Dye free diet…why?

As most of us here know, Ryan had double brain surgery in December of 2013 due to seizures and MTS. Since then, he’s been on the original seizure medication and will continue to be on it for at least a year from his surgery discharge date. He was also discharged on what they call a ‘bridge’ medication. This bridge medication had it’s own new side effects of temper tantrums and hyperactivity. Because of it, I started to research what else could be causing the increase of behavioral issues. I was shocked to find that FOOD was the cause.


(Pina Colada) Pudding – Even vanilla pudding has dyes!

And not just any foods…but mostly snack food. The food Ryan loved the most. The pretty colored stuff. The foods that were made to look the best for kids Ryan’s age; Cheetos, Doritos, Fruit Snacks, Fruit punch, Fruit Loops, Pudding, Jello, M&M’s, Skittles, even some cookies, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, cake mixes, frosting, sprinkles…..I could go on and on listing everything he was eating that had been effecting his behavior – all because of dyes.

ALSO — if you’re looking into taking dyes out of your child’s diet, please please PLEASE make sure to look at the medication you choose to use! Regular cherry flavored Tylenol has Red (40). Grape flavored medications normally have the Reds, Blues, and some times even Yellows.

Red (40)
Red (2)
Yellow (5)
Yellow (6)
Green (3)
Blue (5)
Blue (1)


Cheese balls – Ryan’s OLD favorite!

Almost anything that came from a box or bag that Ryan was snacking on, had some sort of colored dye in it. After reading a few articles, I had to change his diet to see what would happen.

I started with little things – cereals for example – I started feeding him fruit for breakfast instead. When I did my grocery shopping, I became more conscience of what  I was buying by what the labels said. If there was anything with artificial colors in it, I put it back and didn’t bother putting it in my cart. At first, there were a few things I couldn’t NOT buy as I thought others in the family had to have those things…but in the last 6 months, we just don’t buy anything with dyes that Ryan would want to eat.

I’ve learned there are alternatives. And for the most part, those alternatives taste just the same or better and they aren’t more expensive like I always thought.

Some may laugh and think I’m crazy for taking dye’s out of Ryan’s diet. It’s too time consuming right?
Some may think I have no idea what I’m talking. I’m just a mom with no degree or college certificate, right?
Some may claim they can’t tell a difference when they have dyes in their childs’ diet.
I’m telling you what I, a parent that saw a problem and wanted a solution to it, noticed with Ryan and here’s why I choose to do this.


New Favorite: Puff Corn

He’s a totally different kid when dyes are taken out. His sleeping habits used to be even worse! With no dyes and because he is fed more fruits and vegetables – on top of more natural foods – he isn’t as constipated as he used to be. He sleeps better and isn’t waking in the middle of the night. He is more calm and has a better attention span than he used to when he was “on the dyes”.


Ryan has eaten 8 “Halos” in one sitting…

When implementing this into Ryan’s daily life with school, daycare, and hanging out with other families, I thought I would have a bigger issue than we did. When it came to Ryan eating anywhere but with me or at home, I brought extra snacks. I offered to bring extra foods to school and daycare just in case they weren’t on board to Ryan’s new dye-free diet. They hopped right on next to me and agreed with what I was doing. To my surprise, there were other families that were doing the same thing. When we go to friends for dinner and Ryan will be eating, I do the best I can to be sure there isn’t anything with dyes in the food.

Has this been overlooked at times? Sure! The worst thing that happens is Ryan has at least 24 hours of madness and a change in mood/personality. Not something I’m willing to put him through, so I do the best I can to keep him on track.

This dye-free diet has definitely been easier and more fun to watch him grow while being entertained, more focused, less constipated, and happier all around.


If you have any questions, please let me know. 🙂


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