Whatcha gonna do with all that junk? all that junk inside your...

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Whatcha gonna do with all that junk? all that junk inside your…

pumpkins 2014

Dahlstrom Pumpkin Magic 2014! (I kind of feel like the one on the top right.) The BEST thing about carving pumpkins is the ROASTED SEEDS! A GREAT anti-oxidant (and who doesn’t need more of those after All Hallows?)

Happy November!  

(Translation: Welcome to Junk Belly Central and Gut Healers R US)

The great thing about November is that now we get to eat HEALTHY stuff!  Yep. I’m comin’ at ya with yet ANOTHER post about #bonebroth! (insert eye roll here)

No but really, last month we had so much fun learning how to make it, preserve it, & how it was healthy!  Now guess what?  Yep!  We all can be super grateful that we did!  Gut healing here we come!…

—–

Let’s address firstly, some of the Dangers of Halloween.

No not witches, bats & goblins.  Rather all the crap that gets ingested and why it is horrendous.  How we got Junk Belly…

chili 2014

All organic all veggie chili cooking away on the stove in prep for the big fright night.

Right?  I mean, who else is suffering from post-halloween coma?  Wow, fun really costs me these days.  And my family too.  Goes to show how well we really do eat normally, that a few days of pizza, ice cream, soda, cupcakes, and store bought halloween candy can send us all into a tailspin.  Although I am proud to say that I only ate 3 pieces of halloween candy – specifically fun sized peanut m&m’s, Almond joy & Snickers – and only 1/2 a piece of pepperoni pizza (bleck).  For me, rather it’s the gluttony of too much *spirit* lol.  As far as food goes, we really go all out trying to be certain that everyone gets a healthy meal before the fright night begins.  Every year Dr. Eric & I host a full chili bar with all organic homemade chilis, both meat and all veggie, complete with a full scale mostly gluten-free topping bar.  Nothing but the best before the kids bust a gut later.

chili bar 2014

The chili topping bar this year…just realized I forgot to put out the cliantro and parsley in my race to the death! damn.

My son is only now recovering from his NASTY bout with *IBS* (a stupid anagram to describe the junk belly that comes along with eating a standard American diet).  Yep, because he’s a kid, and he thought he could get away with it (or maybe he just didn’t think at all), there was loads of unsupervised Halloween candy, pizza, soda, bread, muffins.  In short, binge eating.  He is the son of a nutrional counselor and he knows better.  But truly, he was just being a kid.  Poor thing.

Some succint words about Halloween Candy (aka poison from the devil meant to induce long term disease and reliance upon perscription medication in order to benefit the economic prosperity of a very privilaged few who eat none of it likely).  OOOPS!  sorry!  I didn’t mean to get political.  It just slipped out.  Forgive me.

The thing is, store bought Halloween candy is just so incredibly nasty bad for you in every way imaginable!  To list only a precious few:

1) Partially Hydrogenated Corn Syrup (a fancy way to say Trans Fat).  I mean if the FDA is considering removing Trans Fat oils from the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) list?  Come on!  Not safe for human consumption?  Why put that s*#t in kids’ candy?  Lord have mercy.  Trick indeed – No treat.

dr's potion

Dr. Eric’s potion of death….

For more info click here: http://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/natural-health-101/why-are-trans-fats-bad-even-the-fda-agrees-they-are-worse-than-expected/

2) High Fructose Corn Syrup.  HFCS represents more than 40% of caloric sweeterners.  They “contain anywhere from 55 to 90 percent fructose and are derived from corn, a heavily subsidized (read: cheap) crop. Manufacturers love HFCS because, especially when compared to regular sugar, it’s cheaper, sweeter and produced in abundance.  But studies have shown that chronically high consumption of fructose in rodents leads to [liver and systemic] insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure.”  It is not the same thing as cane sugar.  Not by a longshot. 

For more info click here: http://www.sott.net/article/288056-The-evils-of-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup-It-really-is-that-bad-for-you

brain 2014 - low rez

#brainfood – what? eating brains doesn’t make you smart?

3) HFCS from GMO Corn.  Uh-oh, she said GMO.  Why worry?  That’s a whole encyclopedia of hot topic.  but I’m guessing that if you are here on Dr. Eric’s blog, you kinda know why.  Sum it up with this:  If the corn is biologically & genetically changed on the cellular level so that it will kill the insects who eat it, why would YOU want to eat it?  On that note, the way that it kills said insects is eerily similar to the way that it kills rats in laboratory studies, by causing cancer, diet related diseases, gastro-intestinal disorders, allergies, etc.  Again, why wouldn’t you also be killed?  Finally, if it is genetically created to resist the herbicide/pesticides that are sprayed onto it to further resist pests, then that means that that same corn is COATED in pesticice that is again, meant to kill pests.  If it will kill pests, it will KILL YOU TOO.  Stop buying GMOs and you can stop buying pink bows in October. No brainer.

4) Carrageenan. Never heard of it?  If you have, wait, isn’t that “organic?”  Well, yes.  It is derived from red-seaweed so there is nothing “fake” about it, therefore it qualifies as organic.  But does that translate to “good for you?”  Nope.  What is it for?  Why do they put it in there?  It is a filler.  For consistency.  Usually added to milk, milk products, and non-dairy milk substitutes, carrageenan creates a creamy thicker fuller consistency while similtaneously thinning out the actual product making it more cost effective.  Cheapskates making a profit off of your tummy trouble.  Carrageenan has been shown to cause serious inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and liver as well as intestinal abnormalities.  Recently, “the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Research Council of the United States have deemed carrageenan to be a carcinogen” (ie: causes cancer).

For more information click here: http://bodyunburdened.com/carrageenan/

And for a list of Carrageenan free companies click here: http://t.co/Vetw41LkZm

5) Child Slavery.  Nope, not a costume.  This is real.  “Most chocolate sold in the U.S. comes from cocoa farms where farmers work in unsafe conditions, receive below poverty wages, many of them children under 14 years old who are forced to work and denied education…The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa producer, providing 43% of the world’s cocoa…A 2002 report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and other African countries estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations since they don’t ‘own them’.”  So, if you are going to consume chocolate, or let your CHILDREN eat chocolate, please don’t do it at the cost of other childrens’ well being.  Buy Fair Trade.  

For more information click here: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/the-bitter-truth-about-chocolate.html

For a list of Fair Trade chocolate brands click here: http://orgcns.org/1shlX7Y

life lemons -lower res

minidrdahl “When LIfe Gives You Lemons…” I wish he’d make a bit more lemonade instead of eating pretzels!!!

And yes, you may have heard about companies like good ol’ American Hershey’s commiting to fair trade chocolate only (more info here: http://fairtradeusa.org/…/hershey-21st-century-cocoa…).  While it is true that they have publically stated a commitment to fair trade, those kinds of changes in multinational food coorporations take decades to actually take effect.  In the meantime, my bet is that they are hoping to increase they’re profit margin by jumping on the fair trade bandwagon and children are still suffering.  Require proof.  Be safe.  Be kind.  Buy fair trade.

Oh, and on a lighter note, well, maybe not lighter on your belly….

6) Wheat/Gluten.  Surprised?  I bet.  Why on earth would you need gluten in candy?  For the same reason you need it in baked goods.  A binding agent.  Or sometimes as barley malt for that malted flavor.  Just a handfull of the many candies that contain gluten?: any licorice (including twizzlers, sour punch candy straws, etc.), kit-kat bars, whoppers, twix bars, crunch bars, & milky way bars.  As I mentioned above, even if you do NOT have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, gluten is just plain bad for happy gut health.  Over time it can cause all kinds of stomach, intestinal, or systemic disorders including IBS, leaky gut, celiac disease, thryroid issues, or many different auto-immune disorders.  Wheat/Gluten can also seriously effect brain chemistry causing depression or any number of brain imbalances.

For more information, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUgcLQOUSA&noredirect=1

and another good one is here: https://t.co/dBAo5TRZPJ

Wait!  We didn’t even get to the MOST BASIC of all the many bad ingredients…

cali cat 2014-lower res

This one is enough sugar for me. My Cali-cat. Yep, she got a belly ache too. She just complains less.

7) SUGAR. I mean, haven’t you all seen that rampant viral facebook post about how your brain looks the same on sugar as it does on COKE?? (And I mean cocaine not CocaCola although that is really bad too.) You can find that here: http://mic.com/articles/88015/what-happens-to-your-brain-on-sugar-explained-by-science And here’s another more explanation of why it is so bad: http://wellnessmama.com/15/harmful-effects-of-sugars/  The point is, it’s bad.  Addictive, disease causing, and exhausting.  A quick fix and gone in an instant.  Not a good source of sustained energy or nutrition.  Just the worst.  Period.  And to top it all off, recently, studies prove that sugar, all sugar, doesn’t only worsen existant cancer, but also increases your chances of developing cancer, and wait…yep. CAUSES CANCER.  For more info on that, click here: http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/13456-research-reveals-how-sugar-causes-cancer.html

 

Ok, so now that we have figured out where all the EVIL came from this past holiday & thus how my son got so SICK….Let’s get to fixing him (and me).

This week #minidrdahl was only allowed to ingest six things (GAWD was he pissed!):

sick wyatt-low res

Being forced to drink bone broth…it was like pulling teeth! But, he finally admitted, it truly did make his belly better.

Peppermint tea (with raw honey), plain organic yogurt (with raw honey), brown rice cakes (seaweed ok), organic applesauce (cinnamon flavored ok), dairy free probiotics (read yokult, good belly etc.), and YEP YOU GUESSED IT!  Homemade organic chicken BONE BROTH! woot woot!  This short list consitutes some of THE FINEST gut healing rememdies known to man.  Along with some acupuncure from Dr. Dad, some gentle yoga pose instruction from Mom, and more than a few jet-propelled expulsions, minidrdahl is feeling MUCH better and was back at school today, finally.

You too can recieve this valuable assitance with Halloween Junk Belly recovery! Call for your appointment with Dr. Eric NOW! 310-207-0222 (jk but totally not).

Although…NOW, the boy says that he is having leg pain and still has a lot of sinus congestion…residual systemic reaction?  It’s not isolated in the gut folks; What you eat is what you are.  Pervasive.  BAD Allergies and a little asthma?  In my opinion it’s all a result of the BAD FOOD.  But that is me, Dr. Mom, self-diagnosing (Dr. Eric hates it when I do that…thus the title #mrsdrdahl! lol).

drink up 2014- low res

The Death of me! Drink up Witches!!!”

Or maybe you are like me this week.  Sluggish, swollen, sore, and grumpy.  When the Big Event is over, the system just kinda shuts down, like, “Um, I’m done!”  I know you won’t be surprised when I tell you that my back is out, AGAIN.  I have that acursed mushy bruised feeling all over my body.  Happens every damn time!  I have “damped down” or so they call it in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) too many sweets, excessive caffine, or alcohol will do it.  Plus, although red wine is an anti-oxidant, it still makes my wrists hurt.  Its the nitriates maybe?  But prolly more than that.  There are several other obvious signs that my body chemistry has gotten out of whack.  I mean, the stress of a high pressure guest filled evening in my home, one that takes cleaning and preparations and happiness and socializing and guests and clean up?   Yep, causes depletion!  This week too, I’ve got a herpes blister on my chin, a canker sore on my mouth, and my hair is falling out.  I’m going to have to haul my own self into the office.  Gonna get me some acupuncture and cupping too!  Be like me!  Visit Santa Monica Healing Arts.  No no, really, do. DO.

 

But, why worry about gut health?  I mean, it’s just a stomach ache right?  It’ll pass.  Pop some Tums and get over it?  Not so fast fastguy…

**ooooh! time out.  Fun fact:***  did you know that Tums is ridonkulous?  (our opinion).  Tums was created to cure excess stomach acid.  But most people who suffer from heartburn actually have a LACK of stomach acid, causing digestive failure and thus leaving the food to rot in the stomach.  This rotten food creates acid which thus creates acid reflux.  Tums doesn’t fix THAT kind of acid.  What does fix that  ironically, is MORE stomach acid – to help digest that stagnant food.  Guess what?  An actual really truly great stomach acid whole food supplement is a Standart Process product called Zypan (available at Dr. Eric’s office!).  Also the kicker is that Tums’ slogan advertizes that it “is not just an antacid but also a calcium supplement!”  Well, yes, Calium Bicarbonate contains Calcium, but an non-acidic environment prevents absorbtion of calcium in the stomach.  You’d only absorb the Calcium as a supplement if the product was defective and NOT decreasing the acid in the stomach.  So if the product does what it says it does than it doesn’t do what it says it does?  Whatever.  Just don’t eat crappy food.

 

But back to our topic at hand.  Gut Health.

After Halloween, there’s no doubt that you’ve got an excess of sugar in your system.  There’s another thing that likes sugar besides my son.  YEAST.

You guys know that there are good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut right?  So there are these YEAST populations.  They do their job by eating all the crappy sugar that you put in your face.  But guess what happens when you eat too much sugar?  Pro-biotics get eaten alive, and an imbalance ensues.  Don’t feed your yeasts!  Ladies, you all know about a yeast infection right?  UNPLEASANT.  So, a systemic yeast infection?  What is that?  When those yeasties have prevailed and have come to inhabit your entire body system causing inflammation, bloating, pain, joint pain, soreness, god knows what.  I’ve had a systemic yeast infection on a few occassions, mostly in my late 20’s & usually post Valentine’s Day when I have consumed WAYYYYY too many See’s Candies.  They suck.  God they are delicious.  So, my son and I might BOTH be having a systemic yeast infection currently.  His from straight up sugar, mine from the sugar that resides in alcohol (because I am so *good spirited!*).  For more information about candida overgrowth from sugar click here: http://t.co/w695qzy23z  It’s a BITCH I tell you.  And we should know better, but we don’t.  The struggle is REAL.

But, basically, when you’ve thrown your body chemistry all out of whack in so many ways, what you need to do is CLEANSE.

Bummer, but yes.  Cleanse.  Start with only the above mentioned happy gut foods, or even fewer and under a Dr.’s supervision, and slowly, very slowly add back in one gentle food at a time.  Keep away from excess wheat, dairy, spicy, and otherwise complex foods.  You will be able to recognize what is tolerable and also learn what is displeasurable to you system so that you can avoid it in the future.  BTW, Dr. Eric is really good at this kind of assisted cleansing and helping you track your food patterns to find problems.  He has all the whole-food supplements to assist your body and great Metagenics detox products as well.

Poor #minidrdahl was PISSED to limit his food like this, and we didn’t even do a prolonged cleanse, only two or three days.  I told him “Guess what?  Sometimes what you don’t like doing makes you much happier than what you do like doing.”  Weird, I know, but true.

If you have celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance, then click here for more info re gluten recovery: http://t.co/RE9q7MJGvY

In summary, if you’ve screwed yourself up, or even if you haven’t…WHAT YOU GONNA DO WITH ALL THAT JUNK, all that junk inside your …trick or treat bag?  Assuming the ENTIRE bag hasn’t already been consumed, you have some options.

First:  BURN IT.  Not suitable for human consumption.  Especially those less fortunate or in a stressful life threatening situation – they deserve better.  But since our world doesn’t yet work like that…

Who you callin' Witch?

Who you callin’ Witch?

Two:  Call on the Switch Witch with your children (and yourself).  Convince them to “trade” their candy with her.  If they leave it out in a bowl with a note, the Switch Witch can be convinced to come in the middle of the night and swap it out for a non-candy gift that they have really been hoping for.  Magic.  Then burn it!  Or, trade it into a buy back program or operation gratitude – see below.

Three:  Ask your kids to donate it, and then take them to a health food store like Rainbow Acres or Whole Foods to buy “replacement candy.”  Be sure to decide before you enter the establishment how much money you are willing to spend on this “replacement.”  Teach as you go, showing them why one sweet is better than another and what is acceptible to you.  A GREAT teaching moment.

Four:  There are many Dentist Buy Back Programs wherein your local D.D.S. will pay $1 per lb. to “buy back” the candy in order to prevent cavities associated with sugar (wow, we didn’t even get into those issues!)  The dentists then usually ship the candy off to the troops with Operation Gratitude.images

images-2Five:  There are many ways to donate your candy to the Troops if you decide to do so.  A couple of such programs in addition to Operation Gratitude (you can find that one here: http://opgrat.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/halloween-candy-for-the-troops/) are as follows: Any Soldier (http://www.anysoldier.com/index.cfm), Operation Stars & Stripes images-3(http://operationstarsandstripes.org/?page_id=26), or Operation Shoe Box (https://operationshoebox.com/how-you-can-help/candy-donations/).images-1

Six:  Look into the Ronald McDonald House (because the toxic clown likes to give back to attone for the damage he’s done to kids).  You can find your local branch here: http://www.rmhc.org/volunteerrmhcLogo

Seven: Local Shops, Food Pantries, Pediatric Wards, Homeless Shelter, Retirement Homes, and Nursing Centers.  Try to find your local Meals on Wheels here: http://www.citymeals.org/

Eight: Local Churches, Synogogues, and other places of worship.

 

And us?  Well, we’ll be ok.  Things are already on the mend.  We just slurped down some more broth.  And honey, I’ve got junk in the trunk all day long that ain’t goin nowhere nohow.  

And minidrdahl?  I just caught him sneaking a bag of pretzels in his room…DOH!

me halloween 2014

’till death do us part…

Stay sweet, Sugar!

Coby Dahlstrom (aka #mrsdrdahl)

for

Dr. Eric P. Dahlstrom, D.C., L.Ac.
Santa Monica Healing Arts
Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 (http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)
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Samhain/Halloween – by John Copeland

Well, here we are, well into the last quarter of the year and the end of October.  This week, in the Santa Ynez Valley, we’ve had ample notice that the seasons are changing, the hours of daylight are diminishing and the hours of darkness are increasing. This weekend we say goodbye to Daylight Savings when we turn our clocks back (the 1st weekend of November) and it’ll be even more apparent – the darkness, that is.
But before we “fall back,” on Thursday, we celebrate Halloween with its witches, ghost, goblins and things that go bump in the night.  On Halloween, we also cross into what our ancient ancestors considered the dark half of the year.  It’s all part of why I love October.
Outside of New Years, Halloween, is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today.  A day, or if you prefer, a night full of magic and mystery, that originally celebrated the inextricable link between the cycles of the seasons and life. Halloween has not only survived, it is one holiday that has continued to thrive throughout its long history.  Here  in the United States, Halloween’s popularity is second to Christmas.
Halloween, just like many of our other holidays has been reshaped over the centuries, the ancient beliefs and customs have been altered and new traditions added over time.  These changes happened so gradually and span so many years, that it is often a challenge to unravel all the alterations.  But it you’re like me, knowing a little bit about the rich history surrounding Halloween makes it all that more fascinating a holiday.  Particularly, when you realize how old some of our traditions actually are.
Beyond costume parties and trick-or-treating, the origins of Halloween can be traced directly to the ancient Celtic festival Samhain (sow-in, pronounced like cow). The Romans, the Christian Church and ultimately, modern society have all had a hand in altering this holiday, but even our most contemporary traditions persevere elements of Halloween’s ancient past.
The Celtic peoples, were early domesticators of the horse and in the distant past they spread out from the steppes and across much of Europe.  They lived in what is now eastern Europe, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium, northern Spain, England, parts of Scotland and Ireland.
 The Celts divided their year into eight major holidays and two seasons of light and dark. The season of light began at Beltane on May 1st and the season of darkness began with Samhain on November 1st.  The word Samhain literally translates, from ancient Gaelic as “summers end” and in contemporary Irish Samhain is the name for the month of November.
According to their calendar, their year began on the day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. Since they were a pastoral people, it was the time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and crops were harvested and stored. It marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.
Now, the Celts are believed to have measured time by nights rather than by days, as we do today.  Traditionally the festival of Samhain began at sundown. The Celts believed that on the night before their new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.  More so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons–all part of the dark and dread.
Samhain was a time that a family’s ancestors were honored and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off.  It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks to protect one from being recognized by unfriendly spirits.  And, since malevolent spirits roamed abroad on Samhain night, gifts and treats were left out to pacify them and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. These are customs that are the foundation of

today’s costume parties and what evolved into today’s trick-or-treating.
Hill top bonfires also played a large part in Celtic festivities. On Samhain, all household fires were extinguished and at the end of the ceremonies, brands were lit from the great bonfires of to re-kindle all the home fires of the tribe. As they received the flame that marked this time of beginnings, the ancient Celts surely had a sense of they were kindling new dreams, projects and hopes for the year to come.
By 43 BCE, the Romans had conquered nearly all of the Celtic lands. The Romans, although conquerors, were surprisingly accepting of the beliefs of other cultures.  In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled, two Roman festivals became combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.
The first was Feralia, also celebrated in late October, when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple.  Apples were also a special fruit to the Celts.  At the heart of the Celtic Otherworld grew an apple tree whose fruit had magical properties. These festivals were blended with Samhain and the apple became part of the “Halloween” celebration that would become Halloween in the form of “bobbing” for apples.
Samhain began evolving into the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. As a result of their efforts to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.
In terms of spreading Christianity, this was a brilliant concept and it became a basic approach used in Catholic missionary work. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the mid-winter celebration of many peoples. Likewise, St. John’s Day was set on the summer solstice. While missionaries identified their holy days with those observed by the Celts, they branded the earlier religion’s supernatural deities as evil, and associated them with the devil. The Celtic underworld inevitably became identified with the Christian Hell.
The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows (hallowed means sanctified or holy), continued the ancient Celtic traditions. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche, to be satisfied with the abstract Catholic feast honoring saints. People continued to celebrate All Hallows Eve as a time of the wandering dead, but the supernatural beings were now thought to be evil. The folk continued to propitiate those spirits (and their masked impersonators) by setting out gifts of food and drink. Subsequently, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Hallowe’en–an ancient Celtic, pre-Christian New Year’s Day in contemporary dress. The practice of retaining traditional customs while attempting to redefine them had a sustaining effect: the traditional beliefs and customs lived on, in new guises.
However, it was in Colonial America that these old historical traditions merged and a distinctly American version of Halloween emerged. Colonial Halloween festivities featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the early 19th century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween wasn’t celebrated everywhere in the country.
In the second half of the 19th century, America was flooded with new immigrants, millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine.  These irish helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Today, children and many adults dress up in various different costumes, some inspired by the latest films, characters from fantasy stories, and other areas of popular culture. The whole notion of trick-or-treat came from Ireland.

The custom of going door-to-door threatening to play pranks if treats are not received came from Ireland of the 18th and 19th centuries when the children of tenant farmers would go to the Lords or Landlords manor demanding treats or they would play pranks.  The children would carry with them jack-o’lanterns which were made by hollowing out a turnip or sugar beet and carving bits out to represent facial features and would then be lit from a candle placed in the inside. The idea behind this may have been to frighten off any supernatural forces that might be about on this night.

The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger- making them easier to carve than turnips. Using pumpkins is an American contribution to celebrating Halloween.
By the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $7 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.
But, Halloween is no stranger to controversy even in the twenty-first century, it has always been targeted by those who wish to control it, from the early Catholic church to the various political and religious groups of today. Yet, Halloween has managed to achieve national status without the holiday status of the July 4th or Christmas, because it’s a celebration of the potential of what humans want to be and, if only for one night, what they would not otherwise be.
Halloween endures because it allows its participants to both embrace and defuse their fears. From the ancient Celts who looked to the spirits that wandered Samhain night for insight to the future to the little vampires and fairies trick-or-treating at your door, Halloween’s adaptability is the reason it remains—after nearly 2000 years—the most bewitching night of the year.
Of course, whether we’re trick or treating, bobbing for apples, or dressing in costumes, each one of these Halloween traditions relies on the good will of the very same “spirits” whose presence the early Celts felt so keenly. Ours is not such a different holiday after all!

Dahlstrom Day of the Dead

Dahlstrom Day of the Dead

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~Scottish Saying
Have a Happy Halloween.
__________________
John Copeland
Rancho Olivos
2390 N. Refugio Rd.
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
www.ranchoolivos.com

for

Dr. Eric P. Dahlstrom, D.C., L.Ac.
Santa Monica Healing Arts
Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 (http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)
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