One thing we all have in common is our love of color. Yes, color psychology is a real thing; dull colors can make us feel gloomy, whereas bright or beautiful pastel colors can make us feel uplifted. And, the food industry uses our love of color as a key tactic to make us buy their foods. Colorful foods are everywhere; pretty pink cupcakes, green and red goodies for Christmas holidays, and bright colored icing piped onto Easter Eggs.

Americans now use five times more artificial dye in our foods than 1955. And, research has shown that the artificial food colorings that we use in a vast majority of our foods have been linked to a list of damaging health problems. And, what you will find shocking is the fact that a few of the artificial colors we use are banned in a few European countries. The studies have suggested that these toxic colorings are carcinogenic, cause anxiety, a major player in allergies, encourage hyperactivity and a factor in the increase in ADHD – not what we really want, hey?

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But, we don’t need to go without color. We can easily make colorful foods from a range of fruit and veggies which have a benefit to our health in place of the damaging effects of artificial coloring. As you know, natural is always best. You just need to add the chopped fruit and veggies in to a saucepan, cover the pieces with water, heat over a medium heat, mash the fruit and veggies once soft, remove when the color has been achieved and, strain through a cheese cloth. Simple!

1. Beets

For reds, use beets! Why don’t you try this Red Quinoa Loaf, use beets to color your Red Velvet Brownies, or add color to your red icing or for jazzing up those patties on the grill. Using beets, try making your own natural food coloring

2. Spirulina

For all shades of green, try spirulina! As spirulina has quite an intense coloring, sprinkle 1-2tbs of spirulina into hot water and simmer until the water has turned, then strain and seal away in an airtight container.  

3. Raspberries

For pretty pinks and reds, cook up some beautiful raspberries. For beautiful pinks, why don’t you try and make a Peanut Butter Crème and Raspberry Chiffon Pie, decorate those cakes with pink icing and, use as a tasty filling in a few Raw Raspberry Truffles.

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4. Blueberries

Go blue and purple with blueberries; you will also find undertones of red in the color too! Top your pancakes and waffles with a blue macadamia sauce, show off to your friends with deep blue Vanilla Blueberry Tart, a Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding, and, as a deep purple topping on a Raw Orange and Blueberry Cheesecake.

5. Carrots

Color those Halloween cakes orange with carrots. Voila! You can also take the carrot off of the heat sooner and achieve a tasty yellow color like in this Raw Carrot Avacado Soup. Or, go orange in this Curried Carrot Ginger and Orange Soup.

6. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage makes an excellent deep purple color! Red cabbage has cancer preventing properties, aids healthy digestion, lowers cholesterol, and, is an excellent anti-inflammatory food.

As you can see, we can brighten up our food with all of our favorite colors without a fuss, and plant-based colorings won’t be health damaging either! So, next time you’re thinking about baking a friend a Red Velvet celebration cake, ditch the bottle of red dye and think beetroot!

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Image source:Red Velvet Brownies

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