American Heart Association

Kicking my candy corn addiction

  As a kid, I loved Halloween. LOVED IT.

I didn't love the costume part. It was often a pain in the ass to figure out something to wear. The older I got, I felt less and less comfortable with the idea of being the "sexy nurse" or "sexy German waitress" or "sexy French maid", which seemed to be what most young women my age were choosing to be. Makes sense, now, given my current gender identity.

I came up with one of the best costumes of all time when I moved to Boston: a beaten-up Yankees fan.

It was amazing. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a picture to show you.

The part I loved about Halloween from the time I was a kid to as recently as a few years ago was one thing: candy corn.

candy-corn-bowl-646
candy-corn-bowl-646

I bought bags of it. Not just one bag. Several of them. And I consumed them all. If candy corn was within my reach, it was eaten.

This might surprise you, considering I'm a health coach. But that's why I'm writing this post. Because if someone like me, a candy corn junkie, can get over this stuff, you can too. If you want to, of course.

I stopped eating candy corn about three years ago, the same time I became a health coach. Before I did, I was chronically sick. I got about 8-10 colds a year, most of which turned into raging sinus infections. I also suffered from MAJOR moods swings, some seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) and was about 25 pounds overweight. All these things were caused from a few things other than eating candy corn one month out of the year, trust me on that, but the consumption of this high-calorie candy was a symptom of a major issue I had: sugar addiction.

When I give talks about my story and how I overcame all these issues, I have to fight the temptation to go on and on about how bad my sugar addiction really was. I really WANT people to get how much I ate, but more importantly--how I didn't even realize how much I was eating. I was really oblivious until I cut back and saw things from a new perspective. When I started really reading labels, not just for calories and fat like I had been conditioned to do during my eating disorder years, I really started paying attention to ingredients.

Most people don't really notice, or seem to care about what they are eating. If you're reading this blog, chances are you DO care. So read on.

Candy corn is made of a few ingredients, as shared in this post titled, Nine Things You Didn't Know About Candy Corn on YAHOO.com. The author shares, "Candy corn is made with just eight ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, confectioner's glaze, natural/artificial flavorings (and colors), salt, egg whites, honey glycerin, mineral oil, and carnauba wax."

Mineral oil. As in, a by-product of petroleum. Petroleum. The stuff that powers cars. No biggie, right?

And carnauba wax. Wax? In my belly? Hmm.

And check out the first three ingredients: sugar, corn syrup (sugar) and confectioner's glaze. If you didn't know what confectioner's glaze is (I didn't), Wikipedia says, "pharmaceutical glaze is an alcohol based solution of various types of food grade shellac. When used in food and confections, it is also known as confectioner's glaze."

Shellac.

Hmm. Again.

I saw they make a S'mores-flavored version, now.

According to the American Heart Association, in 2013, among Americans age 20 and older, 154.7 million are overweight or obese (BMI of 25.0 kg/m2 and higher): 

- 79.9 million men. - 74.8 million women

And kids? 23.9 million children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese; 33.0% of boys and 30.4% of girls.

If you want to be healthier, as most people tell me they do, you can try what I did to kick my candy corn habit. Start reading labels and stop buying food based on old eating habits and patterns. Make different choices based on what is in the package and on the label. Use your money to buy real food, not a list of processed, manufactured chemicals. Don't put anything that isn't real food into your body, no matter how long you've been eating it.

In other words, you might want to stop eating candy corn.

 

Real Food You Can Love In An Instant (Unlike that Other Stuff...)

A balanced breakfast doesn't have to be hard or complicated.

Seriously.

I had a client a couple of years ago who started every morning with a Carnation Instant Breakfast. I remember the commercial, "you're gonna love it in an instant!"

It's true. Lots of people probably do love it because it's so fast. But let's take a look at what's inside that "breakfast quickie". Among other things, it contains 19g or 4.75 tsp of sugar.

Yeah. Considering the American Heart Association "urges women to consume no more than 6 added tsp. of sugar daily and men no more than 9 tsp," (read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/275180-carnation-breakfast-nutritional-facts/#ixzz251yILFnV) I think this isn't the best way to start your day. Are you with me?

How about this instead:

Two eggs, fried over easy. A piece of whole wheat toast with a small pat of real butter and 1/2 tsp of real jelly or honey. And a big ol' handful of mixed greens with a dab of dressing.

While the Carnation Instant Breakfast DOES provide this long list of added vitamins and minerals, they are going to be pulverized and potentially synthetically created and added in to the powder that contains powdered milk solids, lots of sugar, maltodextrin (fake fiber that helps lower blood sugar levels but does NOT help with digestion--which is sort of what fiber is FOR) and things like cellulose gum, inulin and dicalcium phosphate.

Whoa. Why all the fake, extra added-in versions of real things that are found in real food?

Give me real food.

A real egg (protein, omega fatty acids, choline and lutein). A real piece of salad (fiber). Real wheat (if that's your thing). Real butter. Real honey or jelly made from real fruit.

Give me real food, please. And since this breakfast is fast, I can love THIS in an instant, no problem.

PS. That client who ate those Carnation Instant Breakfasts everyday is now an incredible health coach. Yup.