It’s Spooky Season!
I love Halloween festivities as much as the next person – carving pumpkins into funny faces, dressing up as an outrageous character, and gathering with friends.
But as a Functional Health Coach, the focus on candy around this holiday is something I just can’t get behind. And if you knew just how detrimental sugar is to your gut (and thus, your whole-body health) my guess is you would agree with me.
Or maybe you already do, and that’s why you’ve landed here… 👋
Whether you’re hosting a gathering, you want to bring something healthy (but festive!) into the office, or you’re looking for tasty holiday snacks to keep around yourself while working towards your health goals, I have some healthy Halloween treat ideas for you!
But before we dive into them, let’s first talk about why this really matters.
Sugar and Gut Inflammation
The small amount of natural sugar we receive from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is healthy and okay. The body actually needs some of these natural sugars for energy.
The problem, however, occurs when we either:
a.) Eat too much sugar
b.) Strip sugar away from the source
This is called “refined sugar”, which is linked to a long list of chronic diseases.
Refined sugars include:
- Raw sugar
- Brown sugar
- Table sugar
- Corn syrup
- Cane sugar
This stuff is toxic to the body – and candy is loaded with it.
Aside from the fact that eating a piece of candy can suddenly spike blood sugar levels, affecting your mood and hormones… refined sugar can alter the gut microbiome, and has an inflammatory effect on the entire digestive system. 
This is dangerous for anyone’s health and particularly for someone with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because people with IBS already have an inflamed gut. Eating candy is just adding fuel to the fire.
The longer your gut exists in this inflamed state, the worse your symptoms become – like low energy, poor sleep, mood swings, digestive issues, and more – and the vicious cycle of poor health and burnout continues.
The Gut-Brain Connection
Not only does sugar affect your gut, but it can also do serious harm to your brain, too. This is best explained through the gut-brain connection.
Because one closely communicates with the other, when the gut is experiencing elevated inflammation, so is the brain, and vice versa. That’s why, aside from IBS, sugar is linked to chronic diseases like anxiety, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression. 
Now, as long as you’re working to avoid sugar most of the time, eating a few pieces of candy on Halloween won’t destroy your health.
But if you’re working towards a health goal, or just want to eat delicious foods that lower inflammation and support your overall health, rather than work to tear it down, you can use these healthy swaps as your guide!
Healthy Halloween Treats
Food serves so much more than our taste buds. It is a messenger to all the cells in your body, providing fuel for either health or disease. But… that doesn’t mean nourishing food can’t taste good, too!
As a rule of thumb, I recommend sticking to whole foods and steering clear of anything processed. Whole foods tend to be rich in fiber and nutrients that support healthy gut bacteria, whereas packaged and processed foods often contain added sugars that damage your gut and overall health.
So, let’s look at some homemade, whole-food recipes you can use to stay healthy and festive this Halloween.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Candy might be one Halloween staple… but so is pumpkin! And pumpkin has incredible health benefits. The seeds are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, like magnesium, zinc, and fatty acids, helping to balance blood sugar, rather than spike it.
Carrot ‘Fingers’: Let’s normalize serving vegetables on Halloween! Carrots help keep blood sugar levels under control. Plus, they’re a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, and calcium.
Apple ‘Mummies’: Apples can be sweet as candy, only it actually serves your health and boosts your energy. They’re rich in fiber and antioxidants, supporting both your gut and brain health.
Pumpkin Bread: Pumpkin flesh is high in vitamins and minerals, plus it’s rich in fiber, which supports a healthy gut. This particular recipe is refined sugar-free, using maple syrup as its sweetener.
Clementine ‘Pumpkins’ & Banana ‘Ghosts’: This snack is so simple, but also festive and delicious. Clementines are rich in antioxidants, helping to lower inflammation, while bananas may help regulate blood sugar and support digestion.
Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Life
Avoiding processed sugars and sweeteners is a HUGE step forward toward a healthy & happy gut! But, this alone may not fix your gut problems. We have to look at gut health through an integrative and functional lens.
To truly heal your gut, and live a happy and thriving life, we need to look at other dietary factors, stress, sleep, movement, and supplements, too.
If you’re ready to tackle your gut health with a professional, and finally take your health into your own hands, I’m here to help you.
Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Life is a 3-month group program designed to take you on a journey of transformation and healing with personalized protocols and high-level support.
Want to learn more?
Book a Clarity Coffee Call to get started!