Want to have a nice Christmas? Switch your Candy Canes.

Most of us who have decided to give up artificial colors are getting pretty savvy about it. Most of us manage to check the labels of everything and are living our lives virtually artificial-coloring-free.  We do this because we know that artificial colors lead to hyperactive, unruly children. Most of us know that red is the worst culprit.

When I was pregnant after my first pregnancy loss, my OB told me that when I was afraid that my child wasn’t moving, I should drink something red, like red Kool-Aide. He said that that would get that baby moving, and boy was he right!

I have three children. They all respond differently to artificial colors. My oldest begins crying over nothing about a half hour after ingesting artificial coloring. My middle one throws things, becomes enraged, and screams at the top of his lungs with anger when he eats something with fake food-dye. My youngest, well, she turns into a spoiled brat. She gets bossy and refuses instructions. She climbs things and yells “No” with more perseverance than I’ve ever witnessed in a toddler. I get that toddlers are supposed to assert their independence and that tantrums are a part of it. Her tantrums however take on a whole new degree of intensity…

I can liken the intensity of her “food coloring tantrums” verses her “normal tantrums” to the difference of color intensity between these candy canes:


and these candy canes:












I will gladly settle for less intensely red candy canes if the end result is less intense temper tantrums, violent outbursts, and depression.

You see, the second photo is a picture of candy canes made by Tru Sweets, and they are made with natural colors. I know that I am not willing to give up candy canes for Christmas. It just doesn’t seem OK. Thankfully, I know that there are naturally colored candy cane options.

How your candy canes are colored can mean the difference between this kind of Christmas:











and this kind of Christmas:


  1. Shelly S.

    Thanks for posting this Dawn, I was amazed that someone out there had children who acted the same as ours. We don’t eat anything with dyes anymore. Our 5 year sold can morph into something altogether unnatural. We are finding also that she really doesn’t handle sweets period, tonight and yesterday was all about the tree and tree trimming with the family and it was quite a coincidence that this post was there with the candy canes we buy, and they are way better than the fake ones. Great post 🙂

  2. Dawn Babcock Papple

    Thanks you guys. Shelly, it’s not rare, just in my circle of friends, there are dozens of us who have children that are like Jeckel and Hyde when it comes to food coloring. Some of the sweets have artificial coloring but don’t look like it. For example, I’ve noticed more “titanium dioxide” which is a fake color in a bunch of stuff. It irks me how well they hide fake colors. At any rate, there’s hundred of thousands of mothers who have noticed it as well around the world. It’s why in Europe they mandated that fake colors must be labeled as such and why our FDA opened the discussion to the same kind of labels this past March. Unfortunately, they decided they still need to look into it. In the meantime, our purchasing dollars can do the work the FDA was supposed to do for us. 😉 Keep up the good choices!

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