Food & Mood

Halloween marks the anniversary of a bad scene. Many years ago Isabella apparently ate a ton of candy while trick or treating. I had sent her with her sister who was as diligent as an older sister can be on Halloween. The next morning Isabella had one of those outer body experiences akin to the Exorcist. This was not your normal tantrum. I made an emergency phone call on a Sunday to her neurologist. Though he is open minded, he is not particularly cutting edge. His estimation: it’s not necessarily the sugar in the candy, it’s the chemicals. I started googling. A lecture was upcoming for the Feingold Association. Ben Feingold was the reason I went into nutrition in the first place. Wasn’t it probable, not just possible, that food affected mood, behavior, and learning. My daughter’s conventional neurologist thought so. Where had I been those first years of Isabella’s diagnosis (more on that another time)?

So this Halloween and every Halloween following that one, Isabella still does some trick or treating, but not too much. She makes sure that we have candy for her without artificial colors and flavors and mostly dark chocolate. She sits on the stoop in her witch costume — mostly borrowed items for my and her sister’s wardrobes — happily giving out candy to the children in our town and their guests. She still has the occasional outburst, but not at the intensity of the one many Halloweens ago.

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