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Sugar Challenge Tips and Tricks

Sugar Challenge Tips and Tricks

We are all set and excited to start this tomorrow I hope! Remember, if you don’t want to do this, it is okay, if you do want to, I am tickled pink to have you on board. Remember we are eliminating as much processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup as possible, we are not dwelling as much on those foods that naturally contain sugar, like fruit, added sugar that is extraneous, like juice for example, if you are going to drink juice make it 100% juice. No soda, no candy bars, you can do this! Okay on to the first set of tips:

  • Read your labels, corn syrup and sugar are added to breads, crackers, soups, ice cream, it is literally everywhere, read labels and look for those brands made without, I have found bagels and breads without extra sugar and corn syrup, Progresso soup is a good choice or make soup, no luck with graham crackers, if you find some let me know!
  • Eat less processed foods, especially fast food, you don’t really know what’s in there – when I look at the label if I can’t pronounce most of it or the ingredient list is 3 inches long it stays in the store
  • Go simple with coffee and tea, most of these are made with a high level of sugar also, make your own and control what goes in it, try stevia or honey if you need some sweet
  • Eat your fruit, don’t drink it… personally I prefer to eat my calories not drink them, if you must have juice make it 100% juice as simple as possible, for those of you who are juicers you are making it yourself, you know what’s in it, that’s fine
  • Make dessert an occasional treat, have fruit or one piece of decadent dark chocolate
  • When your sweet tooth gets out of control try a large serving of fruit, tea with honey, or even a jam like Pollaner All Fruit or Smuckers Simply Fruit on toast

Good luck to you, we are all in this together, at least one of our daily statuses will be a discussion thread so that we can connect on how it’s going and help each other with new tricks and love and support.


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36 Natural Alternatives for Infection

36 Natural Alternatives for Infection

This is an amazing article, I firmly believe in the body’s ability to heal itself and to try natural remedies first. I do not believe in the exclusion of professional medical advice however, and your doctor should be kept abreast of all remedies you are trying.

Here are 36 natural substances which have been studied to help to support our body’s immune system to heal itself!

  1. Manuka honey fights serious infection caused by MRSA
  2. The inhalation of tea catechin appears to suppress MRSA infection in the elderly.
  3. Tea tree topical preparations are superior to standard topical regimen for the clearance of MRSA colonization.
  4. Garlic and tea have antibacterial activity against Klebsiella, as well as drug resistant strains of Saphylococci, Enterococci and Psedomonas aeruginosa.
  5. Water extract of garlic has antimicrobical activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria and Candida species, and many other microbials.
  6. The compound found within garlic known as allicin has antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
  7. Probiotic therapy has therapeutic value in treating Klebsiella infection in children.
  8. Susceptibility to ear disease in children may be a result of deficiencies of zinc and vitamin A.
  9. Topical nanocrystalline silver dressing may provide an alternative treatment for MRSA infected wounds to oral antimicrobials.
  10. Cranberry may reduce the risk of urinary tract infections by inhibiting biofilms in the bladder.
  11. Probiotic strains from breast milk are superior to antibiotics in the treatment of infectious mastitis.
  12. Honey may have a therapeutic role in treating refractory chronic rhinosinusitus.
  13. Honeydew and manuka honey has strong antimicrobial activity against multi-drug resistant pathogens.
  14. Cinnamon verum bark has the highest antimicrobial activity, particularly against antibiotic resistant strains, of 13 essential oils tested.
  15. A number of plant oil extracts inhibit multi-resistant strains of bacteria and yeast.
  16. Clove, guava and lemongrass exhibit the highest synergism rate with antimicrobial drugs.
  17. Thyme and Eucalyptus oil have antibacterial activity against MRSA isolates.
  18. Compounds isolated from Bay leaf have anti-MRSA activity.
  19. The essential oil of dill and peppermint enhances the antimicrobial activity of nitrofurantoin against enterobacteria.
  20. Grape seed extract has bactericidal effects on MRSA.
  21. A combination of Citricidal (grapefruit seed extract) and geranium oil showed the greatest anti-bacterial effects against MRSA.
  22. Rosemary has activity against drug-resistant bacterial and fungal pathogens.
  23. Propolis exhibits antimicrobial effects on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus strains resistant to various antibiotics and some microorganisms.
  24. Cumin essential oil exhibits anti-Klebsiella activity.
  25. Green tea exhibits anti-MRSA activity.
  26. Mango seed kernel extract may potentially be useful as an alternative therapeutic agent or an adjunctive therapy along with penicillin G in the treatment of MRSA infections.
  27. Wormwood, tarragon and eucalyptus contain the compound pipertone which reduces antibiotic resistance against Enterobacter cloacae.
  28. Alpinia galanga contains a compound with activity against multi-drug resistant bacteria.
  29. Elecampane (Inula helenium) has potent antisaphylococcal activity, including against MRSA.
  30. Lavender oil has antimicrobial activity against methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. 
  31. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG inhibits invasion of cultured human respiratory cells by macrolide-resistant group A streptococci. 
  32. Lime has potent antibacterial activity against multiple drug resistant E. coli. 
  33. Nigella sativa has anti-bacterial activity against clinical isolates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. 
  34. Nutmeg contains a compound with potent anti-biofilm activity against oral bacteria.
  35. Olive leaf extract demonstrates antimicrobial activity against Campylobacter jejuni, Helicobacter pylori and Staphylococcus aureus [including meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA)].
  36. Cinnamon and Oregano, containing cinnamaldehyde and carvacrol, respectively, exhibit powerful antimicrobial activity against antibiotic-resistant strains of Campylobacter jejuni isolates.


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Fun Creative Ways to Work off Christmas Dinner!

Fun Creative Ways to Work off Christmas Dinner!

I love this so much I had to share! Always good to mix up the workout routine, and try new things, enjoy!


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Astounding White Foods

Astounding White Foods

I love organizing food by color! It makes me think of a grocery chain called Rainbow Foods, they should do this! Anyway, I saw this great poster about the healthy things in so many white foods, had to share, I hope you enjoy!

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Healthier Gift Giving

Healthier Gift Giving

If you have someone that is super hard to buy for, or is embracing a healthier lifestyle, or suffering from a chronic illness, or if you are so excited about your own healthy life that you want to share it with everyone, some of these items may help you out!

  • Dark chocolate – delicious, and it has antioxidants, get the good stuff, usually European
  • A tea tray and tea assortment, for the same reasons
  • Flowers– flowers always send a caring message, better yet a flowering plant they can keep or a houseplant that’s an air purifier
  • Music – in the form of CD’s, concert tickets, or ITunes, the music lover on your list will love it
  • A session with a personal trainer or nutritionist –  the nutritionist can be wonderful for the newly diagnosed diabetic, or anyone with a chronic illness, a session with a personal trainer is something many of us dream of and think is out of our reach
  • On that note, some basic home exercise equipment and/or workout DVDs, if you know for sure the person wants them!
  • Healthy oils and vinegars for someone who loves to cook, or a gift certificate to a Whole Foods Market or kitchen specialty store
  • A massage – any kind… personally I would love this, hint hint…
  • If you have a loved one going through chemotherapy, natural shampoos, deodorants, etc can be a lovely and welcome gift
  • Puzzles, word games, anything to keep a mind active and strong
  • for people with Alzheimer’s, music from when they were younger, soft fleecy blankets, many people miss their former roles, so setting something up for them to knit, or build things, or something similar can ease their stress
  • A selection of nuts, pistachios or raw almonds are good choices
  • A bottle of red wine –  yes it is good for you, in moderation, as are a lot of things

For more please see source:

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Carrot Chips

Carrot Chips

Try these healthy snack busters! Full of vitamins and good things!

You can add freshly ground black pepper to your carrots. Even you can add different herbs and spices, such as thyme for more flavor.

Also note that when you bake the carrots, they shrink in size significantly. So always look for the thickest carrots in the market!

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Healthy Salad Dressing

Healthy Salad Dressing

This looks and sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it!

2 cloves of garlic
1 small thumb size piece of ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup of olive oil

+ ADD 1 tablespoon of honey if you want it sweet!
+ ADD 1 teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper or chopped chili to make it spicy!
+ ADD 1 teaspoon of turmeric for an extra cleanse!
+ ADD 1 avocado mashed for a CREAMY DRESSING!
+ ADD sprinkle 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast for a ‘cheesy’ tasting salad!

1. Chop the garlic and ginger as finely as possible
2. In a bowl combine all ingredients
3. Pour over salad

Great for accelerating weight loss, curbing hunger with less food, and accelerating energy ANY TIME OF DAY!

Source: The Earth Diet
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Veggie Christmas Tree

Veggie Christmas Tree

I want to make this one and the fruit one!! Healthy delicious beautiful treats!

For this project, you will need some craft items and plenty of fresh veggies.

I used 8″x3″ green styrofoam cone, for a just over 12″ tall finished tree, so the shopping lists will work for this size tree. You can also use a pineapple trimmed into a cone for the base, if you use styrofoam you may want to cover it with plastic wrap first.

If you want a smaller or larger tree, just adjust your groceries accordingly.

Craft Items:
– Styrofoam cone – 8×3″
– small disposable veggied tray (you will be hot glueing the tree to the tray, so plastic, disposable works best BUT you could forego the glue and just set the tree on a nice dish, too)
– hot glue gun & glue sticks (optional)
– round toothpicks
– round wooden skewers
– Linzer tart cookie cutter (for tiny star shape cutter)
– wire cutter or strong scissor (to cut skewers)

Grocery List:
– 3 large bunches Broccoli
– 2 large Broccoliflower
– 1 large Cauliflower
– 1+ Red Bell Pepper (depending if you would like to serve extra on the side)
– 1+ Yellow Bell Pepper (depending if you would like to serve extra on the side)
– 1 package cherry tomato
– 1 jar cocktail onions
– 1 bag of baby carrots


Also to see our amazing Fruit Christmas Tree, click here.

For more please see source:

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I love this quote about anxiety, anxiety affects so many of us, in so many ways. Please see your healthcare professional if you suffer from this debilitating problem.

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Holiday Sugar… and Not Eating it All

Holiday Sugar... and Not Eating it All

This is a super busy stressful time of year, and it should be a time of rest and rejuvenation. Even when you are excited and happy it’s stressful for your body, just because you are doing so many things out of the norm, more planning, more shopping, more cooking, etc.

Stress produces hormones called cortisol and ghrelin, which affect our food preferences, leading us toward high fat and sugary foods. This is especially true for people who are “pleasure eaters” that truly enjoy food, and honestly, how many people really dislike food and eating?

So what to do? Try eating more foods that increase pleasure chemicals in your brain, turkey is one, or any other food that contains tryptophan, like shellfish, vegetables, other poultry, and game. Vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium are also great stress busters. Go into any social gathering with a game plan, and remember there is no shame in cutting a dessert into halves or quarters so you can enjoy a taste of more than one.

For more please see source:

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Breast Self-Exam Tips

Breast Self-Exam Tips

Although the best way to detect breast cancer is mammograms, self-exam is also beneficial for early detection. Self-exams have to be performed once a month in a certain day of the menstruation cycle. According to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center:

“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”

Breast Self-Exam Tips

The following poster explains in details how to do breast exam yourself.

This video explains more details about the breast self-exam. The video has been age-restricted based on Youtube’s Community Guidelines [18+].

According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® the symptoms of breast cancer are as following. If you found any of these symptoms consult with your doctor ASAP:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

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So Much Pain

So Much Pain

This is not so much a blog post as it is a vent session. Today I hurt so much even my hair hurts. I am jealous of every disease free person on the planet. I am unable to bend enough even to take my clothes out of the dryer, I am unable to fix myself breakfast, and yes, it hurts a lot to type, but this is all I’ve got.

This is not going to be technical at all, this website has shared many pain articles, and I am sure there will be many more in the future, as, unfortunately, for many of us, chronic pain is a way of life. I am not looking for pity, well not a lot lol, I am just trying to share with people who don’t know how awful it is, and for those who do know, to let you know you are not alone. Also, sometimes writing about a thing helps to ease the pain from it somewhat, like a form of therapy.

You know how it feels when you first come down with flu, and you feel like you hurt so bad even your hair hurts? Imagine feeling like that every day, and some days so much worse. Today it hurts to sit, stand, lay, my hands and feet keep going numb, and every time I move tears come out, I am not crying, they just squeeze out from pain.

It was almost a year ago that my life changed forever, December 16, 2011, I was driving my daughter to the movies when my hands went numb, my face went numb, I felt like someone had split open my head with an ax because of the mind numbing pain. I couldn’t pull over and have my daughter drive as she is visually disabled. I was trying so hard not to scare her while I was freaking out and wondering if I was dying, or having a stroke, or what. We went to my sister’s, and I am told when I got out of the car I acted like I was drunk, stumbling as I walked and slurring my words, I crawled into my sister’s bed and took a nap.

When I woke up I still had the splitting headache, but felt okay otherwise, we went to the movie, then we both had a headache. I slept most of the weekend and Monday drove the half mile to work, very unusual but I didn’t feel well, by 10:30 a.m. I was shaking and incoherent, I took an early lunch hoping to feel better, afterwards my supervisor took one look at me and sent me home thinking I had a bad virus. By the next day I knew I needed to see a doctor, but I was too dizzy and weak to walk, my son took me in a wheelchair. That was the start of the scariest month of my life, fortunately I was too sick to remember most of it. Being a nurse I did my own research and went to the series of doctors armed with a list of my symptoms as my memory is so bad now, and with a working knowledge of what disease process it could be.

When the doctors decided I had an autoimmune disease I knew it had to be Fibromyalgia or Lupus, they are the only ones with sudden onset of symptoms that I was able to find. My symptoms came on like a stroke and I was very ill for months, with medication I am stable somewhat, but I have bad days, really bad days, and days like today.

I honestly think this is the most stupid disease ever, you can’t make plans, people don’t understand it, and quite often even close friends and family think you are faking it for attention. I try, some days more than others, to remain positive and upbeat, but there are times I just do not have the energy or inclination to try, I am miserable, I can’t help it, I want to just… complain for a minute. I know there are worse things, but honestly, I cannot imagine much that is worse than how I feel today. Thanks for listening, hugs (gently!)

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For the first time ever, women outscore men on IQ tests

For the first time ever, women outscore men on IQ tests

A new research by James R. Flynn shows that women outscore men on IQ test. Flynn is famous for his researches on human intelligence and for his theory of Flynn’s effect which basically says that IQ scores are increasing all around the world every year.

In this study Flynn looked at IQ scores from ages 14-18 in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Estonia, and Argentina. Setting the male score at 100, Flynn found that women scored the lowest in Australia (99.5), but in the other 4 nations Raven’s scores varied from 100.5 to 101.5, which shows that women perform slightly above men in the IQ test.

Since the beginning of IQ tests around a century ago, this is the first time that women beat men in IQ tests. Until a decade ago women were behind men in IQ tests for up to 5 points, but they closed the gap in the last couple of years, and now women are ahead!

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The World’s Oldest Yogi

The World's Oldest Yogi

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s oldest yogi is Ms. Tao Porchon-Lynch and at 93 she is still active and teaching yoga. After decades of dedication, Ms. Porchon Lynch is considered a yoga master by many of her peers and followers, and even with hip replacement, she practices yoga and dance often in her apartment in New York City. Watch these videos to learn more about this inspiring woman:

“I love yoga, it brightens my day and makes everybody smile.”
~Ms. Porchon Lynch

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Anxiety and the Infertility Rollercoaster

Anxiety and the Infertility Rollercoaster

Many people all around us are struggling with infertility. Infertility can a silent hell. People do not talk about infertility issues like they would if they had a physical condition or other stressful circumstance in their life. Many times a couple choose to walk the road of infertility alone, discussing it only with their doctor. There are a myriad of feelings that go along with infertility and its treatment that can be hard to manage, and difficult on the couple as a unit. The anxiety of not knowing can be excruciating, and hard to understand for anyone who has not walked the road before.


Frequently there are communication breakdowns in the couple during infertility due to feelings of fear of blame, guilt, and worry of “talking about it too much.” Many times the man becomes overwhelmed because the woman “can’t talk about anything else” and shuts down because he is unable to “fix it”, leaving the woman on her own to navigate the monthly rollercoaster alone. Often the woman will obsess over every body sign and signal and her life becomes a barrage of online tools, thermometers and ovulation predictors. Her quality of life becomes wrapped up in where her body is in its cycle, and what information about the potential of pregnancy she can gather at that point. Constant disappointment can take its toll on the couple, especially if the journey has been a long one. There is a sense of shame that goes along with infertility that many of my clients express. Shame that their bodies have let them down, shame that good things are not happening to them (feelings of not deserving to get pregnant, blame at lifestyle choices made in the past such as abortion or other choices that can be extrapolated to have negative effect on becoming pregnant.).

Anxiety by Massimo Ankor (Flickr)

Well meaning friends and relatives asking “when are you going to have a baby?” and an onslaught of baby pictures on Facebook and shower invitations can cause a couple to isolate and cut off socialization, compounding the pain and loneliness. The biggest toll of infertility, however, is the anxiety. At every turn having to exist with the unknown and the lack of control is exhausting and stressful. Having to work and function in the daily grind seems unthinkable, especially to the woman, who is focused on every twinge in her body.

Getting through infertility and actually thriving takes some special skills. Learning to exist in spite of not knowing if you are pregnant or not is the toughest part. Mindfulness goes a long way towards helping preserve sanity and quality of life. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. Often our suffering is made more intense by remembering past suffering and worrying about future suffering. If we can stay in the moment and focus on what is happening in the here and now, our suffering will be greatly reduced.

Focusing on bodily sensations instead of thoughts helps get you off of the obsession wheel. “I feel the floor beneath my feet, I feel the sofa against my back, I feel the cool breeze in the room” are ways to center and ground yourself and help remain in the moment. When anxious thoughts arise, acknowledge them without judgment “oh, there is a thought” and allow the thought to float away as a leaf would fall from a tree into a stream.


Doing a body scan and addressing anxiety symptoms there is important. Close your eyes, and starting with toes and moving slowly up your body, ask yourself “Where am I tense?” When you discover a tense area, exaggerate it slightly, so you can become aware of it. Be aware of the muscles in your body that are tense. Then, for example, say to yourself, “I am tensing my neck muscles…I am creating tension in my body.” At this point, be aware of anything that is creating tension in your body and what you might do to change it.


Photo via Plodavo (Flickr)

Distress tolerance is another tool that can be very helpful. Learning to distract yourself by engaging in fun or meaningful activity is beneficial. Volunteering to help someone less fortunate goes a long way towards helping develop perspective and keeping your mind occupied. Learning to self-soothe by engaging in comforting activities like a bubble bath or exercise or a massage can engage the senses and lower anxiety.

Using imagery, you can create a situation or a scene that is different from the one that you are now in. In a way, you can leave the situation. Envision in your mind a place that you would like to be – a safe place, a relaxing place, a beautiful place.  Focus on this place.  Relax, and let yourself feel that you are in this place. It usually helps to notice details of the place that you are in. See that safe place, maybe a room, that is fixed up just the way you want it. Or imagine that spot along the ocean, or being with a good, safe friend.

Imagine things going well for you. Imagine that you know how to take care of the situation you are in. If you practice doing this, you will find that it begins to work for you. Things DO go better, and you CAN cope better. You can deal better with the crises in your life, if you practice feeling like you can take care of things.

Create a safe, comfortable place for yourself. It will help if you do this in a quiet room or a quiet spot outdoors. Try to relax, and close your eyes if you feel safe. Settle into this comfortable, safe, beautiful place. Let your hurtful feelings drain or wash out of you, relieving you and making you more comfortable. Breathe slowly and gently as you do this.

Infertility is a virtual minefield of emotions. It is possible to navigate these emotions and to maintain emotional regulation with practice. Good communication as a couple is vital. Sometimes individual or couples counseling can really help process everything that is going on and help turn a stressful situation into a growth and learning opportunity.

Carolyn Tucker LAPC is a psychotherapist and life coach who specializes in the treatment of anxiety in Atlanta or via distance (Skype). For more information see

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Coffee and Tea

Coffee and Tea

Everything you ever wanted to know about the benefits of coffee vs. the benefits of tea. Both are good in different ways, depending on what you are looking for. This poster lays it all out with the facts. I like coffee in the morning and tea at night. Anyone want to weigh in?

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JumpStart Your Workout

JumpStart Your Workout

A new study in the UK found that drinking a caffeinated beverage an hour before exercising can give more enthusiasm and more endurance for your workout with the caffeine group doing 38% more repetitions than their non-caffeinated counterparts.

How much caffeine? The study says 10-15 mg per 10 pounds, so one cup of coffee for a 130 pound person.

How does it work? The chemical adenosine is inhibited by caffeine, adenosine kicks in with exercise and limits muscle work.

More tips: Listen to upbeat energetic music, it really does  get you going – Find a workout buddy, having someone counting on you to exercise them reduces your chances of skipping a day – Schedule yourself exercise time, when you write it down it feels like more of a commitment of something you need to get done, it’s time for yourself and your body, and we all need that.

For more please see source

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Happy (Healthy) Halloween!

Happy (Healthy) Halloween!


When my kids were little  and came home with bags loaded with candy I took out a “mommy tax” which means I got a few of my favorite candies off the top. We also learned that buying Halloween candy early usually means buying it twice. Here are a few tips to keep you from going off the deep end:

1) Go out on rounds – Leave the candy home with your spouse or an older child, walk around outside with the young ones, or a niece, or grandchild. The crisp fall air will do you good.

2) Eat a healthy dinner before –  When my kids were little we had veggie pizza, it was a treat in itself, a full tummy doesn’t have as much room for candy.

3) Treat yourself – Have something decadent you would not normally have to help remove temptation, like a serving of premium ice cream. I am having a graham cracker with chocolate hazelnut spread.

4) Move the candy –  seriously, it’s surprising how having the bowl right next to you makes it more tempting, keep it on a small table next to the door, or even on the porch.

5) Give out healthier treats –  if you find something delicious and healthier, use that, that way if you do splurge a little it won’t be as costly to your waistline. Try dark chocolate covered raisins or almonds, pretzels, or organic fair trade chocolate

Enjoy the holiday without going overboard, all things in moderation. Have a safe and fun Halloween!

About the author:
MamaSteph has 2 kids by birth and several by love, she is a nurse and enjoys finding healthier ways to make comfort foods, gardening, enjoying nature, and living life to the fullest…For a list of her blogs please click here.