Married to the Empire

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Avoiding Food Dyes

The summer heat has hit full-force here in Texas, and the headaches are ramping up for me. I deal with this every summer, and admittedly, it's tiresome. But I may have been unwittingly adding to my problems. I strongly suspect that food dye, specifically Red 40, is causing me problems. After drinking IBC Black Cherry soda 2 days in a row, and having migraines that my 3 prescription pain meds could barely touch on both of those days, I noticed that the common denominator was a drink rife with Red 40.

I'm now off of anything containing Red 40 for a while to see if it makes a difference. Interestingly, I noted that when I was off of candy during Lent, my migraines decreased. They picked up after I started eating candy again. I figured all this time that it was just the excessive sugar, but now I think it may have been food dye.

If you Google Red 40 dye, you'll find that headache is pretty common. Hmmmm.

Here's the thing: I like Jello in summer. It's a great way to use up fruit that's getting a little too ripe, and it's a cool and sweet treat. But it's filled with dye. I couldn't find any at the grocery store without it. Blah. Not even Sprouts, which is known for all its organic and healthy stuff, had any brand without it. Well, they just didn't have any, other than the unflavored stuff.

I finally picked up a box of Knox (the unflavored brand), and I saw on the back that you can make fruity jello with fruit juice. So, instead of adding water to a billion chemicals, as with Jello, you add fruit juice to the gelatin powder. Definitely healthier, but also more expensive.

I tried it last night. I can always buy Juicy Juice pretty cheap. It's frequently on sale, and the paper has coupons for it pretty often. Steven isn't crazy about it, though. So, a great use for this cheap juice is gelatin. Win-win. And you know what? It's really good. Definitely different from Jello brand, but good.

I cut up some peaches and some cherries that were starting to go south to add to it. I truly prefer gelatin of any sort with fruit in it. Add some real whipped cream. (I'm starting to detest Cool Whip--what really freaked me out was going to Sonic for a shake, then leaving the cup on the counter overnight. The "whipped cream" not only did not melt, it completely retained its shape. *shudder*) Sweet summer treat!


Allison said...

wow, who would have thought it would be that hard to find dye-free food? you might also try cooking the gelatin w/ half the amount of fruit juice, and then stirring in some selzter, Sprite, etc. - it gives it a different texture if you get bored :)

Catherine said...

Good for you! I did not know that Red 40 caused headaches, but I am not surprised. My sister was allergic to many artificial dyes when she was little and would get horrible hives from eating them. Guess what? The Benadryl she was originally taking to reduce the hives had dye in it too! Fortunately, soon there after, Benadryl came out with their "dye-free" variety otherwise who knows what we would have had to do? Dyes are in so many foods now that we do not know what "natural" is supposed to look like! Good luck with your new Red 40-free life! :)

Gypsy Chaos said...

Many years ago I left a McD's shake on a table for hours, with the same result as you described with your Sonic shake.
I don't know what makes them retain their shape, but I bet it's not good for us!