For most of the kids in the United States, Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without Trick-or-Treating and bringing in their annual haul of candy! However, looking back to the origins of Halloween it was a little different than what we think of today. It began with the Celtic people as they welcomed in the harvest and ushered in “the dark half of the year.” Their name for this holiday is Samhain (a Gaelic word pronounced “SAH-win”) usually celebrated from October 31 to November 1. Celebrants believed that the barriers between the physical world and the spirit world broke down during Samhain, allowing more interaction between humans and denizens of the Otherworld. (1)
So, to remain safe from being taken into the spirit world they would leave offerings outside their homes and villages for the fairies. As years passed the Irish started putting on costumes and going door-to-door singing songs to the dead. In return the homeowners would give them cakes as payment. (2)
When the custom of trick-or-treating started in America, in the 1930s and early 1940s, children were given everything from homemade cookies and pieces of cake to fruit, nuts, coins, and toys. In the 1950s, candy manufacturers began to get in on the act and promote their products for Halloween, and as trick-or-treating became more popular, candy was increasingly regarded as an affordable, convenient offering. (3)
I’ll be the first to grab Tootsie Roll or a Snicker bar out of the grandkids candy haul. But it is important to understand the results of a lifestyle that allows candy and other sugary delights on a regular basis. Sugar is one of the most inflammatory and immunosuppressive foods. And sugar can sneak into so many of the foods we eat and give our children every day because sugar can be disguised by 72 different names. If you would like a list of the names to look for, you can get your copy by clicking on this link.
It’s important to understand that there are sugars that occur naturally in many of our foods such as: apples, oranges, strawberries, kiwis, and many veggies, as well, that are complex in their make-up. What that means is that it takes the body much longer to break the sugar molecules down into the simple sugar, glucose, that the body can then use. By needing more time to break down you won’t see the spike in blood glucose that can be so detrimental to the body.
Coming into the cold and flu season, remember to keep yourself and your children safe by limiting your processed sugar intake so that you allow your immune systems to work the way they were made to work. Stay healthy this year and every year to come.
(1), (2), (3) https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/samhain
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