I don’t want to rain on any chocolate-lovers parade especially because I am one, too, but I found some pretty interesting information on it while reading a book called SUGAR SHOCK! by Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C.
While I believe that knowledge is power….nothing in the food world has more power than chocolate so I have by no means stopped eating it due to this info, especially when the kids drive me to the cupboard where I search for sanity and only find it in chocolate. But, as a health blogger, I thought I should put the info out there and let you do with it as you will. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!
History says that Anne of Austria would only marry Louis the XIII of France in 1615 if she could bring her stash of chocolate with her. The love of chocolate goes back very far!
“Gotta have it” is the prevailing thought I get when I see, smell, hear the word or touch chocolate. That is also a common thing addicts think for their drug of choice. It overrides all other thoughts or rationalism. The need to taste the soft, smooth, decadence of chocolate is sometimes overbearing and maybe embarrassing. Michael has gone out more times than I can count to pick me up some chocolate. He understands. He can see the difference in me, which does scare me a little. Chocolate makes me happy. Not having chocolate makes me not happy. The longest I have gone without chocolate was 14 days when I was trying to cut it out of my life. On the 14th day, Michael brought me home some and begged me to eat it.
Ok, he didn’t beg, but he strongly urged me.
Ok, he didn’t strongly urge…..
I ripped it from his hand and ran to a quiet spot and relished in my long-lost friend, refusing to share with my kids who had wondered what happened to their mother.
Fourteen days was too long and I understand now I could never do that again.
I also understand that I can’t eat it for every meal, although I would if I could. Moderation has become my middle name in my quest for health. To go for a long time without something I love, that isn’t that bad for me, is pointless. I actually lasted longer with no pizza than I did no chocolate with a whopping 21 days off of that.
But let’s get to the facts…isn’t that why you’re here? Dr. Barnard, author of Breaking the Food Seduction writes that “Chocolate isn’t a drug, it’s a whole drugstore!” He is not referring to the sugar and fat in chocolate, he is referring to the psychoactive substances found in chocolate:
- Theobromine- is a stimulant that means: “food of the gods”
- Phenylethylamine- this is an amphetamine-like compound that’s also chemically similiar to the street drug- ecstasy. (similiar…..doesn’t mean it is)
- Anandamide- this chemical has relations to marijuana’s active ingredient whose name means “internal bliss”
- Caffeine- of course we all know of this stimulant in chocolate
Notice the words in the definitions above- “related to”, “like”, and so on. None of these things are actual drugs, but are similar to them, so don’t think you are addicted to a drug in chocolate which is where I almost went when I first read this.
The most important thing when dealing with anything sweet, from licorice to chocolate is moderation. Sugar and fat are attributed to a lot of diseases in the body, from insulin resistance which is a prelude to diabetes, to heart disease which doctors are now finding more related to sugar than fat.
I am not cutting out sweets, I am not able to at this point in my life. Maybe when the kids are grown and there is less stress in my everyday world. I am not embarrassed to admit that it makes me feel good. There are chemicals in it to do just that….but moderation is important. Remember if you are eating a ton of sweets, including chocolate, than you are probably cutting out the vital foods that your body needs like veggies and fruit. I limit myself (when I am being good) to one sweet a day. This way, I know I am getting all the food groups in and not torturing myself with nothing sweet.
Food is meant to be enjoyed….chocolate is a food. If the world were how I could have it, chocolate would be a food group and veggies would not. God created veggies to do more for our body than chocolate does, though. I believe the lesson learned here, again, would be the magic word MODERATION!