Were you shamed by an Easter indulgence? 

Friday 10 April, 2015 

  • Cravings and desires are never easy to fight off

  • Discover the secrets of a healthy chocolate egg

  • Why it is all about balance and the occasional treat


As you know, I'm not one of those 'holier than thou' health nuts.

When it comes to food, I think life is about having a bit of what you fancy. No point in spending our days beating ourselves up about our indulgences, or panicking about everything we eat.

Otherwise you live a life of guilt. Unhappy, stressed... and therefore UNHEALTHY.

You know what I mean? As you sidle into the kitchen, pretending that you're only there to make a herbal tea, you think....

'Shall I have that biscuit?'

BOOMIING VOICE: No! It's evil, you're weak!

'Oh dear, for some reason I'm now holding the biscuit.'

BOOMING VOICE: You FOOL, you'll suffer for it!

'Hmmm.... that's weird.... now I'm eating the biscuit. It feels good.'

BOOMING VOICE: You shall PAY for this! You will become as big as a whale, your teeth will fall out, you will spend an eternity in biscuit limbo!
And as you wipe away the crumbs, your heart sinks.

'Ah, now I feel bad. Very bad.'

When bad is actually GOOD

Going on like that, you'll end up like a Medieval monk, wandering about in a horse hair shirt, whipping your own back.

Instead, I believe that we should all make informed choices. If we know what's in food, and how it works, we can eat well, and enjoy a treat when we need it.

If you know when you are indulging, and accept it as part of a balanced and otherwise healthy diet, there's no need for self flagellation.

All of which is my way of justifying the chocolate fest that I enjoyed last weekend.

As I told you in the letter on Sunday, the tradition in my household has always been that I eat my Cadbury's Button Egg with my morning coffee...

What I didn’t mention though, was that I then proceed to munch my way through many other sweetened delights as the day goes on.

The booming voice I alluded to was the rest of my family (and a little bit of the Daily Mail too) who act as my conscience at such times.

I suppose they are merely offering what could be described as common wisdom.

On most occasions though, I tend to feel that common wisdom is totally wrong.

What many people call an 'indulgence' is actually good for you.
For instance...

...the secrets of a healthy Easter egg

Chocolate high in cocoa solids (70% or more) is not at all bad for you... in moderation.

  • It contains nutrients like iron, calcium and potassium, and vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E.
  • It contains magnesium. A lack of this mineral in your body has been linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and premenstrual tension (PMT or PMS).
  • The fat in really good plain chocolate does not actually clog up your the arteries.

Chocolate also stimulates your taste buds, relaxes you, sends waves of pleasure through your body, and releases endorphins... those pleasure drugs your body makes itself.

(Here I go again, getting myself excited!)

If you prefer milk chocolate go for something with a minimum of 30% chocolate solids.

Don't pick cheap brand name chocolate that has less than 20% chocolate solids. These things are high in sugar content and saturated fats.

So, you see whilst I may have been indulging my passion for the sweet things in life I was actually making some conscious decisions about healthy options. (Please don’t point out the nutritional facts about Cadburys chocolate to me at this point... I’m trying to make myself feel better after all!)

But I didn’t go too mad on the subject!

While looking into all of this, I read a very weird story.

Britain's first ever 'healthy' chocolate Easter eggs are being made with watercress.

Wendy Akers from the Watercress Alliance said: 'This is the first time watercress has ever been used in a chocolate egg.

'It's great to combine something healthy with something a little more indulgent.

'I'm sure it will be delicious - it just shows how versatile watercress is.'
Hmmm... sounds intriguing, but I think I'll stick with my 70% cocoa chocolate egg!

Make a balanced approach easier

There is a danger in my thinking though.

By using the magic of the ‘interweb’ it is possible to find a good reason to eat virtually anything.

If you were so minded you could make a diet sheet up that would give your GP a heart attack if they saw it, but each item would have something to commend it to you.

A Mc-King burger has salad and reduced fat cheese in it, the massive coco-frappo-mocca-cino bucket of coffee has many types of anti-oxidants inside and even good ol’ fish and chips retains some of the healthy oils from the raw fish.

So, as well as recognising that a bit of a food treat will perk you up, you do need to address the balance in your diet as a result.

By all means have a bacon butty for breakfast, but balance that with a nice bowl of home-made vegetable soup for lunch and a jacket potato with salad for dinner.

If you’re thinking on having a take-away curry tonight make sure breakfast is a hearty porridge, and lunch a satisfying celeriac salad.
You see a bit of evening up doesn’t go amiss.

OK, I think I’ve done enough to justify the chocolate last week now.
I hope you have enjoyed a little warmth and sunlight this week.

If you did think about how it made you feel, Sunday's letter might make you realise that those few hours you spent in the sun could be a really powerful way to begin to change your life for the better.

Intrigued to find out more? Keep a look out in your inbox this weekend.

Yours, as always






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