I recently shared with you the dangers of artificial colorings, especially for children. By now, perhaps you’ve seen how prevalent artificial colorings are, especially in non-food items. If you are ready to take the next step and remove artificial colorings from your life, here are a few things you can do:
Read the ingredient labels of all the products you buy (not just food) and avoid artificial colorings. It may take a little time to figure out better options, but it is absolutely possible and really not too difficult. Health food stores are a great place to look for safer alternatives.
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has a Brain Food Selector that you can use to find information about the dyes in your child’s favorite foods. While you are there, check out their Smart Guide to Food Dyes for more information on health concerns for children from artificial food dyes.
If you need a medication and are not sure if it contains colors, you can check online at rxlist.com. If your medication is made with colors, contact a compounding pharmacy to see if they can do it without all the colors. A list of compounding pharmacies can be found at iacprx.org.
Natural Food Colorings Do Exist!
Natural food colorings are a way to add coloring to foods without the negative side-effects found in artificial colorings. Natural food colorings are derived from various fruits and vegetables and therefore high in bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and polyphenols which are beneficial when added to your diet. For example:
- Blue is often made from red cabbage and glycerin.
- Red is often made from red beets.
- Yellow is often made from turmeric.
- Orange is often made from beta carotene.
Where to Buy Natural Food Coloring
Here are a few brands I have found:
- India Tree Natural Decorating Colors come in a pack of three colors: red, yellow, and blue. They are sold at Whole Foods for about $20 and online at Amazon.com; however that link is for a set of two packages. Maybe you could split the order with a friend?
- Seelect Tea offers many colors in their line of natural food colorings; they even have some organic, vegan, and gluten-free colorings. Amazon.com carries a few colors and Nature’s Flavors carries quite a few more. Of course you can buy them from their website, too.
- Chefmaster has a line of natural food coloring which is also gluten-free. You can find them online at Baker’s Nook.
- Nature’s Flavors was one of the first companies to develop natural food colorings. Most of their food colorings are kosher, gluten-free, organic, and vegan.
I bought the India Tree pack of colors at Whole Foods when I made my son’s birthday cake; I was very happy with how well they worked!
Alternative Items for Parties and Events
When holidays and special events come around, it seems to also mean food with coloring! But there are ways to still have some sweet treats without the synthetic dyes.
- India Tree also makes many colors of decorating sugars (sprinkles) for the top of cakes and cupcakes. They even make some in the shape of snowflakes.
- Amy over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess wrote a great article with instructions on dyeing Easter eggs naturally.
- For more Easter egg dying tips, you can check out Organic.org.
I bought a pack of the India Tree natural colorings when I wanted to make my son’s birthday cakes this year. The following two cakes were made by me and the icing was colored naturally – even the painted-on flames!
How to Make Your Own Food Coloring
You can make your own natural food coloring by using certain foods. Some popular choices are:
For my son’s birthday last year, I used frozen blueberries to color the icing. I was hoping for blue, but as you can see it turned out more like lavender.
Here are some ideas for homemade coloring, by color:
- Green: Juice some vegetables like kale, parsley, or spinach. For a lighter green blend in avocados. Matcha Green Tea Powder also works.
- Pink/Red: Juice berries, cherries, cranberries, red pepper, beets, dark red tomatoes, pomegranate juice, chili powder, or paprika powder.
- Purple/Blue: Juice blueberries, blackberries, juiced or boiled red cabbage, radicchio, eggplant skin, acai juice, black or purple grapes.
- Yellow/Orange: Juice yellow beets, yellow pepper, pineapple, carrots, or turmeric powder.
- Brown: Coffee powder, cocoa powder.
Choose produce that is dark or concentrated in color. And keep in mind those fruits and veggies that are known for staining; they are perfect for making food coloring!
Wendy – ParentingTips365.com