A post a few weeks back showed a photo of my sons drinking red Gatorade. The topic was whether or not a car is a homeschooling tool. The comments veered into the food debate, asking me, “What are you thinking feeding your kids red Gatorade?”

So I did some research. There is pretty strong support for the idea that the FDA should put warnings on food with artificial color. Which I understand as the FDA is horrified by artificial color but the lobby groups are well funded.

And then I asked a few friends, and it turns out that most of my friends do not buy foods with artificial colors or flavors.

This is, of course, revolutionary thinking for rural America, where there is little access to high quality food unless you grow it yourself. (Remember, the majority of farms are a far cry from organic, or anything approaching that. This is the corn belt: We are making the cornstarch that pollutes the rest of your food.)

But we drive to Madison three times a week, and Chicago once a week, so with all that, we can get to a Whole Foods on a regular basis.

So I announced to the kids that the people who read my blog made me realize that the food we are eating is not healthy, and we’re changing our diet.

When I explained the changes, the kids went nuts. They wanted to know what we’re doing about Halloween candy (I said I’d buy it from them on a per-pound basis). They wanted to know about sprinkles on cupcakes. (I said we could buy them at Whole Foods, although I confess to never having seen them there.) They wanted to know who the commenter was who mentioned red coloring. (They want to call her on the phone!)

Now the kids know I am serious. We took a picture of us eating our last sprinkle donuts, and now the kids read labels.

They did launch a campaign to show me that Red Dye Number 40 is safe because it’s not Red Dye Number 2. (Don’t worry, I’m not swayed.) But I know I’m making headway, because last week we were driving on unmarked rural roads from our house to Chicago. And in the car, surrounded by corn fields, my son said, “I’m really hungry. Do you think we’ll pass a Whole Foods soon?

36 replies
  1. Brigitte
    Brigitte says:

    I appreciate how you are educating people on the food challenges of families living in the farm belt. There is such an idealized notion of how farms are run/what their output truly is.

    My husband grew up in a farming family and community in Illinois. Recently, we were at a Halloween party, where a woman told him she didn’t understand why all farmers didn’t sell at markets.

    My husband’s response: Why would a farmer give up a set contract for the uncertainty of selling their merchandise at a market? These guys have families, too, and they don’t want to give up their rare downtime.

    At which point, he realized she didn’t know anything about farming. They have contracts? Turbines costs hundreds of thousands? Most corn production in Illinois is not fit for cooking?

    I think few people understand how difficult it is to get natural food in the midst of the farm belt, but it’s a huge challenge!

    Reply
  2. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Funny post.
    What are they drinking now?
    I can remember, as a kid, being in the car with my parents on some kind of road trip like leaf peeping or something. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’d ask them to stop for soda or something because I was thirsty. Then my Dad would usually tell me – if you’re thirsty, we’ve got water here for you to drink. Not the answer I was hoping for. In fact, it seemed cruel. But he was right, plain old water is the best thing for you. And now I’ve got my dentist telling me the same thing. So I stopped drinking Gatorade and I’m drinking more water but I’ve also switched over to those no sugar (artificially sweetened) powered drink mixes which have red dye #40. I guess I’ll have to continue my search and read some more labels.

    Reply
  3. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Our food co-op has sprinkles – so I don’t know that you need to give them up completely! For a “soda” treat, we use sparkling water mixed with juice (orange, cranberry, whatever). And I’ve always had a “water only” rule in the car, mostly because I don’t ever want to clean up anything but water spills.

    Another thought I had for your car rides, is get the audio version of DragonRider by Cornelia Funke. The voices that the reader uses for the characters are hilarious. It’s the only time I’ve ever gotten rid of an actual real-life book, because everyone agreed they’d never want to read it, but would want to listen to it again.

    Reply
  4. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    One of my favorite things I ever did to embarrass myself was walk into Trader Joe’s and ask for corn syrup. This was before I really knew about the controversy and the look on the stock person’s face made me think I was an idiot.

    Reply
  5. Mark K
    Mark K says:

    When a kid follows where curiosity leads, over time, they are taken through a million different but interconnected things. The resulting constellations of knowledge positively glow with the magic of having discovered them in one’s own way.

    I have seen a similar process lead adults to homeschooling, to unschooling, and eventually into something deeper that I guess I would call “conscious parenting.” Conscious parenting includes the entirety of your life together, of course nutrition is a part of that, but so is the growth of things that are mostly invisible to schools: character, individuality, creativity, self-knowledge, openness to experience…

    Once you accept the idea that there may be better ways to do things than those you were taught, and begin a process of self-examination and awareness of, and reflection on, what you’re doing with your kids, it affects so much more than just schooling choices. It opens up a whole world of meaningful and rewarding choices, where before there were just habits and conventions.

    It’s heartwarming to see this process in action for you, Penelope. Forge on!

    Reply
  6. BenK
    BenK says:

    Great choice. In the ‘old days’ of the 1970s-1980s, the only option was the Feingold Diet.

    http://www.feingold.org/

    They led the way on this. It wasn’t fun; maybe unnecessarily restrictive; but it was very effective at addressing the challenges of many children.

    Reply
  7. BenK
    BenK says:

    Reading some of the responses; I should mention that it appears sugar doesn’t induce hyperactivity; nobody is clear about whether corn syrup is a health hazard beyond the impact of sugary drinks; and artificial sweeteners also lead to weight gain, blood sugar spikes and so on – that’s pretty recent data. Thus, they can contribute to metabolic disorders like adult onset diabetes.

    There are plenty of good things to eat and drink. The brits have basically eliminated the azo dyes (coal tar dyes) by using strict labels. There are plenty of relatively natural sodas and such. If you don’t want too much sugar, there are ways to use home seltzer (sodastream, ISI) and syrups or juices to make fun beverages.

    As for the guy trying to tie this into the vaccination debate, I would be amused if I didn’t think he was serious.

    Reply
    • MichaelG
      MichaelG says:

      Actually, the only “debate” on vaccination is over how much risk parents are creating for their kids with their hysteria over it.

      And unfortunately, I think this kind of obsessive concern over food and additives springs from the same source. I just wish I knew what the source was, and why so many people are convinced everything is making them sick. It definitely seems to affect the “upper class” types more than ordinary people.

      See http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/10/a-shocking-chart-on-vaccination/247651/

      Reply
      • Trish
        Trish says:

        There’s a significant difference, though. Vaccines serve an essential purpose, and food coloring doesn’t. What harm can possibly be done by eating less processed, more healthful food?

        Reply
        • MichaelG
          MichaelG says:

          I don’t have the numbers, but given how many people die in car accidents, it’s quite possible that Penelope puts her kids more at risk by driving 8 hours back and forth to violin lessons than she does by letting them eat food colorings.

          It’s not a huge risk either way, but rearranging your life to avoid some tiny risk like additives just isn’t worth it.

          Bringing your kids up to believe that food and drink hundreds of millions of people eat every day is a silent killer is more of a problem. I would encourage them to think things through a bit more. And point out that moderation is the key, not strict avoidance of some category of food.

          Reply
          • BenK
            BenK says:

            Fatalities, even reduced lifespan, are not the only important endpoints. Quality of life is also significant.
            I’d rather that we rearrange our industrial food production systems to eliminate some unnecessary risks than that individuals rearrange their lives and run up against discipline issues with children, but clearly only pressure from consumers and regulators will make any sort of dent in the practices of industry.

            Especially with people like you cheering for coal tar derivatives in your food.

      • BenK
        BenK says:

        Well, working as a microbiologist and leading a medical research team, I don’t feel defensive about my opinions. There have been questions about vaccine safety since Jenner and there will continue to be questions any time someone gives medication as prophylaxis.

        Compare this to relatively ‘safe’ drugs like antibiotics. People don’t question antibiotics enough, in fact. Antibiotic associated liver and kidney toxicity, gastrointestinal side effects, MIC creep, multidrug resistance…

        Then we have artificial colors. The major reason the EU hasn’t made more changes is that the Southampton study used combinations of colors rather than single isolated ones. However, there have been other toxicology studies which demonstrate the impact of combinations of chemicals which occur in daily use; where each chemical has no obvious impact in isolation. We all know that combinations can be a problem in the pharmacy; but it is too hard to test every combination of chemical for safety. This creates a gap in our normal safety testing. Individual variation is also a challenge. We now know that some people are more sensitive genetically to fat or starches for the purposes of weight gain/loss. However, it is not possible to study safety in such refined segments of the population, at least for food additives.

        Reply
        • Al
          Al says:

          This is really interesting.

          Can you throw out a few more studies/researchers/publications/whatever for those of us with access to academic journals who aren’t in the field but wish to learn more?

          Reply
  8. Jason
    Jason says:

    While I agree eating more homemade food is better I think it is generally best not to jump on any of these crazy bandwagons. If you think of just about any food there was probably a time when it was declared horribly dangerous – eggs? beef? It is just ridiculous – I generally don’t listen to any of it. We do basically avoid as many processed foods as possible just because if we can’t make and don’t know what is in it, it is probably a)more expensive than if we could make it ourselves, and b)less healthy than if we make it ourselves. Howeever – we do use butter (gasp!) and cream (horror!). But we also use a lot of vegetables and mostly try to let our kids experience the widest variety of things and encourage trying new things. I was on a trip this last week and found a little candy store and one of the things I brought home was pop-rocks – remember those? I am sure they are not a healthy snack, but I thought my kids would enjoy the new experience. By declaring anything off-limits completely you guarantee your kids will crave those items like crazy for the rest of their lives so we have nothing that is off limits. We make “lattes” at home (warmed milk with a flavoring) and always put sprinkles on them of any kind we can find. It’s better than donuts or just about any other candy we might give them and they really love the colors and it basically amounts to a 1/4 tsp or so of colored sugar. When we see donuts or cookies in the store we can easily say – no we are not buying those – we will have a latte with our own sprinkles at home. Of course other items can have sprinkles as well.

    Reply
  9. Pamela
    Pamela says:

    Good for you! India Tree has some nice sugar sprinkles. I think they have non-pareils, too. Now if someone can just figure help me figure out how to get their fancy, all-natural red dye that I bought at Whole Foods for cake frosting to turn RED and not pink. (You’d think that you could just keep adding red drops but I *swear* that it just turns more pink.)

    As for the candy, he got to keep enough for one piece a day. The rest was traded for a small Lego toy and the candy shipped off to a charity that sends candy in care packages to soldiers overseas throughout the year.

    Some dentists are offering candy “buy back” programs and shipping candy to the same charity. Just FYI.

    Reply
    • redrock
      redrock says:

      Most natural red dyes are beet juice. Which means you will never get the red you are expecting as red, and beet juice is also frequently used to adjust the color of strawberry yoghurt.

      Reply
    • Jenna
      Jenna says:

      It’ll never happen. Natural food color can’t do that. That’s why those fake red dyes got picked up so intensely by the public and the companies which made them.

      Red velvet cake used to be called such because of the red tinge from a natural chemical reaction between the brown sugar and the cocoa in the cake. Then, a company made red food color, took a bright full-color photo to put with it in the supermarket aisles, put the recipe in magazines, and the abomination that is red velvet cake today was born. The “new” recipe called for 2 entire BOTTLES of the red food color. It’s unfortunate that such a tasty confection is now pretty much a bland-tasting vehicle for massive amounts of cream cheese frosting.

      As a cake decorator for many years, I must also mention that every other decorator or student I’ve worked with doesn’t like to use the red food color, mainly because frosting tinted with it tastes like ass. Pretty, but nasty to eat.

      Reply
  10. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    Good for you, Penelope!

    And as for the specious arguements in favor of food additives…give me a break.

    1. Yes, you are at more risk driving a car, however, there is the risk/benefit ratio to consider. What benefit exactly are we gaining by those additives? Without my car I’m a shut in…I, too, live in rural WI. I don’t even notice the lack of processed food in my life. You think I would notice the lack of a car a bit more since there is a HUGE benefit to my driving one. The benefit warrants the risk.
    2. Comparing the current “crazy bandwagon” against processed food to the misguided medical ideas (that were often very supported by the food industry…Snackwells, anyone?)against eggs or red meat is missing the point. Eggs and beef have been around since before god was invented. Our modern ideas and “fads” may go against them but our bodies know better. Jesus and Mohammed could have shared some eggs and beef sausage. Food additives derived from the petroleum industry are a different and new thing. Our children are supposed to be the guinea pigs while we foot the bill for the convenience of fake food. No thanks, I’ll make mine myself.
    3. The food and drink that millions of people eat and drink everyday IS a silent killer. Get a load of the obesity crisis. Do you really think that it is just due to us eating too much and not getting enough exercise? If that were the case rich people throughout history would have similiar obesity numbers. They didn’t. Something has changed. The rich never got that much exercise and always have had copious amounts of food.
    http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

    This pediatric neuroendocrinologist gives a pretty good arguement for what it is. There’s more to avoid then just the coloring in the food.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

    4. “Moderation is the key.” This is one of my favorite arguements. How much arsenic is OK on your oatmeal? How many Marlboro lights can your kid smoke? We know one won’t hurt him. But some things are poisonous and others are addictive and many are just not worth the risk. The habits that children form and the models that they follow stay with them for life. That being said, do I allow my kids to have those red cupcakes at a b-day party? Sure. But we also talk about why they have to fill their bellies with good food before going to the party.
    The idea that if everyone does it then it must be OK is starting to ring false for a lot of us. (FWIW: I recently learned that you can keep ripe bananas from getting overripe by putting them in the fridge!!I’ve never seen anyone have bananas in the fridge.)
    By the way, in Madison the Willy St Co-op is an awesome resource for real food.
    Thanks for blogging.

    Reply
    • MichaelG
      MichaelG says:

      I have the impression that the rich *were* fatter than the poor back before industrialization. Do you have a reference that says otherwise?

      Go to any mall with a diversity of kids and you’ll see that obesity definitely correlates with culture. If it were evil fast food and grocery stores, nearly everyone would be affected. Parenting makes a difference.

      So yes, I think we’re getting fat just because we overeat and get no exercise.

      I also think that perhaps there’s a problem with rich foods. I read a thing years ago that it’s a mystery how people know how much to drink. Yes, you get thirsty, but you stop drinking well before the water can be absorbed by your stomach and make any difference. So your body must be estimating how much fluid you need and stopping the sensation of thirst when you’ve drunk enough. Otherwise, you’d drink too much.

      The same thing must happen with food, otherwise people would never know when to stop eating. You could say it’s the sensation of a full stomach, but that can’t be right. Otherwise, you’d eat as much fudge as you do chips when you are hungry. You don’t, so your gut must take the fat and sugar content into account when deciding if you are full.

      I think it’s possible that modern fast foods, which are extremely rich in fat and sugar and easy to eat quickly, are fooling the body. You eat more than you should because by the time the gut realizes you’ve eaten a very rich meal, it’s too late.

      Add the modern tendency to gulp food and sodas on the run, and it’s possible this is what is causing us to over consume.

      In any case, you can teach kids to eat a reasonable amount by taking their time and drinking water with meals instead of soda.

      You don’t have to turn into one of these ridiculous foodies with a list of problem foods a mile long.

      Reply
      • Jenna
        Jenna says:

        Lauren – baking
        Karen – foods, setup
        Summer – can’t remember, status too long ago… Co-host, assist, whatever…
        Kristen – Invites, organizer of doom
        Katie – Chez Spice

        Michael, I’m interested in what you have to say, so I’m going to go point-by point here…

        “I have the impression that the rich *were* fatter than the poor back before industrialization. Do you have a reference that says otherwise?”
        You are correct – obesity was seen as a rich man’s disease, a problem of plenty. Of course, most Americans are now rich by comparison to the poor in those times. And yes, physical exercise has much to do with the way rich people were fatter – they didn’t have to labor.

        “Go to any mall with a diversity of kids and you’ll see that obesity definitely correlates with culture. If it were evil fast food and grocery stores, nearly everyone would be affected. Parenting makes a difference.”
        But nearly everyone IS affected. Yes, 1 in 3 kids is obese. 2 of 3 African American or Latino kids are obese. In *general*, those minority populations make less money, are more pressed for time, and have fewer adults staying at home in the household to make food. It’s horrible, but rich folks can afford better food, or else everyone thinks that the poor folks can’t afford better. All I know is that I don’t see many African Americans at the farmer’s markets I go to compared to how many I live among. My city is 60% African American. I see maybe 5-10% of shoppers who are African American at my local farmer’s markets. Those African Americans at the farmer’s market? Not an obese one among them. Hmmmm. And parenting does make a difference – you’re right about that. Weirdo parents like me make different choices.

        “So yes, I think we’re getting fat just because we overeat and get no exercise.”
        Allergens/addictives also have quite a bit to do with it. Most people are allergic and addicted to grains, but grains make up much of our diets. Yes, these allergens result in excess fat on the body. The type of food does matter, as does the quantity. The best mix will differ by person.

        “I think it’s possible that modern fast foods, which are extremely rich in fat and sugar and easy to eat quickly, are fooling the body. ”
        DINGDINGDING! You are dead on! This is a main issue with HFCS, and studies are being worked right now about this.

        “You eat more than you should because by the time the gut realizes you’ve eaten a very rich meal, it’s too late.
        Add the modern tendency to gulp food and sodas on the run, and it’s possible this is what is causing us to over consume.”
        Also, a *very* good point. We eat too damn fast. The French usually take 2 hours for dinner. When you ask a French person how they don’t get fat, they say that they stop eating when they are about 80% full. They know what that feels like, because it is socially accepted to take one’s time with food in France. Also, they walk a lot. Funny, that.
        Insulin response kicks in quicker with real sugar vs. HFCS or diet sodas and their chemical trickery of our hormones. I can drink several regular HFCS cokes, but I can barely finish one Mexican Coke, which is still made with real sugar. My body kicks in with “whoa, that’s enough!” I’m not the only one who has noticed this.

        “In any case, you can teach kids to eat a reasonable amount by taking their time and drinking water with meals instead of soda.”
        Again, correct. Now if only school lunches lasted longer than 25 minutes (including line time, and time spent walking to and from the lunchroom) and included healthy choices with cups available for water. Even our schools encourage speed-eating of unhealthy food. :(
        Soda, diet or not, is particularly pernicious. The bubbles in soda expand in your stomach, which is designed to expand or shrink based on how much food you have access to. The more soda you drink, the more your stomach stretches over time, which in turn means that you have to eat more to be full. So you eat more and drink more soda, because the soda makes you feel fuller. Eat more with soda, and your stomach stretches more, leaving more room over time, and on and on. 20 years as a waitress, and I’ve seen the people who ask for the most refills on diet cokes – they are by and large the MOST obese of customers. It makes me very sad for them. It also makes me step away from the bubbly stuff.

        “You don’t have to turn into one of these ridiculous foodies with a list of problem foods a mile long.”
        Oh, it’s not necessary to, and I don’t. :) My list is very, very simple. Real food. Veggies, meat, cheese, fruit, nuts, naturally occurring fats. Preferably something grown locally and sustainably so I’m not eating pesticides, but I’m not turning my nose up at a banana from far away. Nothing which makes me personally feel unwell, like most grains or milk. I don’t typically buy the processed food products on grocery store shelves. I don’t have to maintain a list of problem foods if I’m not eating the fruits of the Better Living Through Chemistry tree.
        As a general response, I use the sniff/logic test. A red dye made from coal tar does not qualify as a food, nor is it contained in nature in any foods that I eat. Thus, I don’t eat it. Vaccines are another matter – humans die and go painfully insane from mercury poisoning, yet mercury-based preservatives are used in a lot of vaccines. I will use my power as a consumer and only allow my doctor to give my baby a vaccine which does not contain mercury, and most vaccines have a mercury-free version now. Simple! Agent Orange made a lot of veterans sick, and it was re-worked into Round-Up. Monsanto has made GMO plants (by using deadly bacteria to change the genes, I might add) which can live despite being sprayed with Round-Up. If GMO crops are sprayed with poisons which made veterans sick, I elect not to eat those foods. Since they are mostly not foods, but rather additives or store-bought junk foods, I don’t really eat them. My apples don’t have additives, my spinach isn’t available in a shelf-stable cellophane bag with the chips.
        In general, it is very difficult to isolate the problems with food additives. What everyone else is saying is also correct – it’s better to avoid the additives, rather than be surprised later by their effects. But if the zombie apocalypse comes, I am *so* headed directly to procure shelf-stable crap foods!

        Reply
  11. Claire
    Claire says:

    Hi again, @Pamela. Didn’t know there was a candy trade-in; next year I’m going to see if there’s a dentist or someone doing it in my area.

    @Kristen: I’m in agreement w/you about instilling good dietary habits. The one thing I want our family to get better at is reducing our sugar. It’s a challenge to keep lots of sugary things out of their diet (and ours).

    So…who’s into the Paleo diet? (From the website, it’s a way of eating that best mimics diets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors – lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.)

    Reply
  12. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    @MichaelG-
    Look at the references I gave you.
    The CDC one shows the significant increase in obesity over the past 30 years. The other youtube link explains the science behind the fullness issue as well as how your body deals with rich foods and why (you are absolutely right) you need to slow down when eating.
    Drinking and thirst are totally different. Water and simple sugar is absorbed by your stomach which is how your body knows when to stop drinking AND why soda and juice make you fat and unhealthy, lickity split.
    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Human_Physiology/The_gastrointestinal_system
    You are making my arguement for me…parenting is the problem and the solution. We need to teach our kids what to eat and how to eat.
    Obesity is merely one symptom of a bigger problem. A poor diet,one laden with sugar and additives, will contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. in thin people as well as the obese.
    There are no foods on the “problem list”. But only because our definitions of food differs.
    Food is something you eat which nourishes the body…many items on the shelves just don’t qualify.

    Reply
  13. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Off topic but I think it’s important to say. MichaelG made note of the large amount of miles driven by Penelope. So this note is a reminder for Penelope and anyone else for that matter who drive in the winter and especially on rural (infrequently traveled) roads. Check your vehicle or have it checked by someone else for good running order and tire condition. Also carry in the vehicle stuff such as a charged cellphone, flashlight, road “flares”, and blankets. It helps to be prepared – especially in the winter.

    Reply
  14. Cassie Boorn
    Cassie Boorn says:

    I was allergic to Red Dye which basically meant I would SPAZZ out anytime a red m&m so much as touched my lip. You can totally tell a difference when Aiden has eating artificial colored food and when he hasn’t. However, even when I cut out artificial color everyone else gives it to him. (his dad, grandparents, aunts, etc) So I find my efforts to be useless.

    Reply
    • Zellie
      Zellie says:

      My kid was on a gluten-free/casein-free diet, but others didn’t respect it and undermined our efforts. People didn’t take it seriously until we had lab testing to show it was causing harm and his doctor prescribed a GF/CF diet.

      Reply
    • Jenna
      Jenna says:

      Cassie, you could make a rule – whoever gives him the trash has to live with him while it works out of his system. They can’t just give him crap and hand him back to you.

      I’m afraid I’ll have to be brutal with not allowing people to keep/visit my son if they don’t toe the food line. I’ve got the luxury of that, though, and a very supportive husband who agrees.

      Reply
  15. Patricia
    Patricia says:

    Aside from the whole food debate (which I completely support you on btw), can I just say your kids are awesome? Launching a campaign to permit one type of food dye over another or contacting the commenter who mentioned red food colouring to advocate their position? They show tons of gumption – and that is more important than the food colouring ever will be.

    Reply
  16. Jenna
    Jenna says:

    Penelope, there are natural -color sprinkles here:
    http://www.qualitysprinkles.com/

    and Whole Foods has some natural food coloring. You could use it to make homemade sprinkles with the boys as a homeschool project, like here:
    http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/how-to/how-to-make-sprinkles-for-cupcakes-cookies-cakes-138957

    And of course, google has many places for directions on making your own food color from scratch, so the boys really could take the whole thing from the beginning… :)

    Reply
  17. DL
    DL says:

    The argument over vaccines isn’t relative to that of healthy food and Penelope never even mentioned it, so I don’t know why it was brought up.

    But, Penelope! I am so glad to see you jump on the bandwagon for wholesome food! Diet affects us daily in so many ways, whether it’s our mood swings, ability to focus, how we physically feel, and our overall health. I heard just yesterday that stomach cancer is increasing at a rate faster than any other, particularly among young people. Maybe it has something to do with the crap we Americans consume – you think?

    People are right when they say the Midwestern agriculture industry, as a whole, is far removed from producing healthy food. BHg in milk, chemicals on crops, hormones and antibiotics in animals…these can’t be good for our diets. The majority of Midwestern farmers do not grow edible crops, they grow corn for ethanol or animal consumption, and soybeans that are smothered in pesticides. This means, if you live in rural areas, there are very few places to buy good, healthy food. You can, however, easily compensate for that by producing your own, which it sounds like you’re doing, Penelope.

    Kudos to you. Maybe you should add a food link to your blog heading – a healthy food link (that would put you one up on Pioneer Woman).

    Reply
  18. Katie Grace
    Katie Grace says:

    I only read through some of the comments, so it possible this has already been addressed. I don’t allow my young daughters to eat anything with food dye in it and prefer they don’t eat a list of other things in “food” today. As for Halloween, I bought some candy from the Natural Candy Store (and yes, they sell sprinkles: http://www.naturalcandystore.com/) and the candy that was collected from Trick-or-Treating was traded in to me for mom approved candy. Then I sent that candy off to the troops through Operation Gratitude: http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/ Sometimes you can find a local dentist that is participating in Operation Gratitude’s buy back program and you will get something is exchange for donating you candy!

    Reply
  19. mysticaltyger
    mysticaltyger says:

    Penelope, you are so right about this. It goes a lot further than just not eating food dyes. The whole American Diet is a prescription for untold cases of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and even Alzheimers (yes excess sugar consumption has been linked to Alzheimers). We need to go back to eating healthy, natural, unprocessed foods as much as possible. We simply can not afford the health care costs associated with our diet of unnatural and processed foods any more.

    Reply

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