Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nutrition 101 - Part Four: More About Dyes

I have thought of a few more things in regard to dyes; I thought I would share them before moving on to the next topic.

First of all, I did remember to check, and Life cereal is still made with dye. Crazy!

Medicines...Can you imagine how much dye it takes to make a bottle of pain reliever/medicine that pretty purple/red/pink color? The dye-free products shown can be hard to find and unfortunately I have yet to find a less expensive store brand. We buy the national brands and pay a little more. I do try to use a coupon and pair those coupons with a store sale; then it's not too much more expensive than generic. I have not found a solution to many other over-the-counter and prescription medicines that come in every color from cotton candy blue to electric orange. I think that will be rapidly changing as consumers are demanding more dye-free options. If you know of other medicines that are dye-free, leave a comment! I would love to stock my RX cabinet before flu and cold season hits. :)

Instead of dye (and corn syrup) filled breakfast bars or toaster tarts, try Healthy Valley Organic Bars/Tarts. They are not whole wheat, but I have yet to find a ww version my kids will eat. These are great for mornings when we need a quick breakfast to get started with school or when we are out the door for church. These paired with fresh fruit and an organic drinkable yogurt make a great start to our day.

For the occasional treat when we go to the zoo or on other field trips we love the Florida's Natural line of "fruit snacks" and "fruit string". We discovered these when we were on a gluten free diet and my kids have loved them ever since! They are 66% fruit ingredients and have no artificial dyes. They do have a little corn syrup but you can't win them all! Like the medicines, these can be a little hard to find so I stock up when I see them.

For a quick lunch my boys love Back to Nature's 100% Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese Dinner. I cut up nitrate/nitrite free chicken or turkey hot dogs, mix them in and presto - a gourmet meal (if you are under 10 years old, anyway!) :) Annie's also makes a whole wheat mac and cheese. We don't like it as well but it is a good second choice.

Unfortunately you can find dyes in just about everything from vitamins to dairy products like ice cream, yogurt, flavored milk, butter spreads and cheese. Some breads and salad dressings have dyes and many pre-packaged "treats" are loaded with dye. The key is to start reading labels - every label. And beware if a package says "artificial colors and flavors" because sometimes that is all the warning you get.

I'll move on to something else in my next post. Happy hunting in your grocery store!



Cindy said...

I have quite a story to tell about getting rid of red dyes and making a 100% change in one of my children.

Another child tends to be sensitive to more than red dye - leading to many ADHD type symptoms.

We've learned (rather slowly sometimes) how to alter our daily diet. Not only does this help our children to stay focused and calm, but it means healthier eating for all of us! :o)

Finding foods and medicines without red dye in particular has been quite a struggle sometimes. Medicines are our biggest problem and only now are we able to find more of them without dye. Thanks for the great list you've given here!

mommygirl @ HCA said...

OT?: I see that you are conscious of dies and such and I was wondering and hoping you might share with me... what type of vitamins you and your dc use?

Cindy said...

I, too, would love to hear the vitamin answer!

Anonymous said...

We have been dye free for almost 8 years now. Can you believe that even white marshmallows have dye in them??!! We use the Whole Foods brand of children's vitamins.

Jennefer said...

For vitamins I use a brand from the Natural Foods store near me. They are called Source of Life Animal Parade. They come in several flavors, are dye free, vegetarian and free of most common allergens: wheat, soy, dairy and yeast.

Here is a link to them online:

My boys prefer the grape flavor. The watermelon flavor is a little sour for them! ;)

Mama Teaching 2 said...

It really is something you must think about in order to serve your family real honest to goodness foods and such now. :(

Cindy said...

Thanks for the vitamin suggestions! I will be near a whole foods type market this week and will be sure to stop in to see what I can find.

Carrie said...

I use Wildewood Cellars eldeberry juice concentrate at the first sign of any upper respiratory issues. The key is keeping their immune systems up to try and prevent illness. Sambucol is something else I used to use and I see it referred by many Naturalistic Doctors. It is good for flu and colds. It's main ingredient is eldeberry juice concentrate. :) I have also used SilverBiotics which just tastes like water. The juice I've added to a little apple juice as it is a bit strong/bitter. A good probiotic is also beneficial especially during this time to help build the good bacteria in the gut (part of the immune system). Avoiding a lot of sugar and dairy are also something else I do when they are sick as it tends to contribute to inflammation in the body. Hope that gives you some more ideas to put in your tool belt.