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The Holiday Season is upon us and the gears of the machines of commerce are swinging up to full throttle. It is typically a time when people become preoccupied with planning, decorating, spending, traveling, holiday parties and family gatherings. Too often, joy can become lost behind frayed nerves and inflated expectations. Regardless of personal belief, religious or secular tradition, there are basic and effective ways to short-circuit these stresses and enrich our experiences during this unique Season. Cultivating a conscious return to simplicity and an intentional nourishing of the senses can be one way of achieving this. We need not be limited within our traditions. Perhaps we can expand our experiences and make this Season a time of personal inner exploration, cultural education and soul-searching. Taking stock of our personal beliefs and faith by taking time to reflect and meditate upon such matters can provide an impetus to ward off a jaded spirit and infuse new soul into the core of our beliefs and perspectives.

‘Tis the Season to Nurture our Senses

By Nicole Maendel

Sounds of the Season

The Holiday Season never fails to offer up an array of musical presentations and beautiful pieces of music. One need not be a certain faith to attend or enjoy Handel’s Messiah. Timeless and traditional holiday songs can be found in different dialects representing cultural influences from around the world. Relaxing and enjoying “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a tantalizing auditory journey when sung by Loreena McKennit. Ms. McKennit’s album, ‘A Winter Garden,’ is highly recommended for an enchanting winter evening by the fire. Sophie B. Hawkins sings a most beautiful rendition of Silent Night.

Smells of the Season

There is something about the months of October, November and December that inspire us to reach for our herbs and spices. The smell of cookies baking in the oven can be enough to bring a feeling of comfort and warmth to a home. Hanging a bough or garland of fresh evergreen invites nature into our home and will refresh our surroundings. A healthy does of stress-busting holiday aromatherapy need not be any more complex than simmering a simple concoction of cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, and orange or apple peels throughout the day. Lighting a few pine-scented soy candles can be another way to impart some of the treasured uplifting smells of the season.

Tastes of the Season

Dietary angst is common around the holidays. Guaranteed to follow December is January’s all too predictable weight loss plan du jour. The holidays can be stressful enough without having to worry about our food intake or, worse yet, bearing a guilt-complex over the rapturous consumption of a pound of peppermint bark. In fact, dark chocolate peppermint bark complete with walnuts and cranberries eaten in moderation is packed with nutrients. Balance, as with all things in life, is key. A holiday gathering need not be a cooking marathon and it need not be a ten-course meal. The holidays can be a wonderful time to break away from the stodgier traditional and less healthy dishes and find a way to have fun revamping them into nutrition packed culinary delights. The pumpkin, the pomegranate, the clementine, the cranberry and the apple by themselves are all prime examples of seasonally available guilt-free raw materials for countless variations of healthy dishes. Brown rice can be a healthful substitute for a stuffing base as opposed to white bread. Seeking flour-less alternatives, cutting sugar consumption, avoiding packaged and canned products, and keeping foods as close to their natural states as possible will keep us on the path to a nutritionally sound holiday season.

The Feel of the Season

There are simple tactile joys that can transport us right back to childhood. Running our hands along the crunchy leaves of a cornstalk or the smooth skin of a pumpkin seems simple enough, but taking a moment to focus on what we’re feeling can provide our minds and bodies with some vital relaxation. This will allow us to breathe and be fully present in that moment. Grabbing an icicle off of the side of the house and packing the base for a snowman should never be done without pulling off a glove and feeling the ice and the snow with our bare hands. Kneading cookie dough or dipping our finger in the melting chocolate to taste test are all ordinary actions that, when contemplated and savored, become tranquilizing. The feel of a warm woolen throw, or the feel of the blue and silver velvet of a Hanukkah banner, or the velvety feel of a bright red Christmas bow and the furry rim of a stocking are all tangibles that signify this special time of year.

Sights of the Season

There is no greater testament to the power of the sights of the Season than the look of glee upon a child’s face at the sign of the first snowfall. They are oftentimes ecstatic at the lighting of the Christmas tree, the lighting of the Menorah, and the sight of Santa Claus. Each celebration involves some sort of light display be it a Candelabra or a Christmas tree or a Kinara. Regardless of a family’s tradition, the Holiday Season offers up a feast for everyone’s eyes. Whether visiting a reindeer farm, going for a sleigh ride, hiking a snowy forest, or spending time in the tropics on vacation, one will inevitably be able to experience the spirit of the Season as celebration carries on in some form from one end of the earth to the other.

The Spirit of the Season

There is another sense, a sort of sixth sense, that could describe the added dimension to the Holiday Season and that is one of Spirit. There is undoubtedly a heightened practice of spirituality, worship, and praise that defines this time. The factor of spirituality appears to transcend belief, faith, philosophy, practice and denomination. In many ways it can unify humanity, but only if love for our fellow humans, tolerance and respect for differences can be shown as opposed to the unfortunate presence of bigotry, condemnation, hatred and intolerance. One person may become spiritually connected while singing in a church choir while another will find their sacred experience in a pair of blue jeans serving soup to the homeless. Taking time to cultivate this sense can turn our holiday season from one of monotony to one of wonder and personal growth. When we nurture ourselves, we can then offer up the best of who we are to others. Reaching this place of spiritual cultivation ultimately requires a nurturing of the senses. Intentionally practicing this awareness in our daily activities will brighten our days, relieve our stresses, and center us so that we can truly enjoy all of the diversity and beauty that the Holiday Season has to offer.

*This article was written by Nicole Maendel. Photographer: Michelle Meiklejohn.*

November 2010

Mom” at Tiny Green Mom is loving these link picks!

Organic Holiday Style on HGTV.com.

Number Dishes and Glassware on Small By Nature. Perfect for entertaining this season!

How To Greenify Your Home for the Holidays on Our Everyday Earth.

*Image courtesy of Small By Nature.*

Do you know where your food comes from? Have you considered the care that goes into your Thanksgiving plate? Not by the hands that cooked it, but the farmers growing your food.

One of the nation’s leading food and farm advocates, Michele Payn-Knoper, says that farmers in America today are actually a minority group that represents about 1.5% of the U.S. population. The majority of Americans haven’t been on a farm in more than five years and most people are living and eating each and every day without knowing where their food really comes from.

“Get to know a farmer,” she says. “You’ll be amazed and gratified to know the real people who are at the very source of the food we all eat.”

Michele offers a look at where some of the favorite items on the menus for the upcoming holiday meals actually come from.

The Best Food in America Comes from Good People

By Michele Payn-Knoper

Turkeys – Grand Rapids, Michigan

A plump, juicy turkey is the traditional centerpiece of most tables. Harley Sietsema is a family farmer in Michigan who wants to be sure that turkey is safe, delicious and affordable. In the course of farming for more than five decades, he has seen practices evolve to keep turkeys more comfortable and healthier.

Sietsema built a business that is self-sustaining and local. Sietsema Farms grow the majority of grains his turkeys need to be healthy, added an elevator to process the grain into feed, helped start a co-op with other farmers to process the meat humanely and most recently built a biomass system that converts turkey litter into to energy that powers the grain elevator.

Harley’s two sons, daughter and grandchildren all farm with him in the family business.

Dairy – Fresno, California

Love the richness that milk adds your mashed potatoes, real butter on your dinner roll or whipped cream on your pie? These tasty dairy products come from milk, produced on dairy farms across the U.S. under tight regulations. For example, all Grade A milk is tested to be antibiotic free multiple times before it ever hits the dairy case. Californian Barbara Martin is one of the dairy farmers caring for cows 365 days per year.

Martin farms with her husband of 26 years in the San Joaquin Valley. She is a mom that that cares deeply about her family, their farm, their dairy cattle and helping feed people. Due to the historically low milk prices of the last two years and a desire to connect with customers, Martin recently began making cheese under the “Dairy Goddess Cheese” label.

One of the most common questions is about how the cows are treated. Consider this; dairy farmers work with their animals every day – you can’t do that unless you have deep appreciation for cows. And, as far as mistreatment, it’s logical that cows have to be content or they don’t give milk. Any mother who has breast fed can attest to that – milk doesn’t come out if stress is involved. The same is true with cows.

Potatoes – Fargo, North Dakota

Mashed potatoes are a favorite of young and old.

Black Gold farms is a family-owned and operated business that took started on a ten acre plot of land by the Halverson family in the Red River Valley more than 80 years ago.

Eric Halverson says that technology has had a major influence on the farm potato operations and is now utilized in everything from optical sorting machines, to tractors that steer by GPS, to the facilities that potatoes are stored in.

Potatoes have the best nutritional value for the dollar compared to any other food. Black Gold today is a is global food production company that farms in eleven states and is the largest supplier of potatoes to the largest potato chip company in the United States. If you love Frito’s then you love Black Gold potatoes.

Black Gold ships more than 500 billion pounds of potatoes each year.

Wheat – Bread – Kansas City, Kansas

Homemade dinner rolls or a fresh loaf of bread are popular items on our table. Flour made from wheat is the staple ingredient in breads and is mostly raised in the plains states.

Darin Grimm is one of the modern day family farmers who grows wheat in Kansas, along with sunflowers, corn, soybeans and beef cattle.

Grimm farms with his father, serves on his childrens’ school board and is active in a variety of national organizations that help farmers, such as the AgChat Foundation.

Pumpkin – Chicago, Illinois

Pumpkin pie is the crowning glory or most Thanksgiving meals.

Those pumpkins don’t just appear magically in a can; they are grown by farmers like Rick Vance in Illinois, which is the top pumpkin producing state in the US and that provides 90-95% of the nation’s processed pumpkins.

Vance 3,500 acre family farm also grows green beans, sweet corn, soybeans, poplcorn, peas, field corn and seed corn.

Cranberries – Freehold, Massachusetts (south of Boston)

Cranberries offer a tangy burst of color on your Thanksgiving plate, not to mention the health benefits. This fruit dates back to use by Native Americans, who used cranberries for medicine and preserving meats.

The Freetown Farm LLC Cranberry Farm during the fall harvest, in southeastern Massachusetts. The fall harvest season coincides with the peak of the trees changing color and beautiful foliage.

Dawn Gates-Allen is the mother in charge on the multi-generational 90 acre farm with 27 acres of cranberry bogs.

Her twin teenage daughters are shown here with two friends in one of the cranberry bogs are the fifth generation to be involved in the family farm.

Their farm now makes significant utilization of technology. The cranberry bogs are so isolated that they don’t have electricity. So they now use solar power to keep batteries charged so they can monitor the bogs, soil moisture and temperature remotely and irrigate automatically to correctly supplement what nature brings in just the correct manner.

Learn where your food comes from!

One of the best ways to understand food production – and the challenges – is to know the people behind your food plate. Talk to the people working the land and taking care of animals. Farmers care deeply – and they feed their families the same food you eat.

Get to know a farmer. Learn more at http://causematters.com.

Michele Payn-Knoper grew up on a farm in Michigan and has become one of the nation’s leading farm and food advocates. She is on a personal mission to help people understand the connection between the farmers who grow food and the people who enjoy it.

She has created the Gate to Plate program to help connect those two groups and teach them more about how food is created and delivered to Americans.

The holidays are an especially difficult time to avoid carbohydrate calories and weight gain. Lots of the people we work with are great cooks and they have delicious recipes for holiday treats . We find the office full of delicious offerings on decorative holiday plates at every corner. And who can resist? Very few of us can! That’s why many of us gain several pounds during this time of year. Family functions, visiting relatives and holiday parties seem to take us away from exercise and conscientious food choices, and focus our attention on enjoying life, eating, drinking and good company. Not all bad certainly, but not all good either if all that enjoyment comes at the price of extra pounds and enlarging waistline. So what can you do to prevent the holiday bulge? Here are a few tips compiled to help you avoid overindulging.

Maintain, Don’t Gain, Through the Holidays

Never Arrive Hungry

Have a nutritious snack beforehand. If you do arrive hungry, drink some water to fill up before filling your plate.

Divert Your Attention

Don’t forget that there’s more to a holiday party than food. There is friends’ company or dancing.

Pace Yourself

Chewing more slowly will fill you up with less food.

Be Careful of Buffet-Style Food Situations

Use the smallest plate and limit your helpings to a single story, and choose more protein and vegetables. This will be much more satisfying.

Limit Alcohol

Don’t drink too much to where you lose self-control and wind up eating extra calories, in addition to the empty calories from the alcohol.

Be Choosy About Sweets

When it comes to dessert, be very selective and limit to small portions.

Bring Your Own Treats

Consider bringing a low-calorie treat that you’ll enjoy and it’ll make the fattening alternatives less tempting.

Limit ‘Tastes’ While Cooking

If you do a lot of cooking during the holidays, crack down on all those “tastes.” Instead of tasting mindlessly every few minutes, limit yourself to two small bites of each item pre- and post-seasoning.

Walk It Off

Take a few minutes to get off the couch and walk around the block. Find opportunities to park further, use the stairs, etc.

*This article was written by Dr. Sasse, the author of 101 Medically Proven Weight Loss Tips. You can visit his website at www.sasseguide.com.*

*Image found on Burlington Walks.*

Ready cash is getting harder and harder to come by. You may be wondering how you’re going to pay your bills, and having the holidays to budget in as well can seem overwhelming. Don’t lose hope – it can be done! If I say the word ‘crafts’ your first reaction might be “I’m not crafty.” Not to worry – there are so many helps to making virtually anything these days that even those of us who are all thumbs can find something we can make that will make not just a passable, but a truly cherished gift for our friends and loved ones. You can access a tutorial for nearly any project online these days. Try blogs or YouTube and be inspired by the ideas someone will patiently teach to you. If you need material to supplement these how-to videos, try your public library; you may be surprised at the assortment of crafts you can learn from a book.

Personal, Frugal and Perfect: Homemade Christmas Gifts

So many items can be made up or made over to become the perfect gift. Use Mod Podge to create breakfast trays, vases, decorative plates , lamps or a hundred other projects. Take a quick look around at your scrap drawer, your kid’s creativity corner or even the garage. Rocks, paint, dried or silk flowers, canvas, burlap, embroidery floss, tin, mirrors, cardboard and baskets are just the start of an extensive list of craft supplies. Crafting is a world where anything goes. You are only limited by your creativity (or by the number of great tutorials you have time to watch and duplicate.) Here is one timely idea: Gather some glue, assorted pine cones, small Styrofoam balls, scraps of felt and those wiggly eyes and assemble a group of carolers. Use a pine cone as the body, the Styrofoam for the head and give each one various personal touches with the felt or fabric scraps you have on hand. These cute pinecone people can make a clever addition to a Christmas village – and they are bound to be one of a kind. If you like to affix a small gift to the top of the gift as part of the presentation of the package, but simply don’t have the cash this season, attach a pine cone person modeled to resemble some talent or interest of the person receiving the gift.

Crafts can truly be assembled from anything. There are books and websites galore that teach you how to make cute stuff from things as simple as cardboard tubing, Spanish moss, string, construction paper, soap dispensers and so forth. Perhaps you have crafty or culinary geniuses in your family. They might like to make their own projects, and would welcome a gift of pre-assembled kit (collected and labeled by you to save expenses). It could include directions and a depiction of the craft or food item in its finished state. For an extra special gift, make a kit for yourself and get together to make your distinctive creation as a team. You’ll both cherish the memories of these gifts and the fun you had making them.

If you knit or crochet, or want to learn, yarn can be found for about as cheap or expensive as you desire. Everyone has room for another blanket, scarf, hat or sweater, don’t they? Use those aforementioned library books or step by step visual online tutorials to teach yourself this skill and see just how much you can make when you can knit and crochet. Presenting a dear friend or loved one with a gift you made just for them creates a special bond. Keep in mind, especially if you are learning a new craft, you don’t want to go overboard buying supplies and equipment. You certainly don’t want to spend all that money you are trying to save by making gifts. Start with the bare essentials – in the case of crochet just a hook or two in average sizes and inexpensive yarn. Don’t spend a lot on books or costly yarn or having every size of crochet hook available. See if you like the craft first. If you love it and will go on to learn to make doilies, bookmarks, ornaments and other gifts, this may be the time to make more of an investment.

A big plus of crafting individual gifts for everyone on your list is that you can customize the present to truly fit the person. Let’s say you want to dress up some picture frames. (No one can ever have too many of these.) For the flower lover on your list, make them pretty with silk flowers or flowers you craft yourself from clay or bread dough. For the golf enthusiast, spell out his or her name in golf tees on the frame. A child friendly frame can be made with bright colors and any object the child finds interesting, and by using a bit of plastic rather than glass to cover the picture. Include a carefully chosen picture of the person or family you are giving this too and the personalization will be complete. This is bound to become a treasure to the receiver of this gift.

In closing, find items to use or repurpose from thrift stores, dollar stores, clearance sections and bargain basements and you will save yourself money if you are careful. If your real object is to save money, start with any materials you have on hand, don’t go out and purchase a fancy tool or craft supplies where the price tag will really add up and destroy your goal to be personal but thrifty in your seasonal gift giving. Learn from all the vast media at your fingertips and make a gift for each person that will be prized long after it has been unwrapped.

About the Author

Margo Smith is a graduate of BYU. She dotes on writing about a vast selection of subjects from etymology to pell grants for college to masonry. She draws from her own education, her years in college and an author’s perspective on life when writing articles.

*Image provided by Clementine Art.*

5 Apps That Will Make Your Life Easier This Holiday

· CheckPoints – a shopping app that rewards you for checking-in to stores while you do your holiday shopping and scanning barcodes. Accumulate points and earn real world rewards like airline miles, gift cards, and gadgets. The app that gives back!

· Epi – This app by Conde Nast provides you with thousands of recipes, helps you make shopping lists, and gives you user reviews to help all your holiday cooking go off without a hitch. Perfect for dinner parties this holiday!

· Pandora – Put it on a Christmas carol channel, and voila – you can keep you and your friends singing all the way to grandmother’s house. Don’t forget to “like” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” – a modern classic.

· Pageonce Personal Finance – Stave off the influx of bills during the holidays with this app that consolidates all of your accounts and helps you keep them under control.

· Kyte – This app allows you share photos the instant you take them, so you can share your holiday memories with friends and family who aren’t celebrating with you. Or, instantly upload embarrassing pictures of your coworkers at your office holiday party.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, you may be thinking about how to decorate your house, or when to purchase your Christmas tree. Instead of spending money on decorations that aren’t biodegradable, or gifts that are harmful to the environment, consider letting your Christmas be greener. Let nature decorate your home this year in attempts to help save our planet and make a cheerful holiday season.

Eco-Friendly Christmas Crafts

Many Christmas decorations can be made from organic, recycled materials. Making decorations for the tree, or for your staircase can be a great craft for friends and family. Consider making organic popcorn, or using seasonal berries, and pinecones to liven up your household and Christmas tree. Ivy and evergreen branches could be used around the house, or be turned into a wreath. These items can be easily stored for next year and can be a great activity for the family. Collecting these items from the yard, or store can be just as fun as placing them around the house. Consider using apples, or oranges in a garland, or wreath made from branches from your garden. Most fruit will last 2-3 weeks and can be used for cooking, or juicing after that. Chances are your garden will need tending anyways. Instead of throwing away leaves, or branches, use these to create beautiful arrangements for the home.

This year, you might want to try purchasing a real Christmas tree that can be replanted after the holiday season is over. You can purchase a small sustainable grower that will help your tree stay alive and healthy. Wrap the potted roots with hessian and decorate your tree using home-made ornaments, recycled items like cans, or CD’s, or even fruit and popcorn. Dipping pinecones in wax, or painting eggshells can be a fun way to enhance your tree and is a great craft for a cold winter day indoors. Beads and buttons could be placed on string and hung on your tree branches, creating a unique look.

Turning old tennis balls into ornaments is an enjoyable craft for all ages. Try wrapping the ball with colorful twine, and add ivy, or holly for an extra touch. Tie a piece of cord through the top of the ball and make a loop. This creates a beautiful hanging bauble that will look wonderful on your tree. This same approach can be applied to foam balls, or any circular objects you may have around the house.

Another fun craft would be making bows out of old material, clothes, or scraps. This is a great way of reusing fabric that would otherwise be thrown away. The bows will make your tree unique and can be used year after year. Keep a box where you can store bows year round. As you collect pretty ribbons, place them in this box so that when the holidays roll around, you will have a wonderful assortment of bows to pick from. Don’t limit yourself to just your tree. Decorate your stair rails, the backs of chairs, and the fireplace.

These ribbons can also be used to decorate stockings. Patchwork stockings can be made from scraps of materials. Any material like velvet or wool would look lovely stitched onto a stocking. Even plain white socks could be enhanced with a simple decoration, or stitch work.

This year, consider your effect on the environment and try your best to have a green Christmas. Be aware of the amount of waste produced on this holiday every year, from food to packaging to paper. Make it a family goal this year to reduce your carbon footprint by participating in these fun eco-friendly Christmas crafts.

Sarah Harris is the marketing manager for Adiamor Diamond Engagement Rings where you can find a wide assortment of settings, loose diamonds, and other fine diamond jewelry at affordable prices.

*Image provided by Artterro.*

Mom” at Tiny Green Mom is loving these link picks!

I’ll Be Happy When….” on Conscious Transitions. Definitely a great reminder on living in the moment!

Tasty treat-sized Lemur Peanut Choco Drizzle Crispy Rice Bars from Natures Path – a healthier option to hand out on Halloween!

Healthy Halloween Foods on About.com. Spaghetti and Red Sauce poses as blood and guts – who knew?!

A Safe and Spooktacular Halloween on Kidshealth.org.

*Image courtesy of Nature’s Path.*

Don’t you just love pinching the chubby cheeks of cute little babies? These chubby cheeks and big tummies are only cute when they are young as this is often normal because of the so-called “baby fat”. But when babies grow into toddlers and pre-schoolers, the baby fat should start to subside as they are more active during these stages. If that’s not the case with your child, better have it checked by a pediatrician as he/she may be a candidate for childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity has affected a large percentage of young kids and teens all over the world. This health condition is caused by frequent dining in fast food restaurants, excess consumption of junk foods, bigger food servings, playing videogames, watching TV instead of playing outside with friends, and shortening of physical education classes in school to give way to academic subjects. It is your responsibility as parents to help you children lose weight and this is what we are going to discuss in this article.

How to Help Your Children Lose Weight Naturally

Tip #1 Communication is the Key

Some things may seem uncontrollable because kids are getting more manipulative each day. But as parents, we need to be firm in implementing rules and promoting healthy living. To effectively do this, we must open the line of communication with our kids. Explain why they need to manage their weight, explain the risks and benefits involved, ask them how they want to do it, tell them how you want to do it, and meet half way. By doing so, the success rate will be high because kids will be more participative since they are involved with the planning.

Tip #2 Allocate Time for Family Day

An average adult works around 8 hours a day and 5 days a week; why not give at least one of the weekends to your child? Organize bonding activities on weekends where you get to have fun with your kids while burning some calories.

Children loves water, bring them to a nearby beach; swimming is a good calorie burner because it requires both the upper and lower body to work. Other great activities include, camping, hiking, mountain biking, jogging, or simply playing in the park.

Tip #3 Find Smart Alternative Snacks

Is your two year old toddler’s pet name “Pacman” because she eats almost anything in her way? It may seem funny, but this may be of concern because this may result in obesity if you don’t act soon.

Consult your pediatrician, and serve snacks that only you want your toddler to eat. Makes sense, right? Replace cookies with fresh grapes and berries in the cookie jar, serve whole grain bread and cereals instead of white bread, and make an effort to prepare fresh fruit shakes to substitute soda and other sweetened drinks. It does take extra work, but it’s all worth it.

Tip #4 Make Eating Healthy Foods Fun and Interactive

Kids love to play, even when eating. Take this fact to your advantage by preparing fun and interactive meals. For example, make a happy face or write his/her name using sliced fruits and vegetables. Another good idea is by allowing them to take part in food preparation like washing the greens, putting it on the pot, and stirring the mixture. Giving them the adult feel allows you to talk to them about eating “adult food”; you need to eat fruits and vegetable as well to show them that this is what “adult food” is.

These are just some of the thousands of things you can do as parents to prevent your kids from growing as obese adults. Each kid has individualized approach, what works for my kid may or may not work for your kid. With imagination, patience, and creativity, you can devise the most effective way on how to keep your kids active and healthy.

Chris is a mother and a healthy weight loss blogger. In her blog you can learn how to lose weight the natural and green way. She also writes frequently on subjects related to childhood obesity and raising ‘green’ kids.

Kids love candy and Halloween is a great time to celebrate that love. However, what is a parent to do if they are worried about tooth decay from all this candy consumption? Candy usually contains sugar, which the bacteria that cause tooth decay dine on. So eating a food loaded with carbohydrate or sugar feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Consequently, to avoid negative impacts from candy, two things need to be done: 1) Avoid excessive consumption of these sugary treats and 2) Lessen the amount of time the sugar is present in the mouth. As the owner of Mitchell Dental Spa, a dental spa facility in Chicago’s Water Tower Place, Dr. Margaret Mitchell offers the following tips for protecting your kids’ teeth at Halloween.

Tips on Halloween Candy and Avoiding Tooth Decay

By Dr. Margaret Mitchell

Examine your child’s candy to see if it meets your approval.

It is okay for your child to eat any candy that you approve of, but to help lessen the chance for tooth decay, have them brush as soon as possible (after eating the candy). If a child or adult brushes right after consumption, the impact of the candy on the teeth is minimal.

Avoid sticky candy such as taffy, gummy bears, caramel, etc. Sticky candy adheres to teeth and causes decay.

Kids can eat candy ANYTIME, there is not a good time of day/night to eat candy.

Prior to Halloween, visit your dentist to have sealants put into the child’s teeth grooves.

If brushing soon after eating is not possible, then try the following:

Consume the candy with a meal. The increased saliva production while eating will help wash the sweet off the teeth.

Rinse the mouth with water.

Chew a sugarless gum (especially those containing xylitol) after snacking on candy. The increased saliva from chewing will help wash the sugar off the teeth and xylitol gums help control the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Eat the candy quickly in one sitting to decrease the amount of time it is contact with the teeth. Avoid eating any candy slowly over an extended time or over multiple sittings. Recent studies have shown that length of time eating a sweet can be more harmful than the amount of sweet consumed. This means hard candies, breath mints, etc. (long residence time in the mouth) can actually be worse for your teeth than a chocolate candy bar (shorter residence time in the mouth).

Avoid sugary sodas. They are: 1) Loaded with sugar (often over 10 teaspoons per 12 ounce serving), 2) Are acidic enough to dissolve away tooth enamel, and 3) Are often sipped for long periods of time, resulting in teeth that are being bathed with sugar and acid almost continuously throughout the day.

*Image provided by Radius Source.*