I often tell people that I wanted to be the kind of mom that wouldn’t freak out of if my kiddo ate a Doritos off the floor or had M&Ms for breakfast. Little Debbie cakes, chips, & candy would be staples in my pantry. Juice boxes would have an entire shelf dedicated to them in my fridge. Fruit Loops would be breakfast on the reg & microwaved popcorn would be an after dinner treat.
When we first brought QMonster home, I was that mom. Our pantry was full of the “good stuff”. BUT I am not that kind of mom….anymore…
As time as gone on & we’ve found our footing as a family of 3, we have found that Q has different needs than your average child. After doing lots of Googling & Pinteresting, I discovered that some of Q’s needs could be met with a few diet changes. I mentioned it to JHub and he agreed it was worth trying. We decided to go 30 days without food dye (i.e. Red No. 4, Blue No. 2, Yellow No. 5…etc) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
You guys! THIS STUFF IS IN EVERY SINGLE THING…For example, Marshmallows are WHITE which in my mind means dye free….NOPE they have blue dye in them to make them whiter. Ketchup is some salt, vinegar, and tomatoes right? WRONG it also has HFCS for whatever reason. We literally wiped out our pantry….when I got finished reading all the labels and throwing stuff away we were left with about nothing. Thanks to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Fresh Market, I have since been able to fill my cabinets & fridge back up with “good stuff”–they make “clean” versions of almost everything! Not to mention I have found that majority of the “clean versions” are BETTER than the original (Do yourself a favor and try some simple Cheese Puffs…Not only are the DELISH but you don’t end up with orange “cheese” dust everywhere).
I am happy to report that was almost 90 days ago and we are not looking back. We have seen major improvements in Quin’s behavior.While the diet hasn’t overnight made him a perfect angel (He is a 5 year old boy, after all), he has come so far and we know that changing his diet has played a large role in these changes.
Avoiding the dyes and HFCS isn’t easy & we have had slip-ups. The stuff is everywhere. School parties, holidays, trips to the gas station, doctors offices, etc…the challenges are everywhere. We are in the process of teaching Quin how to recognize what has dye in it and why he should avoid it. He understands it, for the most part. I carry around his “special” suckers so that leaving the doctors office is easier (Because a Dum-Dum is a dr office staple for whatever reason). He didn’t get a cupcake at his class Easter party last week (Don’t worry, he had sprinkle cookies that he enjoyed). We had to put a solid majority of his Easter egg hunt “loot” in the NO pile (The bunny that came to his house filled his eggs with mini trains and Hex Bugs…he isn’t deprived of stuff, I promise!). I will admit that while we strive for perfection in Q’s diet, JHub and myself are less than stellar. JHub has a stash of Starbursts and Sweettarts. I have a hard time avoiding Cokes. We are not perfect, though I recognize we should do better for ourselves and for QMonster. I promise I am not popping a handful of M&Ms in front of Q while telling him no. I do practice what I preach in front of him & I eat his “clean” snacks with and without him (Typed as I currently eat one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had–Way More Chocolate Chips Cookies from Trader Joes–Clean and YUMMY!) !
I hate having to tell Q no when he asks for a “juice” at the gas station. It broke my heart when he told me he didn’t have a cupcake at his school party like all of the other kids. It is a pain in the butt having to go buy special Easter party treats for Q. It is exhausting reading all the labels and educating myself about the dos & donts and the whys and why nots. More than anything, I want to be a good mom. I want to sacrifice whatever necessary so that my child has the best chance at success. Despite the hard stuff, I will keep doing whatever is necessary to help QMonster live his best life. I will continue to be the mom I didn’t plan on being. So, next time you invite QMonster to your kiddo’s birthday party and I tell him he can’t have the Hawiian Punch, M&Ms, or a piece of the SpiderMan themed cake you will think I am weird. You’ll probably think it is weird that I brought him his own bag of candy, bottle of water, & cookies. That is ok. I will own the fact that I am the “weird mom” that is obsessed with my kiddo’s food!
(It should be noted that I am in NO WAY judging any mom that gives her child food with HFCS or dyes. Remember, I wanted to be that mom. I believe we all do what is best for OUR child. You do you! If you’d like to read more about dyes and why we removed them from Q’s diet, you can read this article!)