I always look forward to the Easter break. After gathering speed in the first part of the year, it’s the most perfect time to draw breath, recharge and look sensibly at what the next few months have in store.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Easter, it is such a blessing to have four days to spend with family, friends and loved ones. It can also be a time of social madness and crazy commitments, including some that you didn’t necessarily sign up for. I have learnt over the years that a sense of acceptance and embracing whatever comes your way is important to keep your stress levels low. If, like me, you’re unlucky enough to be a control freak, you’d know it’s hard not to want to control the outcome, so I say to myself often, “just breathe”.
Now let’s be brutally honest, we all know Easter really revolves around feasting on way too much good food, chocolate eggs and, yes, you’ll even forgive yourself if you have one or two hot cross buns. Come on, it’s only once a year, right?
So with that in mind, for the past month or so I’ve been embracing the popular 5:2 intermittent fasting style of eating which allows me to enjoy my normal healthy way of life five days a week with a few treats thrown in (think very lovely red wine) and then eat three small meals totalling 500 calories on the other two days. It’s really easy to stick to and I’ve been losing roughly half a kilo each week which is very motivating! By the time this weekend hits I’ll have done my two hard-core days, so I can relax and enjoy my time away. Then, come Tuesday when I’m back at work, the fasting day will knock me back into shape – literally!
On the five good days, I’ve been incredibly inspired by Lee Holmes’ book Eat Yourself Beautiful. Most mornings I’ve been making her yummy smoothies for myself and Rob. They’re filling, easy to whip up and do you the world of good. For a nice boost of antioxidants, her latest one is definitely worth a whirl around the blender:
Almond and berry smoothie (serves 2)
– ¼ cup raw or blanched almonds
– 1 ripe banana
– ½ cup mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc)
– 1 cup filtered water
– ½ tsp cinnamon
– ½ tsp vanilla extract
Place almonds in a blender, add a quarter of the water and blend until a paste is formed. Keep adding water until you have the consistency of almond milk. You may need to add some extra water. (Personally I just use almond milk). Add banana, fruit, vanilla and cinnamon, then blend until smooth. (I like to use frozen bananas and berries to make it thicker and colder, or throw in a handful of ice).
For me it’s all about the yin and the yang, finding balance in everything. So indulge a little and enjoy your Easter, then come back refreshed and ready to get back into your routine again. No matter what you decide to do, enjoy a great break, be safe and embrace every moment.