Every wonder why we wake up irritable? Ever wonder why your sweet child wakes up in a bad mood?
I have one that is super positive. She always sees the world through rose-colored glasses, literally and figuratively, but, after age 3, she kept waking up in a terrible mood! After much trial and error I came up with a plan that has completely changed our lives. She no longer wakes up crabby Kathy, she wakes up, hugs me, kisses my face off and says, “I love you, Mommy!” Every single day! Unless I miss one of these essential ingredients.
Here’s what I do: (this is for all ages, not just kids)
1. No Artificial ingredients!
This is not fun for a lot of people who love their artificial sweeteners and colored foods, but studies show that artificial ingredients can cause irritability and anger, among other behavioral issues like depression, insomnia and anxiety.
According to this article in the UK’s Daily Mail, irritability, temper outbursts, oppositional defiance, restlessness and difficulty falling asleep are the main behavioral effects of additives. But parents rarely realize that food chemicals can be associated with many other effects including arguing with siblings, making silly noises, speech delay, anxiety, depression or difficulty concentrating. Additive-free children are generally calmer, happier and more cooperative.
I have found this to be 100% true with myself and my children. Eliminating these ingredients will bring peace to your home.
Which Additives Do We Need To Look Out For?
Artificial Colors (in sweets, drinks, takeaways, cereals and many processed foods)
- 102 tartrazine,
- 104 quinoline yellow,
- 107 yellow 2G,
- 110 sunset yellow,
- 122 azorubine,
- 123 amaranth,
- 124 ponceau red,
- 127 erythrosine,
- 128 red 2G,
- 129 allura red,
- 132 indigotine,
- 133 brilliant blue,
- 142 green S,
- 151 brilliant black,
- 155 chocolate brown Natural color,
- 160b annatto (in yoghurts, ice creams, popcorn etc, 160a is a safe alternative)
- Preservatives 200-203 sorbates (in margarine, dips, cakes, fruit products)
- 210-213 benzoates (in juices, soft drinks, cordials, syrups, medications)
- 220-228 sulphites (in dried fruit, fruit drinks, sausages, and many others)
- 280-283 propionates (in bread, crumpets, bakery products)
- 249-252 nitrates, nitrites (in processed meats like ham)
- Synthetic antioxidants (in margarines, vegetable oils, fried foods, snacks, biscuits, etc)
- 310-312 Gallates, 319-320 TBHQ, BHA, BHT (306-309 are safe alternatives)
- Flavor enhancers (in flavored crackers, snacks, takeaways, instant noodles, soups) 621 MSG 627, 631, 635 disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, ribonucleotides
- Table compiled by Sue Dengate, author of the bestselling book and film ‘Fed Up: Understanding how food affects your child and what you can do about it.’
- And about the artificial sweeteners…Scientists have repeatedly proven that excess phenylalanine in the brain blocks the normal production of serotonin, which leads to emotional disorders such as depression, PMS, insomnia and sexual dysfunction–all modern epidemics.
- ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS CAN CAUSE INSOMNIA and depression which will lead to irritability quickly, not to mention that they actually cause weight gain! Read more on that here.
2. The next thing I do is probiotics.
This one is a must for bringing peace to an irritable countenance. Probiotics are truly amazing. Our health begins in our guts, as you know, and we all need to add probiotics to our routine for optimal health. In a nutshell, probiotics are a vital component in eliminating toxins. They help us to stay regular, which is one of the ways we eliminate toxins.
They also strengthen our immunity by building up our good gut flora and killing off the harmful gut flora, which builds up over time, especially after antibiotic use and sugar intake. Sugar and antibiotics feed the bad gut flora, which can cause inflammation in our joints, mood issues, insomnia, digestive problems, like gas, bloating diarrhea and /or constipation.
Probiotics bring balance to our health and help strengthen our neurotransmitters. The exciting thing about probiotics is that they produce Gaba, which is the neurotransmitter in our brains that causes us to chill out. Here’s a great article from Psychology Today exploring that in more detail. Beneficial psychological effects of probiotics include lowered depression, less anger and hostility, less anxiety, and better problem solving. Finally, probiotics cause a reduction of substance P in your stomach.
Substance P is a neurotransmitter associated with pain and inflammation, and linked to anxious, depressive and aggressive behaviors. Our favorite probiotics are from Ultimate Flora. My 7 year old takes 15 billion per day. My teens use 30 billion and I use 90 billion.
When you begin probiotics, start out slowly with a 15 billion capsule. Initially you may feel more tired, gassy, constipated or have loose stools. These symptoms are the effects of detoxification. They will subside within a few days and you will begin to feel much better than ever after this phase. When increasing my dose I only add 15 billion, or less, at a time, 3 – 4 days apart until I reach the level that works best for me.
3. Another thing I do to keep crankiness at bay is to apply a mixture of chamomile essential oil and lavender essential oil onto our ankles or feet at bedtime. This remedy has been amazing at helping us all to wake up on the right side of the bed. I mixed 10 drops of each oil with 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil (grapeseed oil works well, too) into a dropper bottle or one with a roller ball. Apply a few drops each night. There are many good brands of essential oils, but please make sure you use organic. I like this brand.
4. One surprising thing that can cause behavioral issues is household chemicals, like bleach, ammonia, air fresheners and perfumes. I personally have a major chemical sensitivity to all of these. They all have caused me agitation, depression and insomnia, as well as anger, and tightness in the chest.
For household cleaning I use Eco Friendly dish soap from Seventh Generation and dishwasher soap from Seventh Generation. I use an essential oil blend of 15 drops tea tree oil and 15 drops lemon oil in a spray bottle of water for surfaces, and Bon Ami powder for scouring sinks, tubs and toilets. I also do not use traditional air fresheners, but instead I use an essential oil blend in a spray bottle to freshen up the room.
By adding these remedies to your life you will find a great peace will settle over you and your household.
Blessings to you and yours!