The most difficult part of a vegan lifestyle isn’t truly in the dining; it’s in the hidden abuses that lay in even the most common foods, clothes, or cooking products. Even meals that may otherwise appear plant-based often rely on ingredients that profit from animal products! One of the most common perpetrators? Food coloring.
While most “natural” food colorings are based on plants, every artificial food coloring is created using harsh chemicals and tested on animals prior to use. Because of the popularity of artificial food colorings in the processed market, even classic vegan favorites may involve a history of animal abuse.
In this article, we will discuss the shocking truth behind the food coloring in your vegan foods.
As always, trust the experts in Beyond Sushi to help pave the way to a fulfilling, deliciously cruelty-free lifestyle.
The Complicated Truth
First, the good news: nearly every color of natural food coloring is derived from plants, meaning they are completely safe for vegan consumption! The only exception is “carmine,” a popular shade of red created using crushed beetles.
Scan the ingredient labels of your favorite meals to see if it specifies the use of “natural dyes.” If instead, you see products like “blue 1” or “red 40,” the product is very likely artificial.
Nearly every artificial food coloring in today’s market is lab-created using a series of chemicals and petroleums. While this background might be questionable, it often does not include actual animal products. Despite this, many vegans are shocked to learn that even these artificial products regularly profit from the abuse of animals through regular, rigorous testing.
During this testing, a variety of animals – including cats, dogs, cows, and rodents– were exposed to lethal levels to discover exactly how much of these chemicals could be consumed before leading to illness. What’s more, this cruel testing revealed an uncomfortable truth: while these artificial dyes are usually safe in small doses, larger quantities can lead to tumors, hyperactivity, or even death! With results like these, even carnivores may be better off leaving these products on the shelf.
The unethical, hidden background behind these dyes is enough to cause many vegans to look elsewhere for an additional splash of color in their icings, egg dyes, and snacks.
Making your Own Food Coloring
In a world where artificial food colorings abound, you may be left wondering if the food coloring in your pantry is truly as natural as it claims. For a fun cooking challenge, try making your very own vegan food coloring!
This process is deceptively easy, making it a breeze to create your very own line of natural dyes. First, start with two ingredients: a highly pigmented plant and water.
Though we encourage experimenting with different plants to achieve your own unique colors, popular options include:
- Blueberries, which create a lovely shade of lilac
- Spinach for deep, earthy greens and olives
- Turmeric for a golden yellow shade
- Canned beets to make a soft pink or deep maroon
Select your ingredients and mix with just enough water to help in the blending process. Depending on the amount of dye you hope to make, a tablespoon or two is all that is usually necessary. Blend your food with the water in a food processor, then strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or coffee filter. You may want to do this two or three times to remove all traces of grit or food.
From here, you can store your dye in a container and keep it for up to two weeks in the refrigerator!
As you learn the ropes of this process, you’ll find yourself discovering all kinds of tips and tricks. For instance, boiling some of these mixtures for a few minutes creates a smoother, deeper shade, while others become brighter when using fresh plants rather than frozen. Whatever your process, you’re sure to feel a burst of pride when you present your next round of colorful sugar cookies, cupcakes, or pancakes, all created completely from scratch using cruelty-free ingredients!
Clean Eating with Beyond Sushi
It is important when dining out to know you’re enjoying food prepared by chefs who treat your passion for cruelty-free life seriously. When you savor a mouthwatering meal with Beyond Sushi, you can rest assured every bite is prepared using completely vegan standards.
Our mission is simple: create clean food that leaves a lasting, positive impact on our planet.
Every item on our menu is prepared using only fresh, natural ingredients that are designed to leave you feeling satisfied. Explore our menu to see the high-end appeal we bring to casual eats. Stop by any of our four gorgeously decorated locations for a clean meal, or take advantage of our pickup and delivery options to take your dish on the go.