Gobble Gobble

Gobble, gobble says the turkey, as if it knows its fate this time of year!  I have to admit I love to gobble turkey.  My Grandfather and uncle had a small farm and reared turkeys for the Christmas market.  Every Christmas my uncle would arrive with a massive turkey that could barely fit in our oven.  But even before it got that far, it hung upside down from the roof of our lean-to conservatory for a day or two.  Its broken neck and blood-filled head with the odd un-plucked feather, was a curious and slightly scary sight for an urban dweller.  A scene that could have been a turning point to veganism, as the head came off and the gizzards were yanked from its belly, did not a vegan make!  Year in and year out my mother spent half the night preparing and stuffing a giant bird for Christmas dinner.  On waking Christmas day, the house was always filled with the aroma of stuffed turkey cooking in the oven.  Such a massive bird needed a head start on the rest of the day.

It seems apt that the spirit animal of the turkey symbolizes connection with Mother Earth and the abundance the earth provides.  It represents nourishment in our life, harvesting the fruits of our efforts, community, generosity and sharing.  This totem animal encourages us to honour our sources of nourishment, whether they are physical, emotional or spiritual. The turkey reminds us to develop a harmonious relationship with the land and our environment and consider them as foundations to our well-being and sustenance.  Turkey totem is a powerful guide to unlocking the fullness of life and feeling content with what we have instead of accumulating material belongings to seek happiness.

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Healthy Halloween Horrors!!

So when I was growing up it wasn’t “trick or treat” it was “any apples or nuts”?  And, this is literally what we got when we knocked at neighbourhood doors.  Apples, grapes, oranges, bananas, peanuts in their shells and if you were unlucky some nuts in rock hard shells that my Da had to take the hammer to.  We suspected sinister motives from the contributors of the hard shelled nuts, but it was better than getting a bucket of cold water over you, which we feared, but never actually experienced.  Now that’s giving my vintage away.  At Halloween my mother made ‘Colcannon’ for dinner.  A traditional Irish dish made of curly kale and mashed potato.  I think she added sauteed onion and butter.  I loved it!  Back then Kale only appeared in the shops around Halloween.  Then there was the traditional ‘barmbrack’ with the prized ring in it.  You’d wish and pray, against considerable odds (large family) that you would be the lucky one.  Cue the violins, I don’t recall ever getting the ring.  Boo Hoo!!  Dress up was what you could find or borrow or make.  In hindsight this was a time of year where nutritious food was part of a celebration that children eagerly participated in.

I’m not sure when “any apples or nuts” turned into “trick or treat”, or when the collection of fruit and nuts turned into the collection of sweet, sweets and more sweets.  Probably right about when the word ‘obesity’ started making an unexpected entrance into our everyday conversations.

I passed some children on their way to school this morning, all dressed up in some fantastic looking Halloween costumes.  Last day at school before mid-term.  The enjoyment of Halloween for the 21st century kid is no less than it was for us.  The fun and excitement was palpable.  It is just such a shame that we feel compelled to offer these beauties sugary sweets instead of healthy treats.   When I give out healthy treats at the door I suspect the offering is not appreciated by today’s kids who are wondering about my sinister motives!!

I was inspired to write this little blog after seeing this fun instagram post by NTOI.  Check out @healthyhalloween and @prep_over_fail on instagram if you are a follower, for some really fun Halloween ideas that kids will love.  Have a Happy & Healthy Halloween!!