Monday, September 14, 2015

Red40: Adventures in food dye allergies

One thing we have gotten from the Whole30 is that Sophia is definitely allergic to food dye.

All of it really, but she has the most reaction to red40.

A couple of months ago we started to notice that every once in a while she would get really puffy cheeks and have a sort of rash on them. And then her trunk would have hives all over it. Of course she has sedative skin, always has, so we didn't think much of it.

She's always been a..hmm..lets say "spirited" child? So when she would get amped up and wouldn't sleep or wouldn't stop talking for hours on end, we blamed it on transition (we moved) or summer (no schedule or routine).

But then the hyper stints and the cheeks and the rash started to come more frequently.
It was one night after having 3 Shirley temples (seltzer and grenadine) that was the worst she's ever had it. Rash EVERYWHERE, itching so bad we gave her some benadryl just so she could calm down. Bouncing off the walls..I'm talking literally.

We narrowed it down a bit and I started to research.
Hyperactivity? check.
lack of attention? check.
Sleep problems? check.
lack of impulse control? check.
rash/itching? check.
gastrointestinal problems? check
snoring due to swollen airways? check.

So we experimented. And we started reading labels.

But here's the thing. Red40 or food dye or whatever they decide to name it is. in. everything.

We tried hard, but we're not always the ones feeding her so it happened a couple of times a week.

And then the Whole30 came along. Around day 11 I was taking a walk with her and she ran ahead and turned around and it struck me how different she looked. Like she was a different kid. What was it?

Her face was finally back to normal. While we noticed the puffy cheeks when they became red or inflamed, we didn't realize just how different she looked when she was just normal Phie.

And then as we got home, I started thinking back on the last 11 days, and realized that she was sleeping (Sleeping!!). She wasn't up at 5 every morning. She didn't come out of her room every 5 minutes for hours every night.

We hadn't yelled once that whole 11 days at her. What was this?

Oh right, she was eating only wholly unprocessed foods. Fruit. Veggies. Chicken. Pork.

Our middle has a food allergy.

We had plans to go to the doctor to see if she needs to be formally tested, but after being really careful for weeks, she came home from school last Tuesday swollen up like a balloon. They had fruit cocktail with cherries in it for lunch. There it is.

Today she was excited to go around the grocery with Luke looking at all the labels to see what she can and can't have. She's being a trooper about it, but I keep thinking about Halloween coming up. How do you tell a 4 year old she can't have most of her Trick-or-Treat candy?  We'll figure it out, she'll be fine. It could be much more life threatening and not just uncomfortable.

I hear there is a store in DE that sells specifically dye free foods for people who have this allergy, sounds like we might be making a trip!

But who knew this even existed? I'm just happy to figure it out, and to know that we can have our Phie, the one we know, back.


  1. Well that's awesome! I mean, not, but it's awesome how clearly you know the cause now, and how drastic the difference is! Yay Phie!

  2. Well that's awesome! I mean, not, but it's awesome how clearly you know the cause now, and how drastic the difference is! Yay Phie!