Last Wednesday night I was lucky enough to secure a ticket to go along to Sue Dengate’s seminar ‘Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour’ organised by the Hunter Alliance for Childhood. It was a fantastic turn out with the auditorium at Club Macquarie bursting with parents, grandparents, early childhood educators and teachers. The first thing to grab my attention was the two tables set up with a variety of food packaging, clearly showing real natural foods and those that claim to be ‘natural’ and yet contain hidden preservatives and additives such as 160b (a ‘natural colourant that is highly reactive to intolerant children) and MSG and I was shocked at the types of foods containing these additives and preservatives while still claiming to be ‘natural’ a trap I now realise I have often fallen into time and time again.
It was the most fascinating two hours I have spent in a long time not to mention completely overwhelming having so many of our beliefs about good food turned around. White sugar not being the problem, the myth of fruit, the ‘natural’ colourant, broccoli, the fact that we routinely have an average of 20 additives in our food everyday, even if eating at home there will be an average of 19 additives per day in our food.
We were supplied with a fantastic brochure regarding behaviour, health and learning problems in children that can be caused by common foods. It breaks down three types of children, the quiet ones, the restless ones and the defiant ones, how health problems such as hives, eczema, headaches, diarrhoea, glue ear, asthma, tonsillitis and so many more can be traced back to food intolerances.
I finally had the difference between allergy and intolerance explained, an allergy being a medical event which usually occurs within 30 minutes of ingesting food and an intolerance which can occur hours, days or build up slowly in the system until a trigger will set it off such as a virus.
At the end of the two hours we were all left asking “so what can we eat?” It was that shocking but I consoled myself with the fact that our son’s behaviour was pretty consistent with other two and a half year olds and although we had drawn some parallels between sugar and his behaviour I wasn’t so concerned that we would have to start him on the elimination diet, but I can see how this would be very beneficial to parents with children with severe behaviour problems, constant irritability and or health problems. After discussing the shocking events of the seminar with hubby we decided that maybe sugar wasn’t our son’s trigger so we have been keeping a food diary since then with a note of his mood ups and downs and so far we are seeing some surprising patterns that will definitely influence our future grocery shopping.
If you haven’t yet read Fed Up or watched the DVD then you are missing out on vital information for your family. For a chance to win a Fed up pack including the original book Fed Up the Failsafe Cookbook full of natural and easy recipes for your family and the Fed Up DVD then check out our competition page for entry details.