The Penguin Walk For Knee Pain

If you have sore knees, try this exercise -  it helps to strengthen the muscles in your outer hips.  It's quite effective, and well worth the effort!

Recipe - Asparagus Hash Browns

Asparagus hash browns -- delicious, satisfying, comforting and all around YUM!

Did you know: Asparagus can be a powerful aphrodisiac and is considered to be one of the best foods to increase libido!

Nicholas Culpepper (17th century English herbalist) wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman”.

AND French bridegrooms in the 19th century were served three courses of asparagus spears at their prenuptial dinner.

Hmmm....Better get cooking!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red potatoes
  • 1/2 bundle asparagus 
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cut asparagus, potatoes, onion and pepper into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Add oil to a frying pan -  medium heat.
  • After the oil is heated, put potatoes in the pan and place the lid on. Remember to flip them regularly and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus, onion and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle on the garlic, rosemary, basil and salt.
  • Let the hash browns cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

(Have had this in my recipe files unlabeled, and I don't remember where it came from)

Herbal Help for the Flu

The "flu”...body aches, chills galore, nausea, vomiting, cough and fatigue.  You feel horrible and will do almost anything just to feel better so you can get back to your normal routine, because there is just no time in your schedule for this!

Instead of suffering needlessly, or turning to an over-the-counter remedy, why not try herbs?Herbal remedies can help the body balance out the symptoms and assist it in regaining its natural state of well-being, instead of masking the symptoms and fighting against the virus.

Here are my top 5 herbs for the flu season:

1) Elder Berries and Flowers (Sambucus Canadensis): Called “the tree of medicine”, Mother Elder will comfort you when you are ill, and will also help strengthen you when well again.

Paul Bergner, a respected herbalist, reports: “In clinical trials, patients who took elderberry juice syrup reported fast termination of symptoms. Twenty percent reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed a complete cure after three days.  Patients receiving the placebo required six days for recovery….”. 

The berries, made into syrup are a tasty and very effective remedy for both flu and colds, and seem to be well tolerated even when nauseous/vomiting.  The flowers made into a hot tea, along with Yarrow and Spearmint will produce a healthy, healing sweat. I have found that a tincture made of dried berries and flowers infused in brandy, along with spoonfuls of homemade elderberry syrup, make a quite potent flu remedy that the body quickly and readily absorbs.

2) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): A wonderful diaphoretic (sweat inducer) – opens the pores to let the heat out! Taken with Elderberry in tincture or tea, is quite effective at alleviating intense fever/heat. Yarrow seems to have an amazing way of getting deep into your liver to pull out the heat when taken right after a brandy hot toddie – the hot toddie gently “opens” the liver which allows Yarrow to get to the deeper heat and bring it to the surface.

3) Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum): Eases those deep aches and pains, induces a simple sweat and rids your body of intermittent chills.  Both homeopathic formula and herbal tincture are convenient and well tolerated during flu.  Small, frequent doses of the tincture (10 drops) at 2-3 hour intervals are quite effective, and are only needed for a few days at most. 

4) Catnip (Nepeta cataria): A calming and relaxing herb; will ease fevers and diarrhea, and help prevent dehydration due to its high potassium content.  Taken as a tea for best results. 

5) Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Also calming/relaxing, light sweat inducer, with anti-viral properties – very effective when fever is present.  Will help soothe your nerves and reduce your stress (flu or otherwise), and is highly effective at reducing the duration and painfulness of fever blisters (herpes virus). 

There's also the tried and true standby, Oscillococcinum (available pretty much everywhere) - this product will also help you deal with the body aches, chills, fever, nausea, etc. I generally continue to take this remedy for up to 7 days after all the symptoms are gone, depending on how I feel. It really helps deal with that residual stuff that seems to creep back in just when you think you're "all better".

Hopefully one or more of these remedies will assist you on your road to health should be you become ill. The biggest thing is to have the items in stock so you can easily reach for them!

Content copyright Yvonne H. Laine

Treating Scared Dogs

Celebrating our nation's birthday is a grand event - good food, parties, spending time with friends/family, and FIREWORKS!

I'm all for celebrating and having fun, and have enjoyed my share of fireworks in the past, however some members of my family do not do well on July 4th, or any other day where there are loud or high-pitched noises, and so I generally spend my day tending to them.

The family members with noise issues? My border collies, who DO NOT LIKE THE BOOM-BOOMS! One dog tries to hide, the other crawls up my leg; they both will pant very heavily, get wheezy or start coughing, sometimes vomit or have diarrhea, can't seem to think properly, and basically look to me to "save" them. It's sad.

Since so many dogs get pretty freaked out by noises of any kind, I figured this would be a good time to share how I treat my dogs when they get scared -- I'm sure there are a number of other ways you can temper these issues, but these things work for us, so here goes!

Note: The remedies I describe will also work for cats, I only have experience using them on dogs!

HOMEOPATHICS -  Ones I use most frequently and that bring the quickest relief for my dogs:
  • Ignatia amara - This is my go-to remedy any time they get upset/fearful of "stuff". This is one of the chief hysteria remedies, for grief and emotional upset; easily excitable; quickly change from happy to freaked out, with physical symptoms ensuing; alert, nervous, apprehensive, trembling from fear; hiccups and vomiting; diarrhea from emotional upset; hacking, dry cough; twitchy while at rest. Ignatia stops the mental anguish and helps them deal with the issue, doesn't "cure" it, just helps them shift out of blinding fear and brings them back to reality, allowing for their natural coping mechanism to come into play.
  • Kali phosphoricum - I use this one primarily at night for that wheezy-breathing and constant jerky, "running in their sleep" thing when I know it's due to something that's upset them earlier in the day. Kali phos is for stress or nervousness due to excitement, overwork, worry or anxiety (works really well for people when you're "at your limit"). When the sympathetic nervous system is ramped up. Calms them down immediately and we can get to sleep.
  • Chamomila (chamomile) and Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) - I might give one or both of these after the initial treatment, if I feel they aren't symptomatic enough for Ignatia or Kali p., but still need a little help.

NOTE: As with all homeopathic remedies, use the smallest dose possible, and MORE IS NOT BETTER! Giving more than what's needed may result in exacerbation of symptoms. Give your animal's body time to integrate the remedy before giving additional doses.  One pillule is generally all I give my dogs - their bodies generally know what to do after that!

FLOWER ESSENCES -  I rarely use flower essences as my dogs do really well on homeopathics - they work very quickly and they're easy to administer.  That being said, flower essences offer perhaps more longer-term corrective treatment that you can administer to strengthen your animals' physical/emotional constitution.

  • Rescue Remedy (use Kids' or dog version - no alcohol). This is the most commonly used flower remedy, being a combination of five different flower essences: Star of Bethlehem, Clematis, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose and Impatiens.  Each essence works well on its own, but together they create a powerful remedy - it will relieve your dog's panic, calm and soothe them, and, like Ignatia, gets them out of that crazed mode so their natural coping mechanism can kick in.
  • Rock Rose (single essence) - Relieves deep fears, terror and panic. For when your dog makes "a mountain out of a molehill".
  • Mimulus - For fear of known things. Restores self-confidence and courage. For fear of darkness, thunder, loud noises, etc.
  • Aspen - For fear of unknown things. Will be timid, run and hide or cower for any reason, as if they think something terrible is going to happen, but just don't know what.

St. John's Wort is wonderful for relieving anxiety, and helping their little adrenals to calm down.  You can use a regular tincture, just put drops in their water/food and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to let the alcohol dissipate.

Chamomile - tea (or tincture) to help calm your stressed pet, and help them relax. Add to their food/water in the morning and potentially throughout the day.

Vigorous play - I make sure to play A LOT with my dogs, all day long, to help them release their nervous energy and give their minds something else to think about.  Border collies are very focused animals, and tend toward obsessive-compulsive behavior, making it a real challenge to shift them out of fear mode.  Ball, frisbee and water play are great physical stress relievers for them, and gives their tweaky brains something else to focus on!

Brushing and massage - Yes, I pamper my dogs, so what?! Brushing helps calm them down, and helps me deal with the hair they lose from being freaked out; massage, well, need I say more?

None of these remedies are going to solve the entire problem, but should afford some relief to help animals through "trying" times -- can't hurt to try!

Lots of love to your furry friends!

  • LOTS of personal experience, and.....
  • Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs, Don Hamilton
  • The Veterinarians' Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs, Martin Zucker
  • The Healing Touch for Dogs, Dr. Michael W. Fox (this book is great if you want to turn your dog into a drooling pile of mush!)

Content copyright Yvonne H. Laine

How to Adjust Your Own Wrists

This technique is awesome and works really well.  I had carpal tunnel surgery 25 years ago and my wrists still get 'locked up' every so often.  I used to just pull on them, but adding in his technique of turning your head to the opposite side makes a huge difference in how my wrists feel afterward.

Try it -- you have nothing to lose but pain and that annoying feeling of 'offness'.

Note:  The real instruction begins at about 4:30 -- you can skip all the narrative if you just want to see the technique. :)

Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores - Part I

Canker sores and Cold sores -- do you know the difference -- other than they are both unpleasant, hurt like mad, take way too long to go away and generally can be found in/around your mouth?

These two very common oral issues are quite often confused with one another, but they are actually very different -- one is an inflammation/allergic reaction (Canker Sore) and the other is a viral infection (Cold Sore). Let’s explore each of these issues separately, with this article discussing:

CANKER SORES (Aphthous Ulcers)

These are small, white inflamed areas that turn into ulcers (open sores - sometimes with pus) and are generally found on the loose part of your gums, the tongue, and the inside of your lips and cheeks.

The following things can prompt outbreaks: gluten sensitivity, food allergies, dental problems, smoking, hormonal imbalances, biting your cheek, nutritional deficiencies and stress (physical and emotional); from my experience, stress and allergies seem to be the most common causes.

I get canker sores from food allergies/gluten sensitivity. Trigger foods for me: anything containing yeast (bread), chips, walnuts, dried apricots, dates, cantaloupe, oranges and avocados, to name a few; I have learned foods to avoid if I want to remain canker free, and how to treat them if they do arise (sometimes the eats are worth the pain!)

So what can you do to treat CANKER SORES?

Certainly, if you know certain foods trigger an outbreak, avoid or severely limit your intake, and if the sore doesn’t heal on its own, see a dentist or medical doctor. 

Some general recommendations:
  • Avoid or severely limit your use of potential triggers like: chewing gum, lozenges, commercial mouthwashes, tobacco, coffee, citrus fruits, sugar, walnuts, dates, processed/refined foods, and foods containing gluten. The additive SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) - a detergent - in toothpaste can exacerbate sores, so find one free of this ingredient.
  • A highly acidic diet slows healing, so opt for foods that will bring your pH balance into a more alkaline state, e.g. fruits and vegetables vs. animal protein.
  • Rinse your mouth several times daily with salt water -- it will heal and soothe the sores. I've talked with people who have had considerable success rinsing with food grade hydrogen peroxide -- makes my teeth hurt, but something for you to investigate and maybe try too.
  • The tannins found in tea are antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial. Try putting a wet tea bag directly on the sore several times per day, or use herbs such as St. John’s Wort, Raspberry, Peppermint, or Licorice to make a tea and swish around in your mouth several times daily.
  • Make sure you keep well hydrated (with plain water) to continually flush waste material from your body as it works to heal the condition causing the sores!

My favorite remedies:

  • Lysine (an amino acid) -- I recommend taking 1000 - 1500 mg at first sign, and then 500 mg daily until completely clear. This one gets a 5-star rating -- it is SO helpful for both canker sores and cold sores! Sold as L-Lysine.
  • Pau d’ Arco - this herb is wonderful for treating Candida overgrowth in your body, and can provide significant improvement of sores within 24 hours. LOVE this herb!
  • Vitamin C - high doses, like 3,000 mg (and up), in divided doses throughout the day, are needed to boost your immune system and fight any infection.
  • Calendula - the herbal sunshine herb, great for healing things in places “where the sun don’t shine”! Calendula dries up moist conditions. Take the tincture internally and/or put drops in water and swish around in your mouth 2-3 times daily.
  • Goldenseal, Echinacea, Oregon Grape Root - will all promote healing; find the one you like and put 15 drops of tincture in water and swish in your mouth, 3 times daily.
  • Homeopathics are amazing to work with also! Borax and Mercurius solubilis used in alternating doses are very effective at helping heal and relieve the burning, itching, inflammation and pain of canker sores! I like to use these in tandem with Lysine and Pau d’ Arco for the added “umph”.
  • Burdock Root, Red Clover, Dandelion, Nettle, and Garlic are beneficial for cleansing your body and offer infection healing properties. These are best used as part of a regular program of health and support, as they are generally slow-acting and nurturing.

Others items for support/healing:

  • Quercetin - a flavonoid that reduces histamine (inflammation). Found in abundance in apples and red onions (hint: the sulfur in raw onions is very healing to canker sores), and also in supplement form.
  • B-vitamins - essential for immune function and healing. Add in extra B3, B5, and B12 for greater support during outbreaks.
  • Zinc - enhances your immune system and promotes healing. Opti-zinc from Solaray is a great product for regular use!
  • Acidophilus, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, and Iron (do not take iron unless a doctor has told you that you are deficient!).

Building up your immune system is vital to helping your body be less susceptible to canker outbreaks; diet and lifestyle are critical factors, so be frank with yourself and see where you can make positive changes.

While there is no one “cure” for canker sores, I hope the information I have presented in this article will give you something to work with the next time this issue crops up.

Content copyright Yvonne H. Laine

Herbal Help for the Common Cold

So, you've managed to "catch" a cold. Bah! 

You try to go about your daily life, but you feel just plain awful -- people will even TELL you that you look awful – and you just want some relief!

Over-the-counter medications only suppress sneezing and mucus production, lengthening the amount of time the body needs to expel the virus.

Instead of suppressing or “fighting” the virus, why not try strengthening and supporting your system with some herbal helpers?

My favorite herbal helpers for the common cold (along with our friends: Garlic, Ginger, Licorice, Sage, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint) are:

1. Echinacea –Taken at the FIRST sign of cold and in large doses – this is where Echinacea is most effective.  Using 30 drops of the tincture every hour upon onset until symptoms cease is a favored and most beneficial dosage.

For that painful, irritated, sore throat - drip Echinacea tincture (30 drops) down the back of your throat (mixed with your saliva) every 15-20 minutes until you get relief; continue every 2-4 hours until all symptoms are gone.  You can also purchase ready-made Echinacea sprays that are convenient and easy to use (some are mixed with Goldenseal for the added anti-bacterial benefit).

2. Elderberry/Flower – Tremendous anti-infective herb for either cold or flu.  Elder contains antioxidants that protect cell walls against foreign substances; useful for upper respiratory infections and headaches associated with “the cold”.  Elderberry syrup is quite soothing and cooling to a feverish, worn out body – keep some on hand and take daily for immune support!

3. Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) – For those aches and pains, fever and chills; noted to work better than Echinacea for that “upper respiratory thing that won’t go away”.  Either the homeopathic formulation or tincture will provide excellent results.

4. Red Root (Ceanothus spp.) – This herb helps clear out dead cellular tissue from the lymph, increasing the speed of recovery.  It is especially helpful for those swollen/inflamed/infected nodes in your neck, tonsils, and the entire back of throat.  Additionally, Echinacea’s ability to “heal” is greatly enhanced when you add Red Root and/or Licorice to the mix!

5. Red Clover (Trifolium pretense) – Another wonderful lymph “cleaner”; has an affinity for the glands about your neck, under your ears, toward the back of the neck. Red Clover is remarkable for healing that tender node in your neck that shoots pain into your ear when you swallow, and helps clear up that drippy, irritating cough (thin and clear).

6. Mullein – The leaves of this plant are helpful for respiratory problems such as cough (those dry, rough, harsh ones that make your sides ache) and for that heavy, congested feeling in your chest (making it difficult to breathe deeply). Mullein works to clear chest congestion by moving phlegm and mucus out of your lungs, and can also help prevent a more serious infection from settling in.

7. Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) – Some consider Horehound “the champion herb for chest problems”; it is an effective immune booster and works best for non-productive coughs. It relaxes the bronchiole tubes, and loosens phlegm and mucus (cough it up!).  Horehound is beneficial for treating hoarseness and laryngitis as well.

8. Pleurisy Root (Asclepiasa tuberosa) – For that “wet” condition that has settled deep into the lungs. Pleurisy Root will move the fluids out of your lungs and disperse them through the body’s tissues, bringing up phlegm and creating perspiration.  The picture of someone needing this is lungs that feel “wet below, dry above” --- when you feel that soggy, wet sensation in the lower part of your lungs, but the upper part is so dry that you aren’t coughing up anything productive.  I have also found Pleurisy Root quite beneficial in turning around early stage bronchitis.

Certainly building up your immunity during the cold/flu "season" will be an added bonus to helping you fend off a cold, or at least help you have an easier time dealing with it, but colds happen, it's life, it's okay.  Sometimes your body just needs some "down-time" and an illness that makes you slow down or take to bed for a day or two is just what you need!

In any case, hopefully the information I've presented will help you move more easily through your next bout with illness, and help you support your body's process of healing, rather than fighting and suppressing the virus/infection.  Make plans to have these remedies on hand so you aren't caught off guard the next time those sniffles, sore throat and cough start in on you.

Be well!
Content copyright Yvonne H. Laine

Acupressure for Anxiety

Why You Might Want to Avoid Almond Flour

Personally, I don't do well on almond flour.  

I know, it's supposed to be a good substitute for white/wheat flour -- but I find it too strong in flavor, too dry in texture, and overall my body doesn't seem to digest it very well.  

I've tried, really I've tried -- all variations of recipes.  

After reading the article linked below, I stopped feeling 'bad' about my body's "issues" with it and moved on. 

Morning Stiffness - A Remedy!

Low back pain and stiffness upon arising in the morning could be a sign of DEHYDRATION!

TIP:  Take a 12 ounce glass of water to bed with you -- drink the WHOLE thing and IMMEDIATELY lie down (before setting the glass down) -- this is the important part!

If you get up during the night, repeat the process.

I've done this many times and it works pretty well.  Helps with whole body pain/stiffness, not just the back.  The only drawback is having to get up to pee in the middle of the night -- but feeling better in the morning is worth it.

HINT:  try taking some Valerian, Hops, Skullcap or Passionflower before bedtime -- if you do have to get up during the night, any of these will help you fall back into a peaceful sleep!

Here's to feeling better tomorrow morning! :)

Shepherd's Purse and Cystitis

For the basic attack of urethritis or cystitis, from food binges, too much booze or coffee, that strange white powder you snuffed a lot of at a party two nights ago, rabid and enjoyable sessions of sexual excesses that leave you walking bowlegged, or driving nonstop from Santa Barbara to Bangor, Maine, with only a bag of dried banana chips, two pounds of Nacho Flavored Fritos, and homemade salsa for food, in a rented subcompact with twelve traveling bags, a parakeet, and a four-year-old cranky child…your basic garden variety of bladder infection.

Drink ½ teaspoon of the tincture of Shepherd's Purse in a cup of warm water every three hours, lay off the carbos or burgers, and get over it. The more acute the onset, the better it works. Sluggish, week-long infections usually need stronger medicine.

~~ Michael Moore

Homemade Soft Scrub

Made another batch of homemade soft scrub today and got to thinking about everyone else cleaning their sinks/tubs and what kind of products are being used -- so why not put up a post about it?

I'm a closet chemist, and really enjoy mixing things up and trying to see how I can save money and still get good results from homemade products.

Now, I know that I'm not the only person who hasn't completely "converted" to everything natural and green, so I figured I would share this today and hopefully encourage you to step away from that store bought stuff!

Homemade Softscrub (from

1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup liquid dish detergent
1/8 cup – 1/4 cup vinegar

Mix the baking soda and dish detergent first, then add the vinegar. Adjust the baking soda or vinegar amounts until you have the consistency you like working with.

My comments on this:

  • WAY too much liquid detergent in the original recipe.  I read the reviews before I even started and everyone suggested using just a little bit.  The first time I used about 1 TBSP and found even that to be too much - it took a lot of rinsing to get those soapy bubbles out of the sink!  I added more baking soda and vinegar to the original mix and that seemed to even out the recipe -- now I add 1 or 2 tsp and that seems to do the trick. 
  • This works great.  Easy to mix up, easy to use.  Makes my sink all sparkly and shiny, and doesn't leave any kind of film or icky feel.
  • I add several drops of Rosemary essential oil to the mixture -- makes for a nice scent and fresh feeling.  

Herbal tidbit: when you breathe in Rosemary essential oil, it brings mental energy and clears your respiratory tract -- so a nice addition to a cleaning solution!

So, are YOU ready to start making your own cleaning solutions? This is certainly a far less expensive solution than buying the stuff at the store, and not only is it healthier, you get to have fun mixing baking soda and vinegar together and watching the chemical reaction bubble up in front of you!

How's that for having fun while cleaning!

Are You a CARB Addict?

I have been 'in recovery' myself for a while.....

Here’s an interesting take on the situation from Dr. Christiane Northrup:

"Women who grew up in alcoholic or chaotic family systems may have brain and body chemistry that is overly sensitive to the effects of food, and particularly to the neurochemical known as serotonin.

Serotonin is released in the brain quite rapidly when you eat refined-carbohydrate-rich foods such as most breakfast cereals or cookies.

True carbohydrate addicts cannot stop after eating a few cookies or potato chips. They don't seem to have a normal satiety mechanism in place."

[... and from personal experience I would add -- a traumatic or abused childhood, not necessarily resulting from the "family system"]

So, next time you reach for that delicious piece of bread, ask yourself if you're really hungry, or are you looking to soothe an emotional issue?  Be courageous and willing to give a voice to those emotions you are trying to squash by eating.

You are worthy of love and respect!

Your opinions matter.


Know that you are loved. 

Acupressure for Hiccups

The next time you get the hiccups and all your go-to remedies don't work, why not try some acupressure? 

Lie down or sit in a chair that promotes good posture. Place your middle and index fingers in the depression behind each earlobe. Press lightly and hold for 1 minute as you breathe deeply from the abdomen. 

That's it -- worth a try! 

Acupressure's Potent Points, by Michael Reed Gach

Artificial Dyes

There are a lot of colorful foods available to us, and while nature does provide us many beautiful and "healthy" colors of foods, it's the unnatural, artificial food colors/dyes that "grow" in labs that should be of concern to you.

We humans were not designed to eat crude oil, or many of the other synthetic chemicals that are added to foods, so reactions may develop depending on your body's chemistry.

Some people who eat artificial colors/dyes become distracted and have trouble concentrating (like Winnie the Pooh); get  depressed (like Eeyore); get bouncy (like Tigger); become irritable or compulsive (like Rabbit); become fearful (like Piglet); or get upset way too easily (like my son did).

Typically if someone is going to have a reaction it will be: a change in behavior, a change in the ability to focus and learn, or a physical effect such a asthma, hives or headaches. When I put my family on the Feingold program many, many years ago, not only did my son's ADHD become manageable, my frequent headaches and fuzzy-brain stuff disappeared!

By the way, colorings CAN be added to foods without resorting to crude oil; they can be made from natural ingredients, like: Annatto (a bean that gives butter and cheese a yellow color), Grape Juice, Grape SKIN Extract (added to lemonade to make it pink), or Minerals (iron oxides).

Now, when you see synthetic dyes/colors listed on package ingredients, there should be a color along with a number - e.g. FD&C Red No. 3. The term "FD&C" means it's allowed to be used in food, drugs and cosmetics. The "C" stands for certified - but it doesn't necessarily mean the dye is safe however; it just means it has been checked to assure that it does not contain more than the allowed amount of lead, arsenic and mercury (yeah).  "Uncertified" refers to natural colorings such as annatto and grape juice; the FDA doesn't monitor them (yet).

So, if you're going to eat something with synthetic coloring, make sure there is a letter/number combination, otherwise, put it back and move on.

The following "FD&C" dyes ARE allowed in foods, but.....

  • Yellow 5  - Allergists have reported for decades the serious physical effects in some patients, including asthma and hives.  It has also been shown to trigger behavior problems in children. (Lancet, Mar. 9, 1985; Journal of Pediatrics, Nov. 1994)
  • Yellow 6 - Can bring about hives, rhinitis, nasal congestion, bronchoconstriction, anaphylactic reaction, bruising, indigestion, abdominal pain and vomiting. (American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs, 1985)
  • Red 3 - Is partially banned because it was shown to cause cancerous thyroid tumors in animals.  It is prohibited from being used in the wax coating on cheese, but it is allowed to be used in foods and beverages.  This dye can also be used as a pesticide; it's sprayed on manure piles to kill fly eggs. (US Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Red 40 - Is suspected of causing cancerous tumors in test animals. Canada has banned it, the U.S. has not.
  • Blue 1 and Blue 2 - Approved despite controversy surrounding their safety. (Center for Science in the Public Interest)
  • Red 22 - Is not permitted to be used in foods, but it is allowed in drugs and cosmetics, especially lipsticks.  It can also be used as an herbicide, to kill marijuana plants.
  • Green 3 - One of the least used dyes, but increased various tumors in rats.  

My son was sensitive to Reds and Blues.  Eating anything with those colors/dyes in it would trigger a Jekyll/Hyde reaction that was impossible to manage, he became incapable of sitting still long enough to do any kind of seatwork, and his weird tics would come out.  Reactions could take days to balance out, and we were miserable.  He soon learned not to eat anything with colors because he liked feeling "normal"; he learned to read labels and ask questions about ingredients if eating away from home -- pretty cool for a then 10-year old!

The bottom line here is -- read your labels and make informed choices.  If you're eating processed foods and are consistently having "issues", move to a whole food, scratch-cooked or dye-free diet and see if things clear up.  It really is worth the effort!

For your reading pleasure:
  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a quite informative PDF that you can download for free, entitled: Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks.

  • Healthier Food for Busy People, by Jane Hersey
  • My Feingold files (