I grew up trick or treating well into my early teens (and even into may late teens to be honest) with a large pillow case trying to get as much loot as possible. In fact, word would hit the street before Halloween about the neighbourhoods to hit up because of the bigger candy they would be dishing out. It was a big deal, trick or treating. In fact it's a happy memory.
I've been there, gorging on candy and high on sugar. But it wasn't just on Halloween, it was most of the time. It wasn't just special occasions or holidays, it was everyday. I was a bonified sugar junkie.
Now I live sugar free (talk about a 180!) but it took me a long time to get here. And although I had been living an alternative lifestyle for many years, sugar was still a major part of my diet. And for most of my life, I had many health concerns, most of which have been healed and others which still show their creepy faces every now and again.
Although sugar was not the only reason for the challenges in my health, it was a major reason. Because when you consume a lot of sugar in your diet, it becomes a driving force in your dietary choices because of how much you require sweetness in your palate. And the more sweets you eat, the more sugar you want. Its a vicious cycle.
Ok, so what does this have to do with Halloween? A LOT.
There's an argument I've heard a few times: "the candy didn't hurt us" or "we did it and we are fine, so let the kids eat candy." So here's my question in return to these comments:
- Are we ok? And if you think yes, please define ok.
And when you define ok, please be aware of the vast difference between common and normal, because what is common doesn't make it normal. To give an example, cancer continues to be on the rise, affecting more lives then ever before, which makes it a common disease. However, it's not normal to get cancer. So this is the difference.
The 55 grams of added sugar that we are consuming daily is common, but by no means should it be considered normal or even recommended.
The average American (sorry, couldn't find a stat for Canadians, but I'm sure it's close) consumes 3.4 pounds of candy over Halloween, that's 1543 grams, which is 385 TEASPOONS of sugar. Just over Halloween. Gross. I mean really, really gross.
Can you imagine sitting down and eating a bowl full of sugar?
Probably not. I mean the first spoonful might be manageable, but after that, it might be hard to stomach. However, when we consume this much candy over a small period of time, this is what it looks like with out the colours and shapes and textures. Straight up sugar.
The other interesting thing about consuming so much sugar over a holiday, is that it ends up impacting your immune system, almost rendering it paralyzed to work properly or efficiently. Sugar makes us susceptible to illness and promotes inflammation in the body. Ever eaten a bunch of sugar laced foods and find yourself with a cold shortly after... and one you can't seem to get rid of? Well, there's your answer. Sugar has a deep impact on the body.
But sugar doesn't just impact the immune system, it also impacts digestion, mood, behaviour (even delinquent behaviour), hormones, skin health, sleep, greatly promotes inflammation and is addictive. So, yeah, sugar sucks.
If you were raising sugar free children and decided that Halloween is the one night where they could gorge, then that might be a different story. But it's simply not the way we live. Sugar is added into almost everything and we, by and large, coat our mouths with sugar every time we put food in our mouth. Sugar is no longer a treat, it's being served with every meal.
So here's the thing, what we know now is different then what we knew 25 years ago about the harmful effects of sugar. We as a society are getting sicker and our children are being exposed to so much more at a younger age. Some things we have little control over, like say air quality, but some decisions we make can create a lot of change, especially in our health, which gives us power. And we do have that power, especially with more knowledge and awareness we gain.
In no way am I saying we should end Halloween, definitely not. But we can make healthier choices for the sake of our children and future generations. Because when it comes to Halloween, it's not JUST sugar that's the problem. It's also all the other garbage they add into candy now which is so harmful, like GMO's, artificial colours and flavours, preservatives, and unhealthy fats.
I am here to educate and spread awareness about alternatives, how they can easily fit into our life and the power we have over our choices.
Are you up for making Halloween a healthier celebration? If so, in my next post I share:
- Alternative treats for Halloween night
- Classroom approved Halloween gifts and party ideas
- What I do with my daughter on Halloween
- And how I involve her on this journey.
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