Somewhere along the way, some very clever marketing peeps managed to convince us that Easter was all about chocolate. I don’t think we took too much convincing! There aren’t many of us that doesn’t like a shiny looking chocolate blob of sugar, preservative, additive and goodness knows what else without any goodness!
I normally do my best to avoid sugar for myself and my family. So what did we give our kids? The very same foil wrapped eggs most people gave their kids that we picked up at Big W. Why? Because I think it’s more about the foil and hooking into chocolate before breakfast one day a year than it is about the sugar… And loving it!
Emeran Mayer in his great book, ‘The Mind-Gut Connection’ delves into the science of our ‘second brain’ in our gut. Our so called second brain earns this title for all the neurotransmitters and hormones that can be controlled and produced in your gut.
This works both ways. If you eat consistently poor food with low nutritional quality, then your gut microbes will change from positive gut microbes that are beneficial to you to a more negative ‘village’ type that is beneficial to them, and leaves you with poor physical and emotional health. You could quite possibly have symptoms such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Anxiety and the list goes on.
However, if you consistently eat food that is fine to great in nutritional quality and you eat it while you’re rushing through emails, stressing about work, feeling guilty about what you’re eating and generally don’t feel calm or happy, then your good gut microbes won’t be getting the jump on breeding in your gut either! Cortisol, our stress hormone that we’re familiar with hearing about in relation to our brain, is made in large amounts in our gut. When we’re anxious, busy or stressed, we produce lots of cortisol to help get us through our stress, but it isn’t helpful to good microbe environments or digestion.
So with this in mind, what do you do with leftover chocolate? If you haven’t had any yet and you’re trying to pretend you’re too healthy for chocolate but you’d really like some… Go on and have some! I had a white chocolate Lindt bunny my husband bought me and I loved every bit of it! It was soooo sweet that I had it over the couple of days and it was great. (I am really not into food guilt!)
We gave our kids an egg each and then the rellies gave them another 5 million eggs each! We gave the kids a container each and suggested they unwrap all their eggs and break them up into the container so they can eat them as they want. This seems to be the fun part! The same thing has happened this year as other years, the chocolate has gradually been forgotten and in a week I’ll throw it out. Besides, eating the same tasting same looking thing each day (‘would you like a piece of your chocolate or one of these biccies out of the oven?’) means that the chocolate loses out. And I’m thrilled that they’ve made their own choices, haven’t been denied anything and yet have only eaten a relatively okay amount of chocolate.
The moral to the story? Eat nutrient dense food happily. And if you’re having a break from nutrient dense (maybe in the form of a white Lindt bunny!) then eat it happily and your body will be able to deal with it. We’ve all enjoyed a bit of chocolate and some low nutritional density food here over the break… But it’s Monster (broccoli) Soup on the menu tonight!