I have an amazing community in a Facebook group who are positive, motivational, inspirational, supportive, and all striving to become a better version of themselves. I started the group 4 years ago and it is one of my favorites groups.
It’s a safe place to share struggles and triumphs and we always encourage every member to be open and honest. We also don’t judge or discriminate as we are all such different people.
Since health and weight loss are highly affected by nutrition, every week we run a nutrition challenge as a group. There are 8 challenges that run a total of 9 weeks. And then we repeat. The best thing about this process is that you can see progress from one challenge every 9 weeks. For example, one of the weeks is AVOID DAIRY. When I first started the group, I wanted to be dairy-free, but was still having it 2-3 times each week. Even though my goal was always 7 days dairy-free, I would still have it a few times a week.
After a few 9 week rounds, my dairy started going down to 1-2 times a week, and then to once a week. I eventually succeeded with my goal of 7 days without dairy!! Baby steps (of course) but in the end I accomplished what I set out to do. And as most of you know, I am now 100% dairy-free and have been since 2015.
Now if you don’t WANT to do all 7 days, you can set your OWN goal. For example, one of our weeks is AVOID SUGAR. I for sure want to cut down on sugar, but I like to have a treat now and then, and I love oatmeal with PB and Grade B Maple Syrup. So my goal is for sure to cut down, but not necessarily to cut it out. So I look at my week ahead and my activities and decide how many days I want to aim for. It’s usually 5.
I like to do the challenges from least to most difficult for most people so that we see some successes before the struggles set in.
Today we will talk about WEEK #7: AVOID ARTIFICIAL CRAP: Artificial Colors
I like to group all artificial stuff into one challenge. CRAP=sweeteners, colors, flavors, etc. Basically anything artificial that is in our foods…which is WAY more than we think. In fact, there are many labels that read: natural and artificial flavors (colors, etc) so foods we think are all natural, actually have a mixture of natural AND artificial crap in them…BUMMER!!!
So this challenge is truly a challenge. Label reading is the key to getting this right.
There are so many artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors out there, I am going to divide this article into 3 parts…finally artificial colors.
It’s insane that most other countries outlaw most artificial colors in food, while the US still allows TEN in our foods. And many of the companies are making the same food products for all countries and have to change the ingredients for those other countries so it’s crazy that they just don’t change them for us too!
Here are the dyes still allowed in the US and where they are often found so you can look out for them and take control of what you put into your own and your children’s bodies…
Blue No. 1: Often found in frosting, ice cream, packaged soup mixes, and products with blue-raspberry flavors
Blue No. 2: Often found in candy, cereal, ice cream
Citrus Red No. 2: Allowed for use only in coloring the skins of oranges
Green No. 3: Often found in canned peas, mint jelly, sauces, mixes for baked goods
Orange B: Allowed for use only in frankfurter and sausage casings
Red No. 3: Banned in the United States for topical use. Often found in Popsicles, cake-decorating gels, candy, chewing gum
Red No. 40: Often found in soft drinks, sports drinks, cocktail mixers, fruit snacks, yogurt, breakfast cereals, lasagna, jam, candy, hot dogs, beef jerky, salad dressings, chips, pizza
Yellow No. 5: Often found in ice cream, Popsicles, hard candy, pudding, Jell-O, cake mixes, soft drinks, sports drinks, chips, gum, jam, mustard, cereal, boxed rice dinners, noodles
Yellow No. 6: Often found in orange soda, jam, lemon curd, packaged soup mixes, chips, ice cream, noodles
Caramel coloring: People around the world consume more caramel coloring than any other food-coloring ingredient. Although the word “caramel” seems innocent enough, there are actually four types of the coloring, two of which are created by using ammonia. The coloring used in some sodas, for example, is made by reacting ammonium and sulfite compounds with sugars, which produces 4-Methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, shown to cause cancer in mice and rats. Caramel coloring has also been linked to high blood pressure.
Here is an article I like on artificial dyes…
And here are some comments from participants…
“I didn’t realize I was eating so much crap until I started reading labels. Thanks for making me aware of this!”
“I feel so much better about my overall health and wellness now that I have removed most artificial coloring from my diet.”
Here are deets on the avoiding artificial crap challenge…
And join us for info, articles, support, accountability, and education here…
And make sure you READ YOUR LABLES!
See you SOON!