Halloween is next week. This time of year is usually exciting for kids and memorable for adults. Crisp air and crunchy leaves underfoot go hand-in-hand with the holiday. People carve pumpkins for their front stoops and decorate their yards with orange lights, tombstones and ghosts. Some blocks have incredible decorations and they seem to get more elaborate and colorful each year.
Our neighborhood has cycled through generations of families and is currently filled with children of all ages. I still expect the trick-or-treat traffic to our door to be busy--though it truly has been falling off with families choosing to celebrate in other ways--and I purchase bags of miniature candy bars to hand out. My favorites are the Hershey’s Family Bag, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Snack Size Jumbo Bag, and the Nestle Fun Size Bag.
I don’t buy just a few bags, I buy lots of bags. I want to be prepared for an on-slot of trick-or-treaters but also avoid wasting candy. This logic always makes sense when I’m standing in the store trying to calculate how many bags to purchase. It is only after opening the bags and dumping them into a huge bowl--to provide the youngsters with a nice variety--that those miniature candy bars tempt me into ‘having just one.’
We’ve all been there, right? And, most of us don’t stop after ‘just one.’
While kids can seemingly pound their Halloween candy without more than a sugar high, most adults would be left with a stomach ache the next day. Researchers from the Buck Institute of Age Research in California actually uncovered a gene that causes adult ‘candy intolerance.’ The researchers studied a population of fruit flies and found that the Foxo gene (a gene found in both flies and humans), an insulin transcription responder, turns on and off in younger fruit flies, allowing them to easily adapt to changes in diet. In older flies the Foxo gene remains turned on, which disrupts their metabolism.
When your stomach hurts you probably don’t care too much about fruit flies or the Foxo gene. You could head to the bathroom cabinet for any number of over-the-counter medications that ‘treat’ diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and upset stomach. Instead, I’ve chosen to turn to a natural Chinese herbal formula that’s worked for millions of people for thousands of years.
Although Chinese medicine has a reputation of tasting horrible, there’s a new product geared toward the Western palate that really does taste good. It’s called Digestive Harmony and it is based on a formula of Hawthorn Berry/Shan Zha, Pinellia (stem)/Ban Xia, Massa Fermentata/Shen Qu, Poria (fungus)/Fu Ling, Sprouted Barley (fruit)/Mai Ya, Raphanus (seed)/Lai Fu Zi, Red Tangerine (peel)/Ju Hong, and Forsythia (fruit)/Lian Qiao, but includes a blend of orange and chai flavors.
Digestive Harmony works to maintain stomach balance, harmony and gut health. It can be used for short-term relief caused by over-indulging or daily to keep your stomach settled. I’m keeping it on hand for Halloween night because, frankly, I’ve probably purchased much too much candy again this year.