Friday, September 23, 2011

Artificial looks....artificial

Sometimes, Bumblebee likes to play afterschool.  So I find a spot in the shade, pull out a book and keep half an eye out to make sure she's okay. 
Today, as I sat with my book, a preschooler ran past and popped some brightly colored object into their mouth.  I had to curb my first instinct, which was to pull it out.  Put down my book and looked around.  
Then the brightly colored object began melting. 
"Mmmm, that looks delicious," a woman nearby told the child and they grinned, with a deep purply looking tongue and reddish teeth. 
I couldn't disagree more.
Artificial food colorings are derived from petroleum.  Yeah, gasoline.  Crude oil.  The stuff poisoning the gulf coast. 
It's also implicated in a number of health issues, and banned in children's products in parts of Europe.  Blue dye happens to be a potent neuro-stimulant.  It gives my daughter nasty migraines, although some research shows promise in using it to actually treat migraines. 
I've noticed that in the allergy friendly world, parents rely heavily on food colorings to make foods appealing.  A child can't have nuts, but can enjoy skittles and lollipops.  We used to be frustrated that Penguin couldn't have dairy or gluten...or certain food dyes.  It took everything off the table when it came to treats. 
Luckily, there are a few affordable options out there.  Yummy Earth is one delicious choice.  Surf sweets another. The colors aren't nearly as vibrant, but they do look more appetizing. 
After years of dealing with food issues and having given up purchasing colored products completely after reading "The Unhealthy Truth" by Robyn O'brien; what surprises me most is my reaction when I see these once tempting delicacies.
My stomach flops.  Nothing about vibrant red cherries appeals to me.  Bright blue candy looks inedible.  Patriotic posicles look like table decorations, not dessert.  It's not just that it looks inedible, they look non-tempting. 
The intent of artificial colors is to enhance the appearance and increase appeal.  But artificial food just isn't appealing.  At least, not to my family. 

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