A Junk Free Easter
I remember growing up how much I always looked forward to Easter. My parents worked hard to make it a super special day including my Mom handmaking me and my sister's dresses, all of us attending church (which was unusual so as a kid you knew it was an important day), baskets filled with toys and sweets, a lavish Easter dinner that left no one wanting and a fantastic egg hunt to be laughed about for hours by everyone.
As a kid, I didn't fully grasp in my heart and mind why this day was so important but being together with my family to celebrate it each year planted seeds that eventually grew roots when I chose to accept Christ as the savior of my broken soul and leader of my life at the age of 30.
Like everything in America, when we celebrate we celebrate big. Considering that Easter is the celebration of the most important event in human history, so much so that it literally split time (as in B.C. before Christ, A.D. after death), it's no surprise that this holiday is typically coated in pastel colored sugary sweets and who knows what else that is terrible for the overall health of our minds and bodies.
I have to say that looking back we had a pretty healthy Easter day tradition. We honored the purpose of the day (even though I didn't really get it, like really get it until later as I mentioned). I at least knew that there was more of a point to the day than decorating eggs, hiding them only to find them for what’s inside them, and to eat more strangely colored candy and huge chocolate bunny rabbits than one could stand. We got lots of movement and exercise during our annual family Easter egg hunt. My folks would hide TONS of eggs all around the yard and after getting the green light to go find them, we just about killed each other to grab the most eggs before the other sibling, and over time cousins, spouses, etc. The day was spent all together, so relationally, a lot of connections within the family grew a little more. I remember always being sad that the day was over because we had had so much fun together.
That being said there are plenty of things that me and my family do differently within the day now. Here are a few:
Celebrate Spiritually I wake up early, spend some time with my heavenly Dad, and pray for all the people heading to church that day especially. I pray that they "get it" and choose to follow Jesus from that day forward and continue to share the message with others. I mean the fact that the only perfect man that ever walked this Earth (that would be Jesus, the son of God-the Creator of the world), came to Earth to take the punishment for all of humanity's sinful nature that separates us from God through torture and a most excruciating death, was then buried and after 3 days, rose from the dead literally coming back to life with hundreds of witnesses to confirm the miracle.
Um, wow. Amazing. Beyond awesome. Never done by anyone else. Proving that he really was who he claimed to be and not a liar or some crazy man but rather the perfect and sinless son of God and the mighty savior that this oh so broken world needs. I'd say that's worth celebrating EVERYDAY!
Eggs Another thing we do differently now in my family than we did when I was growing up is that we eat pastured eggs! We eat a lot of eggs in our house, I mean a lot. What and where chickens eat makes all the difference in whether eggs are considered a "good" for you food or not. Commercially raised eggs are from chickens that eat lots of things that they should not necessarily be eating in the volume that they are given. For example, commercially raised chickens are often given an excessive amount of cereal grains, Canola and soybean oil in their diet to fatten them up quickly and make lots of large eggs. They are also housed in overcrowded chicken houses that have very low levels of sanitation and little if any access to sunshine. The stress that this kind of diet and living condition creates in the animal, and its by-product of eggs increases the level of inflammation and reduces the nutritional density in the animal.
Stressed animals don't produce the most nutritious food. Stressed animals have a reduced immunity so they are not optimal to eat as their "issues" carry over into those that consume them. Overtime these can become factors that perpetuate health issues like high cholesterol, higher levels of inflammation, digestive problems and hormone disruptions.
I get my pastured eggs from local farms and lately most of the grocery stores I go to. There are likely some deviled eggs at the Easter dinner table too, yum! For the actual egg hunt we use plastic eggs and there is often an extra surprise of coins, notes of encouragement, trinkets, toys, or scripture verses in them. A little bit of fun, encouragement, and positive stuff for everyone!
Lamb At Easter dinner the last few years we started eating locally, pastured lamb. Ham was often the primary meat at our dinner growing up but isn't really now since I learned the origin of Easter ham which has nothing to do with Jesus. It's kind of weird. We didn’t eat much lamb growing up and it's something I am still learning to like the taste of. I sneak it into recipes where I can't taste it as much so it's showing up more regularly in our kitchen.
Sugar Free Instead of peeps, chocolate bunnies, goo-filled eggs, Reese’s peanut butter eggs (they were my fave), jelly beans and malted chocolate eggs we don’t do ANY sugar at all. Why? Because refined sugar is toxic, addictive, terrible for our health, and makes me feel bad. But everyone eats it Monica. Exactly! And EVERYONE is suffering on some level because of it.
Refined sugar consumption is an invitation to poor health, nutrient imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, brain issues, irritability, anxiety, fat storage, disease, acne, ph imbalance, need I go on? We have become the society where if something is common it is considered normal when in fact that’s not true at all.
It is not normal to have to take medication to counteract an issue that your pancreas now has due to an over consumption of refined sugar for 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. That’s called diabetes and diabetes is not normal but it is very common in our society.
It is not normal to sit behind a computer for 8 hours a day and expect to move, feel and function fine every day. It’s not normal to have your cavities filled with toxic chemicals (mercury) or drink water treated with chemicals (fluoride) or to eat fluorescent colored foods from boxes and plastic wrapping paper with zero nutritional benefit at every meal of the day. I think you get my point in that just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s normal.
My philosophy is that if everybody is doing it I probably shouldn’t be. I want to be normal not Common, I’ll just listen to his music instead. If you didn’t get that one then you just didn’t get it, let's move on.🙂
Easter Basket Goodies So instead of sugary-laden junk filling the Easter baskets in our house, I include other things that are fun and healthy for my little and big recipients. Here are a few ideas for you:
A letter of encouragement A men’s Bible A Christian book: Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren Weird by Craig Groeschel Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll Lara Bars (they have a carrot cake flavor) Homemade beef jerky Popcorn Sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts A new tool for his toolbox
A new pair of workgloves New grilling utensils Organic, non-GMO grass seed so he has a reason to go play in the yard An orange Homer bucket from Home Depot – to serve as his basket! A 6-pack of his favorite craft beer (stout beers have more B vitamins!) Mini airplane bottles of his favorite spirits
A bottle of organic wine A deck of cards
A yo-yo or other favorite boyhood toy
A Women’s Daily Devotional Book
A Christian book: Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren Soul Detox by Craig Groschel Unstoppable by Christine Caine
A journal A necklace with a cross
Frame her favorite Bible verse Dried fruit A jar of olives Her favorite bottle of organic wine Some yummy dark chocolate (75% or greater) Bath salts A bottle of Young Living essential oil A white candle An eye pillow or sleep mask A new pair of gardening gloves Spring flowers Packets of organic garden seeds or herbs A new planter pot to serve as her Easter basket
A children’s Bible
A coloring book and crayons
Verses of scripture written down and stashed in their Easter eggs
Activities to help kids learn the story of Easter
Hand-painted or colored real eggs
Packs of organic baby carrots Real fruit leathers Mama Chia fruit or applesauce on-the-go squeeze packs Mini packs of almonds Individual nut butter packets
A jumprope Sidewalk chalk
Enjoy your time with your family and friends, and don't be scared to microwave a marshmallow peep for 10 seconds just to see what happens, it's better than eating it! Happy Easter!