When October hits it brings with it the anticipation of the upcoming Holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving and then to top them all, Christmas. I love this time of year (although summer is still my fav). The beauty of the outdoors with the changing color of the trees, the smell of autumn in the air, the crunch of the leaves under my feet. It is time to pull the decorations out from storage and fill our home with ghosts, goblins, pumpkins and turkeys. The smells from a fall scented burning candle are in the air and as the days get cooler, the thought of curling up in front of the fireplace with a warm cup of tea or cocoa are very appealing.
In just a couple weeks now the doorbells will be starting to ring and little creatures of all different shapes and sizes will be standing at our doorsteps with open pillowcases or plastic pumpkins saying those magic words, “Trick or Treat” and patiently anticipating a candy bar to be dropped into their waiting pumpkins! Its fun and cute and I LOVE interacting with all the little goblins that show up at my door, but I am always left in a dilemma about giving out candy.
It hasn’t always been this way,, but since I am now a Health Coach and have learned more about I ill effects on sugar in our health I am in a quandary as was to do this Halloween season. I have the option of not buying into the candy biz and turn off my lights and watch spooky movies downstairs with my family (I did opt for this last year), I could just go against my conscious and go ahead and give the kids what they want (it is a tough battle to fight), or I could get and do something different – but what?
In case you think I am over thinking the funness of the holidays let me share with you some fun facts:
A – Both the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association has lowered their maximum ideals on how much sugar we should be consuming daily. They went down to only 25 grams per day which is about 6 tsps. In order to determine who many teaspoons are in a gram, take the gram and divide by 4. Start doing the math – you will be surprised. The average person consumes 22 teaspoons a day with a teen consuming upwards to 34 teaspoons per day!
B – The other fun fact is that it is not fat making us fat – sorry low fat dieters – but it is our sugar consumption. We are OUT OF CONTROL with the average American eating 180 pounds of sugar per year!! We are all feeding on a food that is killing us. It is what makes us fat, leads to heart disease, diabetes and even Alzheimers!
There is hope and it begins with YOU!! Here are 6 things you can do now to begin lowering this crazy sugar consumption:
1 – Drink Water. Many times our sweet cravings are our bodies way of saying it’s thirsty, so reach for some water when you are wanting to dig into the candy.
2 – Eat some sweet veggies, fruit and spices. We have taste buds that are sweet and so in order to satisfy them – reach for those whole foods, the kinds that our bodies actually know what to do with. Foods like squash, yams, carrots, beets, berries, figs and apples. Cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves and cardamon.
3 – Eat more protein. It’s important to get a good balance of protein – to little or to much and lead to sweet cravings. So play around with this one and find your sweet spot.
4 – Get rid of Fat Free. What are manufacturers putting into foods when they take out the fat? Yep – sugar! Fat helps us feel full and satisfied and sustain our appetites longer. I am talking healthy fats, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, nuts, seeds, Avocados.
5 – Exercise. Moving your body releases stress and makes you look and feel great. After a workout your desire to eat junk goes out the window.
6 – Find the Sweetness in your life. Many times we settle for a cheap candy bar when we really desire a nap, a connection like a hug, time to relax and read a book or take a bath. What fuels you what can you incorporate in your life that brings sweetness? Begin making a list of those items. Work up to 50 items on your sweetness list and next time you want to dig in your kids Halloween bucket, grab your list instead and do something sweet for you!
Now you mamma’s out there, let your kids enjoy their trick or treat time, it is fun, my kids will go, but have a plan for how much candy your child will consume daily. I usually let my kids pick out 20 items they love and the rest get donated in a buy back program or I will give them money instead so they can buy a fun toy that will not be damaging their health. Get rid of the candy out of the house! If it’s there the temptation is to eat it – donate it or just throw it out in the trash, that’s where sugar belongs anyway!
If you loved this blog post you’ll definitely want to GRAB a FREE copy of my Action Guide at my website www.beautifullydesignedwellness.com, that shares my time-saving secrets for a health life as a busy mom of five children.
For more suggestions on staying healthy through the fall and holidays – check out my 10 Steps to Have a Happy and Healthy Fall. It’s my gift to you. And I would love to hear your ideas on how you handle the sugar this time of year.
Certified Health and Wellness Coach
and Busy Mom of Five kids!