Posts Tagged ‘ food dye ’

Non-Petroleum Candies Melt In Your Bed, Not In Your Hand

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

I imagine it’s pretty typical for parents to reward/bribe their child with M&M’s during the process of potty training.

However, we’ve watched a few too many documentaries on Netflix to let you eat candy that contains petroleum-based dyes, like M&M’s do.

Instead, we found that Kroger now has their own brand of healthier (and less chemical friendly) alternatives to classic favorites.

I don’t you want to end up like I did as a kid, suffering from anxiety problems and digestion issues due to food dyes that aren’t actually food.

After all, no one willingly chooses to eat petroleum… yet the FDA approves it as a food additive.

Just like with the beaver [body parts] in vanilla and strawberry flavorings

But Kroger’s brand, called Simple Truth, makes what they call “Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Drops.”

Basically, they’re M&M’s without petroleum and tar ingredients. Instead, they’re colored with vegetable juice.

So, the deal is, Mommy lets you have two of them every time you go potty… on the potty.

Saturday night, you convinced her to let you sleep with the bag, which only contained about 5 remaining candies.

Mommy trusted you not to eat the candy, but to simply hold the bag all night, like you do your monster trucks and trains.

And you did.

You woke up in a haze Sunday morning, as Mommy and I walked into your room after hearing you mutter something about cats.

There you were, wrapped up tightly in your blanket, with your arms tucked down inside.

As we unwrapped you like a stuffed burrito, we discovered the bag of chocolate candy, still clenched tightly in your grip.

Well, you didn’t eat them, just as Mommy trusted you wouldn’t.

But as you look at the comparative picture above, you can see that your candies melted to mush in the night.

Good thing we had another bag ready for you in the pantry.





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How I Choose Kids’ Medications

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

It’s that time of year again, when I as a your parent have this constant worry in the back of my mind that your daycare is about to call me to say I need to come pick you up because you have a fever.

Mommy and I both save our own sick days from work for the days you will have a fever and one of us will need to stay home with you.

On top of wanting to know I can help restore you back to health, I also want to be able to have confidence that the medicine I give you is as natural and healthy as possible.

You know how passionate I am about our family not consuming products that contain red food dye. I’ve mentioned several times now that the popular food dye Red 40 is made from petroleum  while Crimson Lake is derived from the powdered and boiled bodies of insects including the cochineal scale and the Polish cochineal.

In fact, back when you were only 13 months old, I wrote “Why This Dad Despises Red 40 And Crimson Lake Food Dyes” here on The Dadabase.

As a parent blogger, I have a solid track record of denouncing illegitimate food and medicine ingredients in my writings. One of my goals is to actually help make it taboo for any food or medicine companies to have Red Lake or Red 40 as one of their ingredients.

I want every parent to understand where those dyes come from; they’re simply not fit for human consumption.

Companies can legally be vague when it comes to listing their ingredients. That’s why, and I’ve said this before, if I see “artificial flavor” or “natural flavor” on the ingredients list, I won’t buy it; because any ingredients generically listed as “artificial” or “natural” could be… anything.

Because after all, anything is definitely “natural” and/or “artificial.” That’s always a red flag for me. (Pun intended.)

In addition to my skepticism of artificial colors and flavors in regards to what I allow you to consume, I have to be honest, my conscience isn’t clear when it comes to giving you medicine with alcohol, either.

It goes without saying that as your parent, I have incredibly high standards when it comes to what food and medicine I let you consume. I wish I could say there are several brands of medicine that gain my approval, and therefore, that I have actually given you. Unfortunately, there are very few.

As far as a brand that is very forth-coming about being both dye-free and alcohol-free for all their products, Little Remedies is the only one I’ve come across so far.

Mommy and I actually used their Gripe Water (to relieve discomfort from hiccups and gas) when you were an infant. Sure enough, it was the very first medicine we ever gave you.

Even if as an “extreme ingredients-aware parent,” I only represent a minority of the market, I’m just glad to know there are options I can give you.

I will never stop being mindful of the ingredients that go into your medicine, because medicine that has unnatural and questionable ingredients in it isn’t really medicine, if you ask me.



P.S. I invite any other readers of this letter to share your additional pointers, personal stories and struggles regarding the avoidance of artificial colors, artificial flavors, and alcohol in children’s medicine; feel free to leave a comment.

This post is sponsored by Little Remedies— makers of children’s medication without artificial colors, artificial flavors, or alcohol.  

Photo: Child receiving medication, via Shutterstock.

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3 Ways Kids’ Easter Candy Isn’t Vegetarian (Or Kosher)

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

16 months.

This Easter, enjoy the by-products of pig bones, crushed bugs, and my personal favorite, beaver anal glands. I know I will!

Sorry for the Debbie Downer title and subject matter today, but I think you will appreciate how enlightened you will be by the end of this.

Though I haven’t consumed any meat in a long time now, I will be breaking my vegetarian streak this Sunday.

It’s not because I will be grilling out steaks or chewing on some deer jerky, but simply because I want to join in on all that marshmallowy goodness; as we evidently celebrate the bunnies and baby chicks who were present when our Lord and Savior was resurrected from the grave.

Here is why vegetarians, as well as the kosher abiding, must compromise their principles in order to truly enjoy their children’s Easter candy. And for any of you Doubting Thomas’s or blog snipers out there, I’ve conveniently paired each one with a (or other more-legitimate-than-Wikipedia) link where you can verify these aren’t simply urban legends or Internet hoaxes left over from April Fool’s Day.

1. Marshmallows: They are what makes Easter candy special, as compared to Halloween or Christmas candy. But what makes marshmallows themselves so special? Well, it’s just that they are made with gelatin, which is comprised of cow hide, pig skins, and bones of both. Pudding, anyone?

2. Red food dye: If any of your candy contains the red food dye Crimson Lake, you will be appreciating the splendor of crushed scale insects (parasites of plants). This is why Starbucks is currently taking heat for their Strawberry Frappuccinos.  Could be worse; at least it’s not made from beaver genitals…

3. “Natural” vanilla flavoring: How can you know when a vanilla flavored food is made with actual vanilla or just castoreum, which is the oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers? We can’t, thanks to the FDA. But at least we can credit Jamie Oliver for bringing the truth about castoreum to the national limelight for us; just as he did for “pink slime.”

Let’s be honest. Knowing all this is fascinating and equally disgusting, but it’s not going to keep any of us from enjoying some Peeps. Especially not me. Happy Easter everyone!


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Why This Dad Despises Red 40 And Crimson Lake Food Dyes

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

13 months.

Would you eat petroleum? What if it made your food more physically more appealing?

What about insects? Are you cool with eating ground-up bugs?

The funny thing is, you and your kids already do. And the FDA approves it.

In 5th and 6th grade, I was a pretty sick kid. I had so many stomach issues back then that today I still owe my ability to unclog any toilet back to 20 years ago when I had to carry around TUMS Extra at all times.

What made it worse was that I suffered anxiety attacks, which helped keep a vicious circle going: I was always nervous that my extreme digestion issues would flare up at any moment, especially in public places where I couldn’t escape to a restroom. And when they did, it only fueled my anxieties.

Keeping in mind that this was during a time when there was no such thing as “looking it up on the Internet,” fortunately my mom heard from another mom that I should stay away from any foods with red food dye: namely “Red 40″ and “Crimson Lake.” There was no way for us to know what was in those food dyes, but whatever it was, I stopped consuming it.

No more red Kool-Aid. No more Twizzlers. No more red anything unless it came that way naturally.

As you can imagine because of this article’s title, both my extreme indigestion and my anxiety attacks went away. But it wouldn’t be until the glorious arrival of Wikipedia that I would know exactly what was in those red food dyes:

Red 40: Made mostly from petroleum, this red dye can easily be found in sodas, cotton candy, and children’s medications. It has been linked to cases of ADHD and hyperactivity in children. Red 40 is also known as Allura Red AC.

Crimson Lake: Made from the powdered and boiled bodies of scale insects (parasites of plants) this dye is commonly found in yogurt, juice drinks, ice cream, and candy. Though I am a vegetarian, I still abide by kosher law, which prohibits the consumption of any insect other than the locust. Crimson Lake is also known as Carmine.

Fun fact: The closing scene of the movie The Wedding Planner makes a reference to these dyes as the “added chemicals” in red M&M’s that Jennifer Lopez’s character throws out.

Can you blame me from not trusting the FDA? It should common sense that people shouldn’t eat petroleum or parasites. So you know what? I am my own FDA. I decide what weird stuff my family does and does not eat.

And I’ll tell ya… bugs and oil are not on our menu.

Top image of scale insects, courtesy of Frank Vincentz. 

Bottom image of scale insect nests, courtesy of Oscar Carrizosa.

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Why We are a Kosher, Gentile Family

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Nine months.

It’s weird, but true: There are more non-Jewish Americans who are kosher-abiding than those who are actually Jewish. Last October, a book by Sue Fishkoff came out that I would love to read. It’s called Kosher Nation and it explains why America has gone kosher. Fishkoff shares:

“More than 11.2 million Americans regularly buy kosher food, 13 percent of the adult consumer population… There are about six million Jews in this country. Even if they all bought only kosher food, which is not the case, they would not be enough to sustain such growth. In fact, just 14 percent of consumers who regularly buy kosher food do so because they follow the rules of kashrut. That means at least 86 percent of the nation’s 11.2 million kosher consumers are not religious Jews.”

My wife and I, along with our nine-month old son, are among that 86 percent. We are not Jewish, or even Seventh Day Adventists (who also do not consume pork or shellfish). But we are adamant about our kosher diet.
So is it a religious thing for us at all? Not really, but sort of.  We just kind of stumbled into it.

Through the Mexican bloodline in my family, I have adopted eczema- a vicious skin disease. My mom has it on her neck. One of my uncles has it on his knuckles. And I had it on the palms of my hands; in particular, I had dyshidrosis, where tiny clear blisters form, then pop, and dry out the skin- basically burning it.

For several years during my 20′s, I had what I call “Freddy Kruger hands.”  It was embarrassing, overpowering, and even depressing to live with. I was desperate to figure out what exactly it was and more importantly, how to cure the “incurable” disease.

And so began my journey into the world of natural cures and holistic living.

My skin problems peaked shortly after getting married. My wife and I took our honeymoon in New England, eating pretty much nothing but shrimp, scallops, and lobster the entire time. It was good eatin’.

When the week ended, I got back and realized that my entire body had broken out.  I found myself in a cloud of despairing depression for no good reason.

I learned that the bottom-feeder shellfish that I consumed were full of heavy metals, including nickel.  On top of that, my tungsten wedding ring also contained slightly toxic metals.
Eventually, I remembered that somewhere in the Old Testament of the Bible (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14) God instructed the Jews not to eat certain animals. I was always under the misconception that those food laws were simply there for a certain group of people to show their obedience to God.  Now I realize that those random food laws were God’s way of helping people to know what foods to eat- even as a way of avoiding cancer and disease.

By not eating the animals that are lowest on the food chain, along with all carnivores, the human body is exposed to much less toxins.

And the whole thing about not mixing dairy products with meat? Simply put, that combination prevents food from digesting through the body too slowly. Otherwise, the undigested food remains in the body for too long, potentially causing health problems.

Needless to say, as I converted to a kosher diet, my eczema gradually disappeared; as a side effect, I also lost 25 pounds in the process. So I became inspired to invent The Shell Diet, which is basically the kosher version Mediterranean Food Pyramid.

And that’s how we became a kosher, Gentile family.

Granted, I’m not saying it was an easy transition. It’s still tempting to smell crispy bacon that a co-worker is heating up in the microave or dine at a seafood restaurant where I lust for buttery scallops. But for me, it had to be all or nothing. Anything was worth getting rid of my eczema.

Even for our son, it’s not necessarily easy to keep him kosher. For example, most infants’ pain relievers contain Red Dye 40, which is derived from petroleum; while others may contain Crimson Lake, which is made from scale insects.  (The only insect permitted to eat by kosher law is the locust.) When I was a kid, I had a lot of stomach problems, as well as, anxiety attacks- that is, until my parents stopped allowing me to have foods with red dye in them.
It’s strange that I would become the least bit of an expert on being kosher; especially for the fact that I don’t really have any Jewish friends.


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