Easter and Passover side by side—both religious ceremonies—both with traditions, widely celebrated and both revolve around food. We celebrate Passover and Easter within days of each other; yet they are quite different.
Passover is a celebration of spring, of birth and rebirth, of a journey from slavery to freedom, and of taking responsibility for yourself, the community, and the world.
Easter is a celebration of rebirth and renewal celebrated in the spring as well, but also the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion.
Though Passover and Easter are different, food presents for both. With Passover there are dietary requirements, which some say leads to overeating, and with Easter, celebrators are coming to the close of their Lentin Season… of giving up (or adding in) certain foods or behaviors for 40 days.
My focus is on Easter but for sure I know my many Jewish friends are also groaning with the foods it will tempt them to eat perhaps too much of…
As an Easter celebrator, I am coming to the end of my Lenten penance of giving up certain foods that I love and recall once I removed nail polish for 40 days. Yet interestingly, last year I still had plain nails, but for different reasons. All the salons were closed because of the shutdown of non-essential businesses as the pandemic, COVID-19, ensued. My gray was popping through, nails plain and fancy Sunday clothes nonexistent. But this year it’s not such a big deal to primp and pamper. Perhaps this new norm humbled me and most likely you too.
Our festive time is festive in a somber way. There will be less gatherings, sharing meals with our family and loved ones; instead, perhaps we’ll connect in small groups and via virtual meals, a live video session waving and smiling from afar.
There will be less in mass, service or temple gatherings but watching as it’s streaming through our televisions, computers, phones and laptops. No Easter Baskets for most, as shopping is less frequent. We’ll reminiscence about holidays of yesteryear’s, longing for what once was.
Of course this is a time to remember my Christian faith but without fail the Cadbury… you know… the chocolate egg…to be specific, the decadent dark chocolate egg filled with white sugary cream is never far from my mind.
Other memories crowd my thoughts too—and yours, I’m sure…
On April 11, in 1998, Holy Saturday, the eve before Easter, my Mom had a massive stroke. My life has never been the same. She lived on four more years paralyzed, until she passed away on February 7, 2002.
Though this time is a sad reminder of what was and what is, it’s also my reawakened memories of that darn chocolate egg and the cute little white rabbit with the drop of pink on the wiggly nose making bunny noises as a shout out that it’s that time. Time for the Cadbury egg. Mom was the first to make sure I had loads of the Cadbury eggs back in my full-blown food addiction phase.
Ah, but time goes on, I’ve learned.
One Easter I took my daily walk with my then dog Sage, my white Swiss shepherd, and of course without fail my mind wandered as I recalled the night I got the call from dad that mom had a stroke, but quickly I distract by loud commotion. A small child bellowed, “It’s mine!” Looking his way, evidence of melted chocolate oozed down his lower lip, dribbling to his chin. His frantic Mom seized the chocolate ear-less bunny, which brought on the rage, in her attempt to salvage his Easter outfit.
This scene was all too familiar, with the exception it was this little boy rather than me, a grown woman stuffing chocolate into my mouth as fast as I could—and don’t anybody dare try to take it away from me. Back in my eating frenzy days I was like a wild animal gnarling and hissing to protect my goods. As Sage and I marched on past the little teary-eyed boy, personal memories continued to flood my thoughts, replaying chocolate binge eating often brought on Easter morning with baskets of goodies.
Today, for me, times have changed, many Easter seasons have come and gone as I move through it like it was any other day with food—I honor Easter as a holy day filled with grace and serenity. Before, I feasted on anything and everything I could get my hands on, sort of like a “cheat day” as I broke my 40 days of abstinence of sugary foods.
Yes, I recall all the good times and the not so good times as I walked on.
I fought excessive weight and binge eating most of my life from adolescence to well into my thirties. I was a hundred pounds over my “normal” weight. Up and down I went. I think it was my Mom’s weight that prompted me to focus on my health and weight. I believe her obesity shortened her life. I believe today I understand weight and eating disorders because of my Mom’s life and my genetic line. I also understand we don’t have to take our gene pool as the written law.
We can change it!
Because of my compulsive eating, it was inevitable I’d be at risk of severe obesity, which put me at a greater risk of obesity-related problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and possibly colon cancer—with the enormous amounts of foods passing through my digestive tract, not intended to process at such a drastic rate.
As I neared 235 pounds on my five-foot, six-inch frame, I knew I was in deep trouble in every respect.
I learned for myself I could make choices and live my life in a healthier manner, or… I could struggle forever. I changed my thinking.
I believe in the mind’s power.
I believe we can be anything we want to be. I put my energy into learning about the subconscious mind and made a shift. I found my connection to a Higher Energy, my “go to” to assist with the changing of the mind and ultimate change with my relationship with food; hence, the weight corrected.
I began my self-healing through changing my thought pattern stating, “I am thin” as opposed to “I’m fat” and visualized and imagined a thin me—to “be” thin and ultimately act thin which opened and connected me to my Divine Source with miraculous results.
My food choices slowly changed and sugar, flour, and wheat eliminated. It was a slow process of progress, not perfection. In time, slowly and steadily, my weight corrected, cravings disappeared, and I became quite happy living my best life.
Today, my weight ranges between 138 and 142 pounds. I went from dire obesity to a weight considered normal for my height.
My motivation for earning a master’s in mental health and a PhD in addictions was to work with the eating disordered–to bring help and hope through hypnosis and psychotherapy to the many who fight this insidious disease every breathing moment of their lives.
On this anniversary week of my Mom’s massive stroke, I think about what if Mom would have caught the blessing I did, and she ate clean and healthy. Would she be here today? Who knows! I know I can’t go back and do the “what ifs,” but I can live in the now and learn from her mistakes and spread the news there is a recovery for all.
Yes, Easter and Passover side by side—both religious ceremonies—both with traditions and both revolve around food. It doesn’t have to be food fest frenzy but a time to reflect on our given faiths and move through the season celebrating all the blessings in our lives even though times now are in isolation and social distancing.
What is your Easter or Passover experiences like as it relates to food? How have you adapted to a holiday confined to home without your family? Do you find this time is an open invitation to eat out of control? I’d love to hear from you and learn from you.
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Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.