Virtually every woman I have worked with has admitted (to a greater or lesser extent) to using food as a comforter… and the most popular ‘go-to’ when tired, upset or depressed is sweet stuff.
Looking back, we often realise that these coping strategies are deeply rooted in our upbringing. Did your Dentist give you a lolly if you were ‘good’ and endured the ordeal of his/her chair without protest? Mine did! When you hurt yourself, were you given a sweet to ‘help you to feel better’? I was! Or maybe you were taken for tea and cake as a reward for good behaviour or a significant achievement?
I learned pretty early on to associate rewards with sugar or chocolate. Birthday cake, Easter chocolates and sweetest of all …. ‘period chocolate’! At university, my friend Julia’s thoughtful boyfriend brought her a large bar of chocolate (usually dairy milk) once a month when she was feeling ‘fragile’. Hence the term “period chocolate” became common parlance in our student flat! Like many women, somewhere along the line, I have developed a very clear link between chocolate and comfort.
So during tricky points in my life, the one constant comforter has been. Yes. Chocolate. When I failed my driving test for the second time? Chocolate. Split up from my first serious boyfriend? Chocolate. Newly separated, single mother to small baby? Chocolate – by the kilo (I WAS breastfeeding afterall!) and so the pattern has continued! So does this make me a ‘chocoholic’? Maybe at times, but over the years I’ve learned how to find other comforts – and when I do indulge, I’ve trained myself to stick to good quality dark chocolate.
Chocolate itself, or to be more precise – the ingredient raw cacao – has many health BENEFITS which have been widely documented. So there is a clear, logical reason as to why the dark stuff draws our attention so often when we feel down. Its not just about habits formed in our early years, there are chemical reasons too…
So what I am saying here is that we don’t need to feel bad about eating chocolate – particularly if we make a point of choosing the good stuff! Now as you know, if you’ve been following this blog, I gave up sugar for lent this year which was a massive deal for me. Mainly, because I was in the habit of a square or four of dark chocolate in the evening after my main meal. So finding a form of chocolate, that ‘hit the spot’ without breaking my sugar pledge has been an extremely serious project for me over the past few weeks. Once I cracked it, being sugar-free was easy. Particularly as the recipe I came up with takes about 5 minutes to prepare.
Read on to discover the secrets of my chocolate-loving success!
So the recipe I devised contains nothing bad. I’ll just say that again ….Absolutely NOTHING BAD FOR ME! So I can feel totally virtuous eating it – and let me tell you – that is an incredible feeling! Eating chocolate that is doing me good. No guilt, no drama, no nonsense. Just pure unadulterated enjoyment in the knowledge that I am feeding my body some wonderful healthy fat, some marvellous minerals (including iron and magnesium), and a healthy dose of incredible free-radical blasting antioxidants. MmmmmmmM!
Want to know the secret? Click here to learn all….