Need help negotiating the Easter chocolate minefield? With our current social distancing in place, many are understandably using food as a comfort. We’ve been speaking to many patients over the past few weeks, and many have been struggling in this area.
With stress levels so high, now is not the time to do harsh detox plans and put more pressure on ourselves. Nourishing cleanses to restore balance and wellness, absolutely, but not severe removal of major food groups and military-style eating plans.
This season is a time of transformation, to reset and allow the old to break away and a new elegant equilibrium to be established in our lives.
The fact that the pandemic is now over Easter and Passover time is symbolic of new life, new beginnings, protection and restoration. It is also a time to remember those who have passed and be thankful for all we have and celebrate life.
Easter eggs are a symbol of new life and ‘unhatched’ potential. The egg brings hope and purity and is a symbol of fertility and the circle of life. Easter eggs are used to celebrate all of the above, and even though sugar is not high for our immune systems and overall health, it is all about balance.
Celebrate Life with Dark Chocolate
Here are my tips on how to enjoy your guilt-free Easter Chocolate & Eggs, have fun and celebrate all you are thankful for. Remember: every thought you have affects you at a cellular level – so be kind to yourself.
Chocolate has been known to increase the levels of endorphins released into the brain (just like when we exercise), so now more than ever we need these happy hormones. The endorphins work to lessen pain and decrease stress, and the extra serotonin released acts as an antidepressant, but that said, a lot of chocolate is just sugar masked as chocolate, so here are our tips that we shared with Instyle.com of how to enjoy this season with limited repercussions on your health
It’s not fun to abstain from Easter sweets all the time, but you can be savvy and make a right decision rather than going in blindly thinking you don’t have a choice. The main kind of candy people eat around Easter is chocolate, which is beneficial for us (if dark, 70% or higher). Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and minerals such as potassium, calcium, copper, and magnesium. It is also good at hoovering up free radicals, and it’s perfect for releasing endorphins.
Raw cacao releases similar hormones to the feeling you get when you fall in love, so who doesn’t want to feel like that?
Look for All Kinds of Sugar on the Label
Chocolates that are high in cacao, low in sugar, and leave out ingredients like palm oil, trans fats, butter, or margarine are ideal.
Taking a closer look at the label. Generally speaking, the fewer ingredients, the better. The first ingredient listed must be the highest, so if the first ingredient is cacao or a chocolate derivative and sugar is low on the list, then it’s likely to be good, as opposed to chocolate that lists sugar as the first ingredient.
- Pay close attention to all types of sugars listed as well as the hydrogenated oils and margarine, which cause damage at the cellular level and bump up the cholesterol. Some sugars, like aspartame, have been shown to cause cancer in rats.
- Be aware of fructose, corn syrup or organic glucose syrup – though they may seem like a better option, at their core, it’s really all just sugar.
As an example this is an ingredients list from a high street brand in the UK that is NOT ideal for sugar is listed first; INGREDIENTS: Sugar (55%), Cocoa Butter (35%), Rice Flour, Demerara Sugar, Maltodextrin, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin; Vanilla Extract, Salt.
Instead, you are looking for an ingredients list like this for the cocoa is higher than the sugar from the company Moo Free; Organic Cocoa ^44%] (Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass), Organic Raw Cane Sugar ^34%], Organic Rice Powder ^20%] (Organic Dried Rice Syrup, Organic Rice Starch, Organic Rice Flour), Organic Orange Oil ^2%] Natural Flavouring
Both still have sugar, both are vegan, but the ratios of sugar or cacao are better with the Moo Free brand.
Choose Fair-Trade Chocolate that’s Good for You AND the Farmers
I would also recommend that you think about others when you buy your chocolate. Fair-trade Easter chocolate is increasingly easy to find these days. Look for Green & Black’s and other Fair Trade brands in your country.
- Fair-trade UK: Top 12 Fairtrade Easter Eggs
- Fair-trade Australia: Easter 2020: Check out your Fairtrade Easter options
- Fair-Trade USA: When you choose chocolate with the fair trade seal, you make a difference for cocoa farmers, their families and communities.
We should be a little savvy, but not to the point that we’re paranoid because that causes other problems in and of itself. If you feel like a bit of chocolate over the holiday, it’s okay. Let yourself off the hook a little and make good choices if you can.
Lose the Dairy
As with any cold or flu season, it is always best to cut foods made with cow’s milk. This is because dairy is more likely to produce acids and mucus and viruses love an acidic, damp, mucus environment to grow. Anyone with a dairy allergy will testify to feeling ‘snotty’ after eating dairy like myself and one of my children. If you have such allergies, prone to asthma, chest infections, eczema or at risk of developing cold or flu, please avoid animal milk. Plant milk is now readily available and taste delicious so you can easily swap out cow’s milk for the plant. Goat’s, sheep’s and camel milk are less acid-forming than cows milk, but in this current environment to be safe, I would opt for plant milk if possible.
In the UK this family-owned excellent company Moo Free sell dairy-free chocolates & Easter eggs (available at Waitrose even over the Easter weekend & health stores such as AsNatureIntended.uk.com). Booja Booja, Chocolat and Divine are also great brands with dairy-free / vegan options. If you are outside the UK look for similar products to those listed to support your local communities and see this article in Cosmopolitan for more vegan ideas (Cosmopolitan UK: Dairy-free chocolate and easter eggs)
Combine Chocolate and Good Supplements
Don’t forget that you can take:
… before any chocolate, dessert or naughty meal to minimize any blood sugar spikes, bloating, potential weight gain and the ‘carb coma’ energy crash feeling.
You can also add our Liver support capsules if the meal if fatty and or includes alcohol for these capsules support both your liver and gallbladder re digestion of fats.
Always keep super greens as daily foundational support for your wellness to prevent inflammation, acid build-up and provide all you need for optimum health and immune function.
Have a blessed Easter!