Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Agony of Red Dye #40

There is nothing to blog about today.  I have not eaten and I dare not eat.  I was up all night with ..."tummy troubles".  I will  spare you the details but lets just say...it was a very unpleasant reminder to me to read food labels much closer.  I don't usually drink or eat anything that could contain red dyes. No Kool-Aid, no Crystal Lite, no red jello or popsicles.  And yet...I was side tracked by something I would have never guessed would have contained red dyes. Ocean Spray Crangrape.  Lesson learned. Just because it isn't red, does not mean it does not contain red dyes. I guess I was fooled by the commercials and advertisements that claim it to be natural. If it's natural then why add the dye?  Appearances. People want their food to look pretty and pay no heed to the chemicals that are added to achieve that effect.  While I was researching going meatless, I ran into a lot of articles by Michael Pollen.  Basically, to KNOW YOUR FOOD. Know where it comes from and how it was grown.  Sounds good in theory but how is the average lay person to know where those carrots in the freezer section at the grocer were grown and what chemicals might have been applied.  It's inconceivable that everyone on the planet can grow their own food. Truthfully that would be the only way to know for sure what was in your food.   So then what is the solution for city girl apartment dwellers like me? A few come to mind.

1) Farmers Markets.---The city I live in and assuredly many cities across this country, have several farmers markets. This is a good way to get not only the freshest fruits and vegetables at a substantially lower cost, it's also a chance to speak with the farmers and find out what methods they use. Some use  pesticides, some use organic methods of pest removal and some use none at all.  For those who might be interested in starting a garden themselves the local farmers market is a great place to get information.

2) Farm Co-Ops----Buy directly from the farmer for a set price. Most co-ops, you pay a fee up front and weekly or bi-weekly you have fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs delivered to you. The downside to this is that you are at the mercy of what is being grown. You get it whether you want it or not.  If you aren't to picky and like most fruits and vegetables, this option is the best value for your money.  A lot of co-ops also offer fresh eggs and even flowers.

I hope to utilize both options myself this summer. I even have plans to visit my cousin and learn some good old fashioned canning to preserve the bounty. I don't foresee I will ever go to a diet of nothing but home grown goodies but certainly every little bit of natural goods I can eat will help.


  1. Red 40 gives me the ickies too. Don't even want to get into what it does to my toddler! Great post on buying locally too!

  2. You might be interested to know there's a Minnesota-based company that has developed an all natural food & beverage dye from a specially grown non-GMO 'purple corn.' Not only is the colorant high in antioxidants, the oils, proteins and starches in the corn are retained for further use down the food chain. For more, go to www.suntava.com.