(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI -- Organic, organic, organic!
When it comes to adding a little zest to your foods, learning how to make your own flavoring is the healthy way to go.
Substituting spices and herbs for marinades, salad dressings and condiments is a quick and easy way to avoid artificial flavors, food dyes and sugar. Check out the ingredients of your ranch dressing and barbeque sauce - the fat count and high fructose corn syrup speak for themselves.
Artificial flavors and colors, even though some are approved by the FDA, may contain toxins like mercury, copper and arsenic.
Chemicals found in color additives have been linked to behavior patterns. For example, researchers at Harvard University suggest Yellow #5 is linked to hyperactivity, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and that it's contaminated with cancer-causing carcinogens.
Because natural herbs and spices are organic, they will not block nutrients that are necessary for proper growth and development among children.
Spices and herbs have too few calories to count, and are all natural, too.
But wait, herbs and spices can get pricey, right? Don't worry - there's an event coming up Saturday in Cincinnati that will teach you how to make all by yourself. One lesson, a little creativity, and you'll be all set.
Green Magic! Spices and Herbs! will be held August 9, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Krohn Conservatory. The folks of Krohn are teaming up with The Spice & Tea Exchange to teach Cincy's residents neat ways to jazz up meats, veggies and other foods with natural herbs that are good for bodies and minds. Plus, participants will make their own salsa and pot their own pepper plant to take home.
Green Magic! is part of Krohn's Family Food Camp that runs through August. With the help of the Francis R. Luther Charitable Trust, each week presents an opportunity for families to get hands-on learning about healthy eating.
The camps aim to "engage children and to educate families in making healthy food choices, grow some of your own edibles, and how to prepare them, together," Krohn spokeswoman Manda Hurdelbrink said.
Families wishing to attend Green Magic! must register in advance, and can do so online . The cost per class is $8 for adults and $4 for kids, ages 5-12.