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On Friday, we prodded you to binge this Easter. That was a bit of lie. Now that the big day is here, bring on the waves of guilt.
Of all the festive occasions the calendar has to offer, Easter has to be one of the most challenging when it comes to staying healthy. With aisles and aisles of chocolate eggs all vying for our attention, and the overflowing piles of hot cross buns screaming to be consumed, it’s an annual tradition that reliably derails our health. Every. Single. Year.
What you may not realise is that it’s not just your overall health or waistline that bears the brunt of a late night affair between you and a family-sized slab of “Dairy Milk”; when you spend too much time devouring chocolate, and sugar specifically, you’ll also cop the impact square on the chin – and I meant that quite literally! Your skin’s health can be directly affected by what you shovel in your pie hole.
Rebecca Mason has been fast gaining a reputation as a healthy skin expert, after her own personal journey from acne-laden-lass to gorgeous-skinned-Goddess made national headlines. So we asked Rebecca for her tips as to how we can enjoy that bloody bunny’s visit, while still keeping our (skin) health in tact. Rebecca’s sage advice was to swap out the more nefarious sugar items with a few healthier treats.
Opt for raw chocolate
Yes, raw chocolate is still chocolate and, therefore, it’s not the best choice when it comes to overall healthy eating. But, it’s Easter for Pete’s sake, so if you stumble across a raw chocolate option that contains sugar substitutes such as cacao butter or coconut oil, then it’s definitely a healthier choice that your skin and waistline may thank you for later!
The process of making raw chocolate means the ingredients are not overheated or cooked at high temperatures – so this is, literally, what makes the ingredients “raw”. By extracting the ingredients through lower temperatures, the health-giving compounds within the ingredients stay active rather than being burned out. For example, magnesium (a stress-reducing compound) is potent in cacao, but not when it is extracted at high heat. So when you’re eating raw cacao chocolate, you’re providing your body with a de-stressor, which is ideal if you are trying to coordinate a massive family lunch around Easter!
Cacao is also a phytonutrient, which means it contains a plant-based nutrient that promotes health-giving compounds. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cacao has been found to stimulate improved thinking skills – yet another great side benefit to eating raw chocolate!
Grab the carob
Carob doesn’t come from the same beans as cacao; it comes from small carob pods. But, be aware that carob can directly react with your skin, so you may find raw chocolate a better alternative. If your skin can handle carob, then definitely choose it over standard chocolate, as it is often healthier than the options you’ll find in the confectionery aisles of your local supermarket.
Like cacao, carob is a polyphenol (i.e., a phytochemical), which is a powerful compound sourced from plant-based foods, which contains antioxidant properties. Similar foods include tea, wine, berries and olive oils. The polyphenol provides several health benefits, but the most significant is probably the protection it provides from free-radical damage, as well as guarding your skin from the negative affects of ultraviolet radiation (which can severely disrupt your collagen, and promote wrinkles and fine lines).
Try a cold cross bun
If one of your annual highlights is devouring your bodyweight’s worth of hot cross buns, you might want to consider trying the following health-friendly recipe. We call it “Rebecca’s Skin-Friendly Cold Cross Buns”.
• Handful of dates
• Handful of cashews
• Two teaspoons cacao powder
• One teaspoon coconut oil or grass fed butter
• Small dash of water
• Two sprinklings of cinnamon
• Two heaped tablespoons of chia seed
• Desiccated coconut, for decoration
1. Blitz everything except the desiccated coconut in a food processor for a few seconds until you get a thick paste.
2. Scoop out the mixture (two tablespoons at a time) and start rolling the balls into “bun”-like shapes.
3. Sprinkle desiccated coconut in a cross-pattern along the top of each.
Did you know sugar is more addictive than cocaine?
Research published in the Public Library of Science showed that sugar is far more addictive than its more refined, illegal counterpart.