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It’s getting warmer (unless you are in Florida, it’s warm there all the stinkning time), which means spring is upon us and Easter is almost here. The chances are you have been eating a little bit better since the onslaught of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years…or at least that is my hope : ). However, as I stated earlier the Grinch who stole Christmas is back and he wants to steal your muscle and give you some more fat instead of coal. The simple truth is here is no escaping the onslaught of sugar that threatens us at every turn during Easter. From peeps (gag me, never liked these), to chocolate bunnies (love these), empty calories abound.

To fight off the Grinch and his sugar blitz, you need a plan.

Some Facts Regarding Sugar…

This is going to come as a complete surprise, but those cute fluffy yellow demons…I mean peeps…are filled with sugar. Shocker, I know. Here is the other surprise….Sugar is bad for you.

Sarcasm aside, chances are you consume too much sugar already. Add to that, Easter candy and you are getting a large enough dosage to put a hummingbird into a sugar coma as well as adding unwanted jiggle to your middle.

This is what happens within the first 20 minutes of consuming sugar, your blood sugar level spikes. This sudden rise in blood glucose (sugar) stimulates your pancreas to start pumping out large amounts of insulin. The insulin allows some of this glucose (sugar) to be used immediately for energy (good thing). The rest is stored as fat by insulin, to be used later (bad thing).

In short, the more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces as it works hard to remove the glucose from your blood. As you can probably guess as this point, these high levels of insulin are not healthy.

First, the extra insulin in your blood stream signals to your body that you need more glucose, which causes you to crave even more sugar. Frowning face for you, smiling face for the Easter Grinch.

Second, after repeated exposure to high insulin levels, your cells begin turning numb to the effects of insulin, and this leads to a condition called insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Huge Frowning face for you, and I would like to think once the Grinch goes to therapy he too would have a frowning face. When you no longer respond properly to the storage effects of insulin, the sugar in your blood has nowhere to go, and so it continues circulating in your blood. This is what is known as a ‘high blood sugar level’…yep, super technical term. The result is that you feel fatigue, because you have no way of accessing the energy that is in your blood stream. You will likely feel weak, tired and have trouble concentrating, because your brain uses glucose to function.

Third, If your blood sugar levels stay elevated, damage begins happening to various parts of your body. For example, the capillaries become damaged (which leads to blindness), your kidneys become diseased (which can eventually require dialysis) and nerve damage occurs throughout your body (which can lead to amputations). The heart muscle also suffers, which leads to heart disease, and your organs begin aging at a faster rate. You also become more susceptible to infections.

Is the above really worth it? At this point, I am hoping even the Easter Grinch is starting to question is actions.

All that being said…it’s Easter…Come on man!

I can hear the complaint, “Easter only comes once each year. Do you really have to be so crazy about it?” No and Yes.

Yes, because there will always be an excuse to eat poorly. Last month it was Valentine’s Day. The month before that saw New Year’s Eve. Before that was Christmas. Before that was Thanksgiving.

Yes, even if those holidays magically didn’t happen no doubt your schedule included countless other “can’t-miss” opportunities to throw all caution to the wind! You likely had business dinners, birthday parties (my daughter turned 2 : ), evenings out with friends, fundraising banquets, breakfast meetings, church dinners…

Every one of these occasions screams, “But this is special!! It’s okay just this once!” But…we both know it wasn’t once was it?

And NO, but some HARD love. At some point, you have to stop the insanity, make a decision and choose health, so that the indulgence truly becomes the exception; not the rule.

Some Easter Options

Consider the following ideas for your Easter basket. Sticking to this list will ensure that you are clear headed and full of energy while your buddies are slipping in and out of consciousness after their sugar highs!

Dried fruit (eat with a protein such as nuts)
Very dark chocolate (choose some with very little sugar)
Nuts
Fresh fruit
Whole grain crackers and pretzels
Cheeses (I like to mix the crackers and pretzels with the cheeses)
Popcorn

Non-food ideas for kids’ baskets:
Play dough
Ball
Jump rope
Sidewalk chalk
Crayons
Garden starter set
Butterfly habitat
Beading supplies
Swimming toys
Card games

In short, have a healthy Easter!

Regardless what you choose to do go and be awesome!


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