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!!

 

 

Calories – the Good, the Bad and the Make Believe

Counting calories… Yes, I have done it too!  Until I learned that there is a healthier, more sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off.   There is no doubt about it, if you restrict your calories on an ongoing basis, you will lose weight.   That said, as soon as you stop restricting calories and go back to ‘normal’ eating, you will put it all back on again and more.  As soon as you even think about restricting calories you feel hungry, right?   Did you know your body has an inbuilt physiological response to perceived and actual hunger?   The response roughly translates as ‘hold on to that fat’!   It behaves like Old Mother Hubbard, she doesn’t want the cupboard to be bare.  Is your own body working against you?  Many of our innate responses are outside of our conscious control.  You don’t need to remind your heart to beat or your hair to grow.  We are hardwired to survive for a while without eating.  If your body perceives ‘starvation’ it holds on to its fat store (stored energy) to tide you over.  Thankfully, most of us do not face food scarcity or starvation, the opposite is more likely the case.  The challenge we face today is learning to understand how our body works, what affects our appetite and how to negotiate the modern diet for a healthy weight.  It is never a simple case of counting calories.

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