Excited for Easter !?

We sure are !

We will be heading to Bequia tomorrow morning for the weekend sailing regatta. Known as the best weekend of the year in the islands, the sun will be shining and the sandy haven jam packed with festivities. My easter brownies and cookies are in the fridge and we are almost ready to set sail.

I hope you all have a wonderful relaxing break filled with all the stuff great memories are made of !!

However

Before you run to remove your gym clothes and take up a comfortable position on the couch holding your free pass to indulge in 100 hidden chocolate eggs, let’s take a closer look at the after effects this years’ indulgence may have on your health, happiness and what we can do to avoid sore tummy’s and PHD’s (Post Holiday Downers!).

We often discuss weight gain as a long term effect of irregular or less than optimal food choices, environmental influences, exercise habits, prescription drug intake, stress levels and genetic influences, however many issues arise from the over-consumption of sugars and fats set in a short and specific time frame.  

Recent studies show that holiday periods such as Easter may be in the top 2 contributors when it comes to long term weight gain and this ranking is largely to do with the fact that a higher concentration of  animal fats and refined sugars are consumed during these times.

An interesting article by Stephan Guyenet in his series on the neurobiology of eating discussed a particular study where researchers found that HALF (I highlighted this because this is a substantial number peeps!) of annual weight gain occurs during the holiday periods.

What is even more interesting is that this particular weight gain tends to be ..wait for it.. “permanent” (yes as in.. gained and never lost!).

In addition to the fact that refined sugars, additives and animal fats allow for an increase in body fat cells, the after math may include sore bellies, feelings of lethargy due to the disruption of digestive processes and feelings of sadness and/or de-motivation due to the rise and fall of blood glucose (ever felt BLAH after a big Easter?).

Ok so I realise these global epidemics are not going to end with you turning down your sugary chocolate eggs this weekend, however surely it is something to think about as you turn to munch on that extra large bunny ear?

How does it make you feel? How many years have you been at this game? Could these food types be causing annual weight gain, depression, anxiety or tiredness?

Let’s make this easter a happy healthy one so we feel wonderfully refreshed, relaxed and renewed at the end of the weekend !

You all know how I love raw food  although, this time I have opted to give you 2 oven baked recipes. Sometimes just the preparation and baking experience in itself can be fun, therapeutic and engaging for the family.

1. Paleo Easter Brownies !

Paleo Black Bean Brownies – Inspired by Fit Station

    • 1 cup black beans
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 tbsp. melted coconut oil
    • 1-2 tsp stevia (to taste) or 100% maple syrup
    • 1/3 cup of natural cocao
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup cacao nibs
    • 1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350
Process the beans, eggs and coconut oil together
Combine stevia (or maple syrup), cocoa, baking powder and vanilla into the mix
Add in the chopped walnut and cacao nibs. Stir until they are incorporated
Pour the batter into a greased (using coconut oil) 8 x 8 glass dish
Bake for 30 minutes
Check to make sure they are done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the brownies. If it’s clean when you remove it, they are done. If it’s still wet, then put them back in for a couple of minutes
Cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving

2. White Chocolate Easter Bunny ! 

White Chocolate Easter Bunny Recipe by Sugar Free Mom

  • 1 cup softened coconut butter 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla liquid stevia

Directions

In a microwaveable bowl melt coconut butter with coconut oil. Stir in vanilla extract and stevia. Pour into silicone bunny molds. Refrigerate or freeze until hardened about 30 minutes to an hour. Store at room temperature or freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tip – You can add 1 tbsp raw cacao or more to taste to make a dark chocolate bunny ! 

3. Gluten and Sugar Free Easter Cookies !

Marissa Nieves Pure Life Fitness Chocolate Cookies !

  • 1/3 cup ABC spread or almond/hazelnut butter
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol free)
  • 2 tbsp almond or oat milk
  • 2 tbsp date syrup (4-5 dates soaked in warm water and pureed)
  • 2 ½ cups rolled oatmeal (gluten free)
  • A dash cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder (optional)

In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until smooth. Add nut butter, milk, vanilla and date syrup. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 13-16 minutes at 350 degrees, or until done.

4. Sunday Breakfast Egg Bunny with Grapes ! 

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE, ENJOY A HEALTHY, HAPPY BREAK. INDULGE IN TASTY FOOD THAT YOUR BODY LOVES AND STAY ACTIVE. YOU DESERVE IT !! 

Have fun and enjoy the weekend !

Always committed to your success,

Marissa