My fantasy Halloween

 

Matthew sent me this cartoon last week.

I wrote back: “I wish!”

If you’re a new reader, you might not know that I’ve tried lots of things to
deal with this holiday. I love the costumes and macabre fun, and hate the
candy.

What has worked best for my family is that my kids go trick-or-treating, and
when they come home, I pay them $20 for the privilege of throwing their
candy away. My kids have never balked at this—they like money more than
candy.

If you have very small children or don’t have kids yet, remember, it’s not
wrecking their childhood if you opt out of the candy-collecting part of the
holiday, unless you decide to take them door to door asking for junk food.

I was raised doing it. And then I’d be sick for weeks after Halloween. I
don’t know what’s good about that rotten tradition.

Some friends of mine take their kids out to dinner on Halloween every year,
opting out completely and making their own memories in a different way.

 

Birthdays don’t have to be corn syrup hell

This summer has been a whirlwind. Lots of activities and travel, and, oh I don’t even know why. BIRTHDAY SEASON has snuck up on me. That’s the three

weeks of August where ALL FOUR of my kids seem to require some attention, gifts, and a party.

The only pregnancies that “stuck” were the ones that commenced in November.

(I lost several along the way that were due when people PLAN pregnancies—in the spring!) Finally with my baby, Tennyson, we gave up on planning and just went with what worked: August babies.

So I rented Big Screen Game Center for a dozen boys to play video games on giant screens. We had the usual stuff everyone else serves at birthdays, except I also had a big veggie tray and Tennyson had to eat a boatload of veggies before eating the birthday pizza-and-cake. I didn’t do ice cream, soda, candy, or treat bags, or a piñata.

It still wasn’t good. I’m not proud. With Colorado right before, and Pacific Northwest right after, I didn’t pull off Chocolate Beet Cake this year. (Ch. 11 of 12 Steps.)

I did send the remainder of the pizza and cake home with the first parent to show up at the end of the party. I did manage to not eat any of it myself.

And Tennyson received, as gifts from friends, a bag of taffy, two

movie-sized boxes of candy, and a $10 Coldstone gift card.

Apparently it could have been worse. Dallin, who we once terrified by

driving down a steep hill and screaming, while pretending to lose control of

steering and brakes, said to me:

“This is the first birthday in two years that I HAVEN’T given the friend a

bunch of candy. My parents said it would be ‘inappropriate’ for your

child.'” LOL! Some people didn’t get that memo.

That’s okay. I bought the $10 Coldstone card from Tennyson.

Sheryl, my customer support manager, said, “Just regift it—isn’t the gift about what

the person wants, not what we want them to have?”

Yep. Done. I agree, and I’m not above regifting to a Coldstone fan.

But the candy? I paid Tenn $5 for the privilege of round-filing it, as you

can see here.

One boy heard me tell Tennyson the figure I would give him, and Tennyson’s

response. (“Cool.”) The boy, who knows that I give my kids $20 for their

Halloween candy for the privilege of getting drugs off the streets, asked:

“Do your kids ever get mad or refuse to let you buy their candy?”

Nope. They never have. They universally have preferred the buying power of

$20 over a bunch of junk. Plus I’ve done this their whole lives.

This is why I say in my lectures that the moms of young children have all

the power.

If you buy and feed your kids sugar, you lose that power. They’ll demand it,

regularly, forever. Nag, whine, drama. They know they can work you over.

In my house, there simply isn’t any sugar or white flour. We do have “fun

foods” sometimes—they just aren’t made with refined or processed garbage.

I think what they get at their dad’s house, at church, at school, at

parties, is excessive already. Why would I offer more of it in my HOME?

Just because we’ve lived another year doesn’t mean we have to make ourselves

depressed, fat, and fuzzy-headed with high-fructose corn syrup. (That’s the

main ingredient in all three candy varieties currently at the bottom of my

office trashcan.)

I like Chocolate Beet Cake better than buttercream-frosting cakes anyway. If

you quit eating corn syrup (HFCS) for a period of time, even a few weeks,

and observe the reaction of your body and mind when you eat it again, you

will know with certainty how much your body hates it.

Your body loves you when you say no to HFCS. It’s not just highly refined,

acidic, high calorie, and zero nutrition—it’s also genetically modified.

It inflames your cells. It ages them, and it erodes your gut lining. I never eat it anymore.

Even before I undertook the One-Year $10,000 Sugar Bet with Matthew nearly

11 months ago, I’d completely quit eating HFCS. Not only do I academically

know too much about its detrimental effect on health, but it sends my

lifelong anxiety, completely under control on whole foods, into

instantaneous orbit. NOT WORTH IT!

Halloween Controversy: better to feed candy to the homeless? or nothing?

Last year on Halloween, I posted that I pay my kids $20 for the privilege of dumping their Halloween candy in the trash outside. On facebook, I have the interesting situation of 90% of my personal page’s friends being GSG readers, and 10% being people I actually know. One of my high-school friends, cheerleader Beth, who has no idea who I am 25 years later, protested:   “Awww, don’t throw the candy away, give it to the homeless!”

A few of my more vociferous readers pounced on her. She had no idea what she’d gotten herself into, poor girl. She wasn’t on the GSG page with 13,000 people who know exactly what we’re all doing there.

She was on the Robyn Openshaw page—for all she knew, I was that girl she left the high-school campus with, at lunch, to get 7-11 Nachos and a Diet Coke.

When I was at CHI spending 16+ hours per day with the same 15 people, only one heated argument broke out. It was on this topic: “Is it wasting food, to throw away candy?” A mother, Esther, and her two adult daughters, Kendra and Melinda, had apparently been “going the rounds” on this subject.

I inadvertently stepped on that land mine when I said, “I don’t want to poison my own kids–why would I want to poison homeless people?” KABLAM, the room instantly divided into two camps.

You know without even thinking what the response will be: “But homeless people don’t get enough to eat! It’s not like homeless kids are eating salad anyway, or have any options! Who cares what their nutrition is—they’re just trying to survive.”

I opt out of those conversations at that point, because they’re a little contentious. But if you ASKED me, I’d say that generally in America, the homeless are not in jeopardy of having a choice between going hungry versus eating candy.

Actually, I could go on all day with my more indirect arguments to that line of reasoning. (If I thought anybody cared.) Okay, just a little academic argument here, acknowledging right up front that I know the homeless aren’t academic—they’re real people, trying to survive. I get it.

But for instance, did you know that the #1 factor related to longevity is LOW-CALORIE DIET? Yep, when people are calorie-suppressed for many, many years, they live a long time! Really thin people have minimal disease risk. Whenever I say this, I just about get strung up from the nearest tree. Check out my report on what the weight charts should REALLY be–this is John McDougall’s stuff, okay? Not mine. But it’s interesting and (sorry!) really valid:

http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/nutrition-manifesto/healthy-height-and-weight-chart/

I realize it’s not politically correct to advocate for extreme thinness! I am just making an observation: the low end of our weight charts are the UPPER end of the weights of cultures who have impressive longevity.

My points are, related to whether we give the Halloween candy to the “less fortunate” families/kids, or do the whole world a favor by throwing it away:

  1. Kids who eat candy are HUNGRIER as a result. Sugar just fuels food obsession and cravings. So you fill their belly with fun-sized Snickers. Guess what: they then want MORE of it, not just in two hours, but the next day, and the next day, and the next. They are little addicts. Poor kids are America’s fattest kids. Sure, the poorest among us are the most addicted–but is it my job to feed the addictions?
  2. IS IT REALLY better to give them candy, than nothing? Pretty sure going without—(within reason, of course, I’m aware we do have to eat SOMETIME)—would be better. Less comfortable, but much healthier.
  3. It’s a matter of principle for me. I’m just not going to feed people toxic fuel. It goes against everything I believe in. It was HARD for me, at first, to throw candy away. I compost everything, for crying out loud! I grow my own food! I buy very little stuff in boxes and cans! BUT. If it’s poison for my kid (and it is!), it’s poison for everyone. Bottom line: I feel more guilty feeding someone else’s child candy than I do throwing out “perfectly good food.” Read about 1,000 books on the nutritional-deficiency health crisis in America as I have, and you will never look at candy the same way again. You will not see it as “food.”

I think I will make a new rule for myself, in honor of the reflecting I’ve done writing this blog entry.   From now on, for every $20 I pay my child to throw his candy away, I will also donate $20 (or more) to our homeless shelter, earmarked for raw plant foods. In fact, maybe I will come up with a fund to start making sure they have leafy green salads, and veggies and fruits at the shelters here.   Hmmmm, I’m glad I wrote this blog…..now I’m thinking about a plan……

do you “make” your kids finish dinner?

The day after Halloween, I posted on my facebook page that I paid my kids $20 for their bag of candy, like I do every year, and then I threw it in the trash.

I got some indignant responses, saying, “Geez, at least give them to candy giveaway programs for the troops!” and the like.

(The two who said that are friends who were on my high school’s drill team. In other words, people who don’t know much about where I am now and what I do.)

Anyway, some of my fellow health nuts went, well, nuts on them. I was a non-participant in the ensuing debate, which you can see on my FB wall. But if I’d wanted to get all argumentative (I didn’t and don’t), I’d point out that if I don’t want to feed my kids poison, why would I want to feed it to the people defending my country? (Or anyone, for that matter. Death row inmates, maybe, if I could be really certain they are guilty.)

Yes yes, I know, the troops will get candy regardless–if not from me, from someone else. But that doesn’t mean I have to be a part of it.

(Have you seen the story about the burning Carnival cruise ship, and the people onboard who were “rescued” with a delivery of Spam and Pop Tarts? LOL!)

The other day at my tennis workout, Laura, one of my teammates and a friend of mine for 20+ years said, “Robyn, I went all Red today.” (She’s speaking of one of my favorite subjects, Taylor Hartman’s Color Code, which you may google at will. Everyone close to me knows you have to understand the Code or you won’t speak my language. I eventually buy any friend who doesn’t “get it” The Book. Which is now inexplicably renamed–for political correctness?–The People Code.)

Anyway, Laura’s daughter Gabby came home from school saying that her friend gave her the brownie out of her school lunch. (I’m talking about the lunch they SELL at school.) So Gabby had two brownies–her own and the friend’s. Gabby was about to throw them away when the lunch lady said, “You’re not going anywhere until you finish your lunch” and required Gabby to eat everything, including the two brownies. “I almost threw up!” Gabby reported to Laura.

Laura was incensed and described the incident wherein she pointed her finger in the principal’s face about this (she’s a White/Yellow! out of character!) and had a little chat with him about the lunch lady.

I said this, separating the “making” kids do it issue from the junk food issue. “Yeah, um. I require my kids to finish their salad, veggies, fruits. If they don’t want whatever ELSE we’re having, like whole-wheat pasta with pesto, for instance–I don’t care.”

I often have this debate with someone in my life who regularly reiterates the mantra that children shouldn’t be “forced” to do anything. I agree that it’s not only pointless, but also impossible, to force anyone to do anything. (I’ve written before about the unforgettable experience I had many years ago, watching a friend of mine force-feed her son a hot dog, because she was terrified he wasn’t getting enough protein.) But could it be that this argument often functions as a smokescreen for the real issues:

Are we willing to parent? Do we take a stand on things we think are important? Requiring a child to do something she’ll learn from–for example, complete homework, eat foods containing live enzymes, treat others with respect–isn’t a bad thing. Are they “forced” (negative word) just because it’s required and there’s a consequence for non-compliance attached? We adults are all required to do things every day. Forced? No, but our feet are held to the fire, and if we choose badly, negative consequences follow. I’m pretty sure you and I work part of every day to pay the rent of some folks sitting behind bars thanks to this very principle.

“Well, sure,” Laura said, “it’s one thing to require your own child to finish her carrots.” But a bunch of junk food? She told the principal, “A brownie is a waste from the minute it is created! After you eat it the rest of the day is about getting RID of it.” (There’s that consequence thing rearing its ugly head again.)

And Laura, my friends, isn’t a health-food fanatic. She’s just a regular mom. She’s at her ideal weight and incredibly fit. Disciplined about food consumption like no one else I know. Laura’s is one of the testimonials in my book The Green Smoothies Diet. She’d been told she was pre-diabetic until she started green smoothies. She has brought one to the gym every morning for the past few years since I taught them to her. She takes one to a handicapped woman in her neighborhood, regularly, and she evangelizes for green smoothies constantly. When one of the dozens of women we play tennis with at the club asks, “WHAT’S THAT?!” about her disposable see-through cup of sludge she’s drinking, she points at me. I take it from there.

Anyway, Laura continued, “When I see somebody nagging their kid to finish their Thanksgiving pie, I think, ‘Why? It’s PIE!”

She said it, not me. Well, now I know I can confide in Laura, at least, if not the popular girls from high school, that I dump all the Halloween candy in the trash. (Lest you think I’m an ogre, let me say this: I do let the kids keep three pieces.)

Your thoughts?

A Halloween tip for moms

My kids have all the usual fun trick or treating.   I wouldn’t deny them that.   Then, when they get home, I bribe them.   Twenty bucks buys a big bag of sugar from each kid, which then gets upended into the  garbage in the garage or handed out en masse to those scary teenagers  who show up after 9 p.m.   Best money you’ll ever spend.   And the kids are happy when they get to buy fun stuff at WalMart the next day, stuff that lasts longer than a sugar rush.