Today I went to Trader Joe's to buy eggs and food dye, because like every other human 20 years younger than myself, I need to dye eggs. Why? Because it's Easter, and I want to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus but pouring artificial food coloring all over a fucking egg. Obviously.
Pardon me if I sound bitter, but just wait. I went to Trader Joe's and they don't sell food coloring... So I went to Whole Foods and they had only one kind of dye, a brand called India Tree. I was really excited because it was made of vegetable colorants so I thought, "If I color eggs with these vegetable-based colors and then eat the egg, does that count as a serving of vegetables too?" But, then I realized that either way, these veggie dyes were my only option because I wasn't going to go to a third store just to see if maybe there might be some other alternative. So I bought these India Tree vegetable colorants.... for 20-fucking-dollars. Please note: that was not a typo.
Once I got over the initial shock of what I had done, I have to say, I was pretty excited. Sure, the price was astronomical for food coloring, but at the end of the day, artificial colors are bad. I didn't know why, but I just knew they were. Then I tried coloring my eggs and realized that I had bought cage-free brown eggs, so the colors basically didn't show up and we had to Jackson Pollack the fuck out of them. So our eggs came out looking like this. -->
This is the shit I get for trying to be a better friend to the earth... If this is what you thought made me bitter, you were right. But I got over it. My boyfriend is an artist and we both work in art galleries so we're gonna call them Abstract Expressionist Eggs, sip some wine, judge your eggs, and call it a day.
Or at least I would call it a day but I realized I don't know WHY food coloring is bad, and even though it's not on my eggs, it's in a whole mess of other shit. SO, here we go.
It's first important to say that while artificial coloring is in a slew of products and lead to a multitude of health risks, we have also increased our consumption of them by 500% since the 1950's. If you think about it, that means that since 1955, we doubled our consumption each decade. I would love for some things to increase by 500%, like my salary, for example. But that large of an increase for something that is purely chemical-based and made for consumption, fucking sucks. Because, those dyes have now been linked to health issues like allergic reactions, hyperactivity in children, and cancer. The increase, at first, was an attempt to cut costs and avoid the affects of some naturally derived ingredients that had things like mercury in them. But now? Pretty sure it's just about the cost of production. You would think that with our level of knowledge at this point, companies using dyes like this (or anyone in the FDA, for that matter), would be like, "You know... in hindsight... maybe not the best idea..." Buuuuut, no.
This article from Natural Society breaks it down with some cold hard facts about how messed up this artificial dyes are, and even worse, how they're still around:
The FDA has banned artificial colors in the past. In 1950, they banned Orange No. 1 after numerous children fell ill after eating Halloween candy. Next, they banned Red No. 2 in 1976 after it was suspected to be carcinogenic. But the CSPI says that all of the most popular food colorings are contaminated with cancer-causing agents.
This is fucked up for a lot of reasons, but one in particular is that these ingredients are being marketed to CHILDREN. CHILDREN fell ill after eating Halloween candy. Red No. 2 probably didn't make an appearance in a nice aged cheese or a bottle of Cabernet, it probably made an appearance in fucking cereal. Kids like bright colors, and they like sugar... and so do I, but I am also able to prioritize and understand that those Fruity Pebbles AIN'T MADE WITH FRUIT.
On special occasions, my mom would sometimes let me pick out one sweet thing at the grocery store... probably just to get me to shut the fuck up and stop asking for everything. I ALWAYS chose sweet cereal, because I got stuck eating whole grain toast and shredded wheat for breakfast a lot. And I even had tricks... if we got Frosted Shredded Wheat on a good week, I would just bite off the side with the frosting and leave the non-frosted side to drown in the milk. If my mom let me put honey or maple syrup in my oatmeal, she poured it on and I would scoop out the part where the syrup puddled, put the spoon in my mouth, and say I was full. It's not as if I wasn't getting sugar here and there, but I always wanted more. If kids get to choose whichever cereal they want, they're going to choose the sweetest, brightest products available.... they're like edible toys. I can't blame them, but if it's on the shelves, it shouldn't be fucking carcinogenic in the first place. Even worse, they can't control their energy after they eat it, so teachers think they're misbehaved and their doctors probably throw Aderol in their faces as if they have a problem. Vicious, fucked up cycle.
Some dyes have had such adverse affects that they have been banned by the FDA, but these ones are still added to food legally: Blue No. 1, Blue No. 2, Green No. 3, Red No. 3, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6. Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are fucked up enough that they've been called into question, and I think this research that's been outlined on the Dr. Oz website says it all:
British researchers designed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to test the effects of food colorings on hyperactivity in children. Hyperactivity is one of the signs of ADHD. The children consumed foods and drinks free of six coloring agents and sodium benzoate, a common preservative. Every two weeks, the children were given a special drink that contained enough dye found in two bags of candy.
The researchers and their parents found a significant increase in hyperactivity in the children during the weeks that they consumed the drink with the artificial colors. This research correlates with an analysis of different studies done at Columbia University and Harvard University. The analysis affirmed that removing foods and products that contain artificial food coloring can help relieve the symptoms of children already diagnosed with ADHD.
Proof that these colors are fucking kids UP. But it's not only about kids and the yellow dyes, because this Food Network blog post breaks down all the different affects that have been found linked to several different dyes:
- Blue 2: linked to brain tumors in mice (if it's bad for a mouse it's bad for me, KAY, and also, WHY THE FUCK ARE WE TESTING THIS SHIT ON MICE)
- Green 3: linked to bladder cancer back in 1981 (was that in a mouse, or a human? Better question: DOES IT FUCKING MATTER?)
- Yellow 3: known to cause some mild allergic reactions – especially in people who are sensitive to aspirin (wtf is the link to aspirin? That's fucking weird)
- Yellow 6: associated with cancer of the adrenal glands and kidneys as well as possible allergic reactions
- Red 3: was considered for banning in 1983 because of a possible link to thyroid tumors (considered for banning.... glad someone considered it)
Hey, everyone, have some yogurt! It might cause cancer but it's neon so that means it's good. Mm Mm. If you want to read more about dyes and their corresponding issues, check out this outline called "Colors to Die For: The Dangerous Impact of Food Coloring" (clever, huh?). It gives details and images of the molecular breakdowns of each dye, as well as testing results (Mostly on FUCKING MICE), and where each dye is most commonly found. I might print it out and keep it in my wallet for when I'm at the fucking grocery store trying to navigate like I'm fucking Frodo trying not to get killed.
Also, just FYI about India Tree dyes... I left my eggs overnight to dry and they never did, so if you are ever interested in dying eggs naturally, try this all natural method using things like cabbage, beets, and tea. I'll be trying this with WHITE eggs in 2017. This blogger who is good at life made these so you know it works better than whatever the fuck I did. I also used to work at a bakery that made Red Velvet cake using beets instead of red dye, and it was fucking delicious.
I'm gonna round out this post with one final thought about how rampant artificial coloring is: this is bullshit.