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Easter is a time of celebration, laughter, partying and most importantly: food. Whilst many rejoice at this opportunity, it can be a difficult time for others to cope. Ileana Daniel gives her take on the holiday’s tempting treats, and her experience of overcoming doubts so to enjoy the period in all its glory.

One knee is jiggling under the table, a loose thread from the sleeve of my cardigan is being made longer by my nervous fingers. ‘Peas, carrots, no potatoes’ I recite in my head five, six, seven times.

When it comes to my turn, the veg has already been served before I have a chance to say my line. ‘Roast potatoes?’ my Dad asks, tipping three onto my plate as he speaks.

A slick of rosemary-infused oil runs under my carrots and peas; the meal is over. I get up from the table in a rush, pulling on my running shoes, and leave to work off a meal that, in my head, I already feel like I’ve eaten.

There’s a plethora of reasons why some people may feel a certain apprehension in the lead up to any special occasion that has a pivotal focus on food and the long, luxurious meals that they invite.

For many of us, Easter might as well be renamed ‘The Second Christmas’ if based purely on the quantity of chocolate and rich lunches it invites. It is this sense of occasion, I think, that is the undoing for so many, at a time that should be spent relaxing and having fun.

‘I must enjoy it and have a nice time, Mum has spent the last two days in the kitchen, I must enjoy it’.

‘Well I can’t have pudding because I already had a creme egg for breakfast, and that would be too much!’.

‘Okay, I’ll have a slice, but I must make up for it by going to the gym everyday next week’.

To the unperturbed gourmand, this probably sounds a bit silly. Reading those quotes aloud certainly sounds like a ridiculous way of thinking. But it’s very different being in the drivers’ seat.

It’s easier said than done to just leave these qualms and habits behind, and it would be naïve to suggest a one-size-fits-all solution. For me, progress in terms of moving away from fears around food has been largely rooted in rekindling my pre-existing passion for it.

The process feels slow and chore-like, but it’s transformative despite its pace. I know that one day, rigidity and stubbornness at supper will be a thing of the past, and I won’t even think of checking a restaurant menu online before I brave it with friends.

moving away from fears around food has been largely rooted in rekindling my pre-existing passion for it

Fast forward a year and I surprise myself at how comfortable I now feel around food. Last week I made a tart filled with crème pâtissière, topped with syrupy rhubarb that I roasted with lemon and ginger, and not only tried but finished my own piece.


Easter lunch arrived, and despite the butterflies, I didn’t make a fuss. My relationship with food is now virtually reconciled and so much more relaxed than last year. I ate the potatoes once my plate was put down in front of me whilst my running shoes lie forgotten in their box upstairs.


Do you feel the same anxieties about your food in times of celebration or stress? Get in touch to share your own experience.

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