Let's say I'm a young kid who's really looking forward to Easter. I vividly remember all the flashy and bright colors in those egg-dyeing kits, and I can't wait to color eggs again this year.
Except that this Easter, my parents are more worried than ever about artificial food colorings. So they decided to make me use "natural" dyes that, quite frankly, made my colored eggs look kind of faded and half done.
I don't know: if I were that kid, I think I'd be pretty disappointed. Wouldn't you?
Don't get me wrong: I completely understand why parents would think twice about artificial dyes. But if I were going to intercede in my kids' diets to limit artificial food coloring, I'd focus on sugary flavored drinks, super-colored candy, and artificially colored snack foods. Those are food dyes that your kids are actually eating and drinking.
Forget about food colorings you use once a year that you don't even ingest.
Remember, you're only dyeing the outside of the shell of the egg. Not only that, but the vast majority of the dye never gets onto the egg in the first place--it's still sitting in the the teacup you dipped the egg into!
Thus a tiny, tiny fraction of the dye gets onto the shell of the egg, and an even more minuscule fraction of that could possibly penetrate the shell itself. In other words, after eating a few dozen eggs Cool Hand Luke style, you might ingest an infinitesimal quantity of food dye.
Oh, and those natural dye kits? They're more than double the price of the "toxic" Paas egg coloring kits I grew up with.
The former Wall Street analyst in me can't resist thinking how deliciously profitable it must be to charge double for natural egg dye kits that don't really even dye all that well. But then again, capitalizing on peoples' emotion-based fears of toxins and poisons is almost always good for business.
Now, if your kids are literally drinking artificial egg-dyeing liquids by the teacup, I take back everything. But hey, if anyone in your family actually enjoys knocking back a gaggingly vile mixture of vinegar, water and a quick-dissolving food dye pellet, you've got bigger problems on your hands than artificial dyes.
My take? Let's find something more substantive to worry about. Let's get some really rich-colored dyes and let kids make some really flashy, cool-looking eggs. Let's relax and have some fun. And let's focus on more substantive and meaningful steps, like cutting back on food additives and food colorings we actually eat and drink.
Oh, and the best way to win an Easter egg cracking contest is to use your egg's sharp end on the other guy's egg's rounder end. Works every time.
Readers, those of you coloring eggs this weekend, will you pay up for "natural" dyes? Are they worth the extra cost? Or will you stick with regular egg-dyeing kits? Share your thoughts!
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