The Switch Witch: The Best Halloween Tradition
Halloween, one of the many holidays where it is a norm for children to receive a TON of candy, chocolate, and chips. Unfortunately, as a mother who is trying to raise a healthy, mindful eater, these holidays can become nightmares. One of the best ideas I have heard when it comes to getting rid of the pumpkin filled bags of Halloween candy is, The Switch Witch!
Here is how it goes…
We want to prepare our children some time in advance and let them be aware of what we will be doing. This reduces arguments, especially if they are older and have gone trick or treating before. It also allows them to get involved. Let them know when Halloween comes, they will be able to keep five candies and will be giving the rest of their candy to The Switch Witch who will be switching their candy for a surprise. A week or two before trick or treating, take your child to one of their favourite stores: clothing, toy, book, or video game store, and let them choose their top five things they want, from those top five items, pick one you will buy to switch their candy out.
What’s the Big Deal About Halloween Candy?
Common Candy Ingredients:
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HFCS is most often used to sweeten candy and chocolate due to its low cost. It is a derivative of corn, which is the second largest Genetically Modified crop in the world. When it comes to genetically modified crops, they are heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, like Roundup (glyphosate). Due to the occurrence of cancer rates increasing with people who have used glyphosate, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), states that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic for humans. Pesticides and herbicides are considered as silent additives;therefore, it is possible for trace amounts of this silent chemical ending up in corn syrup, that ends up being in candy or chocolate. Mmm can you say tasty? During the processing of corn-to-corn syrup, ingredients like hydrochloric acid and caustic soda are introduced to help with the extraction period. Caustic soda is a potential carrier for mercury. In a research study of 55 brand- name food samples that contain HFCS, 1 in 3 samples were shown to contain mercury. (Yum! Another great silent poison in children’s Halloween candy). At this point, the candy hasn’t been consumed and there is already TWO potential health hazards. Over-consuming HFCS has been shown to lead to Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. According to Dr. Mark Hyman MD, HFCS causes gastrointestinal perforation, meaning holes in the intestinal walls. This is known as a leaky gut, which can lead to a host of different health issues, like inflammation, eczema, psoriasis and an increase in food allergies/sensitivities.
Food dyes were once made by coal, but now they are derived from petroleum, unless it is a dye from a natural source like beets or turmeric.The State of California has an act they have enforced called Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act; this is known as Proposition 65. This is a list of ingredients that can cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Any company that sells a product that contains these hazardous ingredients MUST state on the label its hazard. Unfortunately, this act is not enforced in Canada. At the end of June 2019, this act was updated. There are several types of food dyes that are included in this list. Another issue with food colouring is some colours will pass the blood brain barrier. This can potentially lead to neurological issues; however, the food dye does not need to cross the barrier to affect the brain.
Although caramel may taste sweet and delicious, its affects to the body aren’t. Caramel usually is a derivative of corn, soy, dairy or wheat, which are common food allergens. It is not permitted to include the ingredients of caramel since it is listed under colour. Sugar, mainly high fructose corn syrup, is used to sweeten caramel. Refined sugar, like HFCS, is known to depress the immune system, which increases the risk of illnesses. Under California’s Proposition 65, ammonia-based caramel is listed as carcinogenic. Yikes!
I believe we should never prevent our children from eating certain treats or other non-nutritive foods. Life is about balance. It is important that we educate our children on why certain foods or treats are avoided, it gives them a why. Although my son is quite young, I still try to inform him that if we eat foods like Goldfish crackers or Cheezies it could make our bodies not feel good. As he gets older, I can further explain how it can make us feel and detrimental effects certain ingredients have on our health. By doing this we allow them to be informed and understand. We need to be creating a generation of mindful eaters.