It’s the time of year that shoots sugar levels sky-high! The store shelves have been made over to represent something from Willy Wonka’s factory as opposed to a normal retail outlet. Along with the shorter days, this season also ushers in the slowing health regime.
I get it, it’s school holidays and the mornings are darker. It’s the same for everyone. If we aren’t careful this is the perfect storm for us to begin losing all those hard-earned results, we so desperately fought for over the summer. If you have stuck at it consistently over the warmer months you may have been lucky enough to push that healthy routine from your conscious willpower into your subconscious habits and you just might be able to survive through the winter. However, if you have been consistently inconsistent, now is the time to be extra vigilant.
Easter, traditionally, is a time for chocolate. But see, chocolate does some funny things to our brains. I’m not just picking on chocolate, all processed sugar does. You know how your 5-year-old will be running and playing one minute, then the next be on the floor in a fit of sugary fury. It would probably interest you to know that we adults go through the exact same feelings as our children. The only difference being we tend not to go into a crying mess…well most of us. We simply feel an energy slump, lack of focus and general sense of frustration and handle it with a coffee and some M&Ms. Or do we?
When I say “handle it”, I mean “our addiction handles us”. When we constantly fall into that state of ‘needing a sugar hit’, we aren’t in control. It is the same biological and psychological process a drug addict goes through, it’s just that sugar addiction is more socially acceptable because it has become normalized through legal availability of sugar and a generous > 90% uptake rate. It will come as no surprise when I say that with these usual Easter customs, including the ones I was raised on, we are instilling these same uncontrollable habits and addictions on our children.
The framing of chocolate as a reward, so much so that a magical bunny will visit once a year to bring us some, embeds strong, skewed beliefs in innocence that knows no better. As we grow, we act mostly in our alignment with our beliefs. When we have forever believed chocolate and sugar is great, it is a tough thing to shake even in an apparently sane adult brain. These rewards are no longer few and far between and the concentration is huge without us really knowing. To put things into perspective at a nutritional level, the World Health Organisation recommends children under 8 eat less than 5 teaspoons of sugar a day. An average, medium-sized Easter egg contains 23 teaspoons! I don’t know about you, but stopping at one medium Easter egg would be monk-like self-control in our house hold.
Having said all that, Easter should be a wonderful time of year and like Christmas, it is a time of catching up with friends and family. We should make it fun and festive. With a few simple tweaks you can make it a whole lot healthier too. Here’s a few simple tips:
- Limit each person to 1 chocolate egg or bunny.
- If you know the family or friends are going to go berserk unless otherwise warned, do so.
- Buy a darker, finer, richer chocolate so that a little goes a long way.
- Make your own, healthier versions with heaps of alternative ingredients (from The Produce), like the ones from damyhealth (below).
- Keep the Easter egg hunt, but use craft (non-edible) eggs instead (Be careful with littlies, we don’t want any choking hazards).
- Make the feast about finer food, not just a sugar buffet.
- Keep ‘Easter eating’ to one meal, or at the most one day.
- If you are on holidays, keep the eating and exercise as close as possible to your normal routine.
- Sub-in relaxing activities as opposed to just lounging around, whether it be swimming at the beach, playing with the kids or going for a long walk.
Yes, Easter is once a year, and a little indulgence at Easter is a part of healthy, happy living. Just be mindful to keep it that way. Have a safe and happy Easter!
HOMEMADE LINDOR HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Yield: Makes 24 Muffin Tin Chocolates or 12 Lindor Eggs
- 1 Cup Virgin Coconut Oil (Room Temperature)
- 1/2 Cup Organic Cocoa Powder
- 12 Drops of Liquid Stevia (or 1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup)
- 2 Tsp Hazelnut Extract (or 2 Tbsp Hazelnut Liqueur)
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth (stopping to scrape down the sides).
- Spray (thoroughly) your plastic egg cups or mini muffin tin with a healthy, non-stick cooking spray.
- If using the egg cup option – fill both sides and quickly seal the egg shut.
- If you are using the muffin tin option – simply scoop 1 Tbsp per muffin cup.
- If you are using the eggs – place each filled egg in a muffin tin to hold it upright. Smack the muffin tin down a couple times to release the air bubbles.
- For both – place in the freezer for 2-3 hours (cover the muffin tin option with saran wrap).
- Muffin tin option – immediately remove and enjoy.
- Egg option – Remove from freezer and using a dish towel for grip pull each side of the egg off to unveil your chocolate egg.
Name: Chris Zerbe
Profession: Health & Success Coach
Facebook: 313 FIT
My name is Chris Zerbe and I am the founder of 313FIT & 313 Optimal Living. We provide Health & Success Coaching to individuals and businesses in the local Ashgrove area. Previous to my coaching career I spent 8 years the corporate environment before moving into my passion to inspire others to lead happier, healthier and more successful lives. It is my absolute pleasure to be able to contribute to The Produce community and I hope I can help guide you to a better you.