Originally published in October 2016, updated with even more awesomeness in October 2019.

What’s the scariest thing about halloween for a nutritionist or a parent?

The chemical-laden, blood-sugar spiking, inflammation-boosting, mood-disrupting, energy-robbing refined sugar treats that the whole world so unwittingly distributes and we all indulge in, often to excess!  Sounds yummy, eh?! 😳

Okay, so maybe that was a bit dramatic. But the reality is that refined sugar does, in fact, do all of that and more in the body.  Not good stuff.  So how can we mitigate some of that damage?

Awareness. From education comes empowerment – the ability to make informed choices and find a balance that works for you and your family.

Making healthy nutrition a lifestyle isn’t about denying ourselves or our children, and being unreasonably restrictive. It’s about educating ourselves and our families about how food affects our bodies, enjoying all ends of the spectrum in moderation, and making informed decisions to help mitigate any ill effects associated with indulging on those things that may be less than good for us. 

It is a delicate balance, I get it. I know I’ve struggled with this as a parent, and continue still to be conscious of it with myself and with those I work with.

A little education goes a long way to empower us with the knowledge needed to make informed choices about risk vs. reward.

I like to use the analogy of extreme sport or adventure. Let’s talk about hiking in the mountains. You wouldn’t just go blindly into a mountain terrain and start walking into the forest, right? (I hope your answer is no!) There are many known associated risks: sudden bad weather, wild animal encounters, sun burn or sunstroke, bug bites, sprained ankles or broken bones, getting lost, blisters, etc. But that will not stop you from hiking, you love hiking! Rather, you learn about where local trails are, you’d learn about the fitness level required for the hike, about the terrain, the weather. You’d likely pack extra layers to prepare for unpredictable weather, and wear good quality sturdy shoes rather than flip-flips. You’d likely pack food and water, perhaps take a bear bell or bear spray. You may also ensure that someone knows where exactly you’re going, in the event something happened.

Here’s a simpler one:

It’s like riding your bike.  We acknowledge there’s an element of danger (we could crash and hit our heads).  So we have our children wear a helmet to protect themselves.  Eating sugar is kind of like that.  Acknowledge the risk and find ways to reduce the inherent risks. Reminding ourselves and our children of this is the first step in moderating our intake.

Other ways we can mitigate the scary effects of over-consuming sugar-laden treats:

  • Drink plenty of clean filtered water to help the body flush toxins and reduce the dehydration in the body that results from sugar intake.
  • Eat whole natural foods rich in anti-oxidants that will help the body to mitigate some of the oxidative damage and inflammation that sugar creates in the body.  This includes fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase vitamin C during sugar binges.  Studies show that refined sugar can decrease immune function by up to 50% for as long as 5 hours after ingestion.
  • Allow yourself or your children their treats, but as soon as possible afterward, have a balanced whole foods meal with ample protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lots of high fibre veggies.  This will get the body back on track and help prevent the intense cravings for more (and more) sweets that result from disrupted blood sugar levels.

THE TAKE-AWAY

Enjoy some treats! And do what you can to protect yourself and your children from the scary things sugar does to the body.

Making holistic nutrition and wellness a lifestyle isn’t about denying or unreasonable restriction. It’s about educating yourself and your family on what is going into the body, enjoying all ends of the spectrum in moderation, and making informed decisions to help mitigate any associated risks to your wellness.

For more information on how you can reduce the harmful effects of sugar in the body, reduce cravings, or detox from sugar, contact us to chat about our Sweet Escape Sugar Detox program, and check out our Cleaned-Up Halloween treats below!

Energy Ball Bats

Add nacho chip wings and googly eyes to any energy ball recipe for spooky little bats.

Puking Zombie Watermelon

Carve out a watermelon and well… you know 😁

Jackolantern Stuffed Peppers

Carve out orange peppers like pumpkins and stuff with tuna, lentil salad or anything you’d like!

Veggie Skeleton

Get creative and have fun!

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