Maybe it’s just me, but porches a- glow with a variety of pumpkin faces, crunchy leaves underfoot, and the smell of hot apple cider in the air, makes my heart happy.

Perhaps you still get dressed up, or you have memories of Halloweens gone by, where you were lost in the identity of an inspired creation for a night.  It’s incredibly freeing to allow our known looks, clothes, and movements to take a back seat to a newly honed identity. We put our creativity in motion for joy, accolades, and candy.  I think this is the real ‘treat’ part of Halloween.

While the hot apple cider isn’t exactly a year-round activity, the ability to transform ourselves is.  We may not venture to the extreme of donning a spirit-gum-adhered fake mustache but, each moment of each day, we are presented with an opportunity to be whomever we want to be.  Fell off the oatmeal wagon onto the doughnut cart at breakfast?  There’s nothing that says we can’t get back on the salad train for lunch.  Bothered by your own pessimistic outlook turned to sarcastic humor?  Who says you can’t grow into a sharer of daily affirmations?  There really are no rules where your growth is concerned; except the limitations we put on ourselves.

Ellen Langer is considered the ‘mother of mindfulness.’  She defines mindfulness as, ‘the simple act of noticing things.’  If we are wrapped up in the turmoil of our mind, it’s likely we are unaware of the magic that is all around us.  Look out in front of you; what do you see?  Allow yourself to zone in on something and spy its every detail.  You are now engaged in mindfulness; you are in the present moment.  It’s this kind of awareness, where we are able to notice what is around us, and our reaction to it, that allows us to be available to make changes in our lives.  Awareness often stirs a curiosity to seek out resources that inspire the changes we are seeking.

Alright, let’s talk about that Halloween treat bowl that is going to be in arms, beckoning you with the lure of bite-sized goodies.  First, let me say, nothing is really bad for you in moderation.  The ‘bad’ part is the guilt and shame we put onto ourselves, or the tummy ache we endure when we have pushed our body’s limits.  Planning ahead is really the key.

Is there a sweet treat that you enjoy that is also relatively healthy?  I, personally, enjoy delicious coconut date balls made of body-appreciating ingredients:  Soak two cups of pitted dates in water for five minutes to soften them (trust me; this will spare your food processor’s life.)  In the meantime, into the food processor, add one cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut, one cup of your favorite nuts or seeds, a quarter cup of raw cacao powder, one tablespoon of liquefied coconut oil, a half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of cinnamon, and give them a pulse.  Slowly add in the drained dates to the mixture.  Pulse the entire mixture in the food processor until it is a sticky dough (you may need to pulse in a teaspoon or two of water to get the ingredients sticky).  You’ll need a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.  Roll the mixture into half inch balls.  I usually use two spoons to do this so it’s not so messy.  For increased sweetness, roll each ball in additional unsweetened shredded coconut before placing it on the sheet.  Cover the balls with a second sheet of waxed paper and place it in the freezer for an hour.  The more frozen they are, the more delicious.  Store them in an airtight container in the freezer.  This is a ten minute process and you will have a families’ worth of healthy goodies.

Dried fruit is another way to curb the sweet tooth.  If you choose store bought, be sure to read the ingredients.  If it’s more than just the fruit, keep looking.  The sugar level of dried fruit is naturally intensified and they are like eating candy.

A more hearty option is a sweet potato.  The natural sweetness of the potato can also help curb cravings for sweets.  Top it with a teaspoon of coconut oil.

Lastly, go ahead and dip into the treat bowl.  Choose out a few pieces and set them aside.  These are your guilt-free indulgences that you are going to savor.  Don’t eat these as you are half opening the door or still zipping up a costume.  Relish each bite; taking breaks to prolong the flavors.  And have a spectacular Halloween, knowing that you are consciously working towards your transformation.  You are always choosing ‘Which Witches Hat’ to wear. 

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