Valentine's Day and the Allergic Kid – What do you Miss if you cannot have the Typical Valentine's Candies?

I was raised by parents who rewarded me for everything with candy. For my parents living without candy was like not living at all. When my son was born, he was allergic to corn and gluten. My parents could not believe it, how sad for him to live without candy.

Soon, Valentine’s Day will be here and the problems will arise. Valentine’s Day and allergies do not mix. He is nearly four years old – he is like I was – addicted to these beautiful looking candies. However, let’s face it. Is he really to be pitied because he cannot eat every candy or is it just that our generation – like our parents before us – are addicted to sugar and sweets?

Let’s start with the ingredients in most candies – genetically modified ingredients, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives along with a host of ingredients which aren’t healthy for anyone, allergies or not.

The artificial dyes used in a wide variety of candies are especially hazardous for your health. Red dye 3, for instance, causes thyroid tumors in rats and is suspected to contribute to the same in humans.

Yellow Dye 6 has been found to cause kidney tumors as well as tumors in the adrenal gland. There are also small amounts of carcinogens in this dye, which are cancer-causing agents.

Blue 1 has been found to cause cancer. Blue 2 has resulted in brain tumors in mice.

Green dye 3 is thought to be a contributing factor to bladder cancer.

There are a variety of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in candy of all sorts; for instance, high fructose corn syrup. This ingredient is often made from GM corn and ends up in many candies. High fructose corn syrup can be toxic in large doses and has been found to contain mercury in some cases.

Candy as well as other food and drinks that have high fructose corn syrup can cause high blood pressure, stomach problems, type II diabetes and can lead to lymphoma and liver and pancreatic cancer.

Other health problems linked to high fructose corn syrup include memory loss, decreased cognitive abilities and macular degeneration – and in a study, rats who were fed this ingredient became sterile by the third generation!

Sugar may come from a natural source, but then again, so does heroin – natural doesn’t always mean healthy. White sugar is a heavily refined product which is alien to our bodies and can have addictive effects on some people.

Sugar doesn’t cause problems right away, but over time it can cause a host of diseases, including heart problems and arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure as well as possibly cancer. It can also have effects on your mental health, namely depression and senility and attention deficit disorder; not to mention what it can do to your teeth! Additionally, sugar has been linked to endocrine damage, causing serious problems for the pancreas and adrenal glands. While sugar doesn’t always cause these problems, it often does in the quantities that we tend to eat of this ingredient.

As you already know, Valentine’s Day isn’t the best holiday for children (or adults) with allergies, but there are corn and gluten free candies available for people with allergies and candies from Laerbars, Reeds and Lindt, are available. However, you can also make your own; recipes are easy to find and it’s one way to be sure of what your child is getting in their treats.

Kids learn quickly, so explain to them about the negative effect of corn. So, are you really missing anything – NO – you miss nothing, absolutely nothing.

Valentine’s Day candy looks great, but it’s anything but healthy, especially for kids. For my part, I’m glad that my son can’t have all the candy I did growing up for the sake of his health. My parents still sigh occasionally about my son’s allergies and candies, but I tell them that the health problems which have plagued my family probably have a great deal to do with diet – and not being able to have candy may actually be the very best thing for him. So, lucky him.

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