Dye Free Family

We’ve been on a 5 year journey of ending our consumption of artificial dyes.

No purple dye.

No orange dye.

No yellow dye.

No red dye.

Not even canned buttercream frosting.

All because of one little ingredient, often found at the bottom of the ingredient list on an alarmingly large amount of processed food products.

It’s even in Doritos.


What is this ingredient?

Red 40.

Fake Red.

Red that changes my kids behavior in seconds.

Red that we discovered was a problem after giving said kiddo a bag of Swedish Fish to eat.

It was ugly.

It was also very clear after that Swedish Fish episode that red dye was something we needed to eliminate from her diet and have since realized the need to eliminate even things like craft supplies that are soaked in red (think craft sticks).

It’s not easy watching your baby be the only one at the birthday party who can’t eat the frosting on the cake because it’s loaded with dyes and she knows if she eats it she’ll react to it and she can’t do anything about it.

It is simply not worth having in our house.

When we realized red dye was an issue we began reading labels on everything we bought and began to readjust our purchasing.

We made the choice that as a family we would eliminate red dye from our house.

We’re all in this together, right?

You can’t imagine, unless you are a dye free family, how often Red 40 shows up in processed products. It is in food, craft supplies, fruit drinks and sodas, gum, Lipton ice tea (!!!!), prescription medicines, vitamins, toothpaste, shampoo.

There is good news though.  More and more companies are boasting No Artificial Colors as part of their advertising.It seems companies are catching on to the cry of parents for NO artificial dyes in their foods.

This makes my momma’s heart happy.

In the meantime, though, Red 40 is everywhere.  Please click here to find out where Red 40 is found.

So we make our own egg dyes at Easter, and eat a lot (a LOT) of chocolate during Valentine, Halloween and Christmas holiday celebrations.  Baskets of candies have become baskets of gifts and clothing.

It’s hard to celebrate a red holiday when you don’t eat artificially red colored food.

A specific elimination of red dye led to an elimination of artificial colors in general. Once in a while we slip in a light blue or maybe a light green piece of candy or popsicle, but as a general rule, we don’t eat much that isn’t naturally colored.

During the holidays last year we finally found some all natural food dyes and all natural sprinkles. One natural food store had the dyes. Another natural food store, in the complete opposite direction, had the sprinkles. So Jeremy, while out making some pastoral visits, stopped to purchase the sprinkles and the girls and I headed the opposite direction and purchased the dye.

And then we met in the middle of both directions for lunch and ate hamburgers.

Imagine how happy I was today when Kaitlyn and I were at Healthy Habits Natural Market and found Maggie’s Natural Sugar Sprinkles!

Adobe Photoshop PDF

The dye colors are made from yams, gardenia extract (a plant in the coffee family), carmelized sugar, curcumin (tumeric), annatto seed (tree seeds).

We have declared that tomorrow we shall bake a cake and load it with as many of our new colored sprinkles as possible!

PS: For color food dyes (for frosting, etc.) we use Color Garden. Here is the link.



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