I’m Back, And So Is Monday Mashup…Win a free DFD t-shirt!

Our dye-free summer vacation is over, and I’m completely exhausted.   It’s taking all I have to get just this one tiny blog post out today, much less tackle the mounds of laundry.  I will write about our adventures in Food Land this Thursday…you may be surprised by the reactions we experienced.  But today’s post is about a giveaway, and a chance to share your experience.

Today I’ll keep it simple and short – I’m bringing back “Monday Mashup”, on a monthly basis, on the first Monday of each month.  I’ll ask you a question and you can leave your answer with your blog URL in a comment.  We all get to share our experience, and more people get introduced to your blog, too.  If you don’t have a blog, go start one.  Just kidding, but please feel free to answer the question anyway.  Everyone’s stories are valuable.

To kick off this new monthly feature, I’m giving away some free DFD “This is me on food dye!” t-shirts.  This funny shirt was designed by children’s book illustrator, Sheila Aldridge, exclusively for DFD readers.  Perfect for back to school time.  I’ll randomly select THREE commenters from THIS thread and send them a free shirt.  The giveaway ends tonight at Midnight (Eastern Standard Time).

My question today is about eating out.  Whether you were traveling far away or just having an easy dinner out, I want to know –

What was your *best* experience eating out with your dye-sensitive kids?  Tell us the name of the place, the foods and drinks you chose, and anything noteworthy about the place or occasion.  Did you learn anything new?


What was your *worst* experience eating out with your dye-sensitive kids?  Again, give the name of the restaurant, the foods and drinks you chose, etc.  For this one, please describe the reaction(s) your family experienced.

Don’t have kids, but maybe you or another adult in your family react to synthetic food dyes?  Please, share your stories!  It’s not always about kids around here…I have a severe reaction to petroleum additives, too.

I like this set of questions because I am looking forward to hearing what others have experienced, and I always learn something from what other people are doing.  I hope you find some small comfort in reading about others’ experiences, and know that you are not alone.

Lay it on me.


15 Responses to “I’m Back, And So Is Monday Mashup…Win a free DFD t-shirt!”
  1. Melissa says:

    Our worst isn’t a restaurant, it was going to our county fair. Everything was neon colored. We have gluten allergies too, with another one of our kids, and we gave up, left the fair, and ate at qdoba.

  2. Marsha says:

    When traveling we stick with Panera, Subway and Outback. We have found that we can get simple meals that accomodate our dairy, food dye, caramel coloring, TBHQ, BHA, BHT allergic/sensitive son. Panera is a favorite… however some of their sauces have dyes, they are good about substitutions.

    At Panera, We stick with chicken on french bread (a basic bread) with fruit or chips, organic apple juice box or mango smoothie. (Some of our choices are also because of dairy allergy). I like that they have “fresh” food and nothing is fried. They are good about keeping the “book” of ingredients behind the counter. We have always had very good experience there.

    Our bad… although it should be a good one is Jason’s Deli – we keep trying there since they have alot of Organic food and make things to order. They never seem to have the ingredients and allergens in a convenient place and they never get the order right. I have had managers tell me (without looking anything up) that it “Probably doesn’t have”…. dairy and food dye. I flipped out… “probably” isn’t acceptable…

  3. Stacie jeffreys says:

    Eating out with our dye sensitive two year ok is tricky…but most places are willing to accomodate. Our best experience so far has been at a chili’s. There kids menus are pictures and there Mac and cheese option is labeled with Kraft labeling…so as soon as I saw Kraft I knew we could not get that. Our daughter kept asking for Mac and cheese and I kept trying to explain she couldn’t have it because there was color in it. The waitress overheard is and asked if there was anything they could do to help with the situation. I told her our situation an she said “well can she just have cheese? Because our cooks will just cook pasta and melt regular cheese on it.” PERFECT!!! I was so happy that there menu was labele and that they were so willing to make our lives a little easier.

  4. Hillary says:

    The worst experience I have had my child encounter was a dinner with his fathers parents. They took him to a Perkins. They ordered a bright blue slushee, but his grandmother was convinced it would be okay because it said it was made with juice. The dreaded blue mouth makes me want to scream! Blue dye makes my little guy aggressive, hyper active and all out angry. This is when we first started to learn about our dye reactions going beyond just yellow dyes. The next six or seven hours was terrible. I recall not being able to get him to go to bed and him hitting screaming and fighting for hours – behavior that is so not like my dye free child.

  5. Heather says:

    I have to agree Outback is the absolute BEST. Here’s my story… so, we’ve been darn near 100% Feingold Stage 1 since September 27th of last year. Therefore, that means that in all reality, Wendy’s, Arby’s and the occasional Panera has been our only options since those are some of the few on the approved Fast Food list. It was getting close to Mother’s Day this year and my father-in-law offered to pay to take all of us out due to Mother’s Day, and both my husband and his sister’s birthdays usually falling on Mother’s Day or a couple days after. (Husband was born on 13th and sister 5 years before on the 16th.) In any case, I’ve gotten much better at all this from scratch, homemade stuff, but being a full time working mom, when someone says “free meal on me,” well… you jump up, take notice and start researching. I called Chili’s, Olive Garden, Applebees, Carrabas, Romano’s, Longhorn, Marie Livingston’s… and well, Outback was the only one that actually knew where their ingredients came from, down to almost the cattle farm, as well as how the meats were processed, packed and shipped to their location. When I explained our artificial coloring, flavors, and preservative issues, they darn near bent over backwards to get us in there. Here’s what I find funny… just to have a SAFE meal out, here’s what I brought to have someone else prepare our meals, our own… hamburger bun, cheese slice, butter to cook everything in, bread (since that was one of the few things they do not make on premises), Horizon milk box, and my own desserts for the entire family to share. That said, eating a steak for the first time in probably 3 years (since we’ve not bothered because it’s not something my son could even chew real well till now), that was safe, sitting in a REAL restaurant with ceramic plates and metal silverware, as well as a cloth napkin…. surrounded by “normal” people… it truly was Christmas in May. I couldn’t have been more delighted if it has been Christmas morning and I was 5 years old again. My son was also similarly happy to experience being “normal,” or what we used to consider normal to be. The owner came out, after having prepared it all himself, on a separate grill so as not to cross contaminate our items, and made sure it was all perfect. When the meal was done and the actual plates and silverware had been removed from the table, we passed the container of white chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese icing around the table. Once we’d all had our fill, I left the staff at the restaurant with the remaining 6-7 cupcakes, a nicely padded tip (beyond the auto gratuity) and the biggest and brightest smile I had mustered in months. If the world had to have ended that night, I would have been one thrilled Mama!

  6. Heather says:

    … forgot to mention, my son ordered a cheeseburger and we ordered steaks, both with fresh green beans cooked in our butter. Our meats were only seasoned with salt & pepper. What we learned is that for all the effort we put out to protect our child from a danger than even our government won’t protect them from, if you look hard and long enough, you will find others that- even if they don’t fully understand why- respect your needs without making offhand comments or sarcastic remarks and will go above and beyond to make your experiences not just positive, but memorable. =)

  7. Christina says:

    We love cheese quesadillas at Chipotle and cheese pizza at Mellow Mushroom. Yum! Our big mistake was with strawberries. We didn’t realize they can although they are not always dyed red. Now we only by organic berries.

  8. Jennifer says:

    We’ve recently been working on nailing down the fact that my son is dye-sensitive through trial and error. He’d been dye-free for a couple months. We were at the zoo all day, and on our way home, we passed Wendy’s and on a whim I decided to drive-thru for ice cream. I got vanilla for my son, thinking that was least likely to have artificial dyes. Apparently, that wasn’t the case as the next few days were filled with tantrums and the emotional roller coaster so common for us. I’m still not 100%, but I can only guess that the milkshake or whipped cream topping contained some artificial dye!

    • It might be the fake vanilla flavor (usually vanillin.) Even though it isn’t a petrol-based, some kids react to it the same way, apparently. Or maybe the whipped cream had blue in it to make it look whiter (like marshmallows do!)

      • Indie Mama says:

        ^^ That. Yeah we found out that the vanilla ice cream that comes with Chick-FIL-A kid’s meals has yellow dye to make it look “creamy” colored. And we cannot eat the vanilla soft serve ice cream at Jason’s Deli because it contains fake Vanillin flavoring.

  9. I haven’t found a good place yet. My daughter LOVES the Japanese buffets, because she loves the fish eggs on the sushi, of all things. You know. Those bright red, yellow, orange, green, and black ones! Ugh. So we had to just not go anymore, once we switched to dye-free. (Although we tried her on their salmon roe one time, which is her #1 favorite – she’ll spoon it up like cereal, and she did okay, so maybe we can ease back in and hope they have those every time!)

    The worst time was the restaurant where my brain took a vacation and it didn’t even OCCUR to me to question the bright yellow “lemon” cookie in the display case. Doh!

    Biting the Hand That Feeds You

  10. Susan Alexander says:

    Best for us so far – Five Guys Burgers and Fries – “target” has plain burger no bun, fries, and sprite and is happy as a clam. Worst by far – McDonalds – she couldn’t sleep that night and ended up falling out of bed and hitting her head on the wall and busting it open.

  11. Terri says:

    The best restaraunt experience we have had is at the Whole Foods Grocery Store, they don’t carry any item with artificial colors or flavors. As soon as we pull into the parking lot my kids get excited and immediately know that they can eat anything in the store. On road trips and vacations we seek out the Whole Food Stores. They have a large prepared food section that is served hot, they also have various salad bars and buffets. You can take it to go or sit in their seating area to eat. While the cost is not cheap it is a relief knowing that we can eat a decent well balanced meal with a yummy dessert treat and not worry about the effects for the next 4-5 days. So if you see a Whole Food Store stop in for a guarenteed dye free meal.

  12. Tara says:

    We haven’t been dye free for very long and restaurants still confuse me and are a point of extreme worry. We have gone to Pizza Hut a few times and they have been understanding. Though the waiter wanted me to contact corporate and when I got anything bring it to them. LOL Isn’t it suppose to be the other way around? Although we did go for breakfast and DD got a waffle – it came with a bunch of sprinkles. I mentioned that they probably had dye and it promptly disappeared and another one without sprinkles came quickly. They were so accommodating it was nice. I love to read other’s posts because eating out has become so stressful about what to order/not to order and are we going home with the same child, or one that is going to fight me for a week? Thanks for this!

  13. Indie Mama says:

    Congratulations to Marsha, Jennifer, and Hillary! Check your inbox for info on your shirts.

    THANKS to all of you for sharing your stories – they help others, including me. 🙂

    Everyone feel free to add more stories here of your best and worst experiences eating away from home!

    And check back on the first Monday of each month to participate in the Monday Mashup!

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