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Monday Mission: Avoid Artificial Food Dyes and Colorings

Food Coloring is added to our food and beverages to give it a more vibrant color and make it more visually appealing. In the U.S. nine artificial colors in food are generally permitted with a few others being approved for limited use. Stricter guidelines exist in some European countries and Canada, which begs the question  – what are the possible effects of artificial food dyes? And for kids – how are food dyes and behavior connected? Here’s what you need to know. 

I find that the best way to raise awareness of how prevalent something is in your diet is to give it up.

For example:

One year I gave up white sugar for Lent. I had to learn to make my own bread and salad dressings, as it was nearly impossible to find them (on a budget, at least) without sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Another year I gave up all corn and soy products (and Twitter). I knew I’d miss tortilla chips, but I had no idea corn products were in my sour cream and cottage cheese. I found better brands. I also went gluten-free for Holy Week…and I was pretty terrible at it. 

Then the next year we as a family gave up all grains with an elimination diet meal planner for the first half of Lent and all gluten for the second half (boy, were we happy to see oatmeal and rice back!).

It’s amazing how prevalent gluten (and grains in general) are in our culture. I learned many new tricks for cooking and baking grain-free, including being gluten-free on vacation in Florida. Someday I’ll write about that…

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to avoid food coloring and artificial dyes in food and personal products.

Maybe for a day, maybe a week, maybe all 40 days of Lent. If you’re wondering about their effect on you or your kids, the best way to test them out is to cut them out altogether.

Food coloring ingredients include parabens, a hormone disruptor!

Although we’re not exactly a household drowning in artificial food coloring since I already make pretty much everything we eat from scratch, I really felt called to tackle the subject of artificial food coloring once and for all. Until this, I’d never really looked into the subject of yellow no. 5, red 40, and blue stuff that turns your poop green.

…That would be in reference to kids after snow cones with Grandma, in case you’re wondering how I know that!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Madiha Saeed, M.D., a board-certified family physician and best-selling author of The Holistic Rx: Your Guide to Healing Chronic Inflammation and Disease. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Why Avoid Food Coloring?

I wasn’t sure how important food dyes were for the real foodie, and I still have more research to do, but I’d been thinking about the subject for several months at this point. I’ve heard many, many success stories from parents whose feisty children have become like new kids after cutting artificial colors from their diets.

I started to wonder if my 3-year-old’s intense fits might have a solution somewhere in our diet, or if they just come when she’s too hungry, got to bed too late, woke up too early…or are quite simply a product of being a 3-year-old girl.

The nail in the coffin of the challenge for the Kimball family was when I grabbed some food coloring to test my new Berkey and noticed this:

Food coloring ingredients include parabens, a hormone disruptor!

See the parabens on the ingredient list?

Now instead of just, “These artificial things are certainly not natural and might impact children’s behavior negatively” I’ve got a hormone disruptor running rampant in my kids’ candy bags.

Time to get serious.

Jennifer Rees has some incredible info to share about artificial food coloring.

Although devoid of any nutritional benefit, food dyes are used to make oranges look fresh longer; to make candy look like oranges, and to make medicine taste like candy. The Food and Drug Administration, the agency responsible for regulating and approving food dyes, {somewhat disturbingly} explains their existence this way:

Color additives are used in foods for many reasons:

  1. To offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions
  2. To correct natural variations in color
  3. To enhance colors that occur naturally
  4. To provide color to colorless and “fun” foods. Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green.

Can you imagine the horror?

Why should I avoid artificial food dyes?

Some food dyes cause allergic reactions in people. Kelly Dorfman, author of What’s Eating Your Child? suggests eliminating food dyes if your child has a persistent skin rash that is not responding to other treatment.

Here are notes from a talk and an interview with Kelly Dorfman

In the 1970’s, a diet created by allergist Sam Feingold eliminated food dyes (and other synthetic food additives) and gained the attention of many parents who saw dramatic differences in their ADD and ADHD children after following the diet.

The Feingold diet has also been successful in improving conditions like Autism, OCD, Asthma, as well as neuromuscular and cognitive problems which we recognize today as Sensory Processing Disorder.

And if you don’t fall into any of those categories; Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., the co-founder and long-time Executive Director of CSPI, who was charged with evaluating the evidence connecting artificial food dyes and behavior problems, made an unarguable point with the FDA Food Advisory Committee:

Synthetic food dyes have no nutritional value benefits… they’re used primarily to trick people into thinking that a food contains fruit or other valuable ingredients. Dyes would not be missed in the food supply, except by the dye manufacturers.

If food dyes are so dangerous, why doesn’t the Food and Drug Administration ban their usage?

There are a lot of answers to that question, but in general, the FDA does not exactly busy itself with banning substances. The last time they banned a food substance was over twenty years ago.

In 2010 the US Government Accountability Office recommended that the FDA tighten up how it evaluates GRAS or ‘generally recognized as safe’ substances in our food. They made five suggestions, none of which have been acted upon.

The GAO’s recommendations are prudent; a quick review of food additives {the ones in italics are banned, everything else is approved} should be enough to scare anyone. You’ll see right away that this is a world where gentian violet is a problem child but formaldehyde is a star student.

If your child reacts negatively to ingesting food dyes, here is how to let the FDA know.

I have a vision. In that vision, the day after Halloween 2012 the FDA phone lines are flooded with calls from parents, reporting that their children are out of control and behaving abnormally. Could it be a tainted batch of candy? Well, kind of. Tainted, yes but not by a manufacturing error or evil candy poisoner. Tainted with food dyes!

The United Kingdom has severely limited the usage of artificial food dyes. Some food producers in the US actually make one product with artificial food dyes for Americans and Canadians, and the same product without them for Europeans.

Do you Really have Food Coloring in your House?

Sometimes I think that others expect that because I blog about real food, our house is probably a mecca of perfectly sourced meat, only soaked and soured grains, lots of produce, fruit for dessert, and butter dripping from the walls.

Ahem.

If you’ve been around KS for a while, you’ll also know I’m the queen of compromise and appreciate the 80/20 rule a great deal (that you should eat awesome 80% of the time so you can slack off 20%).

Our 20% consists of meals out, trips to relatives, an occasional ordered pizza, ice cream, and the candy that will not stop coming into our house.

Our kids are allowed a dessert after one meal each day, and they most often choose an item from their personal candy stash. Of course, most of it has food coloring in it, but when we compromise, we learn to look the other way (unless it’s really, really vital like artificial sweeteners – those guys don’t even come through the door!).

So for a few weeks here, even the kids will be sticking with chocolate candies and Breyer’s vanilla ice cream for treats. I’m curious to see if I notice any difference.

When I brought up the concept to my husband, since clearly we all had to be joyfully on board for this one, here are the items we found that we’d have to omit:

  • many candies
  • many ice creams – even a dark chocolate one I was eyeing up yesterday that was dressed up to be healthier/fancier
  • pickles. Yes, really.
  • toothpaste
  • my husband’s shampoo – he pointed out how ridiculous it is to artificially color men’s shampoo – like he cares a whit what it looks like!
  • eating out will be a challenge – which restaurants might have food dyes in their pizza sauce, ketchup, or other items? Then again, we’re going grain-free/gluten-free again anyway, so eating out is a challenge, period.
Here’s Jennifer again:

How are artificial food dyes typically used?

Red #40, Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 account for 90% of all food dyes used today.

  • Red No. 40 “Allura Red” Found in cereal, gelatin (use the coupon KS10 for 10% off!), candy, baked goods.
  • Yellow No. 5 “Tartrazine” Found in soft drinks, pudding, chips, pickles, honey, mustard, gum, baked goods, gelatin and other foods.
    • Katie sticking her nose in…mustard? I was just sitting at breakfast yesterday wondering if it was possible for mustard to be THAT yellow without dyes. Are artificial colors going to be hidden in “natural flavorings” or “spices”? I don’t think Leah and I would survive 40 days without it…I may have to learn to make mustard!
  • Yellow No. 6 “Sunset Yellow” Found in cereal, orange soda and other beverages, hot chocolate mix, baked goods and many other foods.

The other 10% include:

  • Red No. 3 “Erythrosine B” Found in candy, popsicles, cake decoration and other baked goods, maraschino cherries.
  • Blue No. 1 “Brilliant Blue” Found in ice cream, canned peas, candy, drinks, dessert powders, mouthwash.
  • Blue No. 2 “Indigotine or Indigo Carmine” Widely used to color beverages, candy and other foods.
  • Green No. 3 “Fast Green or FCF” Found in canned peas, vegetables, fish, desserts, cotton candy and other candy.

Another artificial food dye, caramel coloring, is problematic for two reasons.

First, it sounds innocent, as if it were made from caramel but it’s not. Some methods of its production are safe but others use proven carcinogens. Sadly, consumers have no way of knowing. It is all simply labeled “caramel coloring”.

How do I know if I am eating artificial food dyes?

Food labeling can be a shell game; re-naming ingredients to sound more palatable and less harmful.  A web search can help you decipher, but processed food loses its convenience when the amount of detective work to uncover what you are eating surpasses the amount of time it takes to make the food yourself.

Are ‘natural’ food dyes OK?

With regards to the causing adverse behavior, yes. But do you really want to eat an unmentionable part of a beaver or a whale?

It’s harder to know if you are eating ‘natural’ food dyes, because the labeling requirements are different. A food labeled “All natural” doesn’t mean ‘in its natural state’. It may be extruded, processed, and dyed; but done so using processes and substances the FDA has approved as an acceptable ‘natural’ substance for labeling purposes.

You may also be consuming a Cochineal Insect in your natural food coloring, called crimson lake, natural red #4, cochineal or carmine. In addition to being kind of, well, yucky; these beetles cause allergic reactions in some people.

Additionally, annatto is often regarded as one of the safer food colorings and is most often found in cheese. It creates a yellow or orange color and is created using the seeds of a tropical shrub which causes an allergic reaction in some people.

While both of these substances have been used at different times in history by humans as a dye; it was for fabrics or paint. Not as food.

Some natural food colorings aren’t questionable, like the ones Jennifer mentions here. My kids and I experimented with using food to give color to things like frosting and playdough with some success. Here’s a great post about dyeing Easter eggs without artificial food dye.

Are you ready to take the challenge and increase your awareness of how prevalent artificial food dye is? Ready to avoid it altogether?
Food coloring ingredients include parabens, a hormone disruptor!

Remember, even if they don’t seem to impact your mood or your kids’ behavior, food dyes are not food.

imageJennifer Rees is the author of The UnProcessed Kitchen, a blog dedicated to finding the best possible diet for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder. She shares wonderful recipes along with kitchen disasters and an occasional tirade against food dyes. Jennifer also authors BigBinder, a blog for parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan encouraging them to engage in cultural, culinary, and fun activities and events with their kids. She is also the Michigan Mom for MomTV.com.

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

42 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Avoid Artificial Food Dyes and Colorings”

  1. We were able to find natural jelly beans this year. They were called Jolly Beans. They have real sugar and are colored naturally (beet juice, tumeric, etc.) It’s still a treat and they kids actually didn’t want many of them, but at least we had jelly beans at Easter.

  2. Last night at my son’s midnight feeding I had a horrible scare. He started twitching in his sleep while he was drinking mommy-milk. I’m not sure I would call it convulsing… he never let go of me and his eyes didn’t roll backwards or anything but he twitched … a LOT … for like 10 minutes straight. I was so scared. He’s never done anything like that before. But he does have allergies; he’s allergic to casein and eggs.
    Then I thought about what I ate differently yesterday; I try so hard to be good and avoid everything we’re allergic to and not supposed to eat. Well, I splurged by going out on my own to Bob Evens (for free Wi-fi) and had a cup of decaf and a slice of their “cherry” bread. It was very unnaturally pink – marshino cherries. Probably *soaking* in Red #40. After reading your post I suspected this might be the culprit. I ran downstairs and scoured the ingredient lists of all the Easter treats I had prepared and diligently removed any item that could have Red #40. I probably should have removed all the artificially colored gems in there, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. (I had already promised my 3 year-old daughter her first taste of jelly beans.) But from now on I am going to be a lot more careful.
    Thank you so much for this post.

  3. Maybe I overlooked it, but do you have research/links or maybe doing a post in the future on what dyes ARE ok? From my limited reading I think annatto in cheese is ok. But when products say “natural coloring” or “natural flavoring” it might not always be a good thing.

    1. The bad dyes are the synthetic dyes. You will see them on the ingredient label as Red #40, or FD&C 40, etc. Artificial dyes can be natural because they come from a natural source such as annatto.

      There are those that do react to annatto, however.

      Synthetic flavorings are not good either. The most common one is vanillin.

    2. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Helen,
      The Feingold Assn. has so much info on additives; that’s your good source. As for colors, some people find their kids have to avoid them all, even annatto, or have some other reason for avoiding that (just bc it’s fake for ex.). Some people only have to avoid the numbers.
      🙂 Katie

  4. Angela via Facebook

    We got some last year for Easter. Shipping was more than the candy I think, but man were my kids excited:-)

  5. Angela Young – There are (pricey) lollipops without artificial colors – my kids were so pumped when we splurged on a bag! 😉 And Andrea Lance Lunde, my goodness, I nearly peed my pants laughing at that thought!

  6. Karen via Facebook

    My son is part of the small % that has a reaction to yellow #5 (which is why they always put it on the label). I just read ‘Twinkie, Deconstructed’. It has a great explanation of how they manufacture every ingredient, including dyes. Not too sure about his philosophy but his research into the chemical reactions is excellent.

  7. It has taken me about a year to switch a completely dye free liefstyle in the home. Outside the home when I am with the kids we also do not have any dye. Sometimes well meaning relatives give them dye stuff, and I notice it, when I am not around.
    A big challenge is restaurants. Basically unless you know for sure, like they can show you ingriedients list, assume the food has dyes.
    Seek out vegan / organic type restaurants as they should be safe (but still check.)
    Even a pizza from the local pizza place may have dye in sauce or cheese. Ask about everything. if they do not have dye free options ask if they can get them.
    We recently went to mideveil times and they use dye in their chicken seasoning and something else.
    This stuff is not food and should not be put into our bodies at all, ever.
    Also you mentioned your daughter is misbehaving after you took dye away, it needs time to get out of her system.
    A verse that helps me with some the of things I want to eat, but probably shouldn’t:
    1st Corinthians 6:12
    “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial”
    I think you will find the more you research these dyes, the more you will want to completely remove them from your entire families lives.

  8. Andrea via Facebook

    I’d like to chock my son full of red #40 and let him loose in the FDA’s offices.

  9. Angela via Facebook

    We have been avoiding artificial colors for a year now. My son is 4 and noticably affected by artificial colors. A huge uncontrollable tantrum followed by a breakdown in apologetic tears. He knows that is our grocery stores in America, that if the food is brightly colored, and prepackaged then we don’t buy it.

  10. Diana via Facebook

    Time for a petition! Pink Slime is gone, Just Label It got their 1 million comments to demand the FDA label GMOs, and Ewg has their petition to get the FDA to ban BPA. Time to make artificial food dyes the next social media issue!

  11. I haven’t taken the time to read the comments, but are you familiar with Dr Feingold? http://feingold.org/
    My son is very sensitive to food dyes and according to Dr Feingold’s work, if they’re sensitive to one chemical they’re likely sensitive to all. We can never seem to go a full week w/o an oops, and the dye can stay with them for 4 days!

  12. I just saw a link to making natural food dyes on pinterest. Here it is: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-ways-to-make-organic-diy-food-coloring.html?page=1

    I’m going to use these suggestions/recipes. They are simple and explained well.

  13. Great post / eyeopener. Our son Julien is very difficult. We went GF with him 3 years ago and have have great luck. Took the extremes from his behavior. But, I always feel like there’s more to it. Maybe dyes are it. I have an Aunt who has always been big on cutting out dyes – not sure why I never of removing them from our diets – they’re not good to have around anyway. Will be tough, but I can think of nothing more worth the effort, than healthy, emotionally sound kids.

  14. Hmmm… now you have me thinking… I would have thought that cutting out artificial food colorings would be easy for us, but I hadn’t thought of toothpaste, soap, shampoo… and a commenter mentioned cheese- yikes- I’ll be reading some new labels tomorrow!

    Similar to the vitamin comment above is the issue of medicines. I’m fortunate that my kids have only needed antibiotics a few times so far. However, this January, all 3 of my kids got raging ear infections. I’m sure that my daughter has trouble with red dye and when the doctor prescribed ammoxacillin (sp?/) I asked if there was a way to get it without the red dye and she said that there wasn’t… this makes no sense to me- why does it need to be pink?

    One more thing… if your daughter’s tantrums continue, you may want to consider foods that for all intents and purposes would be considered “healthy,” but just may not work for her. I have some very unusual food sensitivities and it has taken me years to figure them out…(for example, if I eat oranges, I become a very nasty extremely irritable individual, if I have tomatoes I get migraines, symptoms of a bladder infection, and a horrible “hangover,” and I break out in crazy hives from rice (which no one is supposed to be allergic to!!)

    If you have not read the book, “What’s Eating Your Child,” by Kelly Dorfman, I HIGHLY recommend it 🙂

    1. You CAN get medications without the dyes. Ask the pharmacist for suggestions if the dr isn’t aware of them. Also, you can use a compounding pharmacist who will make the med to your needs –without dyes and artificial flavorings.

  15. isn’t it a little counter-intuitive to put in extra work to soak your rolled oatmeal in an attempt to remove negligible amounts of an indigestible compound which interferes only slightly with absorption of heavy metals and minerals…..

    but you are unwilling to spend a little extra time to get healthy food dyes and happily write off consuming chemicals that are actually dangerous as “a compromise” ?

    while it is nice that you have the intent to learn more, it’s a little sad that you don’t want to put in the extra effort for a real problem but you will go the extra mile for a negligible one :[

    1. Katherine,
      I guess we’re all in different places on our food journey. I have tackled a TON of issues over the past 3.5 years of moving to real food, and for whatever reason, I just never ran across very much info on food dyes before. It was always an issue of amounts: a lot of time to make fancy homemade food dyes for a few times a year vs. 60 seconds extra per batch oatmeal 4x/week.

      I wish I could say we’ve had a tantrum-free 3yo now that we’ve been dye-free for 3 full days, but she’s actually worse this week than last…
      Katie

      1. i just re-read what i wrote and i’m sorry for coming off condescending :\ not an excuse or anything but i had glanced at your original post on my lunch hour and left a resource, then re-read the post back home and saw your 5 rules, and was honestly curious why the one and not the other. a long, boring day of volunteer tax assistance seems to have removed my filter :S

        that said, thanks for the patient reply! :] it makes total sense now. i’m not sure if it will help you make sense of your 3 year old, but our bodies take time to detox when we make the conscious choice to change from eating chemicals to eating real food…as i’m sure you know! and since you made the choice you can easily explain any moodiness or changes of energy or skin conditions you notice in yourself. maybe with your baby, since it was a sort of UNconscious switch for her, and because of her young age, the detox is manifesting in tantrums? not that i’m trying to say you drug up your kids on chemicals because that’s clearly not the case haha, but even small changes at such a developmental age can have an impact we might not realize. I’m so excited to be peeking in on your journey, and I wish you happiness and the best of health, and the patience to tough it out with your young one!

  16. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I’m very concerned about propylene glycol! That stuff is BAD.

    Last year around Easter, we went to visit my parents. I let the kids pick out a few treats while we were there, stuff I’d never buy them. The frosting on the cookies they chose had food dyes. We don’t have any food dyes or anything containing food dyes that I’m aware of in our home. Well, they ate the cookies. For the next 18 hours, my daughter was a wreck. (She was a few months past 3.) She had multiple accidents (which NEVER happens), she cried and yelled and was just…crazy. Not herself at all. About 18 hours later she was herself again. NO FOOD DYES. lol.

    1. Kate, my oldest also has an emotional reaction to food dyes, especially red. I realized how severe it was when I looked down at her screaming in my face and saw a tear leak out of her eye. She was absolutely panicked by how out-of-control she was, and it broke my heart.

      At this point we have got food dyes out of everything I know of, and most artificial flavors and synthetic preservatives. I’ve become an avid label-reader. It was tough at first, but now I know my brands, and I know where to buy treats. Artificial candies have given way to some fabulous gourmet chocolates. I cook more, and when I do buy, I buy better brands. We still eat out sometimes, but I try to make wise choices. As we’ve found our groove, it’s not that hard most of the time.

  17. Katie, I would love it if you could post on how to make your own Gatorade…the kind that comes color free are flavors that my husband won’t drink.

    1. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

      I have a recipe on my blog, on a post about adrenal health. It’s very simple and we make it all the time. My husband takes it to the gym with him.

    2. Hayley,
      This is the one I use: http://thecardamomspod.com/2009/05/homemade-laborade/
      Good luck! 🙂 Katie

  18. Christina @ Spoonfed

    Just left this comment on today’s guest post, but then realized it might more logically belong here. So forgive the double comment!

    I think food dyes are bad news for all kids, not just the ones who show signs. And they’ve been linked to health as well as behavioral problems. Bottom line, though, is that artificial colors are pure chemicals (derived from petroleum). And they serve no purpose except to manipulate. So, really, they shouldn’t even be in our food supply.

    I’ve actually written a lot about food dyes. In fact, I can really get going on this subject, LOL. So, Katie, in case it’s helpful as you do your own exploration, I’m going to link to two of my posts here:

    http://spoonfedblog.net/2011/01/22/the-color-of-trouble/

    http://spoonfedblog.net/2011/04/22/a-dye-free-future-we-decide/

  19. You don’t have to omit any of those things in your list. There is a dye free/artificial flavoring free/preservative fare/artificial sweetener free version of all of them. Those following the Feingold diet avoid them every day, all day. The Feingold Association supplies a foodlist of over 300 pages of such products. I’m a member and the website is www.feingold.org. There’s also a Yahoo group: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Feingold-Program4us/

  20. Patricia via Facebook

    We have been dye- and preservative-free for close to 2 years. It has made an immense improvement in my son’s behavior and in my daughter’s skin. (and BTW, we have to make our own bread now. Thank goodness for the bread machine!)

  21. Im definitely with you! I have had vertigo caused by migraines for more than two years, since right after my daughter was born. Through watching my diet, I realized that high fructose corn syrup was one of the worst triggers, but I was still having migraines/vertigo almost every day. Recently, I realized that food dyes were giving me migraines too and that it was in my prenatal vitamin (why?!). Since I stopped taking that prenatal and watching for food dyes about a month ago, I have felt better than I have in years! And, I realized why my daughter seemed to act out of control every time I had a migraine – she seems to be sensitive to dyes too! So, we’re going to join you in trying to eliminate each and every food dye from our diet and I’m excited to learn even more about them!

    1. Sara,
      My prenatal vitamin was the first place I really noticed them, since I had read that yellow no. 6 was particularly bad for pregnant women – this was WAY before I knew anything about “real food” – and I could NOT figure out why it was in my prenatal!!! Grrrr….

      Good for you to find your trigger; that must feel AWESOME! 🙂 Katie

  22. I am glad to see that you compromise on desserts. That’s something I’ve struggled with, but it’s certainly easier to let it go once a day!

    “Our kids are allowed a dessert after one meal each day, and they most often choose an item from their personal candy stash. Of course most of it has food coloring in it, but when we compromise, we learn to look the other way “

  23. Esther via Facebook

    I have been waiting on an article from you on this. I cut the food dye for myself. I still find myself shocked in where I find it. Cereal. Breakfast waffles. Pie filling. Mac and cheese. Cheese. Best thing really is to make everything yourself! Fish? Fresh fish? Seriously? They put it in beef to make it look fresh… Sometimes I am more than glad I went vegetarian…

  24. I recently stopped eating meat, fish and dairy for two weeks. Without those products it became abundantly clear what my diet was really like. Where were the vegetables? The fruit? The whole grains? I had to quickly learn how to prepare a plant-based main dish and how to avoid eating apples three times a day by having a variety of fresh fruit on hand. Though I ultimately decided to continue with animal products in my diet, leaving them out for even a short time was beneficial in that it forced me to learn new things, things that I am keeping in my diet now that the meat-free experiment is over. We all think we’re not eating that much of {fill in the blank} until we take it away and find out it was a much bigger part of our diet than we thought.

  25. Tonya via Facebook

    My son likes to have “movie candy” when he watches a movie. Florida’s Natural Au’some nuggets are a good chewy dye-free option.

  26. We’ve been dye-free for a while now. For birthday parties or things where we really do want a bit of color (which for us are infrequent), we seek out products with natural dyes like beet extract (did you know that blue corn extract makes liquids just as blue as Gatorade?!), turmeric and carrot extracts. We’ve found great products that we can stand behind for those special times. Also, European products generally don’t have food dyes. Something as processed as M&Ms or Nutrigrain bars are dyed naturally in other countries.

  27. Andrea via Facebook

    We have been dye free for over 6 months and the behavioral improvements we have seen are amazing. If we had not done this, our son would have almost certainly been diagnosed ADHD. Now he acts like a normal, high energy 4.5 year old.

    1. Andrea, every time I see a post like this in the last week or so it gives me hope. We are having some pretty severe behavioral problems with our 3.5 yr old son, and I decided this weekend that we are going to try cutting out dyes in his (our) diet and see if we can get the same results you are talking about. We have not started any kind of eval within the medical field yet, but if the behavior does not change soon, that is where we are headed, as his behavior is now affecting his/our lives (he got kicked out of daycare 🙁 )

      1. I wish you well. We began this journey when our son was 4 and have never looked back. I hope you will look into joining the Feingold Association – makes it so much easier. It’s a great support group and offers so much. Also, are you aware of Yahoo groups? They also have a Feingold group – not as important as the Feingold Assoc. but a great resource.

  28. I am so with you on this issue. We’ve worked hard to cut out dyes. Recently, I even found an all natural make-up – so now my face smell of cinnamon (I’m assume that’s the ingredient that tints the makeup). My kids also eat things with dye periodically, but mainly when they are not at home. I’m slowly experimenting to use beet juice as a color source at out house.

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[activeKey]
[activeKey]
[activeKey]
[activeKey]