An Easter without Chocolate

easter eggs

Just over a year ago I made a confession.  I’m a chocoholic.  Do you remember?    I talked about how I just can’t resist chocolate.  How it doesn’t last long once I’ve bought it.  And how I was putting on a bit of weight after buying and eating too much of it.

Well, things have changed since then.  A lot.

As I write, it’s Easter in a lot of places in the world.  In Romania, where I am at the moment, it’s Easter next Sunday, 19th April, because they are Orthodox Christians here.  At least, approximately 80% of them are.  In Russia most people are Orthodox too.

I was very confused the first year I spent in Moscow.  For me, Easter is (was) about chocolate Easter eggs and chocolate rabbits.  I didn’t come from a religious family, although I did go to Sunday school sometimes as a young child.

Easter was also about holidays.  Days off work or school.  Yay!

Easter in Australia  

In Australia, the weekend of Easter is a long one.  Good Friday is a public holiday, along with the following Monday.  So, it’s a four day weekend. 

Four days off, and chocolate.  A great combination.

And, chocolate is in abundance in Australian homes at Easter!  When we were kids, I think we got just a couple of eggs, and maybe a chocolate rabbit or a little box of chocolates. 

karen and cheryl with chocolate easter eggs
Me and my big sister with our Easter eggs

When my daughter was young, she got mountains of chocolates at Easter.  I think I was compensating for being a working mum.  Probably over-compensating if truth be told.  She got a lot of chocolate at Easter.

Plus, as you’ll have read in my confession of last year, I used to eat tons of chocolate at Easter.  It was one of my favourite times of the year.

Easter in Russia

So you can imagine my surprise, my first year in Moscow, when Easter seemed to come and go without a murmur. 

No public holidays.

I saw nothing that indicated that it was Easter.

OK, maybe I wasn’t really ‘looking’, but I didn’t see rows and rows of shelves of chocolate eggs and rabbits in the supermarket.

Not at all.

The chocolate aisle didn’t change.  Just the normal, regular chocolate.

It wasn’t until later that I understood that the Easter traditions and culture in Russia is very different from those in Australia.

Chocolate almost doesn’t feature at all during this celebration.  Russian families paint real, hard-boiled eggs at home, and on Easter Saturday, they take them to the church to be blessed.

And do you know what?  The kids in Russia don’t even seem to know that they’re missing out on mountains of chocolate eggs!

They eat the hard-boiled Easter eggs, and they enjoy the whole process from painting them to eating them.  It’s a family activity, everyone’s involved.

In the last few years, though, I’ve seen more and more chocolate Easter products creeping onto the supermarket shelves in Russia, so maybe Western culture is starting to take over.

https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Easter in Romania 

Because it’s not Easter in Romania yet (next weekend), I don’t really know much about the traditions here.  Being Orthodox, maybe they’ll have some similar traditions to Russians.

However, I’ve already seen that there are a lot more chocolate eggs and rabbits in the supermarkets here than in Moscow.  So maybe they’re already closer to celebrating Easter with chocolate than people in Russia are.

Now, let me tell you about my chocolate (and sugar) experience since arriving in Bucharest three weeks ago. 

During the rush on the final day in our Moscow flat, I packed an almost empty box of chocolates that were in the kitchen into my suitcase.  There was no way I was leaving them behind!

It was a box of ‘Merci’ chocolates.  Do you know them?  They are delicious!  (Thank you to Olivier’s students!)

born in a car chocolate
‘Merci’ chocolate

There were about five or six left, so I shoved the box into the outside pocket of my suitcase. 

Once in Bucharest, they lasted about two days.  Which was pretty good considering my addiction.  But I tried not to eat them all at once.  I didn’t know what the chocolate situation was like in Bucharest.

https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Giving it up

Two days after arriving in Bucharest we found ourselves locked down, so I decided to try and use this time to improve my general health.  I’m not unhealthy, but I thought it might be a good idea to cut down on sugar anyway – and chocolate.

Then, during that first week, I serendipitously found myself reading this blog post by Janet Givens (there’s also a part 2, look for it), and it was enough to give me the motivation to seriously make an effort (thanks Janet!).

So, since then, I haven’t bought any sweets or chocolate.  I have had some small vanilla ‘puddings’, to help me with the task of giving up refined sugar. 

I know, it’s not really ‘giving up’ if I’m still eating pudding, but I haven’t eaten any sweets (lollies/candy) or chocolates in more than two weeks, and that’s probably a record for me.  I’ve got two puddings left.  I’m not going to buy any more when they’re gone.

I’ve been eating fruit, and we have natural honey for when I really need something sweet.  But white, refined sugar and chocolate are no longer ‘available’ to me. 

However, when we’re in the supermarket, and I walk past the Easter eggs and chocolate rabbits, I almost start shaking.  I almost give in and tell myself ‘just a small one’.

But no.  I’m stronger than that.

I’m going to try and continue depriving myself of chocolate and refined, white sugar, because you and I know that they’re really bad for our health.  And right now, if not before, we all need to keep our immune systems in tip top shape. 

And that’s why, this year, for me anyway, it’s an Easter without chocolate.

By the way, I’ve also lost the couple of extra kilos I was carrying, and the little roll of fat around my stomach has gone too.

Are you working on improving your health in some way?  Are you succeeding?  Where do you get the motivation?  Let me know how you’re managing!

~ Cheryl

Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

19 thoughts on “An Easter without Chocolate”

  1. Hi Cheryl. I see Romania and Russia celebrate Easter the same way. I’ve never been a big sweets eater but I was in the habit of eating jelly beans as a treat in the evenings for years. I ate them in the States and when I found a brand that I liked in the Netherlands, I indulged in those. I always limited my intake but in recent years I decided to cut the candy out altogether because I was concerned about my teeth. We do indulge in chocolate now and again and Tim has said he’s going to buy us some for Easter. He has more of a sweet tooth than I do, but a few years ago, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, so it’s not as pleasurable for him since he has to take extra insulin when he takes in extra sugar. I always enjoy your posts. It feels like I’m connecting with my friend. xx

    Like

    1. Hi Christina, I love jelly beans! I remember some of my trips back to Australia, I stocked up on jelly beans to take back to Moscow! And of course they didn’t last long. I couldn’t find them in Russia. Diabetes isn’t fun, sorry to hear that Tim has been diagnosed with it. What local sweets do you and Tim like in Georgia? I like the walnuts dipped in fruit syrup that hangs to dry, do you know what I’m talking about? I forget the name of it, but we found it often in markets in Moscow. Thanks for reading, I’m always happy to see you’ve commented on my posts. Take care. xx

      Like

  2. Hi Cheryl – Easter and chocolate is still happening big time here in Australia – and because less people are travelling down South, our stores have an abundance left over and it’s all on special. Not to mention the fact that I bought Easter eggs for both lots of my adult kids and for my husband – then the travel restrictions came in so the kids aren’t here to eat theirs! My husband is in chocolate heaven! Aldi is selling chocolate Easter bunnies (like the Cadbury medium sized ones) for 69c!!! Crazy stuff! I’m impressed that cutting out the sugar has made such a difference to your waistline – at least the sacrifice is paying off.

    Like

    1. Hi Leanne, I do believe, after experiencing Easter in other countries, that Australia really overdoes it at Easter. No wonder there is such an over-weight population there! I’m actually glad not to be there, the temptation to buy them at that price would be too much! Yes, I’m feeling the benefits of not eating sugar already – I feel I have my ‘real’ body back, and not one that’s bloated from a bad diet. I also ‘gave up’ bread last year. Not completely, but I rarely eat bread now, it seems to put the weight on me and bloats my belly instantly! Time to get healthy! I hope you’re well and looking after yourselves. 🙂 x

      Like

  3. I was excited to read your post and thank you for the international perspective on the chocolate part of the holiday and also the reminder that different groups celebrate on different days (*Orthodox dates for Christmas and Easter are different). Be well and blessings, Michele Somerville

    Like

    1. Hi Michelle, thank you so much for reading my post and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about the different Easters I’ve experienced. I hope that you and your family are well. Take care. 🙂 x

      Like

    1. Hi Anne, that’s interesting abut Spain. I remember my first Easter in Paris, France, and I noticed that the children there weren’t given mountains of chocolate either, and that Easter was very low key, despite the face that France is a Catholic country. It’s interesting to learn about other cultures, isn’t it? Thanks for reading my blog and commenting. Take care. 🙂 x

      Like

  4. Very interesting how customs are so different around the worldCheryl, so thanks for the insights. Good on you for taking the step to be rid of chocolate, I’m not at that point yet. I seem to be stuck in the comfort zone for many things, reading, watching, eating and think it’s a form of protection. I have tried those chocs and they are yummy! #mlstl

    Like

    1. Hi Debbie, yes, I find it really interesting to learn about other cultures! I’m managing ok without chocolate for now, because we’re not out and about looking in shops very often like in ‘normal times’. I think I’m suffering from lack of sugar though, I hit a bit of a depression and craved it constantly a couple of days ago. Today is better, and hopefully I’ll manage soon to stop wanting it and live without it. Trying to keep the body healthy as I get older! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 x

      Like

  5. Hi Cheryl, I enjoy reading about the traditions of other cultures. Here in Australia Easter has been different this year because we haven’t been able to visit family and share Easter Eggs. Although, the Easter Bunny found his way to my grandsons so they were very happy. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and good for you cutting back on sugar!

    Like

    1. Hi Sue, I love experiencing traditions in other countries, it’s so much fun! I can’t imagine how difficult it is for children during this ‘lock down’, especially for things like Easter and kids’ birthdays. 😦 Glad to hear that the Easter bunny has been able to get around to everyone though! Hope you’re well, take care. 🙂 xx

      Like

  6. I love this post Cheryl. Another chocoholic like me! It’s such an affliction isn’t it? I made the decision last year to give up chocolate and I have felt so much better. Have even been feeling a little ‘holier than thou’. Until Easter that is. I intentionally decided to have Easter eggs and than get right back on to no chocolate. I enjoyed the chocolate eggs but was ready to walk away from them at the end of Easter. No chocolate will now pass my lips unt Xmas. Hi MLSTL Sharing

    Like

    1. Hi Jennifer, thanks for your kind words! Yes, it’s an affliction, one I’ve had since I was very young. So glad you managed to give up chocolate, and I understand about the ‘holier than thou’ thing! I think it’s going to be a long time before I allow myself just a little nibble, I’m sure it will be instant addiction all over again, so for now, I’m telling myself I’ve given it up for life. And let’s see what the future holds. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting, commenting, and sharing. 🙂 x

      Like

    1. Hi Roseann, isn’t it great when we make a change like that in our life, knowing that our health can only benefit from it? I can’t think of one negative about giving up processed sugar. I’m still on track and have found things to nibble on when I feel a sugar urge. Yes, it is hard, but I’m so glad you’ve commented because you’ve inspired me and made me realise that it is possible. Thank you. 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s