I was at the deli counter of my favorite store. “Do you have any of the Boar’s Head All Natural stuff,” I asked. (Meaning: the Boar’s Head All Natural line, which is produced without artificial ingredients, added nitrates, MSG or gluten, and comes from animals that were raised on a vegetarian grain-fed diet without hormones or antibiotics.) There were two guys at the counter. After telling me that he did, actually have both the turkey and the roast beef, the one guy turned to the other guy and told him that it was great that Boar’s Head offered that line. That he had never fed his kid, who is now seven, any type of cold cuts when he was younger because of the nitrates and artificial junk in it. The other guy goes, “Yeah, and now they know that the colors are so bad for kids. Sheesh. I’m glad there are better options out there.”
This was not Whole Foods, or even my local King Kullen, which has a Wild by Nature inside of it. No, this was Best Yet Market, which has a very limited organic selection, so these guys are truly just everyday folks. People who probably get all their “natural” news from the paper or from CNN. As those guys went back and forth for a while longer, I stood at the counter and felt so proud of myself. Everything I have been talking about for years was finally making it into the mainstream.
My glow got warmer when I got to Little Girl’s school and saw they had taped a copy of the WebMD article that discusses the potential link between artificial colors and hyperactivity and attention problems.
I’ve been at this healthy food thing for a long time. I know many people, even some of my friends, don’t believe a word of it, and think I am nutty. But I feel like we’ve come to a point where many parents — not just crunchy ones like me — are questioning why the incidence of conditions such as ADHD, food allergies, early puberty, eczema, and other digestive issues has skyrocketed over the past 20 years. Is it high fructose corn syrup? Artificial colors? The preservatives in vaccines? Artificial flavors? The environment? Hormones in milk, dairy, and meat? Or is it all of the above? I think it’s going to take another 20 years to sort it all out. For instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bailed on its responsibilities last week when it called for additional research instead of warning labels. Not everyone on the panel, of course.
Lisa Lefferts, an environmental health consultant who was one of six panel members (out of 14), who supported adding more information to food labels even though there’s not a perfect link between artificial colors and behavior issues. Her exact words, according to a news report: “There’s something going on. Parents know that. But it’s hard to measure.”
Until we figure it all out, I will take solace in the fact that I am not alone anymore. Other parents are finally on the journey with me, which makes it so much easier for me to feed my kids good, healthy, wholesome food. True, cold cuts aren’t exactly health food, but now if my little girl wants a turkey sandwich I don’t feel guilty about giving it to her.