It’s fun food. Fun size, fun food. Not junk at all! It’s Halloween, and trick-or-treaters, keep your sack close at hand! Well-rehearsed ghosts, goblins, ghouls, moms, dads, extended family and friends know where it is at all times, and can get what they want in half a blink! A fast jab deep into the pillowcase, searching by touch, not sight. Intuitively moving towards the familiar shape and size, the claw grasps the treat! That was me, long before I got healthy! The light appeared, and there was no fun-size or any size. Itty, bitty bars ceased to exist in our house. Seasoned treaters walked by, preferring a rock over the standard Hershey Kiss from previous years’ stash. Yes, that is years’ as in multiple prior years. The boys and Tom roamed the neighborhood and came back with gobs of candy, but I was above dolling out junk food. Not a complete grouch though, because while they were gone, I anticipated their return. I love Halloween, and though my choice of chocolate has evolved, seeing the bag crammed with candy, wondering what’s inside, hearing the thumbs up/down of houses is thrilling! I attempted to control the devouring, but was a weak enforcer. My Halloween years, too much of a treat to deprive them of theirs. I cringed and closed my eyes, somewhat closed my mouth, and let them eat candy 'til the whites of their eyes turned green, and the whites of the pillow cases re-emerged. Then it was over, their self-regulating bodies taking a break from sugar for, no not a year, but at least a few days.
This year is different. My melty, chocolate heart, bitter-sweetened by the image of grown children and non-existent pillow cases, urged me to pitch the stale kisses in lieu of Costco-size, fun-size! I’m tossing the kisses because I got healthy. No food is labeled junk in our house because none of us would choose to fuel our bodies with junk. The only junk is food prepared with malintent. Anger, lack of joy, or resentment residing in a soul while preparing a meal significantly diminishes the nourishment. Our culture categorizes foods as good or bad. Fast food, soda, candy, all bad! Yep, I was right there, standing tall on my soap box, hounding the family to eat better, get rid of the junk. Baking only nutritious sweets. Fretting if there was anything less than wholesome on the table, forbidding sugar, flour, anything white. Gluten? Go away, not wanted! Sneaking pureed veggies into brownies worked until they caught on. The food ingested my fear and the family digested it. Afraid our children would become sick, diabetic, obese, and destined for short lives. These worries took the fun out of food, leaving only piles of stale kale and shame. No more. Our house is healthier and happier now that I’ve relaxed my ego and released my grip. My quest to nourish my family remains the same, but I replaced fear with love and now preparing meals ignites the joy-spark! We balance fun food and fit food. And when we gather together as a family at meal time, we enjoy not just the food, but the whole meal.