How to cut artificial colourants from your diet
You may be wondering how to cut down on your family's intake of these potentially harmful dyes and colourants. While the answer may seem as simple as eliminating them from your diet, this may not be as easy to implement unfortunately.
The first step is to cut down on processed foods as much as possible. While your diet should include a wide range of vibrant colours, these colours should be natural and found in organic, non-processed fruits and vegetables. Add brightly-coloured peppers, eggplants, spinach, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries to your diet for an injection of feel-good foods and delicious flavours!
It can be difficult to change your lifestyle drastically all at once, not to mention that processed foods are often cheaper than organic goods and are also addictive, making them difficult to cut them from your diet.
While the change may be challenging at first, here are 4 ways to break the habit of enjoying processed foods and wean yourself off of potentially harmful food dyes and additives.
- Do your research - Whether this means watching shows on the Food Network or reading multiple recipe books, discover just how satisfying and tasty natural foods can be without feeling uninspired. Don't feel the need to stick to boring salads or roast vegetables, discover new ways to implement these foods into your diet on a daily basis for an easy transition from processed to healthy. It's important to note that even organic foods could contain dyes or colourants, so research is necessary. Many natural dyes are also found in foods now and they include colourants made from carrots, beets, berries, and spices! A popular natural dye by the name of annatto can also be found fairly easily, but just be mindful of the fact that this dye may also cause allergic reactions in some.
- Read food labels - The real reason behind many of us ingesting the food dyes and additives that we do is because we're not even aware of the fact that we're doing so. Food dyes can be found in a large number of canned, packaged, and processed foods that we may never even suspect! Get into the habit of reading food labels and learning what the different ingredients mean. If you spot a food dye or colourant that is created from a natural source, it's not automatically exempt from being potentially harmful. Once again, research and a chat with your doctor may be in order.
- Slow and simple - If you've made up your mind to make a change in your diet, you may be tempted to do so all at once. While this would be a great way of ensuring a healthier lifestyle and avoiding food dyes, it could also be how you set yourself up for failure. Start by gradually cutting down on salt, fat, and sugar by replacing them with natural options and spices. By gradually making small changes and cutting out addictive processed foods and treats, you'll give your body the chance to adjust in a healthy manner, rather than depriving yourself of everything your body is used to all at once.
- High-quality beats fast and cheap - As mentioned before, this one may hit you where it hurts the most - your wallet. High-quality foods can often be more expensive and not as easy to get your hands on as highly-processed foods such as snacks and fast food, but making the exchange is a surefire way to cut down on and eventually eliminate artificial colourants. This is also an adjustment that should be made gradually. Be sure to draw up a budget, keep your eyes peeled for great offers, and make the changes where you can afford to do so.
Overall, any conditions that you fear may be aggravated by food dyes can be dealt with head on. List the foods you've noticed that cause issues and discuss these with your health practitioner. The cause may be entirely different from what you expect, but it's vital that you provide your doctor with as much information as possible.
Also be mindful of the fact that artificial food colourants are not just part of your diet, but you may be exposed to them via cosmetics and even when consuming certain prescription and over-the-counter medication. Again, read the labels, and be aware of what you are putting onto and into your body. Many natural alternatives do exist, you just have to spend the time and put in the effort to look for them.