Halloween candy is pretty frightening. Most of it’s made with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, dyes, and GMOs. Don’t be tricked into buying drug store candy when there are lots of healthier options at your (bloody) fingertips.
MAKE YOUR OWN
The best Halloween treats are the ones you make a home. Here are a few of the classics.
Making caramel apples is even more fun when you find an organic “pick your own” apple farm (use this link to help find one). Then come home and bury those apples in caramel. Make your own caramel sauce or try one of these.
SCARY FACT: one conventionally grown apple can have up to 47 pesticide residues. Be sure to buy organic apples.
WHERE TO BUY TRICK OR TREAT CANDY
If you’re passing out drug store candy, stop terrorizing the neighborhood! You can find healthier options at Target, Whole Foods Market, or online at the Natural Candy Store, Vitacost, or Thrive Market. Search “Halloween Candy” and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
No one said you have to pass out candy. Other affordable options to drop in the “trick or treat” bag are Halloween themed toys (spiders rings or jumping spiders), stickers, ghost balloons, bubbles, glow bracelets, or coloring books.
SCARY INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
Processed White Sugar (GMO/pesticide residue)
High Fructose Corn Syrup (GMO/pesticide residue)
Corn Starch (GMO/pesticide residue)
Soy Lecithin (GMO/pesticide residue)
Soybean Oil (GMO/pesticide residue)
Modified Food Starch (GMO/pesticide residue)
Cottonseed Oil (GMO/pesticide residue)
Canola Oil (GMO/pesticide residue)
Food dyes (many are banned in other countries)
Too many ingredients you can’t pronounce!
No, Halloween candy isn’t healthy (even the healthier stuff listed below), but eating it on just one night probably won’t kill you.
Yum Earth Organic Pops
Wholesome Organic Lollipops
Go Organic Hard Candies – Honey-lemon, Pomegranate, Cherry, Apple
Torie & Howard Hard Candies in Meyer Lemon & Raspberry, Pomegranate & Nectarine, and Orange & Honey
Clean Candy – Root Beer Float, Lemon Drop, Watermelon Wheel, Peppermint Swirl, Orange Slice, Butterscotch Button, and, Chocomint
Cocomels Coconut Milk Caramels, Original, Sea Salt, Vanilla
Torie & Howard Chewie Fruities (think Starburst)
GUMMY BEARS & JELLY BEANS
Surf Sweets Gummy Bears & Jelly Beans
Ocho Organic Chocolate Candy Bars – a variety of bars including caramel & peanut, coconut, dark caramel, dark peanut butter
Coracao Halloween Box Set includes Pumpkin Spice Caramel Ghost, Salted Caramel Cup, Raw Almond Butter Cup and a Fudge Truffle – organic, gluten, soy & dairy-Free, vegan and Paleo.
Enjoy Life Halloween Dark Chocolate Mini’s
M&M type candy
Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems &
Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
Peanut Butter Cups
Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
& Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
Justin’s Organic Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsFree2b Dark Chocolate Sun Cups
Feature image Jenifoto @iStock
13 THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR HEALTH NOW
1. Buy USDA certified organic food from local farmers
When you choose organic, you help reduce the amount of toxic chemicals sprayed on our food and environment. You save bees and support the humane treatment of animals. You avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms), overly processed food, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. The true price of producing food is made artificially cheap by farmers who rely on unsustainable practices that often degrade the soil, hurt the environment, mistreat animals, and make our food less nutritious. Choose to support the world you want to create and buy USDA certified organic food from local, family-run farms.
2. Read labels
There’s no way to know what you’re eating without reading labels. If you’re not sure what to look for, keep this simple rule in mind: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If enough people stop buying food with unhealthy ingredients, it could encourage food manufacturers to make simpler (and often safer) food.
AJC Ajcann.wordpress.com – Flickr @Creative Commons
3. Make your own food
Cooking may take some practice, but it is the best way to know exactly what you’re eating.
4. Give up or limit sugar
Sugar is incredibly toxic to the body. It’s also highly addictive, which is why food manufacturers put so much of it in their products. If you can’t give it up completely, try limiting it to just dessert a few nights a week. Check food labels carefully because sugar is found in things you wouldn’t expect like soup, chicken stock, salad dressing, peanut butter, energy bars and lots of prepared food. Whenever possible, use raw honey as a natural sweetener and eat fruit because it has healthy antioxidants that help our bodies fight disease. Click here if you need help weaning yourself off sugar.
Patricia Kranenberg – Flickr @Creative Commons
5. Switch up your exercise program or start one
Exercise helps every system in the body, including our brain. It can be as effective as medication for many health issues, including depression. A good workout gives us energy, strengthens our body and helps us lose weight. That alone should be reason enough to get off the couch. If you’re already working out, get out of your exercise rut and try something that challenges your mind as well as your body. A workout doesn’t have to happen in the gym. Try a dance class (the best exercise for brain health), kayak, surf, swim or take a boxing class. Learn how to play tennis, ice hockey or basketball. Take a long walk, hike or bike ride. There are lots of workouts online that don’t cost a dime, so no excuses!
6. Eat right
The American diet contains a lot of fat, salt, and sugar and it tends to be highly processed and loaded with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Try swapping that junk food out for high quality protein with lots of veggies and fruit. If you’re looking for a healthy diet, consider the Mediterranean Diet. It has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. It’s also a great way to lose weight.
7. Get blood work done
The only way to know what’s going on under our skin is to take a look. Don’t wait until you’re 40, 50 or 60+ to get blood tests done that can tell you a lot about your health. You may discover simple things that are easy to fix like anemia or low vitamin D levels. If you eat a lot of seafood, especially tuna, you may want to check your mercury levels. Getting health information early can help you and your doctor develop simple strategies to optimize your health.
Steven Depolo on Flickr @Creative Commons
8. Drink more water (but not out of plastic)
No need for expensive juice cleanses, water flushes toxins out of our vital organs and it’s a lot less expensive.
“…the idea that your liver somehow needs to be ‘cleansed’ is ridiculous.” Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at St. George’s Hospital.
Did you know that our blood gets thicker when we are dehydrated and it makes our heart work harder? Not sure if you’re drinking enough water. Check your pee. If it’s light yellow or clear, you’re drinking enough. Always drink water out of glass and ditch the plastic. It contains chemicals that aren’t good for our bodies or the environment.
Meditation and/or Mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety and get you more connected to yourself and your body.
10. Get enough ZZZs
Adults need 7-9 hours per night. If you sleep less, you may think you’re functioning well, but according to Matthew Walker, the director of the sleep and neuroimaging lab at the University of California, Berkeley, “You don’t know you are sleep deprived when you’re sleep deprived.” The lack of sleep could make you less productive because your brain’s ability to function declines when you’re tired. Sleep also plays a critical role in cleaning beta-amyloids (a toxic protein that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease) out of the brain. Plus, the body tends to crave more calories when it’s tired and that can lead to weight gain.
11. Stop using plastic. Avoid BPA and BPS
Drink out of glass bottles, not plastic. About 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. If we keep using plastic at current rates, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
If you’re buying food in cans, make sure it’s not lined with BPA (Bisphenol-A). BPA is a synthetic compound found in plastic. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means it can interfere with our bodies ability to regulate hormones.
“The nightmare scenario is that we one day find out that a lot more of our current disorders, including infertility and cancer, may be due to bisphenol A and only show up after cumulative exposure. But by then, we all have accumulated so much exposure that it’s too late to reverse the effects.”- Karin Michels, Harvard School of Public Health
BPS (Bisphenol S) or “BPA free” can be just as unhealthy.
“Bisphenol S (BPS), a substitute for the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in the plastic industry, shows the potential for increasing the aggressiveness of breast cancer through its behavior as an endocrine-disrupting chemical.” Science Daily, “Exposure to BPA Substitute, BPS, Multiplies Breast Cancer Cells”
12. Avoid the most harmful chemicals in personal care products and cosmetics
We are exposed to over 100 chemicals in our personal care and cosmetics products everyday. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are really unhealthy. Use this guide from the Environmental Working Group to check the toxicity levels of the products you use. If your product isn’t listed, type in the name of the chemical on the ingredient label to find its toxicity level. This “Red List” from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics names the most unhealthy chemicals in your shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers, sunscreens, makeup, hair color and skin lighteners. Why reward big cosmetic companies for making money off exposing us to harmful chemicals? Instead, support companies making safer products.
Hardworkinghippy on Flickr @Creative Commons
13. Grow your own food
Invest in a raised bed or put a pot of herbs on your kitchen windowsill. Strawberries are really easy to grow and taste so much better than the ones they sell at the store. Your kids will love it. Some cities like Los Angeles, will allow you to grow a garden in the parkway (that area between the street your house). So buy some organic soil and heirloom seeds and get started. Seed Savers Exchange is a good resource for heirloom seeds.
BONUS: A few more for the ladies
Nailpolishanthology.blogspot.com on Flickr@Creative Commons
Buy 5-free, 7-free, or 9-free nail polish
Who wants unhealthy chemicals stuck to their nails all day? No thanks! Buy “5, 7, or 9-free” nail polish and avoid exposing yourself to 5, 7, or 9 of the worst chemicals including formaldehyde, triphenyl phosphate (triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene and camphor. They can do everything from trigger allergies to disrupt your hormones. A Duke University and EWG (Environmental Working Group) study found that women had high levels of a harmful chemical (TPHP) in their bodies just 10-14 hours after painting their nails. Some of the most popular brands, including OPI, contain these chemicals. Need some help finding 5-free polish? Click here for a few options.
Switch to organic tampons
Many of the tampons on the market are made from rayon or GMO cotton. GMO’s are typically sprayed with harmful chemicals. A tampon sits in your body for hours, so opt for tampons made from organic (chemical-free) cotton. Here’s a place to find some.
Feature image by mihtiander @iStock