What is Cochineal?

Reading labels is daunting, but necessary when inspecting a product before you ingest it. A great rule to stick to, is if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Especially when ingredient statements seem to be longer than the dictionary.

One ingredient that shows up on a lot of ingredient decks is cochineal. What is this?

Image: Cochinealdye.com

According to Wikipedia.:

“Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colorants that resist degradation with time. It is one of the most light- and heat-stable and oxidation-resistant of all the natural organic colorants and is even more stable than many synthetic food colours.[29] The water-soluble form is used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine; the insoluble form is used in a wide variety of products. Together with ammonium carmine they can be found in meat, sausages, processed poultry products (meat products cannot be coloured in the United States unless they are labeled as such), surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings, cookies, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin desserts, juice beverages, varieties of cheddar cheese and other dairy products, sauces, and sweets. The average human consumes one to two drops of carminic acid each year with food.[29]

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule effective January 5, 2011 requires all foods and cosmetics containing cochineal to declare it on their ingredient labels.[30]

Carmine is considered safe enough for use in eye cosmetics.[31] A significant proportion of the insoluble carmine pigment produced is used in the cosmetics industry for hair- and skin-care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges, and blushes.[29] A bright red dye and the stain carmine used in microbiology is often made from the carmine extract, too.[15] The pharmaceutical industry uses cochineal to colour pills and ointments.[20]”

Amazing to think this little insect’s shell has so much colouring that it is harvested in massive quantities to fulfil our desire for red coloured items. When you’re consuming red coloured food, you assume the colour is natural, bug are natural right?


Image: Consumerist.com

Excalibur Dehydrators & Strawberries

Ever wonder how to use an Excalibur dehydrator to make raw food? Sometimes it can be confusing – how DO you use a dehydrator?

We found a video that does just that. Here’s a video on how to make dehydrated strawberries.  Such a lovely idea for when winter is in full effect and you have carefully made dried strawberries to enjoy during the off season.

The products used in this recipe video:
– Non-stick sheets 

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Dog Meat: Would you eat it?

Dog meat, pig meat, cow meat, what is the difference? Recently, the Globe and Mail wrote an article about how dog meat really shouldn’t make a difference. The CBB reported that dog meat is legal in Canada if properly inspected. Incredible. Not often do people really bring the connection between a domesticated animal and live stock. As eating dog is a common practice in some parts of Asia, it’s not the case in North America, where the dog is revered as a beloved part of the family. Imagine sitting to Thanksgiving dinner with a roast dog in the centre? Extremely unpalatable for most to even think of such an image, nevertheless, it does happen.

This article brings the question of: Why love one but eat the other?

Pigs are given a bad rep being misunderstood as being “dirty”, that could not be further from the truth. Pigs do not sweat and thus need to keep cool somehow, be it mud or water. They are incredibly smart and have been known to save humans from life threatening situations.

Amazing how this intelligent little creature can be treated so badly by humans, yet dogs are lavished in luxury in North America and have a seat reserved next to the master of the house. What does this article mean to you? Would you eat dog meat?

Tip to Winterize Your Home

As winter approaches, it’s best to go over your house to make sure you’re conserving heat and saving your money. Here are a few simple tips to do both!


1. Avoid applying rock salt or calcium chloride to your roof to melt ice and snow. Use of either can damage shingles, and possibly void the shingle manufacturer’s warranty.

2. Check windows and doors. If you can afford it, replace windows with new energy-efficient models that are available. If that’s not in your budget try less-expensive options like window-insulation kits.

3. Try replacing the weather stripping around the doors in your home.

4. Use a programmable thermostat to reduce heating costs when no one is at home.

5. Trim tree branches so heavy snow doesn’t cause them to fall on your house or car.


To avoid a costly bill, dress warmly and keep the heat down, a nice cup of tea warms the body gently and provides natural enjoyment. Simple common sense things you can do around the house will really reflect on your energy bill. Plan ahead and have a pantry supply stocked for those nights you don’t want to go to the store. As we all know winters can be hard, but if you’re prepared it’s nothing you can’t handle.