"As you attempt to make big differences
remember to appreciate the small differences."
— Win Borden
We're proud to feature "The Low Carb Good Life" by regular columnist Brenda Crump, who's also
one of our smart and resourceful moderators at Talking Low Carb (our Low Carb Luxury Discussion Forums.) Brenda has found the keys to making low carb a true lifestyle, with proper
nutrition at the heart of it all!
The subject of whether or not we should give out candy for Halloween is a
hotly debated topic among low carbers these days. I've seen some discussions
on the topic that grew surprisingly heated.
Since I began low carbing, coincidentally enough on Halloween Day 1999, my
main concern with the candy was how it would effect me. How would I stick
to my eating plan with the temptation of Reese's Cups or Butterfingers in
the house? My solution was to buy candy that I didn't particularly like,
such as bubble gum, lollipops or anything with the word "gummi" in front
I never really thought about whether or not it was all right to give someone
else's child sugar, in the form of Halloween candy. My assumption was that
if a parent didn't allow their child to have sugar, they wouldn't send them
out in a Yu-Gi-Oh! costume to ring my doorbell. If their parents think it's
okay for them to have candy, who am I to question? Here Spiderman, have a
box of Nerds.
But the discussions I've heard and read lately have made me aware of other
views on the subject.
For many, the idea of handing out sugary candy to children is one they are
passionately opposed to. If they don't allow their own children to have
candy because they believe that sugar is harmful and habit forming and causes
aggressive behavior, why would they give it to someone else's child? They feel
that it is a "personal mission" to educate others about the health problems
inherent in sugar consumption. Or at the very least they feel that they should
not contribute to the epidemic of obesity among children in this country by
giving them candy.
How will they handle the trick-or-treat crowd? By handing out nonfood items
such as small toys, stickers, pencils, erasers, etc. Or they may hand out
small bags filled with things like pumpkin seeds, popcorn, peanuts or apples.
Some will even be dispensing coins, rather than candy.
These options offer conscience-cleansing alternatives to sugary junk food and
chances are they are no more expensive than candy. Many children will actually
prefer getting a small toy to another fistful of Laffy Taffys.
The potential drawbacks of these options would be that older children will not
love you for giving them a plastic spider ring and a witch pencil. And some
children are violently allergic to nuts of any kind. More often than not,
anything that appears homemade or has the potential to be tampered with (such
as apples or bags of popcorn) will not be appreciated. You could assist parents
by labeling your treats with your name and address, although unless they know
you personally, they're probably still going to throw it out.
A compromise that may work is to offer a choice. Have a bowl of candy and a
bowl of nonfood or no sugar treats. Let the kids choose the one that they
As low carbers, we have access to sugar free chocolates and candies. Please
think twice before offering sugar free candy to children. We are all aware of
the laxative effect that sugar alcohols have on us and there is no reason to
think that a child wouldn't be similarly affected. I'm sure you'd hate to think
of little Billy from down the street remembering Halloween 2003 as "the one I
spent in the bathroom".
If the idea of handing out candy bothers your low carb conscience and none of
the alternatives seem appealing either, you can always opt to turn off your porch
light and avoid the issue entirely. Some kids may still ring your doorbell, but
you don't have to answer it. Better yet, you could go out for the evening, have
a nice low carb dinner and come home when the festivities are over.
The bottom line is that you don't have to hand out candy for Halloween if you
don't want to. There are alternatives.
Halloween raises another question for low carbers as well. Will you let your
children go trick-or-treating and if they do go, will they eat what they bring
Many parents will get around this issue by either having, or sending their
children to, a Halloween party. This way, treats are limited and the selection
is somewhat under the control of the parents. This is where the nonfood treats
and homemade items are really a big hit. The kids can have just as much fun in
this environment as they can going door-to-door and it is generally considered
Some parents choose to allow trick-or-treating but carefully limit the amount
of candy their kids can have over the next week or so. If your kids are anything
like mine this is easily done because they lose interest in the candy pretty
quickly when Halloween is over.
Other parents consider trick-or-treating and the resulting abundance of junk
food almost a rite of passage. They're perfectly fine with having a two or
three day sugar extravaganza and then going back to more healthy fare. The
feeling is that Halloween can't be singled out as a cause of obesity and if
their children do not have diabetes or weight problems, where is the harm?
Be mindful of how your views impact your children, however.
If you are of the "zero tolerance for sugar" school of thought, explain your
views to your child and then find a fun alternative to trick-or-treating, so
that they don't wind up feeling punished because of your dietary considerations.
Watch an age-appropriate scary movie together or read scary stories. Work on a
Halloween craft project together. Spend some time together in the kitchen,
creating nutritious treats with a Halloween theme.
Likewise, if you're planning to allow your kids to indulge, exercise some
parental control. Halloween won't be as enjoyable for you or for your children
if they become ill from ingesting far too much of their "loot". Try to put an
emphasis on other fun aspects of the holiday, so that it isn't just about
candy. They might enjoy making their own costume, or decorating the house or
yard. Kids also love making tapes of scary Halloween noises complete with
screams and cackles. They might even enjoy spending some time learning about
the origins of some Halloween traditions, such as the jack-o'-lantern and
bobbing for apples.
However you decide to handle the Halloween candy issue, keep in mind that
there is no moral question here. You are not a "bad" low carber if you
decide to offer candy. You are not a "fanatic" if you choose to hand out
pencils instead. With all the moral judgments made every day about
overweight people and what they do or do not eat, it seems very silly to
let one frivolous holiday divide the low carb community.
Copyright © October 2003 Brenda Crump and Low Carb Luxury
Mt. Olive Splenda-Sweetened Bread & Butter Pickles|
One of the things I've missed most since starting low carb has been a crisp
sweet Bread & Butter pickle. And being a girl who grew up in the South,
I always loved Mt. Olive brand pickles.
Well, I could hardly be more pleased to recommend the new Mt. Olive Splenda-sweetened
Bread & Butter pickles! We bought a single jar of their
regular (with sugar) Bread & Butter pickles to do a taste test since these seemed
so superior to me. Only two people out of twenty could tell the difference and
both of those two found the Splenda sweetened one better. If you love a good
sweet pickle, I think I can guarantee that you'll love these.
They come in two varieties at present, but we can expect more down the
road. For now, you can get classic Bread & Butter round slices (chips),
and the thin lengthwise slices, Sandwich Stuffers. At less than 1 carb per
serving, you can enjoy them as you like!"
If they're not available in your neck of the woods, they can be ordered
online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.