By Erin Stadler.

 

Random Fact – The origins of the Easter Bunny have been linked to medieval Europe, with the Hare symbolising the cycle of life and procreation. Whilst there are ties to religion in celebrating Easter, some literature refers to pagan festivals celebrating the goddess Eastre, and the coming of Spring (here in the Southern Hemisphere we are heading into Autumn, so it makes a little less sense to us).

 

Fast-forward to our modern-day Easter and we celebrate a long weekend, chow down on chocolate and hot cross buns until we feel sick and cross our fingers it doesn’t rain for 4 days straight. So, how do we get some meaning and balance back in our lives?

By starting new family traditions!

 

I can still remember decorating hard boiled eggs, hiding them in my grandparents’ front yard and having our own family Easter egg hunt, squealing with joy as I raced my grandpa to find the last egg, then sharing the freshly found eggs with our family lunch. Who said that the eggs had to be made of chocolate…?

 

Speaking of chocolate, how much do you know about the product we all love to “hate”?

The raw form of cocoa powder is beneficial to health, offering a well-rounded nutrient profile including proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, fats and minerals – all depending on the variety, geographical location, maturation and cultivation processes of the bean. The problem lies in the excipients (additional ingredients) the manufacturing companies add to their products.

A step up from cocoa based products are the cacao-based products, with the main difference simply being that cacao is processed at a lower heat, allowing it to retain more of its phytonutrients. This lower temperature also allows it to be classed as ‘raw’.

 

To add further complication, chocolate contains methylxanthines – caffeine, theobromine and theophylline – which can trigger migraines in human, leaving many reaching for Carob as a substitute. Recent studies support the switch, with carob offering a lower fat/ higher fibre ratio to cocoa. Carob also provides strong antioxidant properties, helping protect against oxidative stress and linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseas.

 

So, there are healthier alternatives for those of us with a sweet tooth.

 

We would all benefit from some more balance; fresh eggs instead of processed ones, fresh produce instead of packaged and processed, less screen time and more outside time, making memories with our loved ones — (Just remember your umbrella!)

 

Who said you need to over-indulge on chocolate and mass-produced bakery goods to enjoy Easter? Let the kids’ imaginations run wild and see what new traditions your family can create this year!!  

 

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