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Happy Halloween! Before you rush off to trick or treat tonight, wait. Pause. Be mindful of the choices you make. Not only do we want to have a safe and happy Halloween, wouldn’t it be nice to have a healthy one as well?

Do we have to consume sugary snacks today? No, but the temptation is there. Especially if we have some leftover after trick or treaters pick some up on their festive path around the neighborhood. If others are eating sugar and it is close and convenient, it can be an issue. Although I have largely conquered my former addiction to sugar, I have less control when it comes to salty snacks. If I’m sitting next to salty chips and I’m reading or working, it’s easy to just start eating them and suddenly much of the chips remaining have vanished.

We can elect to make healthy choices to keep us healthy in the long run and not create or slip into a pattern of sugary overconsumption of “junk food”. What do I mean by junk food? If there’s no real nutritional benefit, we have to ask ourselves: what are we doing eating this J-U-N-K?

As the son of a dentist, I learned early on to visualize the sugar in each item. Dad had sugar bottles in his office showing how much sugar was in various items, primarily sugary drinks. The quantities were ridiculous and for those of us who were visual it was a powerful reminder that we should pause before we eat or drink something unhealthy. Can we do that pause every time? Perhaps not, that would involve a very high level of discipline and self-control. It’s easier to just eat whatever processed food we have at hand that might come in a box or bag and have 30 or more ingredients in it. Why do we do this?

Why can’t we eat some foods with one ingredient? Like McCann’s Irish oatmeal for example. One ingredient: 100% whole grain Irish oats. Or an apple, banana, or pear. An avocado with our family/friends we can share. (Which half do you want?)

Tonight of all nights it’s difficult to eat healthy food. After all, the doorbell keeps ringing and it seems there is no time to prepare healthy food to eat. So we just eat or fall into the pattern of eating junk food and/or candy. We fall back into patterns of only eating what is “fast” or “convenient”. Unfortunately, that makes it tougher to change later. The more we slip, the more we slide back into old unhealthy patterns of mindless eating. We should aim for mindful eating. Healthy eating. Remember if we slip now, we’re likely to do the same thing throughout the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Holidays. Then next year we might wonder how we gained so much weight. Then it’s tougher to start over in losing the weight again. It can be a vicious cycle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can change.

But we can stop. We can resist. Resistance to sugar addiction is not futile. In fact, conquering this battle is one of the most important ones many of us will ever fight. It may determine whether we end up being diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease. And other inflammatory illnesses. Just say no!

Eat some pumpkin. Or even better, pumpkin chili. We have a delightful pumpkin chili recipe. Would you like to me to share it? Maybe I’ll append it at the bottom after I publish this if I can locate it.

Do we have an obligation to give out sugary food and snacks? No. We can give out healthy food in droves. Or gift certificates. Or coupons to healthy establishments and eateries. It’s your call what you hand out on Halloween. But I strongly think that what we hand out, we end up eating, too. Because of leftovers. Unless we run out of sugar(y snacks). (What are the odds? We only seem to run out of sugar for coffee.)

And shifting to safety for a moment, please make sure you do all you can to be seen and be safe on Halloween. Wear bright reflective clothing. Bring a headlamp. Use the bright flashlight function on your phone. Stay in lit areas. Maybe add some Brilliant Reflective safety strips to your clothes. I’ll give you some pictures to show you how bright it is. Be seen. Be safe. Don’t wander into unsafe neighborhoods. Always err on the side of safety and you will rarely if ever go wrong. Don’t take unsafe risks.

Be healthy. It ensures that we can be happy. And if we are acting safely and keeping ourselves safe whenever we move, walk, run, or trick or treat, we keep ourselves in a zone of safety and serve as a good, positive example for others.

Healthy Happy Halloween! Take reasonable steps to be seen.