It’s Halloween and many people are getting ready for all the ghosts, goblins, and ghouls to show up at their front door trick-or-treating. If you participate in this activity, what will you be handing out? A “treat”…. I presume? Most of those “treats” are sugar-laden candies, such as milk chocolate bars, gummy bears, taffy, bubble gum, and all the other typical items you can buy down the candy aisle.In fact, the average trick-or-treater will consume more than 3 cups of sugar and between 4,500 – 7,000 calories on Halloween. That should scare us more than any costume that comes to the door!
We all know that candy (i.e. sugar) isn’t healthy, so why on earth are we handing it over to the children that will be our next generation of doctors, lawyers, policemen/women, and politicians? You might be saying to yourself, “Lighten up, Wendie, it’s only for one day.” Well, I beg to differ. This one evening of candy indulgence ends up being a lingering craving supplied by lovely neighbors and friends that usually hangs around the house for months to come. With candy available 24/7, it only leaves room for more toxic sugar to insert itself into your kiddo’s mouths and ultimately into yours as well. Sugar eats away at teeth, it causes a repeated stimulation of dopamine in the brain -which makes sugar even more addicting and more powerful than cocaine, sugar depletes the body of calcium and can cause bone loss, it can cause obesity and diabetes, contribute to cancer, ADHD and the list goes on and on.
Now, I’m not perfect. I ate tons of candy as a kid and went trick-or-treating as well. It was fun and I looked forward to it. But, if I knew then what I knew now I would’ve rather had an apple, orange, or other healthy whole food as a treat instead.
Handing out candy as a “treat” is a deceptive trick.
It’s a trick that will backfire on the health of our children and will be a determining factor on how the future of our country turns out. Yes, I’m being a bit extreme here, but it all has a lasting ripple effect. Little by little…poor choice by poor choice. As parents and adults, we need to step up and change the ideas around candy as a treat. This “treat” isn’t only a Halloween issue – it’s year round. Ever notice that candy is parked conveniently at every checkout counter in grocery, drug, home improvement, and even office supply stores? It’s an impulse buy and one that is usually triggered by an “addictive” want and desire. It’s a few extra dollars that a store can squeeze out of you before you make your final purchase. It’s about the money…not your health. Now, are you seeing the trick in the treat?
So, how do you put blinders on and just say no?
For many, blinders would be helpful but they certainly are not a reality. The best way to avoid unhealthy impulse buys or having candy (no matter the holiday) around the house is to make a commitment to decline – don’t even purchase it! It you do, you will eat it. And have boundaries with these tricky treats during festivities, at the office, and with your children.
For instance, I remember allowing my son to pick 5 items to keep from his trick-or-treating extravaganza and we gave the rest away. One year we made money by taking the extra candy to a dentist that was paying by the pound for kids NOT to eat it. Now, that’s my kind of dentist! Get creative. It’s okay to have fun, but set boundaries and rules ahead of time so your kids will know what to expect and you’ll have the accountability of voicing those rules ahead of time.
The best decision, of course, is to eliminate refined sugar from your diet altogether. You may experience headaches and other detox-type of symptoms when you do, but they will only last a short while. Trust me, it will be worth it in the long run for a healthier life full of longevity, energy, and vitality.You don’t have to be tricked by treats ever again – it’s your choice!