Today I am Grateful for Nourishing Foods and the enriching sense of Well-being that comes from localizing Community. Fall is in the chilly air! As I rode my bike back from a morning meditation, I saw pumpkins strung along porches and doors left open for arriving guests. I thought to myself "Today I am not worried. Today I am free." I am super pleased to be writing this to share my Joy, Love and Inspiration with you!
It was on this ride I realized what I have to be Greatful for; Nourishment! (among many other things: Love, Community, Family, Friends, Shelter, and Abundance.) I think that overall it is the one Holiday that comes close to making Peace with the Earth. As I rode home, I suddenly knew that in comparison to this wonderful Thankfulness, and this great coming together of Communities, that Halloween has become in the Western world a shameful mockery of Gratitude and of Thankfulness. Instead of remembering and honoring the dead as latin American cultures do on The Day of the Dead we sacrifice our Beloved children to dead foods. How disgraceful, unloving, and un-nourishing! This single practice alone makes our Western culture look extremely silly and wasteful to outsiders!
Perhaps it would be useful, in order to be more totally Thankful today, if we begin to realize what not thankful is like. Let's use Halloween as an anti-thankful example. On Halloween, so called "Junk Food" is handed out. And isn't that a perfectly fitting description for the foods that fill children's pillow cases and plastic pumpkins each Fall? Is this is how we choose to "treat" our children? With junk, disguised as food? I've just discovered a link that claims Snickers and Candy Corn are in a tie for the most common "treat" handed out on Halloween. Let's look at what we are feeding our Children for Halloween (and over the following months where the candy still lingers).
Snickers Ingredients:milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skimmed milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavour), peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skimmed milk, butter, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose (a milk product), salt, egg whites and artificial flavour. (From Wikipedia)
Candy Corn Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Confectioner’s Glaze, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Artificial Colors, (FDC Yellow 6 Lake, Red #40, Red 40 Lake, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue #1, Yellow 5 Lake), Egg Whites, Honey Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Carnauba Wax (From candy corn website)
As you may know, as per FDA food labeling requirements, ingredients are listed in descending order. This means that the ingredient listed first is the most abundant in the chosen product. In this case Sugar is first, so Sugar is most abundant in Candy Corn and Snickers.
So what is wrong with a little sugar in our diets?
In today's over-processed, sugar-crazed society, the average person consumes 154 pounds of sugar per year! That's 53 teaspoons of sugar per day! Now let's pretend that sugar actually has some benefits, eating one-half pound per day may not seem like such a bad idea. But the truth is that refined sugar has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. Not only does it completely lack nutritional value, it also robs the body of enzymes, minerals and vitamins, especially B-vitamins. Symptoms of B-vitamin deficiency include: fatigue, depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, poor memory, insomnia, rapid/irregular heart beat, swollen/inflamed tongue, dry skin around the nose and cracking around the lips. Considering the amount of sugar consumed in this country, it's no surprise so many Americans suffer from symptoms of a B-vitamin deficiency. (from The Kitchen Transition by Lori Lapinksi)
So B-Vitamin deficiency... Doesn't sound like a Treat that I would like to pass on to the upcoming generation.. or any generation!
Lori goes on to explain more on the detriments of sugar in our diets:
Eating too much sugar also creates blood sugar imbalances in the body. When blood sugar drops too low (shortly after eating a high-sugar meal or snack) the fuel supply to the body is impaired, with adverse effects on mental function, physical energy and emotional stability. Symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can range anywhere from headaches, irritability and shaking when hungry to explosive anger, panic attacks, or crying easily for no apparent reason. Not only can sugar affect the quality of your day but it can also make you sick. Many studies have shown that sugar is very effective in weakening the immune system and is a source of fuel for feeding cancer and tumors.
Ok, so now it really hits home! At first I just didn't want children getting poor nutrition, but now I don't want them acting crazy either! That is asking a lot! Imagine- Healthy Children!
For me, the picture is clear. Celebrating Halloween by handing out industialized anti-nutritious "candy", carving silly faces in our food and letting it rot on our doorstep, on the one hand being extremely un-thankful. On the other side, eating nutritious pumpkins, and sharing the moment with one another, is a very Thankful thing to do, today or any other day!
Eat good Food today! Please, do it for the Earth, for the Moment, For You, For your Loved ones.. for Anything! Just love yourself today with some loving food!
Eat some Organic popcorn, dates, oranges, whatever tastes good to you and is a Traditional food that is Nourishing.