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  • Writer's pictureMonica Kuebler

How to Have a Junk-Free Easter: 5 Essential Tips for a Healthier Holiday Celebration

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 my and my sister's dresses and all of us attending church (which was unusual in my household so I knew it was an important day before I understood what Easter represented). We received baskets filled with toys, lovies, money, and loads of sweet treats, a lavish Easter dinner that left no one hungry, and a fantastic egg hunt to be laughed about for hours and remembered for years to come 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 Jesus Christ as the savior of my broken soul and leader of my life at the age of 30.


I have to say that looking back we had a pretty healthy Easter day tradition. We honored the purpose of the day and even though I didn't fully understand or accept it until later in my life, 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 fun yet 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 relational connections within the family grew a little more each year. I remember always being sad that the day was over because we had had so much fun together.


Last year, my family and I converted our religion and became Eastern Orthodox Christians. Between that and having a child, we’ve changed a few things from when I was growing up. The Orthodox calendar does not follow the same calendar that the Protestant church does so Easter is not always on the same day for each faith each year. But because it’s fun, we give our little one an Easter basket with all sorts of fun things inside that don’t contain any of the sweets I had in my basket growing up. This is not a hard thing for parents to do despite the common misnomer you may believe. It just takes a little bit of thought behind what you are going to use your hard-earned money on to bring a little joy to your children that doesn’t involve chemicals and simple sugars that make them sad, sick, misbehave, lack self-control, and potentially ruin the day for your family.

Like everything in America, when we celebrate anything we celebrate big and with LOTS of food and sugar. This holiday is typically coated in chemically colored eggs, bunnies, and chicks that hold enough sugar in them to throw a rodent into a diabetic coma. The availability of all that is sugary, toxic, and fake-food products in our country has never been higher, but it is losing ground in its power over your health as people, like you my dear reader, become more educated and take positive action on what better choices exist. The choices don’t involve guilt, inflammation, chemicals, liver burdens, or extreme challenges to your microbiome’s normal functioning processes.

Here are a few of the ways that me and my family celebrate Easter now with a healthy approach:


Celebrate The Miracle of God

I wake up early, spend some time with my heavenly Dad, and pray for all the people heading to church that day who don’t usually attend or are seeking God. I pray that they receive a clear message about the fact that we as humans are all born as sinners. We are imperfect and because of those imperfections and flaws, we need to be saved from the punishment that sin deserves and as justice dictates. I pray that they accept the gift of a savior that we have been given and choose to follow Jesus with the story of our lives and our everyday choices from that day forward and share the message of Him with others.

I mean it really is the greatest story ever told and the fact that it really is true as the Orthodox Christian church has plenty of proof of is just incredible. In case you don’t know it, here is the short version: the only perfect man that ever walked this Earth was Jesus, the son of God the Creator of the entire world, who came to Earth knowing that He was to take the punishment for all of humanity's sinful nature which separates us from God through torture and an excruciating death, was then buried in a tomb, went to hell for 3 days to speak to the suffering souls that were already there to give them the choice to follow Him and then rose from the dead coming back to life with hundreds of witnesses to confirm this miracle. And performing miracle after miracle after miracle in the time He was on Earth. Yes, I want to follow and celebrate the miracle of that man, daily. He proved 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 The people of this oh-so-broken world need saving from the sin that corrodes our hearts and the one to deliver that salvation, the savior, is waiting to be accepted for the gift that He is every day to everyone. The rest of the Easter celebrations are meaningless without Him.

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 and 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. Over time 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. I like the Vital Farms brand which I can find just about anywhere if I am not near a local farm that uses GMO-free feed.


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 now since I learned the origin of Easter ham which has nothing to do with Jesus. 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), jellybeans, and malted chocolate eggs, we don’t do ANY sugar at all. Why? 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. Almost every client that comes through my practice has an overabundance of Candida albicans yeast growing in their gut wreaking havoc on their brain, weight loss efforts, energy levels and metabolism. 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?


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:


For Him

A journal

A letter of encouragement

An Orthodox Bible (it has more books of the Bible than a Catholic or Protestant Bible)

Homemade beef jerky

Popcorn

Sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts

A new tool for his toolbox

A new pair of work gloves

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

For Her

A Women’s Daily Devotional Book

An Orthodox Bible (it has more books of the Bible than a Catholic or Protestant Bible)

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

For Kids

A children’s Orthodox Bible

A journal

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 jump rope

Sidewalk chalk

Stickers

Stuffed animals

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!


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