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My infamous candy obsession all started in the early ’80s when I was being potty trained. Like most children, I simply did not want to ‘take the garbage out’ (I’ve since learned this is exceedingly normal 2 year old behavior, and most kids struggle to toilet train). Like many parents, my mother kindly bribed me with tiny, adorable rainbow candy items… Think M&M’s, Skittles, Gummy Bears, etc. When I was just starting out I got 3 M&M’s every time I went to the bathroom; this number increased up to 5 pieces per incident as I excelled through the process! If only life still worked this way I would hands down be President of the United States.
Slowly but surely I decided that going to the bathroom on the toilet was worth my while on three fronts – 1) I got to have candy; 2) I was given very cool big girl underwear – imagine Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite and the cast of Sesame Street; it was glorious; and 3) I no longer had to walk around with a diaper full of crap. Triple win. Moreover, somewhere amidst this drama was born a serious passion for candy, a positive association that has not only never abated, but actually grown in its ferocity. No doubt Sigmund Freud would have a field day analyzing this childhood anecdote!  At least I know Mary Poppins would approve of the fact that I used to get a pixie stick (grape, duh) every time I would take a spoonful of medicine!
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Suffice it to say, I have 30+ years of deep candy love under my belt, manifested in my personal drive to experience all the gourmet candy the world has to offer (while also eating plenty of mass-market candy) and learn as much as possible about brands, types, makes and trends surrounding candy. This breadth and depth of experience culminate in true candy expertise. It’s been said that an ‘expert’ is somebody who has devoted at least 10,000 hours to their field or pursuit of choice. I think it’s safe to say that since I could read I’ve spent 10 hours a week in some state of candy experimentation, exploration and consumption; I’ve definitely reached 10,000 hours and beyond. It’s time to share this bounty of wisdom and knowledge with the world!
Lest you think I’m literally the worst fitness and nutrition advocate on the planet, it’s important to note that I generally eat a healthy diet. A career in health means that it’s not only important to stay extremely active and property fuel my body, but also it’s necessary for general longevity and physical / mental health to make sure that we eat a proper, balanced diet full of protein, good fats, and beneficial carbohydrates. This is not to say that everything has to be healthy – I believe that eating healthy absolutely allows for eating dessert! Having treats is an important aspect of health and balance. You will never hear me telling someone to always avoid sugar, dairy, carbs or anything unilaterally; I don’t believe in banishing entire food groups from ones repertoire (if you have a specific health issue, that is very different).
My message to all of us is this – live life, be active and healthy and allow for some guilt free indulgences. That’s what we should all do; in fact, I find that when I’m being too strict with myself it only leads to some sort of a disastrous binge scenario where I end up eating way more junk food that I would have otherwise.
Interestingly enough, what really motivated me to finally do this project, a project I have been thinking about for a year, is the fact that I just completed the Whole30 program (visit www.whole9life.com to learn more). It’s a great program, one of the few strict ones I actually like, where we eat a limited array of very healthy foods. We only get to eat some fruits, vegetables, eggs, seafood, meats, nuts and associated nut oils. That’s it! If it’s not a whole food on that list, it does not pass between your lips. The only way you would get cake is if you literally fell forward, mouth open, face down, directly on top of a sheet cake. So…no desserts.
Somewhere smack in the middle of doing this program (I JUST finished), approximately two weeks ago, I was having yet another impassioned conversation with a friend about my deep love for candy when it occurred to me that it’s time to stop feeling guilty about being a fitness and nutrition professional who loves candy.  It’s time to embrace the duality! Why feel guilty about the things we love? Guilt does not make us change our minds, that is for sure.
I am absolutely thrilled to bring my quirky myriad wealth of candy and dessert knowledge and life musings to kids and adults alike…let’s build an awesomely sweet community!  Whether you’re a kid who loves candy or an adult who wants to get in touch with her/his inner child, this is for you. Sometimes life is fun and sometimes it is more complex – but there is always room for simple pleasures. This doesn’t necessarily mean eating candy, since pleasure comes from doing anything we love! We all deserve to feel joy, happiness and a sense of childlike wonder and freedom.
Remember, candy and health are not mutually exclusive topics; rather, they are two sides of the same coin. The same goes for many other seemingly contradictory topics.  Balance is the key.
We all need a little sugar in our lives!

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