Sugar: The Ghastly Ghoul That Will Scare Your Guts And Petrify Your Probiotics!

halloween blog photo girl and candy.jpeg

Halloween is like the Super Bowl for kids. There are costumes, ghost stories, parties, and candy. Lots and lots of candy. And it’s not just candy—cookies, caramel apples, cakes, and other treats overflow from school, friend’s houses, and any other organizations your children might be involved in. This can be a huge problem for families that choose to limit or avoid processed sugar.

How sugar affects the gut and probiotics:

Before you give in to your overly-sugared aunt who tells you that sugar is just fine for kids, remember this: A study conducted by Oregon State University in 2015 discovered a correlation between a high-fat and high-sugar diet with the bacteria in the gut associated with cognitive function. The study went on to find that both short and long-term memory were also affected by diets high in sugar and fat.[1] And if you needed any more reasons to avoid sugar, studies have shown that it can also throw off your hormones, endocrine system, and digestion.[2] So what is a well-informed, sugar-avoiding adult and/or parent to do? 

Have a game plan:

Here is the thing: adults don’t always ask parents before they hand them a piece of candy. Everyone from your neighbor, to your mother, to the dentist will have a bowl of candy just lying around ready to destroy all of your hard work to avoid processed sugar. So what can you do to limit the amount of sugar your kids will ingest this Halloween?

 Talk to your kids

You can’t always be there with them, so talk to your kids about sugar. Remind them how you eat at home, what happens when they eat too much sugar, and explain that your long-term goals are to raise healthy kids.

  • Send a note

If your kids are especially sensitive to sugar, send a note with them to their caregiver or teacher that explains you are trying to limit their sugar consumption. It’s not that you want your kid to sit in the corner during the class party, but instead eat the foods you packed for them. That being said…

  • You provide the treats

If you can plan ahead and know that your child will be somewhere with excess amounts of sugar, pack their own low-sugar or sugar-alternative treats for the party.

  • Offer a trade-in

Nobody wants to be the monster that steals their kids’ candy when they come home from trick-or-treating. Instead, try offering to either buy or trade their candy stash for something else. Toys, a day-trip somewhere, or a night out at the movies are popular options.

 Sweet alternatives

You can always make your own Halloween treats that are low in sugar or contain sugar alternatives that you and your family approve of. You can also make Halloween themed foods out of fruits and veggies (Pinterest is rife with these ideas). Once you have created your own Halloween treat alternatives, pack them into your kids’ school bags or offer to bring a plate to your next party.

Counter the effects of sugar

Some people find that eating too much sugar causes symptoms similar to that of the flu or a hangover. This goes for parents and children alike. Take care of yourself by being gentle with your diet, drink lots of water, stick to a healthy, whole-food diet, and take your probiotics.* (LINK TO: Dr. Ohhira’s Page) You can also support yourself and your family with these tips:

  • Lemon juice

Drinking water or tea with lemon juice can help to support the gut while also acting as a diuretic.

  • Green tea

Also a diuretic, green tea (for adults, at least) can help to support the endoctrine system and your digestive health.

 Probiotics

Be sure to take (or even up your dose of probiotics). Not only do probiotics support your immune system, studies have shown they work with your good gut bacteria to reduce sugar cravings.[3] In addition, yet other studies have shown that certain probiotic strains will help to promote control of healthy blood glucose levels.[4] So not only do probiotics REDUCE your sugar cravings, they also help keep your blood glucose in the healthy range if you do eat sweets. It’s a Win, win!*

  • Get a little exercise

Seek out some gentle exercise like swimming or walking the day after eating too much sugar.

  • Eat protein

Healthy fats and lean protein will help to fill you up while slowing the digestive process back down to an acceptable and normal speed.[5]

  Above all, stay calm

Halloween is a great holiday. Stick to the fun with parties, costumes, and games. And even if you can’t avoid all of the sugar, take comfort in knowing you can at least avoid some of it.

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How do you handle the Halloween sugar rush in your household? Tell us in the comments below!

 

 

REFERENCES


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/gut-bacteria-brain-cognit_n_7644484.html
 

 http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2015/jun/fat-sugar-cause-bacterial-changes-may-relate-loss-cognitive-function 

 http://allergyfreemenuplanners.com/2013/02/14/how-sugar-throws-off-your-digestive-and-hormonal-balance/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/16/foods-bad-for-digestion_n_4219416.html 

 http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/3-ways-sugar-and-artificial-sweeteners-affect-gut-health/

 http://www.essentialformulas.com/efi.cgim?template=it_takes_GUTS_healthy_kids

http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/how-to-recover-from-a-sugar-binge/

[1] http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2015/jun/fat-sugar-cause-bacterial-changes-may-relate-loss-cognitive-function

[2] http://allergyfreemenuplanners.com/2013/02/14/how-sugar-throws-off-your-digestive-and-hormonal-balance/

[3] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/5/1236

[4] http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2013/ss/surprising-effects-of-probiotics-outside-the-intestinal-tract/page-01

[5] http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/how-to-recover-from-a-sugar-binge/

October is World Osteoperosis Day: 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to Osteoporosis

Bone density word cloudResearch reveals Beneficial Bacteria and ‘Sister Minerals’ Support Calcium Uptake and Builds Bone Density.

It has been a mystery in the United States for years. With our high consumption of dairy products, why is it that we still have an incredibly high incidence of osteoporosis? Researchers in Asia, where both osteoporosis and dairy consumption have historically been quite low, might have found a major clue.

It turns out the calcium we consume through milk and supplements is not always absorbed or used to build bone. In fact, without a healthy probiotic population in the gut and the presence of other bone-building cofactors like vitamins D and K2, magnesium, zinc, and essential fatty acids, calcium can pass right through undigested. Or, even worse, excess calcium turns into unhealthy deposits in soft tissue and arteries.

The good news? There are simple dietary adjustments that can alter the body’s internal chemistry in favor of building strong bones. Research done exclusively on Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® found that when women ages 48 and older took a Japanese probiotic supplement for at least eight weeks, their bone density was 36 percent higher when compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.

“Scientists suspect that probiotics help the body properly digest calcium,” said Fred Pescatore, M.D., a science advisor for Dallas-based Essential Formulas Incorporated, the U.S. distributor of the Japanese probiotic supplement used in the study. “The friendly bacteria also manufacture some of the vitamin cofactors needed for bone-building including B6, B12, K, and folic acid.”

It’s a surprising side benefit of probiotics, which are frequently touted for supporting digestive health and immune response. Derived from a fermented vegetable blend, it is actually a whole food that contains probiotics, prebiotics (substances that feed probiotics), and organic acids. Scientists have noted that it is important to provide both pro- and pre-biotic components for the GI tract to enhance calcium uptake. Such dramatic results might not occur when using common freeze-dried probiotic supplements.

In addition to probiotic and prebiotic supplementation, Dr. Pescatore encourages women to consider increasing magnesium intake for better bone health. “Magnesium regulates calcium absorption into our bones, and ensures that calcium deposits don’t wind up in the soft tissue. The proper balance for our body is a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium. But if you have been deficient in magnesium due to high stress, or from taking calcium rich supplements or foods, you may want to increase your magnesium intake even more.”

These dietary tips are encouraging to the 8 million American women who are diagnosed with osteoporosis and the approximately 24 million others who have a high risk of developing it. Once again, prevention is key. Not only should mature adults make sure they keep up on prebiotic and vitamin supplementation for bone health, they need to pass those habits along to the next generation.

Bone Health Fast Facts

•In the United States, 1.5 million osteoporosis-related fractures occur annually, resulting in over $47 million in direct medical expenses per day.
•More women die each year from osteoporosis-related injuries than from ovarian and breast cancer combined.
•You get more calcium (and healthful nutrients) from a cup of cooked collard greens than a cup of milk.
•Sugar, soft drinks, caffeine, smoking and excess alcohol intake can hinder the bone-building process.
•Osteoporosis is a disease that can begin at any age
•1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis
•80% of Americans with osteoporosis are women
• Osteoporosis fractures most often occur in the hip, spine, and wrist

Kawakami, Masayuki, Ohhira, Iichiroh, et al. The Influence of Lactic Acid Bacteria (OM-X) on Bone Structure, The Journal of Applied Nutrition, Vo. 53, No. 1, 2003

Is Your Yogurt on the Naughty List?

I don’t know about you, but I feel really good about myself when I start my day off with a bowl of  yogurt. I considered my bowl of Greek yogurt as my “healthy meal” of the day, and didn’t worry about what I consumed for my other meals, because my yogurt made up for the other bad stuff I ate throughout the day! However, my scale begged to differ.shutterstock_154277930 I was shocked when I stepped on the scale for the first time, a few months after I began my yogurt “diet” and saw that I had gained weight! Quite a bit of it! I thought I was being healthy! However, like most foods, there is a right way and a wrong way to do yogurt. I came to the sad realization that one “good” meal a day doesn’t mean that the rest of my meals can be Happy-Meals.

While yogurt can be a great snack for weight loss due to its high protein content, here are 6 mistakes you can make while eating yogurt that can thwart your progress:

1. Not Measuring Portions- Previously, when I bought yogurt, I assumed that one container was one serving size and never thought to double-check this with the label. Even when I bought the larger containers to save money, I never stopped to check how much of it I should actually be eating per serving. Its important not to assume a serving size based on gauging portions with your eyes, especially if you’re eating from a large container. Aim for 6 ounces to 1 cup per serving size.

2. Counting Calories vs. Counting Protein- While counting calories is essential when trying to lose weight, doing so with yogurt could be misleading you. Rather than only focusing on the amount of calories per serving, make sure you’re getting around 12-15 grams of protein. For example, rather than choosing the 100 calorie yogurt with 6 grams of protein, go for the one that has more calories, but also more protein, so you feel full longer.

shutterstock_2211729343. Parfait Does Not Equal Yogurt- “It has yogurt, so its healthy… right?” Not necessarily. In fact, parfaits with full-fat yogurt and lots of granola can do more harm than good. For one thing, the granola breaks up the yogurt, leading you to believe you are eating less yogurt than you actually are. Also, a lot of packaged parfaits have artificial flavors and contain fruit that is far from fresh. I know the parfait looks much more appetizing than a regular packaged yogurt, but in the long run the parfait isn’t doing your weight-loss efforts any favors.

4. Adding Too Many  Extras- So you’ve got your yogurt serving size down, but are you accounting for the cereal, honey, or fruit you are adding to it? All of these things can be great, healthy additions, just make sure you are adding them in modest amounts. It’s important to clarify whether you want your yogurt to be a snack, or a full-on meal. If it’s just a snack, make sure it is 200 calories or less.

5. Using Yogurt as Your Probiotic Source- While getting your daily dose of probiotics is important, make sure you aren’t choosing a yogurt just based on its probiotic claims. There are other lower calorie and fat sources for getting your daily probiotic intake, like supplements. There is no need to start loading your diet with yogurt just to get your probiotic fill.shutterstock_98051684

6.  Making Fat-Free a Priority-  Usually, a fat-free yogurt will overcompensate in other areas, like sugar. Yogurt is a healthy fat, however, the added sugars are not. Go for a yogurt with less than 18 grams of sugar, and make sure that it is not the first ingredient listed on the label! Overall, you want to be sure you’re getting enough protein and not too much sugar.

Stocking Stuffers You’ll Want to Give and Receive

Although it is not yet Thanksgiving, many people have completed most of their Christmas shopping. Others, like me, haven’t started ticking off their Christmas list obligations yet. Whether you finished your shopping before Halloween or you’re waiting until Christmas Eve night to begin, check out EFI’s favorite stocking stuffers for 2014. Each gift was hand-picked with care and experience by a member of the EFI team, creating a comprehensive stocking stuffer list for every member of your family.

 

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For The Body:

  • Nutrex Spriulina Pacifica– As one of the most nutritious, concentrated whole foods known to humankind, one 3 gram serving of Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica provides 60% protein and an excellent source of Vitamins A, K1, K2, B12, Iron, Manganese, and Chromium as well as a rich source of health-giving phytonutrients such as carotenoids, GLA, SOD, and phycocyanin

 

 

  •  Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics- Modern lifestyles are hard on the body. In addition to supporting digestion, Probiotics are essential for immune system function, and your gut is your first line of immune defense. Keep your family and yourself healthy over the holidays!

 

 

  • Oxylent– A 5-in-1 daily multivitamin and  refreshing drink. Instead of swallowing pills or tablets, add a packet of Oxylent to water and enjoy a sparkling drink that delivers vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, amino acids, and antioxidants with easy absorption and great taste.

 

 

  • Soverign Silver– Topically, colloidal silver is the instant choice for use on minor cuts, scrapes, burns, abrasions and anything that you don’t want to get infected. It can be used in place of almost any antibiotic, both for topical use and internal use. Another great way to make sure your family stays well throughout the stressful holidays.

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  • Chia Omega– The pioneering product line that stands out by combining Chia Seed Oil with synergistic ingredients for specific health goals. Providing support for cardiovascular health and healthy cognition plus additional benefits, CHIA OMEGA is the plant-based Omega-3 supplement people are searching for. Try one or all four of the CHIA OMEGA formulas.

 

For The Skin:

  •  Pacific Shaving Company– Using safe, natural and organic ingredients, these shaving products have you covered before, during and after your shave.

 

 

  • Dr. Ohhira’s Kampuku Beauty Bar– The Beauty Bar merges the revitalizing power of natural ingredients, ancient Japanese fermentation skills, and modern science to create a clarifying, balancing, and rejuvenating beauty bar gentle enough for the entire family. With no scent and no detergents, this soap works wonderfully on all skin types.

 

 

  • Hyalogic Episilk Facial Mist– This light mist with Hyaluronic Acid refreshes and lightly moisturizes the skin while not clogging pores or leaving oily residues. A perfect “pick-me-up” for your skin!

 

 

  • Eco Lips– Organic, Gluten-free, Non-GMO, Cruelty-free, smooth & soothing lip balm for your dry, winterized lips.

 

 

For The Treat-Filled Tummy:

 

  •  Vega Maca Chocolate Bars– A chocolate indulgence you can actually feel good about! Dark chocolate combined with 4,000 mg of maca, renowned for its ability to balance, invigorate and energize.

 

 

 

For Your Pets:shutterstock_215720035

 

  • Leashes by Liz– A family owned small business that makes handmade leashes, collars and pet accessories perfect for the furry friend in your life! The brightly colored, braided leashes are sure to make a statement on your next walk or trip to the dog park!

 

 

 

For Your Wardrobe:

  • Izzie and Olin– Gorgeous jewelry and accessories that are handmade with quality pieces, many of which are reclaimed finds from vintage pieces. This one of a kind jewelry line will make you and your loved ones look like a million bucks, without having to spend it!

 

 

 

Defending the City: Harnessing the Ancient Wisdom of Bees for Whole Body Health

How do you protect a highly congested city of 60,000 people from disease?

With spit of course.

Sound weird?

Well it is kinda cool because this is exactly what bees do to protect their busy and crowded hives.

A typical honeybee colony is comprised of 20,000 to 60,000 bees all living and working in one incredibly congested hive. Due to the crowded nature of their environment, bees need to be especially vigilant about protecting their colony from disease. Just one tiny pathogen could spread infection throughout the entire hive.

For millions of years, bees have been perfecting the art of self-protection using a sticky substance known as propolis to coat and sterilize the interior of their hives.

Derived from the Greek words pro, “in defense ofand polis “city”, propolis was named when ancient beekeepers noticed that bees often built a wall of propolis at the entrance of their colony. Because bees have to enter through this “propolis gate”, the bees are cleansed of microbes as they enter the hive.

What is Propolis?

Propolis, also known as “bee glue”, is a substance derived from tree saps, flowers, and other botanical ingredients that surround the bee colony.  Certain types of trees secrete saps with antibiotic and antifungal properties in order to seal their wounds and protect themselves from infection. Medicinal tree saps have been used as therapeutic remedies for centuries; some of the most famous being the biblically significant Frankincense and Myrrh.

Bees take these powerful resins and blend them with their own waxes and saliva to create propolis, which they then use to coat their hives. In the hive, propolis protects against pathogens and diseases, as well as protecting the colony against harsh environmental factors, such as rain and frost.Essentially, the bees borrow the medicine of the trees and re-purpose it for their own defenses.

Called “nature’s penicillin”, bee propolis offers antibacterial, antiviral,antiseptic, antifungal and antibiotic-properties. Due to these capabilities, propolis sterilizes the environment in the hive to ensure the colony’s survival from generation to generation. A number of scientists have noted that the inside of a bee hive may be more sterile than a hospital!

Honey bees also use propolis to embalm any insects or animals that may invade the hive. Though any trespasser would be immediately killed by bee stings, the carcass of the body would be too heavy for bees to remove from the hive. Thus, the corpse is “embalmed” with propolis in order to prevent its decay and potential contribution to infection.

Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians also used propolis in mummification when they noticed this unique benefit.

Active Compounds in Propolis

Over 200 different active compounds have been identified in propolis, although potency and composition varies depending on the types of plants and trees in the region where the propolis is collected. Among these components are antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamin A, B vitamins, essential oils and amino acids. In general, propolis consists of approximately 55% resins, 30% beeswax, 10% ethers and aromatic oils and 5% bee pollen.shutterstock_204971626

Health Benefits of Propolis

Just as the bees “borrowed” the medicine from the trees, humans can harness the power of propolis for our own healing. Utilizing the healthful wisdom of bees, we may defend our own “cities” against microbes and disease with propolis supplementation.

Natural Antibiotic Properties

Propolis has the highest antimicrobial capabilities of any bee product. The methods of antimicrobial activity are thought to be a synergistic effect of all compounds present. When propolis is administered, pathogenic bacteria are no longer able to reproduce and the body’s natural defenses to that pathogen are strengthened.

Propolis inhibits harmful bacteria without destroying your body’s friendly bacterial population, or creating bacterial resistance. Propolis has been proven to have inhibitory effects on some strains of drug resistant bacteria, such as MRSA and H.pylori, and has shown a synergistic effect when combined with standard antibiotic usage.

For those of you who know that there are different classes of bacteria, it has been suggested that propolis is more active against gram-positive pathogens, but many gram-negative bacteria are also inhibited.

Natural Anti-fungal Properties

Just as propolis protects the beehive from fungal infections, it can do the same in the human body. Propolis has been shown to have fungicidal effects against Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida krusei and Trichosporon spp. A recent study suggests that propolis treatment is as effective as the antifungal medicine nystatin for treatment of oral yeast infections. Data also suggests a boost in the fungicidal activity of macrophages by propolis stimulation. I recently reviewed some natural support for fungal infections such as Candida.

Antiviral Properties

Various studies have shown propolis displays anti-viral activity against small pox vaccine virus, influenza virus, herpes simplex virus, rift valley fever virus, and avian influenza virus. Two separate studies have also shown propolis treatment to be effective against HPV. Studies on antiviral capabilities of bioflavonoid extracted from propolis did not show as strong of an effect as propolis itself, suggesting a synergistic effect of all of the compounds in propolis working together on antiviral activity.

Nature’s remedies are much more dynamically orchestrated than a pharmaceutical drug – often acting beneficially in multiple areas at once whereas pharmaceutical regimens tend to target a very specific area at once.

Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation is the body’s natural healing response to harmful stimuli such as pathogens, irritants and free radicals. The high concentration of bioflavonoids and cinnamic acid derivatives present in propolis act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents by fighting infectious agents which may be associated with less pain and a reduction in both acute and chronic inflammation. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a constituent of propolis, has been shown to possess immune-modulatory and anti-inflammatory capabilities.

Antioxidant

Compared to pollen and royal jelly, propolis exhibits the highest antioxidant activity. The antioxidant activity of propolis correlates well with its total concentration of polyphenols. Active free radicals are involved in almost all the cellular degradation processes and leads to cell death and the resulting oxidative stress is thought to conttibute to the development of chronic and degenerative diseases.

Hyperglycemia and Diabetes

Propolis may reduce blood sugar levels in both animal and human test subjects with diabetes. Another study with diabetic rats showed propolis to have effects on altering the metabolism of blood lipids, leading to decreased lipid peroxidation and concurrent oxidative stress.

Dental Health

Recent dentistry research has displayed evidence that propolis may protect against dental caries and other forms of oral disease due to its inhibition ofStreptococcus mutans enzyme activity and its inherent antimicrobial properties. Studies conducted with propolis added to toothpastes and mouthwashes showed plaque-cleaning, plaque inhibiting, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Colitis

Propolis has shown inhibitory action against H. pylori, associated with gastric ulcers and colitis. It has been used alone or in combination with antibiotics for in the prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers. The CAPE from propolis also may reduce “insults” to the colon, and also may be associated with lower levels of inflammatory chemicals, resulting in decreased inflammation of the colon.

Tissue Repair and Wound Healing

Topical applications of propolis have been shown to speed up tissue repair in subjects with second-degree burns by stimulating collagen production, enzyme systems and circulation. The anti-inflammatory properties of propolis also reduced local swelling and irritation. Propolis ointments have also been used against cold sores and herpes simplex skin lesions.

Immune Boosting

Flavonoids and phenolic acids in propolis display immune-modulating effects by increasing antibody production and macrophage activity, which builds the body’s resistance to disease.  Bee propolis not only prevents the onset of infection, but helps to rapidly clear them from the body which protects us from cellular deterioration.

Borrowing from Nature’s Laboratory

Nature is the world’s finest laboratory with millions of years of live study. Bees are one of the most interesting species in their social behavior, their class hierarchy, and the health benefits of their honey, pollen, propolis and more. Unfortunately, with the rise of genetically modified crops and the use of pesticides, it is feared that some bee species are in trouble of extinction, and colonies have been mysteriously disappearing.

It would be a shame to lose the ability to leverage the unique health benefits bees offer us humans, and propolis is one of those unique gifts.

Interested in taking Propolis? Check out our Propolis Plus product here!

Co-written by: Alex Charles and Dr. Alexander Rinehart

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21741176
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22175043
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21716710
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21423687
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22123329
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20819020
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19682876
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19472427
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19021816
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18610553
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18057795
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17177657
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16621403
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16629510
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15629260
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15516726
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14617683
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12064745
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11714876
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11746834
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9651052
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8216454
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1593279
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1292560/?page=1
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22425940
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11766101
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12939048

Treat or Trick?

The day that kids and dentists everywhere have been waiting for has finally come… Happy Halloween! Regardless of whether or not you have a sweet tooth, the conspicuous presence of candy in every store and on doorsteps can be quite tempting. In a country where we are bombarded with sugary sweets year-round, what’s one day a year of excess… right? My philosophy on Halloween candy is to not settle for low-quality candy, but to indulge in a few treats that allow you to make every calorie count. Notice I said this is my HALLOWEEN candy philosophy….I don’t recommend eating sugary goodies everyday of the year.

You can avoid wasted calories and preservatives this Halloween by trying some of the following:

  • Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate; aim for greater than 60% cocoa
  • Home-made cookies and sweets
  • Treats made with real fruits; for example- strawberries dipped in dark chocolate
  • If you need some good old fashioned candy, go for the fun-size packs instead of the full size candy bars; you will consume about 30-50% fewer calories
  • Candy with nuts or dried fruit, like chocolate covered almonds

If you’re feeling really crafty, try one of my favorite candy recipes: Home-made Reeses

16 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tbsp butter, softened
1.75 oz confectioner’s sugar (1/4 cup+2 tbsp), sifted

Melt half the chocolate either in a double boiler (the safer method) or in the microwave (the more dangerous, but easier/lazier method).

Distribute the melted chocolate into the 12 muffin tins only barely filling the bottom of each cup. If the chocolate does not lie flat, drop the pan repeatedly on the counter, and it will flatten and smooth itself out. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, whip the peanut butter, butter, and confectioner’s sugar together with a hand mixer until mixed and light. Taste it and make sure the sweetness is to your liking. Place small tablespoons of peanut butter into each cup, then drop the pan repeatedly on the counter again, so the peanut butter layer is flattened out. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Melt the last 1/2lb of chocolate, and portion small spoonfuls of chocolate into the cups, one cup at a time, immediately dropping the pan repeatedly on the counter to flatten each cup. In my experience of making these, the chill from the peanut butter will harden up that top layer of chocolate very quickly, so you must flatten out the tops immediately after you pour the chocolate into each cup. Place the peanut butter cups in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the top layer of chocolate.

You can either refrigerate them for a peanut butter cup with more bite, or leave them at room temperature for a softer, creamier bite. Just peel the wrapper off, and enjoy!

My last piece of advice is to avoid consuming candy or sweets that contain any of the following:shutterstock_114242275

  • Partially hydrogenated oils/ trans-fats
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial colors
  • Ingredients such as TBHQ and DATEM (preservatives)

And always remember to brush your teeth after eating sweets of any and all kinds!