The fall colors paint the trees and the air is a bit crisper. Smells of pumpkin spice lattes, pecan pies and caramel-covered apples start to fill the air around us. Images of these goodies call our names everywhere we go. Why are we so drawn to the food we know is bad for us?
For many of us it’s the memories those foods conjure. The apple picking, fall festivals, leaf piles and pumpkin carving memories are often evoked by the foods we are drawn to this time of year. Many retailers and advertisers amplify this affect by taking advantage of your emotions tied to those memories. We associate food with love and as we take a sip of that pumpkin spiced latte it’s like we are wrapping ourselves in a big hug of memories.
Why Should We Choose Better?
What’s wrong with a big hug of memories? It’s all the sugar. Sugar is one of the most detrimental foods you will put in your body. All that sugar compromises your immune system. Sugar and fructose will disrupt your gut flora, compromising your immune system. Since 80% of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract, you can’t afford to attack it. Consequently, eating more sugar means you’re going to be more susceptible to all the bugs going around.
Studies have shown that most Americans consume 10% of their daily calories from sugar and approximately 10% get 25% of their daily calories from sugar. Slowly put down that pumpkin spice latte and step away from the pecan pie. (1)
Americans are eating too much sugar. Plus, autumn can be an excuse to start ramping up that sugar intake. Add that to the changing season which brings many changes that people associate with “flu season.” There is added stress, less sunshine which means less vitamin d, and less activity. If you throw in sugar, you are setting yourself up for poor health.
It is easy to make poor choices this time of year. There are a lot of them thrown in our face daily and let’s face it- autumn sweaters are more forgiving than swimsuits.
Don’t let Halloween kick off a season of regret that culminates in guilt-ridden, New Year’s Day resolutions. Be in control of your health and happiness. Here’s 11 tips to help you.
11 Fall Tips and Treats
- Eat chocolate! Yes, you can eat some candy but make sure it’s the healthy cacao. Cacao is good for you if it hasn’t been processed with heat and added sugar or dairy. It’s a great source of magnesium, helps women release serotonin, it’s great for neurotransmitters and more.Use that cacao to make some yummy, chocolate-covered fruit like apples. It’s better for you than caramel-covered apples.
- Find healthy recipes to replace the ones you love. Try our Pumpkin Chip Bread Recipe.
- Find healthy, warm drink replacements like chai tea or apple cider.
- Make those warm drinks at home so you know what is going in them. Try this Organic Apple Cider Recipe or check out the Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe in the video below.
Easy and Healthy Fall Tips
- Make time to for yourself and exercise so your body is equipped to handle any added stressors
- Be prepared with healthy meals to keep you from snacking or making fast choices.
- Offer trick-or-treaters healthy alternatives to candy so you aren’t tempted to graze the candy bag. Small toys, pencils and fruits are great substitutes for over-processed candy that is void of nutrition.
- If you can’t make that leap to healthy candy alternatives, wait until October 27 to buy the candy. It’s the cheapest day to buy and won’t leave you much time for your willpower to weaken. (2) Also, make sure it’s candy that you don’t like. Keeps it even less tempting.
- Don’t drive the get-away car while the kids are trick or treating. Enjoy the autumn weather and walk together as a family. Getting outside builds your immune system and also helps you be a great role model for your children.
- Control your thoughts and try to keep yourself from associating the season with junk foods. Focus on activities- fall festivals, haunted houses and the traditions that you make as a family. You will be healthier and while setting good habits for the future.
This season, focus on the memories and traditions. Flip the script to give your body the food it loves and don’t associate the junk food with love.
Want more fabulous guilt free and allergen free dessert recipes? Download our FREE Healthy Desserts eBook