Be Afraid: A Halloween Candy Guide

The title of this post is dramatic because all of the information I am going to tell you is scary. You SHOULD be afraid! Very afraid! 

In all seriousness, it’s that time of the year where candy is rampant due to Americanized holidays and the memory of filling your plastic pumpkin with candy from neighboring houses brings you delight. As it should! It’s a special time. It’s getting chilly in the air, family and friends gather to walk around a community that so often feels like it’s just out to get one another with divisiveness and shame. It’s a time of warming foods like chili and soups and costumes and presents and remembering and gathering. It’s just a beautiful time where the bad things in life just don’t seem too bad anymore…and we could all use a little relief. So what’s the harm with serving some candy to those who knock on your door or throwing them in stockings on Christmas morning? Well, honestly, theres a lot of harm. But beyond why, which I’ll get to in a minute, I want to say that we cannot control every bad thing in our life or world. We cannot live in a bubble of protection (other than what Jesus provides). We are all citizens of this world until the Lord calls us home and that means we will be exposed to toxins, pesticides, pollutants, etc. So don’t take this blog post as a fear-mongering saga to get you to NEVER participate or gather or accept or LIVE. I’ll give you some tips at the end but right now I want to share a few statistics…

    I got off on a little rabbit trail but I want to talk to you today about candy. How do we handle the candy that our kids (or even us) are exposed to this time of year. Should you be that mom that let’s their kids go trick-or-treating and then throws their hard earned candy down the trash?  Should you be the mom that just turns the lights off and pretends your not home and buys your kids a toy instead of costumes and candy that night? There are many options and I am not going to tell you what to do. You have to lead with your own personal conviction but one of my favorite Bible verses says that HIS people perish for a lack of knowledge. When we KNOW better, we do better and I just want to fill you in on some truth bombs today that may help you make a wise decision.

Chocolate, which you probably know, comes from the cacao bean. Most of the cacao farms are over in Western Africa, Asia and Latin America. Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestle are some of the worlds largest cacao (also known as cocoa) purchasers from these countries, mostly in Western Africa. The chocolate industry, especially this time of year, has a high demand on CHEAP chocolate and in massive quantities.  On average, cacao farmers earn way below the poverty line of $2 a day. And if that wasn’t bad enough, because they need cheap cacao and they need it quickly in such large quantities, they have resorted to using child labor. Often times these children are sold to these large farms by their family members, with a promise of high pay and good living conditions.  Little do they know that they are working for basically pennies, eating things like corn paste and rarely any water, and may never see their families again. But other times these children are literally abducted from their villages without parental consent, often times seeing their families only years later and again, sometimes never. I don’t know about you, but any time I hear stories of children like this, I just place by sweet 6 and 9 year old boys in their places and I get all sorts of rage and sadness. These children use heavy machinery like chainsaws to help cut down trees; I picture my 6 year old trying to use these dangerous tools and tremble with FEAR.  The kid trips going up a 1 foot stair and can barely use his toothbrush, can you even IMAGINE him trying to use a CHAINSAW!??  They are beaten and abused and work such long hours it would make your 80 hour work week look weak. The horrendous torture and unfair conditions these children have to endure isn’t right. Another issue with this is that the children are exposed to HIGH levels of pesticides and toxins. And WE have an opportunity to use our money to help these kids. Not by giving them money but by NOT BUYING chocolate form the three companies listed above. YOU have a choice. Every single day with your dollar, you are choosing life or death for these kids. I can’t and won’t buy these products. To quote one of my favorite joyful mamas, “I ain’t doing it.” To read more about this subject, this is a great resource here.

    1. Another serious issue is that processed sugar used in most candy these days is from GMO crops.  If you don’t know what GMO’s are, it stands for genetically modified organism.  This means that a crop has been genetically altered on a cellular level using genetic engineering techniques. Basically, it’s a fancy way of saying that MAN thinks they know better than God. AMIRIGHT!? Beyond the GMO factor, which by the way when we consume a GMO food, our body literally doesn’t know how to process and digest it because our bodies were created to consume food in it’s natural, God created form. Beyond the GMO issue, we have the fact that sugar beet crops are dried out for quick production, because again, the demand for sugar FAST and CHEAP and in MASSIVE quantities is so high that the sugar beet crop industry can’t keep up. The farmer can turn over more sugar faster by using glyphosate (also known as Roundup) to dry out the crop and plant more crops. All in the name of money. When you consume cheap chocolate and cheap candy, unless it is certified organic, you are literally ingesting a ton of Roundup. I mean, save yourself some money and go ahead and lick your lawn. Same thing. But really, we are allowing our kids to eat pounds and pounds of processed GMO sugar doused in glyphosate each and every year. What I also find pretty coincidental is that the majority of times that kids are sick and when FLU season hits is during the the time from Halloween to Valentines Day…coincident or not?! I don’t think so….

So what is one to do? Again, you need to pray about it and let the Holy Spirit guide you.

But here is what I do, as a naturopathic consultant:

1. Don’t buy chocolate from the no no list (I am going to list it below) or candy that isn’t made from organic sugar. Sure, you are going to spend a little bit more money but isn’t spending a little more not to poison your children or the children that come to your door worth it? Isn’t it worth it not to empower the child slavery that is happening on the cacao farms worth it? I think yes to both accounts, it is worth it to spend $10 more a holiday season to get the good stuff. Buy organic candy and chocolate to hand out to the kiddos who knock on your door this holiday season or choose non food items like glow sticks or stickers.

2. We let our kids trick-or-treat and then we bring home the plastic pumpkin and let them pick 5 pieces of junk candy. We throw the rest away, I have alternate candy and treats on hand and I trade in the throw away candy for a $10 toy off of Amazon. What kid doesn’t love new toys?! They still get to eat some junk stuff, they get healthy treats and organic candy AND a toy. TOTAL WIN! You could also do things like turn in the junk candy for a night to the movies or Chuck-E-Cheese or something like that. Kids value experiences more than we realize over a few pieces of candy. Promise.

3. Be creative. Your kids only know what you are teaching them. Read the stories of the kids in West Africa and let them make a decision WITH you on how to handle the candy situation. Show them pictures of kids that are being used in child slavery. Kids WANT to know the WHY’s behind why we make decisions. This goes the same with healthy versus non-healthy food. By teaching the TRUTH, you are setting them up to make wise decisions in the future as a teenager and adult. I guarantee if your kids knew the treatment other kids had just so they could enjoy a tootsie roll, they would gladly throw the tootsie roll away from a homemade organic chocolate chip cookie. KIDS ARE COMPASSIONATE.

Curious about a certain company? I found this amazing list of chocolates that you could print and keep in your purse for future reference.

Chocolate we feel comfortable recommending 
– 22 Days nutrition
– 365 Dark Chocolate Bar (Whole Foods Market)
– A.D.D. (Alternative Delectable Delights)
– A XOCO
– Agostoni (fair trade only)
– Ah!Laska
– Alce Nero’s dark chocolate
– Allegro Coffee Company
– Alnatura
– ALOHA
– Alter Eco
– Alternativa 3 (Spain)
– Amano
– Amo Cacao
– Amy’s
– Amy’s DriveThru
– Andean Dream
– Ananda (EU)
– Antidote
– Angell Chocolate Bars
– Ara Chocolat
– Artisan du Chocolat
– Artisana
– Askinosie
– Be.Raw. Chocolate
– BEAR (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
– Belvie Chocolate
– Belyzium
– Bixby Bar: ONLY Birdie, Heart’s Delight & Whippersnapper
– Blissful Wunders Confectionery Chocolats’ Chocolate
– Bluebird Ice Cream
– Bonnievilles
– BonPom
– Bonvita
– Booja-Booja (Europe)
– Briskbars
– Brown Sugar Baking Company
– Budi Bar
– Buddha Chocolate
– Bulletproof
– Bump City Bakery (Petaluma)
– Cacao Prieto
– CaCoCo
– Cado Ice Cream
– Café Flora (Seattle)
– Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe
– Charlie’s Brownies
– Charm School Chocolate
– Cello Chocolate – all but Ghana bar
– Choc & Nut
– CHOC Chick Raw Chocolates Ltd. (Australia, EU & USA)
– ChocAlive!
– Chocolate Amatller (single-origin bar Ecuador only)
– Chocolate and Love
– Chocolate Calling
– Chocolate Decadence
– Chocolate Hollow
– Chocolate Ibarra
– Chocolate Inspirations, Inc
– The Chocolate Yogi (Australia)
– Chocolates El Rey
– Chocolatl
– chocolita
– ChocoSol Traders
– ChocStars (Belgium Chocolate Source)
– ChocZero
– Choquiero Organic chocolates
– Chuao Chocolatier
– Chunks of Energy
– Ciranda
– Claudio Corallo
– CO YO
– Cocanú
– Coco Caravan
– Cocoa Cravings
– Cocoa Loco
– Cocoa Rhapsody
– CocoaPlanet
– CocoLicious
– Cocolo (Australia & New Zealand)
– Coconut Bliss (they were bought by a dairy company)
– Coconut Organics
– Coconut Secret
– Coco-Zen
– Confiserie Jonas (Belgium)
– Conscious Chocolate (Australia, Dubai and Europe)
– The Cookie Counter
– The Co-operative (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
– Coracao Confections
– Core Foods (Defender Meal only)
– Cornbread Café (Eugene OR)
– Cotton Tree Chocolate (70% bar – only in Belize)
– Creo Chocolate
– Crispy Cat
– Cupcake Royale
– Daiya (http://www.fooddive.com/news/plant-based-food-firm-daiya-bought-for-32597m-by-pharma-company-otsuka/448160/)
– Dandelion Chocolate
– Dave’s Midnight Bakery
– Denman Island Chocolate
– Diego’s Chocolate
– Divine
– Divine Organics (raw cacao products)
– Doe Donuts
– Doisy & Dam (England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales)
– Dream Chocolate
– Drink Rau
– Ds Naturals
– Earth Circle Organics
– Earth Loaf
– Earthly Gourmet
– East Maui Chocolate
– Eat Chic Chocolates
– Eat Pastry
– EATINGEVOLVED
–  (http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/eden-foods-tries-to-opt-out-of-obamacare-birth-control-coverage/Content?oid=1640622)
– El Diablo Coffee
– Elevate (artisan cakes and pastries, made with compassion)
– Eli Bars
– Emmy’s Organics
– Endangered Species (Organic dark chocolate only)
– Endorfin
– Equal Exchange
– Essential Living Foods
– Essential Trading Cooperative (England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales)
– eSutras organics
– Ethicoco (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
– evo hemp
– The Fearless Chocolate Company
– feedyourface
– Feel Good Desserts
– Firefly Chocolate
– Fox Tea Club
– Fran’s Chocolates
– Frankie & Jo’s
– Frontier
– Full Tilt Ice Cream
– Garden of Life
– Gefle Chocolaterie (EU)
– Gemini
– Genuto
– GEPA
– Giddy Yoyo
– Global Organics
– GloryBee (cocoa powder)
– Gnosis
– Gone Pie Vegan Bakery
– GO*DO Chocolate (Espresso Coffee and Sicilian Almonds) (England, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Wales)
– Go Macro’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crunch
– Go Raw
– Gopal’s Healthfoods
– Goss Chocolate (dark and special dark chocolate, nibs and cocoa powder)
– Govinda Natur GmbH (Europe)
– Great Bean
– Green Girl Bakeshop
– Guru Donuts (only vegan donuts)
– Harrison’s Original Sweet Shoppe
– Healthforce Superfoods
– Healthworks
– Healthy Creation’s Seattle
– hemp love
– Herbs America
– Holy Kakow Chocolate
– Honest Chocolate (South Africa)
– Hooray Truffles
– Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
– Hotel Chocolat (Europe, Americas, Far East)
– Hu Kitchen*
– HunnyBon
– I Heart Keenwah
– iChoc
– Il Modicano
– indi chocolate
– inSpiral (England)
– Iswari Ireland Ltd
– IQ Superfood Chocolate
– Jeavons Toffee
– Jedwards International, Inc.
– Jelina Chocolatier
– Jem Raw Chocolate
– Jen’s Zen
– JJ’s Sweets
– Jollyum (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
– Just Pure Foods
– Justin’s Nut Butter (http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/People/Justin-Gold-on-why-he-got-into-bed-with-Hormel)
– Kaia Foods (Alive & Radiant)
– Kakaw Belizean Chocolate (Belize)
– Kallari Chocolate
– Keen-wah (Essential Living Foods)
– Kopali Organics
– kosuma Whole Food Energy™
– Kroger Cocoa Powder
– Kur Organic Superfoods
– La Siembra – Cocoa Camino
– Lagusta’s Luscious
– Laird Superfood
– Lake Champlain Chocolates (only Blue Bandana, Almonds & Sea Salt, Peruvian Dark, Cherries & Chocolate and Spicy Aztec)
– Lala’s Creamery (vegan only and not the cookies & creme)
– L’Amourette
– Late July
– Liebhart’s Gesundkost (Germany)
– Lifefood
– Live On Chocolate
– Live Superfoods (their name brand only)
– Living Food of St. Ives
– Living Raw
– LivWell, LLC
– Love Bean
– Love Street Livin
– Lovechock (Europe)
– Lovecrafted Vegan Baking
– Lover Raw Chocolate
– Loving Earth (New Zealand)
– Lulu’s Chocolates
– Lune Chocolat
– Lydia’s Organics
– Madécasse’s Chocolate
– MadeGood
– Madre Chocolate
– Mama Ganache
– Manifest Chocolates
– Manifesto Cacao
– Manoa Chocolate Hawaii (only bars with 72%+ cocoa)
– Marks & Spencer (single origin)
– Marthomi (Rice Mice, Zero Zebra)
– Marvellous Superfood
– Mary’s Gone Crackers
– Mason & Co (India)
– Mast Brothers Chocolate
– Mayesa
– Metabolic Response Modifiers (MRM)
– Mindo Chocolate
– Mister Sister
– Mokkapuu
– Molly Moon’s (except Vegan ‘Scout’ Mint flavor)
– Molucca Craft Chocolate
– Montezuma’s (England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales)
– Moo Free Chocolates
– Mr Organic
– Multiple Organics
– MULU Organic Raw Chocolate (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
– NadaMoo!
– Nahua
– Nana’s Donuts
– Natur-a (Canada)
– Natural Balance Foods (Europe & USA)(Trek and Nakd)
– Naturata
– Nature’s Path
– Navitas Organics’
– Nelly’s Organics
– Newman’s Own
– New Tree
– New York Superfoods
– NibMor
– Nocciolata Dairy Free
– Nibble Chocolate
– Nicobella Organics
– Nirvana Belgian Chocolates
– No Cow Chocolate
– Noah & Co.
– Not Your Sugar Mamas
– Nova Monda Cacao & Chocolate
– Numi Organic Tea
– NuttZo
– The Oakland Chocolate Company
– Oaxacabar
– Obsessive Confection Disorder
– Olivia Chocolat
– Ombar
– Omnon
– One Degree Organic Foods
– Oregon Bark
– Organic Fair
– Organic Food Bar
– Organic Nectars
– Organica (Venture Foods)
– Original Beans
– Orgain*
– Orgran
– Ostara
– Over The Moo
– Pana Chocolate (Australia, England)
– Parliament Chocolate
– PASCHA
– Patric Chocolate
– Peaceful Provisions
– Perfect Fit (Tone it up)
– Perfect Fuel Chocolate
– Phi Kind Organics
– The Philosopher’s Stoneground
– Plamil
– Poco Dolce (bars only)
– PRANA
– President’s Choice
– Puffworks
– Pulsin’ (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales)
– Pure Bar
– R.e.d.d., Inc.
– Raaka Virgin Chocolate
– Rainbow Bakery (Bloomington, IN)
– Ranger Chocolate Company
– Rapunzel
– Rausch Plantagen-Shokolade
– the raw chocolate co (Australia and Europe)
– Rawmio
– Raw Ecstasy (England)
– Raw Halo
– Raw Health (Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore & US)
– Raw Integrity Chocolates
– Raw Imagination (England)
– Raw Nibbles (England)
– Raw Revolution
– RAWR Chocolate (Europe)
– Rawxies
– Real Bar
– Real Food Source (Europe)
– Remedy Teas
– René Rey Chocolates
– República del Cacao
– Rescue Chocolate
– Revolution Gelato
– Righteously Raw
– Ritter Sport
– Ritual Chocolate
– Rogue Chocolatier
– Roo’Bar (Australia, Europe & United Arab Emirates)
– Rosengarten (Minderleinsmühle GmbH & Co. KG) (Germany)
– Sacred Chocolate
– Salazon Chocolate
– Sambazon
– Santa Barbara Chocolate
– Santosha Chocolate
– SaviSeed
– Scarborough Fair (New Zealand)
– Science Kitchen (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
– Scream Sorbet
– Seed and Bean Chocolates
– SEVENHILLS WHOLEFOODS (England)
– Shaman Chocolates
– Simply Raw
– Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates
– Skydottir Epic Cookies
– So Delicious® Dairy Free (organic only)
– Solkiki
– SOMMER (Biback Zwiebackfabrik SOMMER GmbH & CO. KG) (Germany)
– Soulever Chocolates
– Spagnvola
– Squarebar
– Stirs the Soul
– Sunburst Superfoods (their name brand only)
– Sunflour Baking Company
– Sunfood’s Chocolate
– Sweet Revolution
– Sweetriot (riotBar only)
– Taza Chocolates
– Teeccino
– Temptation
– Tesco Single Origin Bars only (except for Ivory Coast Bar) (outside of the US)
– Theo Chocolate
– Thesis (skin care & makeup)
– Three Turns
– Tierra Farm (organic and organic fair trade only)
– Tony’s Chocolonely
– Travel Chocolate
– TruJoy Sweets
– Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolate
– Ulimana
– Ultimate SuperFoods (Ojio)
– Uncommon Cacao
– UNREAL (only dark chocolate gems)
– Vegan Treats
– Veganica Pty Ltd (Rawganic Chocolate & CocoLuscious Coconut Ice Cream) Australia
– Vego (Germany)
– Videri Chocolate Factory
– Vitacost Brand (cocoa powder)
– Vivani
– VO2 Vegan Cafe (MA) (only O2 Vegan Café chocolate bars, cocoa, homemade smoothies)
– Wei of Chocolate
– well.fed. by Alicia Smiley
– The Wellington Chocolate Factory (Australia, Hong Kong, & New Zealand)
– Wellness Foods (The Simply Bar)
– Whaddyalove Chocolate
– Whistler Chocolate
– Whole Foods Market (only: cocoa powder & 365 Dark Chocolate bar)
– Wholesome Chow
– Wild Alive LLC
– Wild Boar’s Dark Chocolate (Hagensborg Chocolates)
– Wilderness Family Naturals
– Willie’s Cacao
– Wonder Food Company
– Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory
– WOW Chocolates
– The Xocolate Bar
– YAWP!
– Yes Cacao
– You Are Loved Foods
– Yowza Snacks
– Z Natural Foods
– Zenergy Powerballs
– Zimt Artisan Chocolates
– Zing Nutrition Bars
– Zotter

One last thing: remember GRACE. When you don’t know any better; you can’t be proactive in making wise decisions. But once you do know better, you can do better, and you should do better. Every decision in life should be Holy Spirit guided and made on facts. But sometimes, we just have to let our kids eat that processed, GMO, child labor chocolate cake at a birthday party. GRACE. Sometimes, well-intended grandparents let your children indulge in things you wouldn’t bring into your house. GRACE. Every once in awhile your kids go to a church function that serves some Hershey’s. GRACE. Pray and know your babies are covered by the precious blood of Jesus and when they aren’t in your home they are safe. But YOU CAN control what comes into your home and you can control a lot of things with how you spend your money. Grace and wisdom, always.