It’s Easter! ​Here comes Peter Cottontail . . .

It’s Easter!  ​Here comes Peter Cottontail . . . 

The warm breezes of spring mean that Easter is around the corner!  After ​the trifecta of fall & winter holidays,Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, the bright, cheerful colors of spring are a welcome sight.  ​However, buyer beware!  There is no escaping the onslaught of sugar that threatens us at every turn.  From jelly beans ​and peeps

 to chocolate bunnies, empty calories abound.

You need a plan.

First, the facts

 

Sugar is really bad for you.

When you consume Easter candy, you are getting a large dose of sugar.  Whether it is in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup or cane sugar, the effects ​can be disastrous.

Within the first 20 minutes or so, your blood sugar level spikes as the sugar enters your bloodstream. It arrives there in the form of glucose, which is your body’s main source of energy.  This sudden rise in blood glucose stimulates your pancreas to start pumping out large amounts of insulin, which is the hormone that helps your cells take in the available glucose.  Some of this glucose is used immediately for energy.  But the rest stored as fat by insulin, to be used later.

The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces as it works hard to remove the glucose from your blood.  But these high levels of insulin are not healthy.  For one thing, the extra insulin in your blood stream signals to your body that you need more glucose, which causes you to crave even more sugar.  But even worse, 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.  When your cells 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.’

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.

If your blood sugar levels stay elevated, damage begins happening to various parts of your body.  For example, the capillaries become damaged (which ​can lead to blindness), your kidneys become diseased (which ​eventually canrequire 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.

The ravages of sugar cannot be overstated:  that handful of jelly beans is not worth it.

But it’s Easter!

​There always are “excuses” for eating poorly: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Birthdays, graduations, weddings, etc.

Every one of these occasions screams, “But this is special!!  It’s okay just this once!”

At some point, ​wiser choices should prevail & become part of your daily routine with special indulgences being the exception rather than the rule.

Easter Alternatives

Consider the following ideas for Easter basket treats and munchies.

·         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

·         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

Have a healthy Easter!

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