Saturday, November 16, 2013

How to eat

As a kid, I used to love the yogurt with the fruit on the bottom. I didn't know about all of the sugars and nastiness that companies add to these yogurts. And I certainly didn't know about carmine.

Carmine is a color additive to some of your favorite flavors like strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is found in your fruit-on-the-bottom varieties as well as so-called Greek yogurt and the probiotic types of the Jaime Lee Curtis persuasion. It's made from cochineal extracts.

This is what a cochineal is:

That's right, folks. That's a cochineal beetle, a parasitic scale insect native to South America and Mexico that feeds on cacti that creates carminic acid. It takes about 40,000 of the tiny bugs to produce one pound of cochineal extract. Picture millions of them waiting to become part of your yogurt.

Yogurt is not the only place you'll find carmine, either. It's in candies, sodas, ice creams, medicines, and cosmetics, among other things. Think about that next time you get out your compact - you're smearing bug guts all over your face!

I made myself a snack this evening with yogurt - plain yogurt with no additives aside from the ingredients I mixed in myself. You can do wondrous things with plain yogurt. I added some dill, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of curry powder and ate it with carrots. Sometimes I cut up cucumbers and add in some dill and garlic salt, which is a cool treat for hot days. Forget processed vegetable dips you can get at the grocery - make them yourself in five minutes!

For the sweeter tooth, make your own fruit yogurt using real fruit and honey. I like to smash up brown bananas into plain yogurt and sprinkle in some cinnamon. You can add other fruits, too - sometimes I'll use bananas, apples, and oranges with honey. Berries are also great. Honey is a natural sweetener so go for it!

What'll it be? All natural foods or foods containing bug guts? To me, that's an easy decision.

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