Have a Healthy Halloween
Halloween conjures a feeling of magic, wonder and and a desire to unlock ancient mysteries within. This holiday, based upon the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced sowen) is deeply rooted in lore, magic and spirits. It has nothing to do with candy or sweets, but is a day to honor the dead and to commune with those who have passed before us.
This also marked the beginning of a new year in the Celtic holiday. Old events were now history, and it was time to make goals for the coming year, to welcome new possibilities and adventure. Today I am somewhat honoring these old beliefs by cleaning my house and starting new ventures and challenges. Today really does feel as if it is time to start making changes and new goals, and I am excited for all the wonderful possibilites which await me.
I made my own Halloween candy today. Rather than buying processed sugar candy, which will quickly accumulate into a lot of plastic trash, I opted for a sugar free (and sweet free) peanut butter cup candy recipe. It’s almost like a Reece’s, but much healthier and SO much better. I used organic peanut butter in this recipe, but you can feel free to use any nut butter of your choosing (I totally recommend Almond Butter!).
Homemade Healthy Peanut Butter Cups Halloween Candy
1/2 cup liquid coconut oil (you can use half melted butter)
1/2 cup cocoa or carob powder
1 TBSP. Honey or 1/4 tsp. Powdered Stevia (to taste)
3/4 cup Organic Peanut Butter
1/4 cup cream cheese or sour cream
1/3 cup Xylitol, powdered
1/4 tsp. Powdered Stevia Extract
2 TBSP. Organic Butter, melted
Mix the melted coconut oil (and butter, if using) with the cocoa powder and sweeteners, if using. Set aside. Grease candy molds with olive oil and freeze for about 10 minutes. After freezing, place 1/2 tsp. or so in the candy molds and spread around to make a shell. Freeze until solid.
Mix together peanut butter, cream cheese, sweeteners and butter together in a small bowl. Place 1/2-1 tsp. of peanut butter mixture into the frozen chocolate shells. Cover the peanut butter with more melted chocolate and freeze.
I didn’t sweeten some of these, because I’m really not doing that well with sweetened items any more. After being off of them for a few weeks now, the slightest taste of something sweet makes me a bit sick to my stomach. You can use as much of the sweetners as you would like to get it to your level of sweeteness. I used these pumpkin ice cube trays as my candy molds, but paper cupcake liners are more traditional for these type of candies.
Another thing I did for Halloween was wake up to a nice Halloween breakfast. Actually, I woke up to make the nice Halloween breakfast, but I still enjoyed it. I made pumpkin waffles for my sister, who isn’t a grain free, gluten free type of person like me, but still enjoys eating healthy. I made these waffles with organic soaked whole wheat pastry flour and wheat bran. Soaking these grains improves their digestibility and nutritional availability, so I almost never make an exception when cooking grains.
These pumpkin waffles turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself, as I broke my grain-free rule just for today to eat them. I reasoned that because I soaked them, and because pastry flour is lower in gluten than other types of flours, I would enjoy it this Halloween morning.
Soaked Pumpkin Waffles for a Halloween Breakfast
1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
3/4 cup almond milk, OR homemade coconut milk (WITHOUT guar gum)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (you could also use butternut squash)
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil (or half coconut oil, half melted butter)
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 TBSP. grain free baking powder
1/2 tsp. Celtic Himalayan Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Stevia + 2 TBSP. Xylitol
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. ginger
-1/8 tsp. allspice
-1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Soak pastry flour and wheat bran overnight with almond milk. You could add a TBSP. of lemon juice or whey, but it isn’t crucial to increasing nutrition availability.
In the morning, stir in the pumpkin, followed by the eggs and melted coconut oil. Once combined, stir in the baking powder, salt, stevia, xylitol and spices. Mix well.
Greese your waffle iron well. Preheat the waffle iron, and when ready, add 1/2-3/4 cup of the lumpy batter to the iron. Spread out a bit and close. Cook for exactly 7 minutes. The waiting is the most important step.
Take out the waffle with a spatual and enjoy! Top with melted organic butter, whipped cream, berries or pure maple syrup.
Makes 3 large, Belgian waffles.
10 Ways to Make Halloween Healthy
1. Make your own candy, like the recipe I have for you above. This will allow you to add your own amount of your favorite sweetener. When cooking healthy you have to make adjustments, especially for candy. However I believe that this candy will get me through the holiday (and quite a few days after that!).
2. Go to a pumpkin patch festival, over at PickYourOwn.org, you can find local pumpkin patches. Go there on Halloween to see if they are having a Fall Festival. Many times they are, and you can also pick up a pumpkin while your at it!. I carved one today. Don’t you love it?
3. Give out organic candy to trick or treaters. Sugar is sugar, but at least your not exposing little bodies to dangerous pesticides and chemical additives. Organic candy should be made from real sugar, whether it’s sugar cane, honey or brown rice syrup. Sweeteners like Sucralose or high fructose corn syrup have no place in organic food.
4. Give out small toys to trick or treaters. Your local party supply shop should have small party favors at a really inexpensive price. Give out the toys along with the candy, so that children won’t feel left out when other fellow goblins, witches and ghosts go to your door and get organic sugar confections. Try to give out more toys than you do candy, though, to lessen the amount of sugar you give to them.
5. Walk throughout your neighborhood on Halloween to see the happenings this night. If you are trick or treating with your kids, keep the car at home and walk throughout your whole neighborhood. This will give you exercise while having fun at the same time.
6. Get back to your pagan roots and write down goals you desire to accomplish next year. I’m not asking you to convert, but look towards new beginnings. Clean your house if you like. We could both be doing that together!
7. Watch Halloween movies with your family instead of trick or treating. This might be a stretch for some kids, or pretty easy for others. Get scared tonight by watching the original Halloween. Watch old classics like White Zombie (I fell in love with this movie the other day when it came on TCM), Nosferatu (silent flick about Count Dracula–cool film) and The Mystery of the Wax Museum. I LOVE classic films, and I especially like watching these types of films during the Halloween season. I’m finishing Nosferatu on my iPod right now, with The Mystery of the Wax Museum following right behind. Watch Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown for some good Disney fun.
8. Cook a healthy Halloween dinner with foods like squash, pumpkin, vegetables, sweet potatoes, walnuts, cranberries and any other fall foods. This isn’t only a warming Halloween feast, but it is a great meal for the Autumn months. Limit your amount of carbohydrates through these foods, however, if suffering from blood sugar issues.
9. Go to a haunted house. Now I’m not one to do this, but if you’re up to it, then go for it! Heck, it gets you out of the house as well as a good amount of exercise. In fact, you might even get some interval cardio going on during your visit, as monsters take small breaks before scaring you again, catapulting your body into quick movement (aka–”get me the heck out of here!”).
10. Eat a candy a day if you do go trick or treating. When I was a child, I would still have half a large pumpkin left over with candy still in there up until Easter. I ate only one small piece of candy a day to save as much as I could as long as I could. Little did I know that I was keeping my sugar intake low but enjoying myself at the same time. Savor your candy (or your child’s candy, ) so that you only need one to two pieces a day. I can imagine there are people who gorge on sugar and candy, but I know you’re not one of them. Teaching children to do this as well helps keep their bodies strong, which is crucial for the growing periods.
I hope you enjoy a safe, healthy and Happy Halloween! Listen to some Halloween music tonight when it’s dark, have your own party with a pumpkin lighting (and pumpkin carols!–remember “It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”?) and be healthy at the same time.
This is The Healthy Advocate.