It’s hard for me to love the Easter Bunny.
Tomorrow is Easter, a Christian holiday whose mascot predates Christianity by a good bit. The bunny is a holdover from the sort of spring celebrations of rebirth whose free sensuality, consumption, and imbibing most Christian traditions have worked to squelch, and pretty successfully too.
Today, in the U.S., we’ve well toned down the Dionysian tradition, feeding our spring frenzy by roiling in baskets of chocolate and sugar rather than orgies, sacrificial critters, and alcohol.
But this sweeter celebration is just as likely to leave you with a wicked hangover. A sugar hangover at least. If you’re like me, chocolate bunnies trigger terrible migraines that can last for days. Eating too much sugar trashes your system, giving you a headache, stomachache, and leaving you confused and really, really, really tired.
And that’s why I fear the bunny.
I’ve worked hard for years to push refined sugars out of my diet. Once I beat my sugar habit, staying in control is not really very difficult, so long as I keep sweet things out of my house. But Easter, and most holidays, brings it in one way or another. Sugar seems to seep in through the walls.
So I’m sitting here, writing this, not 10 yards from Cadbury caramel eggs intended for family members’ baskets in the morning.
I haven’t eaten one yet. In years past though, I bought them several days in advance of assembling baskets. And then I’d buy them again after having eaten all of them. And then I’d eat them from the basket my husband would have put together for me. And then I’d buy them on sale after the holiday. That is, I’d eat myself sick for a couple of weeks straight.
I haven’t had one yet. That’s the good news. These candies will do two things to my system. They’ll give me a wicked migraine, my first and fastest result of eating chocolate in any form. And they’ll trigger a feeding frenzy. This latter symptom has something to do with my blood sugar, I believe. Especially when eating sugar on an empty stomach, I experience a “rush” from it, a sudden burst of energy that I like and want to sustain, so I eat more of it. I “crash” within an hour or two after eating sugar. I know that’s coming too, and want to fend it off by eating more.
And then there’s that hangover in the morning.
Knowing how lousy the results are, I would think it would be easy for me to avoid candy altogether. And really, nowadays, it is. But for some reason, maybe because I just loved Easter as a kid, I don’t know, candy this time of year is hard for me to pass up.
I have two methods for dealing with it:
One, not eating it. But, frankly, I’ve tried this, and it’s pretty hard. Maybe too hard. I tend to overeat other things because what I really want is the candy.
Two, allowing myself to eat a little of it, but never, ever on an empty stomach. This seems more realistic. Planning to give myself a little treat makes not eating those candies right now pretty easy. Tomorrow, I’m allowing myself one or two pieces of non-chocolate Easter candy immediately after our family meal. I’ll plan to eat the candy slowly, really savoring it, and letting it complete my Easter experience for the year. Then I’ll send any remaining candy home with people who can tolerate it better than I can.
So, allowing a little of the thing you crave on a full stomach, planning for it, really enjoying that little bit, and then stopping may be the way to go when food cravings are taking over.
Eating sugar along with a high-fiber source, or some fat (like nuts, peanutbutter), will help keep your blood sugar stable, avoiding the high and the crash and the hangover.
Okay. My plan’s in place. Bring on the bunny.