Halloween candy is an ingredient conscious mama’s nightmare. We don’t have the option of eating our Halloween candy and have been finding different alternatives for years. My son was deemed autistic, ADHD, bipolar/manic depressive, hypoglycemic and dyslexic but since we changed the food we eat to nutrient dense clean foods (no, not gluten free) he is a totally normal child and has been for almost 8 years. Each ingredient in begger’s night candy plays a different role in his behavior. From dyes that make his ADHD unmanageable to high fructose corn syrup and xylitol which make him crash to a near coma state, we avoid candy like poison.

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Each year we get better and better with our use of food-ish items like Halloween candy. In past years we’ve traded his candy for healthier options, bought his candy from him, mailed it to troops overseas, sold it to dentists and even passed it out at nursing homes. Since I have boys their favorite thing is to make it explode.

Listed here are our top ranked choices:

1. Host a Gingerbread House Showdown where folks team up into groups of two. Each bring their unassembled gingerbread structure. Together you assemble your houses and decorate with the Halloween candy. In past years we’ve sprayed the houses with bug spray to keep away ants (and fingers from getting tempted).

2. Take it to a participating Earth Fare and trade it in for healthy snacks. Just bring in your candy, dump it in their cardboard coffin and fill a new bag with healthier options from their trade-in bin. Check with your local store to see if they participate. To receive email deals, freebies and updates sign up on the following link: https://www.earthfare.com/our-stores/chattanooga.

3. Science experiments! Take your candy, some simple kitchen tools and blow a whole day! 

  a) Chromatography- is a process used for separating mixtures of differences in absorbency. Chromatography is separating mixtures. In this process you will encounter two phases: the stationary phase which is the solid or liquid on top of a solid, and the mobile phase which is a liquid or gas. 

 Follow these easy steps: take Skittles, M &M’s or any other candy with a color coating and soak each piece in a dish of water until the color begins to soften or dissolve. Immediately put the candy to a piece of recycled paper or coffee filter. You will see the mixtures separating on the paper but you will also be able to see the paper fibers themselves. Draw until you’re satisfied and use the papers as original Christmas cards. 

Scientifically what you are looking for is the color separation observing the primary colors that form the base and the method in which the color stretches up the paper. Paper is simply a conglomeration of tiny rectangular shaped strips glued and pressed together, chromatography shows these squares to the naked eye on some recycled papers or with a magnifying glass for others.

Part two of this experiment is a taste test contest (if they actually will eat it!) it’s funny how the absence of color really does make candy unappetizing. One study showed a blind taste test of cheese puffs where individuals loved the taste of cheese puffs but when the manufacturer took out the coloring, and nothing else, test subjects disliked them so much that many wouldn’t even try them.

b) Remove the candy letters on M&Ms by putting them in water. Watch to see the letter m in white lift off the M&Ms. The letter will float on top of the water because the letter m from M&Ms and the letter S from Skittles are both made from edible vegetable oil dyes. Oil and water do not mix so the letter will lift off and float to the surface. The oil floats because it is lighter than the water.

c) Make Christmas cards with pixel art: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCKkuc1VsYQ

d) Test the density of chocolate. Chocolate by law has to have 11% cocoa in order to be labeled chocolate, everything else is extra or filler ingredients. This is why when a product has a higher than 11% content of cocoa they advertise it, peacocking, saying 60% cocoa or 80% cocoa. Products higher in cocoa are healthier for you. Products that have cacao, the unrefined chocolate bean, are healthier than products with cocoa, which is manufactured chocolate. The higher the content of cocoa, the lower the content of filler waxes, substitute chemicals and food-ish ingredients not beneficial for consumption. Things that makes the candy float or sink are ingredients that make it lighter so you will need to refer back to each ingredient list to form the pattern of what makes it sink or float. Not all chocolate floats or sinks.

e) Perform osmosis on gummy candies by taking gummy candy and measuring the height, width and depth of each candy. Record these numbers. Soak the gummies in water for a few hours or better yet overnight. The gummy candy, which is made with gelatin, absorbs the water making it grow.

E-how says, “Water moved by diffusion through the bear’s semi-permeable membrane to reach an isotonic state where the concentration of water molecules inside and outside the bear were the same.”

Remeasure the height, width and depth after the gummy has soaked up the liquid. Measure the gummy again and compare the numbers. The bear gets larger as it soaks up liquid and will shrink when liquid is removed. Put the gummy in the freezer, to show how water expands when frozen. When you remove it from the freezer remeasure and compare your new numbers. Next put your bear in a dehydrator or on a sunny window sill to evaporate the water. Remeasure and compare.

E-how goes on to say, “Semi-permeable membranes allow some things to pass through them — most frequently liquids — but not others. Hypertonic and hypotonic are comparative terms: hypertonic solutions have higher concentrations of solutes, while hypotonic ones have a comparatively lower concentration.”

*Parents beware: some teenagers have started doing this “experiment” with gummy bears but instead of soaking them in water they have been soaking them in vodka. A goofy teenager eating gummy bears may not just be a goofy teenager eating gummy bears after all, she may be drunk on her gummies!

 For an educational laugh at what processed sugar-like substances are doing to our bodies, specifically when it comes to gummy bears, click here and read the Important Safety Warning then read the customer reviews. *Warning you may very well pee your pants from laughing so hard!

 f) Use Candy Corn, Jellybeans, Nerds, and Dots to do an experiment that peels the skin off the candy – showing the layer of shellac that protects the candy from sticking to other candy. To learn more click here. This shellac layer may also be made from wax, vegetable oil and starches.

g) Tootsie Rolls contain 10% soybean oil. To expose this artery clogging hydrogenated oil put the candy on a plate in the microwave or in a low temp oven. Heat for a short time on low and you will see wet beads on top. Place the candy in the freezer and you will see those white spots turn color as the oil hardens. This experiment also works with Starburst.

 h) Candies that are sour like Sour Patch Babies are made acidic through the addition of lemon juice. If the product doesn’t say lemon juice it is a chemical substitute. Make a small bowl of vinegar and baking soda, stir until dissolved. The picture above in the pink and blue bowls shows the acid releasing from the candy. Drop candy in and see the fiz, the more the fiz the more acid or higher lemon content. Try this first with straight lemon juice then compare it with the synthetic, man made, ingredients.

i) When you heat up chocolate, cool it down to room temperature, then heat it up again, you are changing the structure. You can see different chemicals and ingredients within the chocolate through heating and cooling as you are literally separating its structure. Learn Chemistry says, “The structure of a substance affects its properties, including melting point, and this is also true for chocolate. When chocolate is melted and re-hardened it sets into a different structure, which gives it a different taste, texture and melting point.”

This is an easy learning tool to explain how good healthy fats like tallow should only be used once. Once the oil has heated up, cooled down, then heated up again, it is a different molecular structure which doesn’t have the same healthy benefits as the first time it was used unchanged.

To learn more click here.

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.”  


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