Saturday, March 03, 2012
I realize that chocolate is not something that a committed Spark Person should be thinking about, but I feel compelled to share my feelings on this topic. Although Death by Chocolate might be a very pleasurable way to die, I have decided that I would really not want to have it as the epitaph on my tombstone, as delightful as it may be. I am really not a full-blooded chocoholic as many people that I know are. I have always been strictly a hormonal chocolate eater but now that I have passed that time of being controlled by my hormones, I am in high hopes that that chocolate urge will fade away as well. Like most children, I have overdosed on Halloween candy and Easter candy, but I can only think of one time in recent years where I succumbed to this temptation. My town has a yearly fundraiser for our local rotary clubs on Valentine's Day called Death By Chocolate, where all of the local restaurants pull out all the stops and bring out their most decadent chocolate desserts, where people can sample all of the offerings and vote or their favorite. I looked longingly at the event for many years, but never gave in to the temptation until a good friend wanted to attend for her birthday, so of course, I could not refuse! I must say that it cured me from ever doing anything like that again and recommend trying it just once because I firmly believe that it would cure you of any chocolate addiction. This is the only time chocolate has ever hyped me up, and it is not something I would want to experience again.
I have three good friends that I always go out and celebrate birthdays with. We calll ourselves the Golden Girls (I am Rose for reasons that I will not reveal publicly), and of course, these celebrations always involve chocolate. Let me tell you the effect that chocolate has on this group. Chocolate has no effect whatsoever on "Dorothy". She can eat it until the cows come home without any problem. "Sophia" is a blubbering mess when she eats chocolate. Even the smallest amount puts her in a depression and makes her cry. "Blanche" is the stereotypical "wired" chocolate eater. It doesn't take much to have her bouncing off the walls and swinging from the chandeliers. Last but not least, my "Rose" persona just completely mellows out. The ceiling could fall in around me and I would just shrug my shoulders and smile.
Now that I am on Spark People and am on my quest for serious weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, I had pretty much reconciled myself to the fact that my "chocolate days" would be over, but wait just a minute...back up the bus! I have read some recent articles from reputable sources such as John Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic touting the health benefits of dark chocolate. I had heard this before but just kind of blew it off as being ridiculous, but apparently dark chocolate has the following health benefits: it lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure, contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant, acts as a stimulant, is high in anti-oxidants, is a cancer-fighter, prevents tooth decay- theobrine in chocolate prevents tooth decay by eliminating streptococcus metans, bacteria that contributes to tooth decay, and is high in magnesium - the anti-oxidants in cacao work like brooms in sweeping plaque out of the arteries. It is also good for the brain. Researchers at John Hopkins University found that it can protect the brain from stroke by shielding the nerve cells from further damage, and has also been found to improve memory. Studies done on tribes in Panama found that those who consumed large amounts of chocolate had lower overall diseases nd a longer life expectancy and last but not least, Jeanne Louise Calment, the world's longest-living person, ascribed her longevity in part to her consumption of 2.5 pounds of chocolate a week.
What say you now? While I am certainly not endorsing large amounts of this guilty pleasure, I do believe it has a place in moderation in a healthy diet. I knew that my normal chocolate favorites would likely not pass the straight-face test, but I have discovered some wonderful alternatives that are satisfying and should soothe the savage beast in any chocoholic: chocolate rice cakes with peanut butter, M & M's pretzel chocolate candies, Q Bel dark chocolate wafer rolls, Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bar, Nabisco 100 calorie Fudge Petites, Emerald Cocoa Roast almonds, Dylan's almond dark chocolate candy bar, Fiber One 90 calorie brownies, chocolate Vita Muffin muffin tops, chocolate eclair Yoplait Delights, Jello Mousse Temptations (60 calories!) , No Pudge fudge brownies, Skinny Cow Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Cup, sugar-free Hershey's syrup (thank you, God!), an assortment of Nabisco 100 Calorie Snack Packs, and so on...
Again, I certainly don't recommend a diet heavy-laden with these foods but hope you find consolation as I did in knowing thaI you actually don't have to give up chocolate forever!