By HELEN NIELSEN, special to The Times-Advocate
The effort to help parents help their kids kick the bad habits promoted within the “SAD” diet (Standard American Diet) will get a jump start this Halloween Holiday.
The Real Santas United to end Childhood Obesity are teaming with Farmers Markets in North County to promote not only a “healthy Christmas season,” but they’re taking aim at the excessive sugar tsunami that takes place on Halloween, says Sustainable Santa, the Carlsbad-based leader of the Santa group which has now expanded statewide.
Leading the Farmers Market component in North County is Claire Winnick, manager of the Sunday morning Farmers Market at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead east of I-15 off Via Rancho Parkway, across from the Westfield North County mall in Escondido. There they are offering parents the options of purchasing “Nature’s Candy” as Halloween handouts.
These are healthy treats of real food: fresh, raw, dehydrated, fermented and natural. Dehydrated things like star fruit, persimmons, and blood oranges; honey sticks filled with real local honey, or locally grown macadamia nuts, and wholesome fresh fruits, all tasty and nutritious treats instead of the sugar loaded candy concoctions traditionally associated with Halloween fare. “We want to encourage parents to think about what kind of treats they will be handing out,” says FM Manager Winnick.
October 29, three days before Halloween, at the Sikes Adobe Farmers Market in Escondido all the vendors will be sampling their different versions of “Nature’s Candy” which the Santa, who will be in attendance, calls “Garden Bites.” They are part of the Santas’ three-part healthy kids promotions conducted in markets throughout California during the Holidays aimed at helping parents get their kids off the “SAD” diet of fast, junk and processed “food-like-substances.” It shows kids the joy and fun of “eating real food,” and living a creative sustainable life-style.
When kids say, “Trick or Treat” we want them to know the “treat” of ‘eating real food,’ ” says Winnick.
It is the sugar industry that is promoting the “tricks” says Sustainable Santa aka Dr. Richard Eckfield whose Sustainable Santa Foundation teams with health concerned non-profits Statewide to try to reverse the catastrophe of kids’ ill-health which has exploded in the past 30 years.
The trifecta of fast, junk and processed “foods,” stripped of nutritional values and the fiber so important to good digestion has led to this explosion of diet driven illnesses never seen in kids just a few decades ago, says Eckfield. Sugar, in the amounts now consumed by kids, is toxic, with illnesses like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease becoming one of the fastest growing ailments showing up in elementary school age kids, he says.
“We applaud Market Managers like Clare Winnick, who are partnering with us to help the Parents help their kids eat healthy and live a long and sustainable lifestyle. That’s the ‘new message’ provided by the 21st Century Santas who are no longer the old obese sugar candy, cookie and sugary drink pushers anymore. That guy was invented as a ‘Sugar Salesman’ by the Coca-Cola Company back in 1931 and that message is now 86 years out of date,” says Santa.