Did someone say Valentine’s Day and healthy in the same sentence? We need a holiday overhaul in the United States and I’ve got you. Holidays don’t have to be a time of guilt, sickness or chemically caused food babies… wow, what an unattractive descriptive words.. sorry! Valentine’s Day can be healthy and the treats you feed your family can be nourishing! Here are some “OMG” things you should know about the candy industry and what they are feeding you and your family this Valentine’s day.
I have a few challenges for you.
Challenge 1: Go grab the chocolate from your pantry and flip it over to the nutrient label. Even if you don’t have chocolate nearby, go to google, type in your favorite brand and check out the ingredients.
What do you see, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, High fructose corn syrup, milk fat, cocoa, sugar, red#40? These are common ingredients in the chocolates most American’s are buying their kids and significant others each holiday. You might be thinking: What do these ingredients mean? Why do they have these ingredients in there? How can I get away from these harmful ingredients? What does this mean for my health? Let me break it down for you.
High fructose corn syrup – Read all about HFCS on my post that is dedicated to this major health NO-NO.
Milk – Often times, the milk that’s found in conventional products is also conventional itself. Conventional meaning filled with hormones, antibiotics, GMO feed and worst of all.. puss. ICKK, but it’s true. Another issue with milk is that many people are sensitive to casein or lactose these days. It’s best to avoid it all unless you know the source and trust putting it into your body!
A few more things.
Cocoa – This is where it gets a little iffy.. well, a lot iffy. You’ve probably heard the hype of chocolate that involves slavery but that’s no myth. Chocolate is a hot commodity for us privileged American’s and they will do whatever they need to to get us to spend our hard earned money on it. Choose smart and responsibly by buying fair trade chocolate from a well known source. Again, one that you wouldn’t be ashamed of putting into your body.
Sugar – Oh sugar how we love and hate you. You make our brains happy yet you make our guts sad. What is more addicting than sugar in our daily life, especially when it’s processed and has 0 nutritional value remaining. Most sugar in conventional chocolate is from GMO sugar beets. Better options for sugar are honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or dates.
Dyes – Dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnn, this one is a non-negotiable to healthy living. You must consider cutting these artificial dyes from your diet today. This is a call to action and one I feel strongly about. Besides the fact that they are completely synthetic and manmade, they are also endocrine disrupting and cause over-stimulation. Kids with or without ADHD show adverse reactions to these dyes (1). Do a test at home and remove them from your diet. You will love yourself for it.
Hydrogenated oils – This is a fancy way of saying “Hi, I’m a trans fat.. but I didn’t want you to know.”. These oxidized fats are free radical causing and are linked to a host of bodily discomforts. They are unstable and not fit for human consumption so, why are we eating them?
Let’s just not!
Challenge 2: Change it up. Please, don’t do this just because I do it or because that super cool blogger does it. Do it for you, your body and your family. Do it for yourself and do it for God! Choose a new chocolate that is supportive of your health and your community. Here are some of my loves:
Mudge Chocolates – You must try the cordials and the turmeric colored ones.. SO good (dairy-free, gluten-free, local & organic)
Eating Evolved – Their chocolates are sweetened with coconut palm sugar or none at all & they are freaking DELISH. My favorite is the banana cups..
Honey Mamas – They sweeten their chocolates with raw local honey which is good for more than just your taste buds! It’s good for prevention of allergies. Try the one with sprouted almonds and you will get on the roof top to sing.
Homemade – What a fun way to get the kids involved or to have a little YOU time. Here is a recipe for you that I got from my friend Aidee (@veganmetolife). It takes only 3 ingredients and you can make the chocolate anyway you like it!
Still love me?
Challenge 3: Give someone else the gift of health. This might seem a little harsh but I need you to think of it this way.. how much are you loving someone by giving them some cheaply made candy that is adding to their dis-ease in life? Give your kids, spouse, boss, girlfriends or someone else you love good chocolates this year. Can you be that ONE healthy step they take each day? Support them with love and health. It feels so dang good to do the right thing.
- don’t opt for the cheap candy
- avoid the top allergens
- stay away from the heart boxes, STEP AWAY
- toss out the Red#40
- choose fair trade
- select organic options
- make your own! (here is my bark recipe)
- find brands that use other sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and dates
- look for beautiful naturally colored chocolates
Chocolate doesn’t have to be the only gift you give for Valentine’s Day.
You can get a air purifying plant like Aloe, Spider plant or Rhapis.
Get some comfy organic cotton clothing for your babe – whoa, double win for you and the environment!
Make a yummy cocktail with my favorite beauty water (seriously, it’s pretty delicious & has a cute container)
How are you going to celebrate differently this Valentine’s Day? Comment below & share your secrets!