Halloween is quickly approaching. I love Halloween; the costumes, decorations, enjoying the Autumn season, pumpkins, and bobbing for apples – does anyone still do this?! What I don’t like is dealing with the amount of candy my kids haul into the house. It is full of GMOs, dyes, preservatives, and food allergens. As we celebrate Naturopathic Week let’s talk about First do no Harm, because I think we all know these ingredients are not good for us or our children and how to quickly move the candy out of the house as well as other options for treats.
Let’s start with sugar in general. It’s bad for teeth. By increasing the acidity in your mouth it demineralizes and creates a bacterial breeding ground for cavities. But the problem is not limited to the mouth. Increased sugar inhibits your digestion, disrupts your gut microbiome, and inhibits your immune system, which is especially bad as we head into cold and flu season. Ionic calcium, calcium found in the blood versus in the bone, is key for balancing pH, activating immune cells, calming the system, and muscle contractions. This mineral among others is depleted with sugar consumption. Fevers occur when you have low tissue calcium. Want more on the impacts of sugar? Check out Nancy Appleton, PhD here, or set up an appointment to get your Prevention Plan for colds and flu into place and avoid the flu shot.
Many natural grocery stores now carry natural candies. This is a good step in minimizing GMOs, dyes and preservatives however may not avoid food allergens. I found this website for natural candy options. There is also a super fun candy store in NE Portland called Candy Babel, for local natural and European options. Quality over volume is my recommendation when it comes to sweets. There are also non-candy options for handing out to trick-or-treaters or for school parties –small toys, stickers, homemade crayons – etc. Green Halloween, a nonprofit put together a great list as well as ideas for school parties to help reduce waste and minimize GMO consumption.
What to do with the candy haul? When my kids were younger, we did the Great Pumpkin swap. They would get to keep a few pieces and the rest they’d give to the GP and a small gift left for them. Now that they are older, I buy the candy off them and dispose of it. This feels wasteful so I try to minimize the amount they bring in but ultimately it is garbage.
If you have an idea that has worked in your family let us know! I love hearing new ways to wrangle this holiday!