Feeling Lucky? Five Dye-Free Ways to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day

Well here we are on our very first Saint Patrick’s day since our family discovered our food coloring sensitivity.  Two-thirds of us have been sick all week with flu, pollen allergies, and pink eye…so there’s not a whole lot of celebrating going on around here today (but I still want to help you with yours – Saint Patrick would have wanted it that way, I think.).  If you’ve chosen to avoid Green 3 this year, then I say “good on ya!”  If not, then pray to Saint Patrick to protect your innerds as you imbibe.  Green 3 has been linked in lab tests to tumors of the liver, bladder, and testes (!!!).  And it’s been linked to the more obvious..erm…after effects…ahem.

Today also marks the first time I’ve had a run-in with a doctor over my request for dye-free antibiotics.  In my usual fashion, I waited until Friday night to develop a painful ear infection and sore throat, having had enough of just plain boring old flu during normal business hours.  Feeling that I might die from the pain, I called the on-call doc today to ask for help.  The conversation went like this:

Me:  “I’ve had the flu since Tuesday, my throat won’t stop hurting,  and my ear started to feel like it would explode in the middle of last night.”
Doc: “Are you in town? This seems like an out of town number…”
Me: “Yeah that’s my cell phone that I’ve had since we lived in Florida.”
Doc: “You need to get a local cell number! This is a long distance call!”
Me: “We’ve kept it for years ’cause it’s easier for family…”
Doc: “Do you have any allergies to medications?”
Me: “Yes I have an allergic reaction to food coloring – food dyes.”
Doc: “Food coloring? I’ve never heard of that before.  You want pills or liquid?”
Me: “Either one is fine.”
Doc: “Well which one do you WANT?!”
Me: “Liquid.”
Doc: “Well I’ll have to ask the pharmacist but I don’t know if they can even do dye-free.”
Me: “Walgreens gives us dye-free liquid all the time.”
Doc: “You have a doctor, don’t you? Why didn’t you go in to see him this week?”
Me: “I thought this was viral until the middle of last night when my ear was so painful.”

And on and on…Perhaps I interrupted his Rush Limbaugh marathon, I don’t know, but Dr. Crotchety was not happy to talk to me.  I like to think that St. Paddy is smiling down on me, with that knowing look of a misunderstood pioneer of sorts.   I am relieved to report that the dude got me some dye-free pills that weren’t too big to swallow with this shredded throat of mine.  A little bit of Similason ear drops here, a little dye-free Dimetapp there, and I’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tomorrow.

Erin Go Blah? Nah!

Back to that other dude…the ever patient and dutiful Saint Patrick.  I can just hear the collective cringe from all of you parents out there with dye-sensitive kids when the bright green petroleum displays come out (yes, hear cringes…we develop a sixth sense about this sort of thing after so many public meltdowns).  Don’t let another colorful holiday tradition intimidate you and your dye-sensitive clan!  You can still have a colorful bit ‘o’ fun with the kiddies (and adults) in his name today, without exposing them to petroleum food dyes. 

Here are five safer ways celebrate that snake-drivin’, Pagan-convertin’, all around nice fella:

1)  Make green cuisine with vegetable coloring…hide spinach or zucchini in cupcakes, make avocado frosting, color smoothies and milkshakes with chlorophyll…the list is as varied as your imagination!

2) Color your brew(s) with liquid chlorophyll and other fun substances.  You can find small or large bottles at health food stores, but a very tiny bit of this richly dark green wonderfood goes a long way.

3) Eat naturally green foods in a fun way…think skewers of green foods such as honeydew melon, lime, basil leaves, green apple, avocado, green grapes, kiwi, broccoli, spinach leaves, cucumber, zucchini, and green bell pepper…and dip them in spinach or artichoke tip, naturally-dyed ranch dressing, or sour cream & jam sauce.  Even a rainbow of foods on a skewer goes with the day’s theme.  Here is a green recipe collection to get your ideas flowing.

4) Of course the list of non-food items to be had on this day is endless.  Have you always wanted to build a leprechaun trap but didn’t know where to begin?  Well now you do! Thanks, Pinterest! (I’d replace all those petrol rainbow dyes with natural food coloring, of course.)

5) If you’re worried about your pot of gold at the end of the non-petroleum rainbow, check out CouponMom.com and HealthyLifeDeals.com for coupon and sale matching.

Bonus for the grown folks:  Have a Father Ted marathon!

And if after the celebration, you’ve tired of searching for leprechauns…and you’re feeling as green as I am (but you’re looking for a more understanding doctor than mine) search this site for naturopath recommendations.

“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” ~ Irish Proverb

I’m feeling pretty darn lucky that my daughter is healthy and happy, thanks to our new dye-free lifestyle.  Do you have any more ideas to share?  Please leave them in a comment below.





3 Responses to “Feeling Lucky? Five Dye-Free Ways to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day”
  1. Marsha says:

    I am so excited to have found this blog! I am the proud Mama of a 3 1/2 year old son with severe food allergies. Food dyes (red #40 is pure evil to us!) and dairy are our big ones! I was relieved to read that other parents are seeing these extreme behaviors. My son, Finley has 2 hour inconsolable tantrums when he ingests any food dye. Red was our trigger reaction but since he can’t have any dyes. We have even found that he can’t play with Play Doh… his finger nails started to fall off. We discovered this allergy when I let him have a red lollipop last Valentines Day at play group. Prior to this instance, he had never had any food dyes. I am a representative with a natural food company called Wildtree. These products contain No Additives, Preservatives, MSG, HFCS or Food dyes. Because we primarily eat Wildtree products, he had never had any food dye.

    I am appalled at all the places I find food dyes…marshmellows contain blue …REALLY??? Why? So they can be whiter… I found a local woman at the Farmer’s market I go to that makes her own…So I buy him marshmellows from her. Because of his dairy allergy, we have few treats for him to indulge in… so buying homemade marshmellows is what I do!

    Birthday parties and holiday celebrations are my biggest nightmare… I am dreading school already! I am so tired of making cupcakes everytime one of his friends has a birthday.

    I makes me sad that he will always have a different experience than his friends. It doesn’t upset me that he doesn’t get to eat the horrible food dyes… it just frustrates me that they are in everything. I have opted out of many parties cause it makes me crazy to see all the food dyes. But he is getting older and will want to attend these functions… oh what will I do? I have shed many tears over this allergy/sensitivity. I’m so happy to find someone with similar experiences! Thank you!

    Check out Wildtree (I’m not telling you this because I want your business… I’m telling you this because it changed our lives.) Wildtree was founded by a Mom with kids with severe food allergies. They have NO Food dyes in their products… they have a Kids Cheez that is awesome and doesn’t include food dyes as well as other garbage… They will soon be 100% Organic. My son loves the food… I love the peace of mind.

    Thank you for creating a blog that brings this issue into the spotlight!!!!

  2. Alleycat says:

    A bit of advice: Be careful referencing Rush Limbaugh and/or politics. I am an avid fan of yours AND a die-hard dittohead. My daughter has the same sensitivity to red 40 that your daughter does (rages, uncontrollable crying, inability to reason, etc) and it affects my other 2 kids less severely (hives, rashes, loss of focus, etc). These petroleum-based artificial dyes affect ALL of us regardless of race, creed, political preference, religion, sexual orientation, etc. It has nothing to do with politics, the Bushes aren’t out to get you, there’s no conspiracy by the oil companies or the Freemasons for world domination, and Obama’s not going to protect you from rich people. BOTH major parties are corrupt and BOTH major parties are complicit in the revolving door between the FDA and “Big Food”. Please stick to the issues of raising awareness about artificial food dyes and leave politics out.

    P.S. Give Rush a try. You just might learn to like him. 🙂

    • Indie Mama says:

      I wasn’t talking politics at all, nor even thinking about it, while writing about St. Paddy’s Day and our sickies. 🙂 Rush Limbaugh doesn’t have any affect on my opinions, and my mention of him was not intended to make any statement about our food system. I had a real person whom I know in mind when crafting my characterization about my on-call doctor. All the other opinions you mentioned have nothing to do with me or this blog post.

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