Too Much Dye and Tuna Risotto

by Joanne on November 22, 2010

The recap of last weeks running is posted here:  Training log.  I update it daily if you’re keeping up. 

Monday morning, for some weird reason, it was easy getting on the treadmill and cranking out 45 minutes worth of running.  I like those days!  I worked my legs but not with heavy weights. In fact the only two exercises that included substantial weight were the seated leg curls and squats.  I did standing leg curls, but only used ankle weights. I’m not doing anything extreme until that hamstring goes back into hiding.   The massage helped a lot on Saturday. The swimming also helped, as well as being a great workout. Ted and I definitely need to build our swimming endurance.  Right now it’s pitiful. 

Back to Monday…after the leg work, Shane and I trucked along for4 miles. A total of 9.34 miles for Monday.

“Live or Let Dye” an article in EatingWell November/December 2010 issue. 

“Americans are now eating FIVE times as much food dye as we did in 1955.” 

That was a pretty scary first sentence and caught my attention.   Many manufacturers prefer synthetic dyes over natural food colorants, such as beets, for adding to foods from “cereal to ice cream”.   The negative health effects are commonly seen in children resulting in allergies, learning impairments, aggressiveness, and more. 

Three of the better known dyes, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40 have been linked to cancer. Be aware that the synthetic dyes are listed as a color and a number in the ingredient list:  Blue 1, Citrus Red 2, etc.  Natural colors are listed as beet, carotenes, annatto, capsanthin, and, oddly enough,”artificial color” or “color added” simply indicates that a nature-derived pigment was used instead of synthetic dyes. 

To avoid synthetic dyes, look for organic labeling or colors WITHOUT numbers.


I was hunting around in the pantry for wild rice.  Darn! I was sure I had some.  Instead, I found 3 packages, yes THREE, of Arborio rice (WHO bought all those?!!!).  The type of rice used to make creamy, rich risotto.  Arborio rice is an oval, short grain rice with a firm core.  Risotto is made by sautéing the rice in butter then slowly adding liquid.  In Apple Crumbles version, we use no butter. GASP!  Oh well, if enough other stuff is added, no one will know except maybe the master chef’s but we never invite them to dinner.


Serves 6



  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 32 oz Vegetable Soup (you can use broth or stock but then make sure to add herbs for flavor)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 10 oz pkg. frozen spinach, partially defrosted
  • 1 12 oz can (large can) tuna, drained
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Heat the soup/stock/broth over medium heat and let sit at a simmer.

In a large pan with high sides, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and peppers and let cook 8 minutes. 

Add the rice and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the heated soup/stock/broth to the rice and vegetables and stir. Reduce heat to medium – low.  Let it absorb, add another cup of liquid and let it absorb, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir a few times during cooking.  Add the wine, spinach, and tuna. Mix in and allow to cook for 10 minutes.  Keep stirring, occasionally.

Continue adding the rest of the soup/stock/broth as above, allowing about 10 minutes of cooking time in between. Don’t forget to stir frequently!

When all the liquid has been added and the risotto has reached a creamy stage, add the Parmesan cheese. Stir and let the flavors meld for about 3 – 5 minutes.


Wonderful chunky tuna.


All sorts of wonderful vegetables. 

I bet you’ll really enjoy the flavors in this dish. Don’t fear risotto. It’s as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it. 

Here’s another recipe for Risotto, a favorite from Ellie Krieger: Garden Risotto


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  • At 2010.11.22 16:32, Monet said:

    So I love how you used olive oil instead of butter in this recipe (I use enough butter in all my baking!) This risotto would be wonderful for dinner or for lunch. It is so scary to consider how many artificial ingredients we consume…yikes! Thank you for sharing, my friend. I hope your week is full of family, friends and great food!

    • At 2010.11.22 19:39, Joanne said:

      Thanks Monet. Your’s too.

      • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Applecrumbles, Applecrumbles. Applecrumbles said: Food dyes are harmful: […]

        • At 2010.11.22 20:31, Heather said:

          Risotto, tuna, and vegetables??? Yum! 3 of my favorite foods!
          I’m glad you’re taking care of that hamstring…’re such an inspiration!

          • At 2010.11.23 08:20, Joanne said:

            I’m trying to take care of it. It’s frustrating and I’m a person of little patience.

            • At 2010.11.22 21:36, Natalie said:

              The risotto (minus tuna for me) looks amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

              • At 2010.11.23 08:21, Joanne said:

                Thanks for the comment 🙂

                • At 2010.11.23 17:13, Rachel said:

                  I’m always looking for fancy ways to use canned tuna! This looks great! I’ve never made risotto before but when I do it won’t include butter – who needs it with all these other delicious flavors?

                  • At 2010.11.23 18:46, Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox said:

                    I was shocked to find out how much crap has food dyes in it. Even our pets’ food was saturated with dyes. Ugh. Give me ugly, healthy, tasty food any day over the pretty fake stuff.
                    Great job on the workout for you and Shane. (I <3 Shane) And lovely risotto!

                    • At 2010.11.23 21:23, Pam (Certified Holistic Health Coach) said:

                      Oh I wish they would stop using numbered dyes in food. Some European countries won’t allow it in their food.
                      The risotto looks great, anything with lots of veggies is always good.

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