Trick or Treat

Celebrating Halloween changes when your kids grow up. And it shifts again as the grandchildren grow older too. This is perfect, as it is the way of things and signifies growth. I was mindful of the day, as I took care of business and ran errands, celebrating in small and joyful ways.

I also had a decision to make. As one who no longer eats sugar, I felt conflicted about handing out sugary treats to trick or treaters.

From that place of desiring to offer more, the Trick or Treat Experiment was born.

My own nod to Halloween was simple. Tropical Smoothie Cafe hosted a Hogwarts Day event. As a fan of the Harry Potter books and films, I stopped by to have a pic taken with the Headmaster, Dumbledore, and pick up a fruit smoothie.

No need to try on the Sorting Hat. I already know I am in the House of Slytherin.

On this day only, Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers a Butterbeer Smoothie, in honor of Hogwarts Day. Because of its high sugar content, I opted instead for a refreshingly tart cranberry strawberry smoothie, with no sugar. It was just what I needed for an afternoon pick me up.

At the grocery store, I made a decision about what to offer trick or treaters. We can’t hand out fresh fruit, for safety reasons. Unfortunately, fruit can be tampered with. But happily, I found fruit snacks in little sealed give away bags, and mini fruit roll ups. These aren’t as healthy as a banana or apple would be, but at 45 calories and 6 grams of sugar, they are a better alternative to candy bars.

I purchased a bag of mini Kit Kat bars as well. I don’t want to be that crazy health lady who forces a different lifestyle on others. But what if I offered a choice? Given the option of a Kit Kat bar, with 210 calories and 21 grams of sugar, or a packaged fruit snack, which would kids choose?

I was about to find out.

I offered the bowl of treats to each trick or treater, without influencing the child’s decision. I let them choose, and kept a running tally in my head.

Given the opportunity to choose, the majority of the kids asked, politely, if they could have more than one treat. Of course, I replied. Help yourself. And they did, with grins and words of thanks.

At the end of the evening, here were the results. More fruit snacks were chosen than candy bars. The mini fruit roll ups were the night’s winner. Among kids that selected two snacks, if they picked up a candy bar, they also grabbed a fruit snack as well. And often, those who chose two treats selected two fruit snacks.

With the group of kids that came to my door, it appears that given a choice, most of them preferred a fruit snack. I felt ridiculously pleased with the trick or treat experiment! This gives me hope that a generation is rising that will be more health conscious.

Trick or treat? Treat…especially when it is a low sugar one. I have a year to see what other options are out there, for even healthier treats. Perhaps next year my choices will be fruit snacks…or cashews!

My Halloween costume…a Slytherin pin.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

I was excited today to try out the smoothie cafe that opened in Joplin recently. I’ve heard positive comments about it and every time I drive by, the parking lot is full. This afternoon I stopped in while running errands for my first cold fruity drink from Tropical Smoothie Cafe. 

The cafe is located at 3102 E 7th Street, near the busy 7th and Range Line intersection. The restaurant serves a variety of smoothies along  with sandwiches, wraps and salads. At Tropical Smoothie Cafe they are guided by the belief that when you eat better, you feel better. Which is why they choose to use real, better-for-you ingredients in their smoothies and food. I agree with their belief!

I ordered the Watermelon Mojito smoothie with a blend of watermelon, strawberries, mint and lime. Greg was with me and tried the Sunrise Sunset smoothie with orange juice, pineapple, mango and strawberries. Both were wonderfully refreshing. The interior of the cafe was bright and cheerful and the service was exceptional. We enjoyed sitting at a table for a few minutes, sipping our drinks. 

About a quarter of the way into my smoothie, I started to feel strange. I became light headed and almost believed this smoothie had alcohol in it. That’s when I realized I had just made a mistake. In my excitement to try a smoothie at a new cafe, I failed to ask if there was sugar in the drink. A quick check revealed that unless otherwise requested, the smoothies contain turbinado. I had to google that word. Turbinado is a pure sugar cane extract that is spun in a cylinder, or turbine, creating a brown sugar type product. It’s a healthier choice for a sweetener. But sugar is sugar and on my “no” list. I stopped drinking the smoothie. 

It was my fault, for not asking about sugar when I ordered! There are other options. I intend to find out if there is a smoothie available without turbinado or artificial sweeteners. Tropical Smoothie Cafe does offer vegetarian meals and has low gluten products. I will certainly try another smoothie and after my healing cleanse, sample their salads. 

I learned today. I learned to always ask whether there is sugar or gluten in the food I’m ordering. Sugar can lurk anywhere. I’m committed to following the cleanse precisely…for my benefit, for my best health. I know sugar isn’t a good choice for me. I had proof of that today. 

And I learned that my body is pretty cool. After just 15 days without sugar, it reacted, strongly, to the small amount in my smoothie. I unintentionally created a sugar spike which produced an immediate effect. An unpleasant one, I might add. This is amazing to me, as I’ve never noticed such a reaction before. The tolerance I had built up to sugar has already dissipated. My body will let me know when I consume something unhealthy. I’m thrilled to have discovered this today. 

I still highly recommend Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Check out all they have to offer. I’ll go back and order a different smoothie. Like maybe tomorrow.