Caramel IV is an artificial food coloring made with ammonia and is considered a carcinogen. It's always been toxic, but since blogger Food Babe recently renounced its use, it's been in the news and multitudes are scrambling to avoid the food dye.
Never fear, there's hope. You can make your own coffee shop favorites at home to replace these five caramel IV favorites, without the artificial food coloring.
Food Babe's research on the Pumpkin Spice Latte found the beverage contains two dosage of the carcinogenic Caramel IV, plus milk made from cows fed GMO grains, artificial flavors, preservatives, sulfites, pesticides and if you attempt the soy option---carrageenan. Plus, the mixture contains condensed milk, so even if you go with the vegan soy milk option, it's not really vegan!
According to Food Babe,
"There are four different types (classes) of caramel coloring and two of those types contain the dangerous substance 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel). Starbucks uses Class IV Caramel Color, considered the most harmful type that contains 4-Mel, in many of their drink syrups and sauces. It’s even in their whipped cream!"
Unfortunately, it doesn't stop with Starbucks, either. Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Crème Brûlée Latte may be even worse than Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte.
With all that caramel IV in Starbucks sauces, syrups and whipped cream, and Dunkin' Donuts' lattes, you'll want to make your own coffee shop favorites at home. Try our five varieties.
1. Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Now with REAL pumpkin, this pumpkin spice latte recipe is sure to please. And it's incredibly simple! Pumpkin puree, spices and instead of high fructose corn syrup or refined sugar, you can use REAL honey or sucanat! Or try Mama Natural's homemade pumpkin spice latte. And 100 Days of Real Food has a few quick and easy alternative recipes for either a pumpkin spice latte or hot chocolate.
2. Coconut Cream Coffee: Replace your morning latte with a homemade coconut cream coffee without any syrup in sight.
3. Spiced Honey Coffee: If you crave that syrupy goodness in your latte, make your own, free of caramel IV. Adding honey and mild spices to your morning cuppa will feel just like imbibing that fancy $5 drink, without the side of cancer.
4. Coffee Smoothies: Like frappucinos? I'm sorry to tell you they're chock full of caramel IV, too. Try our vegan warming winter smoothie instead, with its healthy ingredients like chia, hemp and maca powder.
5. Real Coffee: Simple, real coffee can be good for you. Add what you like, as long as it's a single-ingredient whole food, you can't go wrong. Experiment. I absolutely love butter and cream in my regular coffee. (Bulletproof coffee without the coconut oil.) Without experimentation, I never would've discovered this lovely drink.
If it's not the coffee you'll miss but the socialization, or just the much-needed break from work, check out our solutions to fix your coffee shop-free day.
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Image: the pink peppercorn