Fall... cool air, stunning colors, sweaters, aromas of nutmeg and pumpkin and apples. As summer's heat lifts and days shorten, there is a new motivation toward health and wellness. You can go out for a walk or jog, spurred on by refreshing breezes and changing landscapes. For many, having the kids back at school means a little more time to work on one's self (fitness, creativity, education...). I love seeing all the faces pop into Flow Pilates Centre as we celebrate the season with new classes, improved health, and great fun.
It's all good and then... Trick-Or-Treat! Candy. Candy. Candy. Don't get me wrong − I enjoy the excitement of Halloween, the anticipation of costumes and parties, the children (!), and, of course, the abundant creativity. But let's face it. There's nothing worse than an overflowing bowl of candy when you are trying to be healthy (and just in case you weren't sure which one you were craving, well, hello variety!).
So, what to do?! I guess for starters, one can always donate the sugar fest (aka, that treasure of candy) to a soup kitchen or shelter. It's a wonderful lesson for the kids (actually for all of us!), and with so many families in need, unexpected treats are a lovely gesture. You can also put it away. I know one family that keeps just a few favorites in a bowl during Halloween and then stores the rest. Out of sight, out of mind; and it's nice to whip out the candy, down the road, when you have unexpected company. It's also nice to replace it with healthier alternatives on a daily basis.
However, don't diss the chocolate − or see it as the enemy − without knowing its merits. First of all, consider its origins, the cacao bean. Cacao beans come from trees and are loaded with plant nutrients. Dark chocolate, especially, has wonderful health benefits. Full of antioxidants, it is believed to contribute to your cardiovascular health and mental acuity; it also helps reduce blood sugar, strengthen tooth enamel, and increases our sense of well-being (Ever wonder why you feel that happy burst when you bite into chocolate?! You can thank the tryptophan!). Pair it with some fruit − how about chocolate covered blueberries or cherries?! − and you are packing a lot of antioxidant punch into a delicious treat.
Many of us get trapped in the all or nothing mentality. I'll just gorge myself with candy today and never again indulge. Ever. Really? It doesn't work. It only creates an unhealthy cycle. A little indulgence is good for the soul; but one can (and should!) hand out healthy and delicious alternatives to the really junky stuff (consider organic granola bars and all-natural fruit strips). Remember that moderation and a focus on wellness is healthy and empowering... and chocolate can make you smile. Just sayin'!
Happy Halloween to you and yours!! May your season be filled with health, balance, and all the magic of a little dark chocolate.