Healthy and Halloween are two words that don't normally go together, but Eden Hertzog — a Toronto mom and owner of New Moon Kitchen — has created an alternative to mass-produced candy that she says is flying off the shelves.
Hertzog was tired of buying candy for kids that she wouldn't feed to her own kids, so she created 'Spookies' three years ago.
"It's our spelt, dairy free, egg free chocolate chip cookie," Hertzog said. "Everybody loves it."
In 2015, the bakery on Wiltshire Avenue near Dupont Street and Symington Avenue made the cookies available for the first time on a small scale, but this year New Moon has sold over 40,000 across the GTA, Hertzog told CBC Toronto..
"It's been a crazy, blowout success," she said.
As a mom, Hertzog says she enjoys the fun of taking her kids trick or treating, but she wants to start steering Halloween in a healthier direction.
"I just think our kids deserve good stuff," Hertzog said.
Spookies are sold in a bag with about 50 cookies and are also nut free.
Ethically sourced ingredients
The Toronto Zoo shared a post on their social media urging people to think twice about what's in their candy.
The post refers to unsustainable palm oil — noting it contributes to a decrease in orangutan populations from deforestation.
The Toronto Zoo's website has a section dedicated to information about palm oil.
"Conservation action is required now to prevent numerous species of plants and animals from becoming extinct," the page says.
"As Canada's largest zoo and a national leader in saving wildlife, the Toronto Zoo is in an excellent position to raise awareness about the palm oil crisis and provide the tools and information needed to allow Zoo visitors and stakeholders to make globally responsible consumer choices."
Not good for your gut
Holistic nutritionist Cassandra Hope said palm oil has its benefits when consumed in its purest form, but becomes problematic when the oil goes through the refining process.
"The palm oil itself is quite refined when it's sold in candy and that has an inflammatory impact on the body," Hope said.
Depending on the person, Hope said the inflammation that occurs can result in gut pain, food intolerances, chronic gas and water retention.
And it's not just candy — the holistic nutritionist said the ingredient can be found in many different types of processed food products that aren't good for kids.
"The way we feed kids really sets them up for the rest of their lives," she said.
Hope said she is seeing an increase in the number of clients interested in both healthy eating and food that is ethically sourced.
"I actually see that a lot," Hope said. "I think it's a growing movement."