While I find myself scrolling through Pinterest pages often, there is one category I can’t stand to look through — food & drink. Pin after pin full of artificial ingredients and harmful food dyes, with comments like, “my kids will love this”, make me realize that even though we are more aware than ever about the dangers of artificial ingredients and processed foods, we still choose them. I want convenient, simple meals, and I want my food and cakes to be beautiful, but not at the expense of my family’s health. With just a few extra minutes here or there, and knowing what brands to look for, you can skip many of these common processed ingredients.
I have listed five unhealthy, and potential harmful pins I commonly see on Pinterest, along with simple substitutions. I hope this helps you get rid some artificial ingredients in your house!
I can’t say I’ve never bought whipped topping from the frozen section before. I used to LOVE that stuff. . .and by love, I mean at least 1 large tub a week…okay, maybe even more. It makes to sick to think about eating a tub full of artificial ingredients now that I’ve learned about artificial sweeteners (toxic to body and metabolism), partially hydrogenated oils (linked to heart disease), high fructose corn syrup (some link it to obesity epidemic), and other additives. Happy to say, I’ve ditched my obsession with the tub of whipped chemicals.
Homemade whipped toppings are simple to make. They take just a couple ingredients, a few minutes, and taste so much better! It’s possible to make your own stabilized whipped cream, similar to a Cool Whip. Here is a stabilized whipped cream recipe from About.com, and here’s a basic whipped cream recipe from allrecipes.com. I made a vegan whipped topping using canned coconut milk a while ago in the berries and cream post. Just chill a can of coconut milk overnight, scoop out the thickened part at the top (leaving out the liquid), beat with a little vanilla and sugar.
Artificial Food Dyes
I rant about artificial food dyes all the time, so nothing new here. The Rainbow Birthday Party, Glow in the Dark Cupcakes, and hundreds of other sweets on Pinterest make my head spin. Believe me, I want the picture perfect party for my girls, but not one with dyes that are known carcinogens (cancer causing substance), and linked to ADHD and other behavioral problems. I have seen several post for homemade natural food dyes. I haven’t tried one yet, but when I do, I will let you know! Check out Natural Candy Store for natural and organic candy and food dyes.
Soaking Apples in Lemon-Lime Soda to Prevent Oxidization
Guess what, fresh lemon juice will do the same! I use it weekly on apples, pears and avocados. You can also slice an apple and use a rubberband to hold it together until it’s time to eat.
Boxed Cake Mixes
Just like a tub of whipped topping, there are very few real ingredients in a boxed cake mix. You’ll find partially hydrogenated oils, food dyes, enriched flours, to name a few. There’s no need to buy boxed cake mixes when you can make them yourself ahead of time. Then you can control the quality of the ingredients and they type of sugar used! Fake it Frugal has a great list with lots of DIY Cookie Mixes, and A Few Shortcuts has a couple DIY cake mixes. This will also work for muffin and pancake mixes. Take all the dry ingredients from your favorite recipe and add them to a bag to store until you’re ready to bake!
Canned Biscuits and Crescent Rolls
I know I live in the south, but biscuits really aren’t my thing…mashed potatoes and sweet tea, too. Can I be considered southern if I don’t care for those? :) They are very popular on Pinterest! Read the label of these so-called “made with wholesome ingredients” biscuits, and you’ll see there is nothing wholesome or real about them — enriched flours, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, GMO’s, and more processed garbage.
I did find some products, recipes and tutorials for some alternatives for you.
- Immaculate Baking Co. has both biscuits and crescent rolls that are natural and available online if there are not at a store near you. Some of their products do have enriched flour but overall this option is better by leaps and bounds.
- King Arthur has a step by step tutorial on making biscuits and freezing them. This would be a great homemade gift for someone who loves biscuits!
- Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom has a recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls. My mouth is watering looking at these photos!!