Happy Halloween Readers!
For the holiday dedicated to the ghastly, the ghouly, the cringe-worthy and creepy crawly, the most frightening things are always those that come in sweet little packages..
But to truly understand this tradition, here’s a little taste of what’s lurking beneath that shiny, alluring packaging…
- Artificial food dyes:
- Often derivatives of petroleum products, these have been linked to behavioural problems such as hyperactivity (as if the sugar rush wasn’t enough, right?). In fact, following Halloween in 1950, Halloween candy containing Orange No. 1 dye, was banned by the FDA after many children became ill from its consumption.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS):
- A highly refined artificial sweetener plaguing processed foods that has been linked to obesity, tooth decay, heart disease and more. An environmental Health 2009 study found that it is often contaminated with mercury(!) because of the use of chlor-alkali products in its manufactoring. NOTE: the article also mentions the use of this product in the manufacturing of citric acid and sodium benzoate, both commonly found in soda pop and/or candy.
- How to spot it: with consumer awareness on the rise, HFCS is now often labeled as it’s more inconspicuous “glucose-fructose” on Canadian food labels.
- SUGAR! :
- Laden with heavily processed and refined sugars, Halloween evokes nightmares to nutritionists and dentists alike. Sugar wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels to cause rapid spikes and subsequent crashes, creating high inflammation in the body and a feast for your cavities.
- Wonderfully versatile and completely creepy, they look like everyday seeds until submerged underwater where they gel and expand creating a slippery goo-like consistency. This gel like texture binds to toxins in the body to excrete them and they are used for vegan egg substitutes and raw “puddings.” https://lifeofeden.com/2013/10/01/chocolate-chia-pudding-and-ginger-cream-parfait/
- Unless you get the organic or homegrown carrots that look like miniature people, these don’t generally conjure up the connotation of creepy food. But they can be! What’s Halloween like about these foods is something called carotenodermia which is the perfect, toxic paint-free way to come out in an authentic carrot costume for Halloween!
- This condition is where the skin is discoloured a yellow-orange hue and may be caused due to excessive consumption of beta carotene or the improper conversion of this antioxidant in the body. Though generally considered harmless, this puts carrots and other orange hued veggies on our list!
- So I didn’t turn orange from carotenodermia but I did become a pumpkin back in the age when “turn that frown upside-down” was a verse regularly rehersed to me by strangers in supermarket lines. Couldn’t tell you why… but what did get me smiling was carving out our pumpkins, rich in beta-caroteine for healthy skin, tryptophan for deep sleep and elevated moods and vitamin A for eye sight. We always separate the slimy interior from the seeds to roast the pumpkin seeds later (in coconut oil with Himalayan sea salt).
- Vampires and unsuspecting family members beware. It really is a shame for vampires. Perhaps they are not pale from lack of sun so much as being perpetually sick without the antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral properties of garlic to ward of the season’s colds and flus but you, on the other hand, can reap all of these benefits! To do so: crush a clove of garlic with a spoon, before eating it to stimulate the formation of allicin.
- This was something I was not expecting. On Thanksgiving, a time when we are typically offered fresh pressed cider, water or organic juice, us grandchildren were offered tomato juice! Just like that. My mother and aunt didn’t even “bat” an eyelash.
- The benefits stem from its source of lycopene which becomes more bioavailable upon the heat processing usually used to make the juice. This powerful antioxidant is “fang”-tastic for skin health.. (I couldn’t help myself!), but be sure to buy only organic, pure tomato juice or better yet; juice them yourself.
With the blood-like consistency to make the garlic opposed vampires sing, true tomato juice (not the common refined vegetable cocktails), is most definitely a superfood but not something I expected to be served. I was, however, informed that this was a common tradition in our family and it states the case that the habits and traditions we develop as children, we continue with and pass along and so we need to become conscious to make healthy habits and traditions for healthier futures.
Armed with pomegranates (the annual Halloween treat I receive from my parents each year!) a few dark chocolate covered almonds (combining high quality chocolate with the satiating fats and blood sugar stabilizing protein of the almonds), I’m all set for Halloween tomorrow. Though this year I will be off at a wedding, I’m sure I will get a detailed account of the night’s adorable costumes and if they are anything like last year’s: all bananas and health food based costumes, win! Extra chia seeds for you 😉
To our healthy and holistic Halloween holidays,