Shunning artificial dyes doesn't mean giving up traditions
Try these homemade substitutes for coloring eggs
Coloring hard-boiled eggs this time of year is a beloved tradition in many households, but maybe it’s time to update the tradition by going back to some older ways for making dyes.
While grocery-store egg-dying kits are certified safe, many people concerned about healthy eating are shunning artificial dyes throughout their diets.
“Artificial dyes can be found in foods like drinks, yogurt, sauces, boxed meals and candy, and also in toothpaste, supplements, medicines and other products,” according to Hillary Bisnett, director of the Ecology Center’s Healthy Food in Health Care program.
“And the verdict is not yet in on all artificial dyes,” Bisnett says. “What is known about artificial dyes is they usually are combined with chemicals that can be harmful.” Bisnett says.
This is important because it makes it difficult to distinguish between the effects of the dyes and the effects of the chemicals.
The FDA has removed numerous dyes from the food supply after studies revealed their potential harm to humans, leaving seven artificial dyes currently approved. But why should we have to wait for humans to be harmed by a product before the government will order research?
“This is not to say that all dyes are harmful, but we don’t know it yet,” Bisnett says. “One way to reduce your risk is to avoid them altogether.”
But that doesn’t mean we have to give up our family traditions like coloring eggs.
“Regardless of what we do or do not know about artificial dyes, we do know that natural dyes from foods are okay,” Bisnett says.
Combine beets, vinegar, and 3 cups water. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain into a large bowl. Let eggs steep in solution for 30 minutes for a delicate light pink, or up to 4 hours for a deeper red.