Sex & Chocolate...
We've all been asked at some point or another: would you rather give up sex or chocolate? While no one's ever been forced to make that decision, the hypothetical situation is fun to consider since many of us aren't sure just how we would answer. What is it about chocolate, a simple food substance, that elevates it to the level of sex? And does chocolate always have to be a 'cheat' or can we feel good about eating it, knowing it will love us back?
Conventional Chocolate vs. Wondrous Cacao!
Just like any relationship, there is always that certain amount of badass-ness that makes someone exciting. But there's a fine line between badass and just plain bad for you. Let's take our traditional, grocery store variety chocolate bar (and no, we won't name any names): the first ingredient is sugar, followed by glucose syrup, skimmed milk powder, milk fat, vegetable fat, and only then do we see cocoa butter (which still isn't pure, whole chocolate). No comment necessary.
Now let's look at the pure and wondrous cacao bean, grown in South America, full of nutrients that keep our bodies sexy and healthy. Chocolate in its pure form (AKA hand picked whole or ground beans, processed at low temperatures without additives or preservatives) is packed with polyphenols, similar to those found in red wine, with high antioxidant activity. It also contains phenylethylamine, a slight antidepressant which is similar to the body's own dopamine and adrenaline. Chocolate is also known to increase serotonin levels in the brain, which are often lacking in people who experience depression and PMS. It contains several essential minerals including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. And to top it all off, it contains a considerable amount of fiber, making it easier on our blood sugar levels than your regular candy bar.
It already seems obvious which of these two candidates would make for a healthier relationship in the long term.
Why Women Crave Chocolate...
Lets consider one more factor: women, being cyclical in our nature, experience fluctuating hormone levels that may cause us to be attracted to certain badass mates, and also cause cravings for certain bad foods. So what exactly is going on at that time of the month? Food cravings are a symptom of premenstrual syndrome that can go hand in hand with a number of other woes such as irritability, depression, and weight gain.
And while these symptoms are triggered by pre-existing imbalances, what we decide to eat at that moment can still tip the scale from bad to worse. If we reach for that chocolate bar with the sugar and glucose syrup and vegetable fat, it will only serve to destabilize our blood sugar levels and make us more irritable. The vegetable fat too will only cause more inflammation. The raw cacao bean on the other hand, with it's rich antioxidant content, magnesium, and serotonin enhancing properties, will serve to sooth and relax the body.
So while choosing a good mate isn't always as straight forward as choosing good food, the next time you're craving something a little naughty, try this delicious recipe:
Raw Chocolate Pudding
(From 'Raw Food Real World' by Matthew Kennedy and Sarma Melngailis)
2 cups coconut meat
3/4 cup coconut water, at room temperature
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup agave nectar (I use raw honey)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
Puree all ingredients in Vita-Mix or high-speed blender. Transfer to bowls and chill before serving. Top with raspberries and fresh mint or chopped nuts.
Monica is a holistic nutritionist / Reiki practitioner / personal trainer practicing in the Toronto area. She has a passion for cooking and creative work and encourages her clients to pursue their passions. Check out her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Singing-Nutritionist/423241491066957