time, there was an even sweeter boy than I already knew trapped inside a body that was uncontrollable under the influence of all the chemicals I had been unknowingly feeding his whole life. Things were hunky dory for about 3 weeks, until “The Cupcake“. We then learned that this “diet” was not something that could casually be set aside for holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions. You see, the effects of that single cupcake lasted FIVE whole days! This was going to have to be a 100% commitment, 100% of the time. But don’t worry, he’s not going without cupcakes. In fact he has a very special cupcake that lives in the freezer of the school office for the next birthday cupcake celebrations. It is homemade with love…from scratch…with real butter…real vanilla extract…real cocoa and absolutely no artificial colors, or flavors. I’d say he gets to enjoy an even better cupcake than the rest of his classmates!
We had struck gold in finding this new “diet”. We would also soon find that this diet is not a “one size fits all” plan…stay tuned for some fine tuning.