Over the last several weeks, you may have seen several articles about a link between Artificial Food Coloring and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), which the FDA ultimately ruled there was not proof to make this assertion. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in working with children and adolescents, I’m glad that the FDA made that ruling, but only because there are a number of factors involved in ADHD. Also, ADHD and its response to stimulant medication was first really noticed in the 1930s… long before artificial food dyes were de rigure parts of a child’s diet.
On the other hand, there’s no reason to be eating artificial dyes. An article in The New York Times suggests that people don’t like processed food like Cheetos nearly as much when it’s not colorful. So why don’t we call a spade a spade and stop blaming food coloring for all ills, and just stop eating processed food?
Take Jell-O. According to the NYT article, without food coloring, it would be a watery tan. Why is that? Could it be because it’s basically sweetened-thickened-flavored water? Did you know that you can make make a Jello-O like dessert out of… gasp… fruit?
Did you know that some powdered lemonade drinks have food coloring? Seriously. As if lemons weren’t yellow… You know you can do better than that. And it’s just not hard to do.
You want an obnoxiously colored drink that could rival Kool-Aid? Try a green smoothie!
Far be it for me to say that that there’s no room for processed food in your diet. I understand that we’re all busy, and we don’t have the time to make things from scratch all the time. But there are things that you don’t have to make… just take a walk down the produce aisle at your local grocery store some time. You want color? It’s there in abundance. You want orange? How about eating one, instead of Cheetos?
It takes time. And planning. Thinking ahead. All things that I wish I were better at- because let me tell you, I’m no angel when it comes to processed (vegan) food. We can do it, though. We don’t have to be slaves to the inner aisles of the grocery store! We can stop our addictions to processed foods, and their chemically artificial food dyes.
Need some help in starting to make your own food? Check out some of these cookbooks:
Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock
Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money
Color Me Vegan: Maximize Your Nutrient Intake and Optimize Your Health by Eating Antioxidant-Rich, Fiber-Packed, Color-Intense Meals That Taste Great
Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love!
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Treats