Holiday Candy Overload
Not just the quantity, but the quality of candy has also changed dramatically. Instead of using pure, raw, real ingredients, now most candy is comprised of "hidden ingredients" - chemicals and preservatives, such as aspartame, food colorings, HFCS, GMO's, MSG and more. Just look at the wrapper! Aspartame is used as the sweetener in almost everything, including chewing gum and mints. According to Dr. Mercola, "Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D. Searle's research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain. According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame: Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes." Most candies, snacks and cereals, especially the ones marketed to kids contain artificial dyes/colorings. What's wrong with that? According to the Washington Post:"Beyond the behavioral problems and cancer risks, the greatest hazard that dyes pose for children may also be the most obvious: They draw kids away from nutritious foods and toward brightly colored processed products that are high in calories but low in nutrients, such as fruit-flavored drinks and snack foods. Those types of foods are a major force in America's obesity epidemic." The Lancet study on food coloring effects prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue an immediate advisory to parents, warning them to limit their children's intake of additives if they notice an effect on behavior. They also advised the food industry to voluntarily remove the six food dyes named in the study and replace them with natural alternatives if possible. As of July 2010, most foods in the EU that contain artificial food dyes were also labeled with warning labels stating the food "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children." (ie: ADD/ADHD). And this prompted many food manufacturers to voluntarily remove the dyes from their products. Dr. Mercola also says, "This is why if you eat a Nutri-Grain strawberry cereal bar in the United States, it will contain Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1. But that same bar in the UK contains only the natural colorings beetroot red, annatto and paprika extract. In fact, the UK branches of Wal-Mart, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Mars have removed artificial colors, sodium benzoate and aspartame from their product lines as a result of consumer demand and government recommendations. In the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to allow these toxic ingredients in countless popular foods, including those marketed directly to children." http://www.mercola.com/
So, THIS is why I don't give candy to my kid! It causes cancer, ADD, suppresses the immune system, causes insulin resistance, and once a kid gets the taste of sugar, it is addictive. It is really hard to reason with a two-year-old why they cannot have candy for breakfast, so I'm not even going to go there. Think you're "depriving" your kid? Think again! Think that "candy never killed anyone"? Think again!
From October 31st to Spring, the American diet is surrounded by more sugar, fats, chemicals and preservatives: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Valentines Day, St Patty's Day, Passover and Easter (and not to mention all the school, work and in-between parties) - WOW!!!
Things we do different:
1) At Holidays, we give Nolan gifts of toys or books instead of candy.
2) We avoid situations where other children might be getting candy in front of Nolan, or have healthy treats ready to give him.
3) At Easter, for example, we put fruit in the plastic Easter eggs instead of candy. Nolan did not know the difference, and if we keep doing that year after year, that is all he will know.
4) For Halloween, I give out mini boxes of raisins, nuts or trail mix. We do very short Trick-or-Treating, and spend more time at community events where he will do craft projects, play and show-off his costume. He does not know that the little wrapped up items in his bag are even food, so its easy to sneak it away from him.
5) At school, I supply the class with healthy snacks and/or toys for the kids, and remind the teacher not to give Nolan candy.
6) As he gets older, we will teach him the true meaning of the Holidays and focus more on things to do and gifts to give people. The food we eat will all be healthy and Nolan will help us plan the menu. We will work on setting a good example and creating healthier traditions for our family to follow. If I only offer him healthy, good-tasting, quality food, and avoid the other stuff, this is all he will have a taste for. I am shaping his palate for the future.
~ The Natural Mama