Defeating the Curse of Halloween Candy

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

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It’s almost here…the most frightening holiday for those of us whose children thrive on wholesome, organic, GMO-free, healthfully delicious food. My darling daughter Natalie turns 4 this month. Her idea of an amazing treat is fresh fruit with a small squirt of Ah!Laska Organic Chocolate Syrup. While this is the case, I am not going to deny her the trick-or-treating experience. She does love M&Ms after all. How do we manage the mountain of candy?

#1: We look at the ingredients and if they contain any of the following, we only keep 10 of them and she can only have one of them a day.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

High-Fructose Corn Syrup is so ubiquitous in candy because it is cheap. We know that too much sugar all together is a bad thing, but the reason why I am especially concerned with high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener is because in addition to a ridiculously high content of fructose, it also contains other chemical toxins. What we know, for example, is that chloralkali is used in making HFCS, and it contains mercury. While some may argue that it is a “trace” amount of mercury, I am going to do whatever I can to limit the amount of mercury entering my daughter’s bloodstream.

Partially-Hydrogenated Oils

Partially-hydrogenated oils are trans fats and trans fats contribute to high cholesterol, obesity, and subsequently heart disease. It is also important for children to avoid trans fats because they block the utilization of healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids that children need for optimal brain development.

Artificial Dyes

Commonly-used food dyes like Yellow #5, Yellow #6, and Red #40 are made from petroleum and have been shown to be carcinogenic in various research studies. Additionally, studies have shown that consumption of artificial dyes contribute to hyperactivity and behavioral problems and should especially be avoided by children on the autism spectrum or those who have ADHD. Note that “caramel color” is also an artificial dye.

#2: The Candy Fairy Visits

Natalie and I put the not-so-offensive candies back in the bag along with her 10 chemically-laden food picks. We take all the remaining chemically-laden food (there is a lot) and then lay them out for the candy fairy. She replaces them with stickers, temporary tattoos, and healthy dark chocolate (such as the Endangered Species brand we carry here at Natur-Tyme).

What Else you Can Do?

Check out halloweenbuyback.com. It is a national organization whereby participating dentists will pay your child $1 for every pound of candy they bring in. They then send the candy to the U.S. Military. Unfortunately, the closest participating dentist in this organization is in Binghamton. Talk to your dentist and encourage him or her to participate!

Give Away Non-Candy Options and Talk to Your Neighbors about Doing the Same

Here are some great non-candy options (mix and match to appeal to kids of all ages):

• Stickers

• Temporary Tattoos

• Bouncy Balls

• Halloween-themed Pencils

• Halloween-themed Erasers

• Halloween-themed rings (spiders—eek!)

• Bottled Water

• Swirly Straws

• Bubbles

• Glow sticks

• Whistles

• Crayons

Brain Function Informed Mental Healthcare Available in Syracuse

Submitted by Syracuse Neurofeedback

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“Brain dysfunction is the number-one reason people fail at school, at work, and in relationships,” states bestselling author Dr Daniel Amen. “When the brain is ineffective, so are we.”  The brain, he points out, “is the super computer that runs your life.” A highly organized spider web of pulsating activity with a consistency like Jell-O, the brain is easily injured by a bump to the head, toxins in our environment, and stress in our lives. You may have never thought of it this way, but anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia, and ADD/ADHD are clear signs of brain dysfunction.  Medications are designed to reduce symptoms, but do not resolve the underlying cause of these life-altering conditions.

Syracuse Neurofeedback and psychiatric nurse practitioner, Alex Eller, are teaming up to bring cutting-edge, brain function-informed mental healthcare to Central New York. By bringing together Syracuse Neurofeedback’s 14 years of experience optimizing brain function through neurofeedback training and Alex Eller’s expertise in diagnosis and medication management, we aim to offer the highest quality mental healthcare. Psychiatric medications have unpleasant side effects and many studies show that they are often no more effective than placebo. Alex Eller plans to help his patients avoid, reduce, and eliminate psychiatric medications. He will also be offering a new approach to diagnosing ADHD which utilizes a new FDA-approved test, NEBA, which analyzes brainwave patterns to help clinicians determine if symptoms are due to ADHD or another condition.

Neurofeedback, which was originally developed by NASA, is a relaxing game-based learning process that enhances the function of the Central Nervous System by training the brain to self-regulate. New discoveries in the field of neuroscience have revolutionized our understanding of brain development. We now recognize that the brain is able to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life; this is called neuroplasticity. Neurofeedback is an exercise for the brain that harnesses that potential. Impact the function of the brain and you can impact everything from sensory processing to behavioral and emotional control, sleep, movement, pain perception, and learning. The response to this training is often quick and profound. With adequate reinforcement, the effect can last a lifetime. For more information, go to Syracuseneurofeedback.com or call 315-492-3789 to schedule your free consultation.

Treating Lice Naturally

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHCo-KIDS-SCRATCHING-HEAD-facebook

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 12 million children between the ages of 3 and 11 are inflicted with lice everysingle year. Lice are tiny little bugs that take up residence in hair,embedding their eggs into scalps, causing extreme itchiness. And recent research has revealed that many lice are now resistant to the medical shampoos that “kill” them. What is one to do? First of all, I would never recommend using traditional lice shampoo. Here are the two most common toxins you will find in traditional lice treatment shampoos:

  • Pyretoids are the type of synthetic pesticides that the lice are becoming resistant to; these toxins can cause pneumonia and muscle paralysis and can also harm the thyroid and immune system.
  • Lindane is one of the most common ingredients; it is a pesticide known to cause cancer and harm the nervous, reproductive, and hormonal systems.

Choose natural instead; why expose your children to harmful toxins, especially when they could likely be ineffective in ridding the lice and lice eggs? Neem is an amazing alternative. We carry Organix South’s Kid’s TheraNeem shampoo and conditioner. I recommend that you wash the hair vigorously for a few minutes, rinse, and then apply the conditioner and leave it on for 10 minutes. With the conditioner still applied, comb through the hair with a lice comb (we carry them here) discarding any lice and lice eggs you find and then finally, rinse the hair. Hopefully, the lice will be gone for good.

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