Following Bunny Trails

“I don’t have ADD, it’s just that…OhLookAKitty!”

First Thing’s First, Check the Diet


Because we were told by the boy’s pediatrician, No ADHD medications at all until we can get in to see the psychiatrist (yay!), the first thing we need to work on is getting the boy to a functional point.   What I mean by this is, something has to help with the extreme hyperactivity and extreme mouthiness that is happening with this child.  The mad firing of impulses in my 5-year-old’s brain doesn’t allow him to know when to quit.  We decided to continue giving the boy fish oil, which is supposed to help brain development and is especially good for people with ADHD, as suggested in this article from ADDitude Magazine.  But I also decided to double check his diet for dyes, especially Red #40.  (For one of many many red #40 articles, see NPR’s website story, “FDA Probes Link Between Food Dyes, Kids’ Behavior“).

The first thing I did was to  read all the food labels in our cupboards.  I was feeling pretty proud of myself because I’ve never been too much of  a “cook from a box” type of gal.  I send foods like trail mix, or animal crackers, cheese sticks, fruit, and Danimal smoothies and 100% fruit juice boxes in my son’s lunch box (he hates sandwiches at school).  So far, so good.  But then I look at the animal crackers I’ve been sending.  (I mean animal crackers, it’s not like they’re oreo’s right?)  Red dye #40.   Then the sweet & salty nut mix, Red #40!  Then the Dannon light & fit I put into his all natural, healthy fruit smoothies… Red dye #40! (And if the yogurt had no red tint in it, like lime flavor, I found yellow #6.)   Doritos  even cool ranch… Red #40.  It’s hidden in all kinds of foods that wouldn’t necessarily be obvious.  Box chocolate pudding?  Why?  Shouldn’t the ingredient “chocolate” be enough to color the pudding brown?  After the initial shock wore off,  from the fact that I’ve pretty much been packing the equivalent of kiddie crack in my son’s school lunchbox every day…  I said to myself, ok this is it, no more dye in our food.  Lets give this a try.  That’s when my son walked into my room with a purple stained mouth.  Oh no, the popsicles!

 I noticed a difference in three days.  Not a miraculous, boy-now-wears-a-halo type of difference.  He’s still crazy-active and still makes his noises, and I still can’t take him to the grocery store without it turning him into a fit-throwing, demanding, monster-boy, and mommy turning into a sweaty, red-faced, frustrated grizzly bear.  I do, however, notice a big difference with his mouth.  Before removing the dyes, I swear that you could beat him within an inch of his life and with his last dying breath, he’d say something snarky.  (I use this as an example of the boy’s stubbornness, please don’t think we beat our children!)  It may be my imagination, though I don’t think so, but it seems that he has a better grasp on when enough is enough.  We use 1, 2, 3 Magic on the boy and it seems that he has spent very little time in “time out” since we made this little adjustment to his diet.  He actually stops his behavior on the count of 2.  Maybe the removal of the dyes has dialed down his motor enough to allow him to actually process that he is about to get into trouble.
A note on 1,2,3, Magic– (I couldn’t link to 1,2,3, Magic because they were all connected to book sales, so a brief description of the program is as follows…)

“1-2-3 Magic” involves counting your child for bad behavior. For example, your child talks back to you…you say “That’s 1”. They do it again, you say “That’s 2”, and again you say “That’s 3, Take 5” (or 1 minute per age of the child). Hitting is an automatic time-out.


Author: KenSea

Wife of 19 years, mom to a very active (almost) 6-year-old boy and very sweet 1.5-year-old girl. My blog takes a humorous look at the trials and triumphs of life with ADD and ADHD. Check it out at

5 thoughts on “First Thing’s First, Check the Diet

  1. Please try eliminating all sugar, and I mean all sugar for two days and see what happens. Again you will have to be nearly ocd with label reading. No hfcs no kinda sucrose for two days. Please try it for your Aunt Nancy.

    • Now I just have to get daddy on board! 😀 Thanks for the toothpaste tip, there was blue #1 in his old stuff. We switched to “Tom’s” natural (same price, yay!)

  2. My son has ADHD. He is on medicine now thank goodness but I think I am going to try the 1-2-3-Magic you described. He still has a problem controlling his impulses when he gets upset. I feel for you though The age right before my son was put on meds was the hardest I have ever faced, so hang in there.

    • Thanks for reading & following! 🙂 -I think my boy is just too little or his metabolism is too fast or something. The meds were just too much for him. His school counselor said that he is so much better with their one on one time, now that he is off the stimulants. (I should get that in writing before she retires this summer!) I think I’m just going to let him grow up a bit.

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