There are many reasons why at some point I completely cut chocolate from my life, but most of them boiled down to my constant struggle to maintain a healthy weight, and my health in general. I was always taught by my parents and everyone else around me that chocolate is something bad, something to be avoided, something to be blamed for everything wrong with my physical appearance. I’m guessing many of you have been taught the same.
My acne, the few extra pounds everyone always had a problem with even though it’s my body and my life – these and many other problems were always attributed to my very expressive sweet tooth. So, little by little, I faded chocolate out of my life. Until one day I said to myself, no more.
I delved deep into my own research, quickly found out that chocolate was not the culprit and was unrightfully demonized by society, and I started investing in my health with chocolate at the helm of my efforts. Let me share with you why I firmly believe that you should eat chocolate and how you can weave it into your life while being healthy, happy, and satisfied with the reflection in the mirror.
Chocolate is not comfort food
Life is tough. But more than that, life can sometimes be crushingly unfair, and sometimes we find ourselves unable to cope. I feel it, you feel it, life can be very tough and unfortunately, stress seems to have become an inextricable part of our modern existence. I don’t want to come off as pessimistic, but rather I want to be real with you and acknowledge the problem of modern society. We are plagued by stress.
And when we’re stressed, what do we do? We head right over to the fridge or the pantry. Look, there are so many great ways you can work on your stress management, but stuffing your face is not one of them. I learned this the hard way, and I have to say, chocolate tastes a lot better when you consume it from a place of peace and happiness.
If you want to develop a healthy relationship with chocolate, do not eat it when you’re stressed, sad, or anxious. Chocolate is about joy, so save it for those joyful moments.
Chocolate is not a guilty pleasure
Why do so many people, mainly women, consider chocolate a guilty pleasure? What is there to be guilty about when you’re eating quality chocolate? Is it the fact that chocolate is good for your heart health and gives you energy so that you can stick to your fitness routine? Or maybe that dark chocolate safeguards your mental health? Should you for some reason feel guilty that you’re enjoying a piece of chocolate that boasts many nutrients that contribute to skin health with its antioxidants?
Ladies, and gentlemen for that matter, understand that chocolate is not unhealthy. Sure, pick a cheap brand that stuffs its chocolate with sugar and you have yourself an unhealthy habit, but pick a good chocolate brand that’s transparent and uses natural ingredients, and you have yourself something that closely resembles a superfood.
Chocolate, particularly the dark kind, is not unhealthy. But you have to be mindful when you’re eating it, because it is a form of candy after all.
Dark chocolate is especially beneficial
I’m not going to pretend like chocolate is the best thing you can put in your body, nor am I going to lie to myself that every type of chocolate is good for me. And neither should you. You can eat any type of chocolate, really, but only if you make sure to control your portions. Can you do that? I know I’m still struggling. That’s why I choose and stick with dark chocolate.
For one, there are many health benefits of dark chocolate that I didn’t even know about until fairly recently, and secondly, it’s way more delicious than any other type if you ask me. For those of you who never really got into dark chocolate, do me a favor and try it. You’re guaranteed to love it after a while, or immediately, who knows.
The point is that eating dark chocolate regularly in small amounts has helped me tremendously in my everyday life. It gives me an energy boost during work, it helps soothe my hungry stomach before a training session, it keeps my brain alert and productive, and so much more.
Control your portions to control your life
Chocolate can be a powerful ally, but I learned a while ago that it can easily become your worst enemy. Look, some chocolates are loaded with sugars and empty calories, and if you eat those like I did, you’re going to get the same results.
For a long time I was battling my weight, my acne and eczema that would appear for no apparent reason, and other minor conditions that affected my quality of life. I wasn’t just eating the wrong chocolate, I was eating too much of it.
Then again, quitting chocolate altogether was also a mistake, because I was unhappy. The key, I found, is to control your portions, and you can stay in control of your health. One or two pieces of quality chocolate a day, not one row, are all you need.
Stay mindful and fight for what’s right
There’s one very important thing I didn’t touch on in this lengthy confession – the ethics of it all. Chocolate production is a bloody business, and you have probably heard by now how companies exploit workers around the world and use all kinds of chemicals in their products. That’s one of the reasons why I quit chocolate for a long time, because I couldn’t find a brand that stood up for ethical and sustainable practices.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch The Dark Side of Chocolate.
Now, I’m not going to endorse anyone here, because that’s not my job. What I can do is urge you to find the chocolate manufacturers that are transparent and open about their practices and policies, use sustainable methods, invest in conservation and preservation, and above all, treat their workers fairly.
You and I become a part of the problem the moment we buy a chocolate bar that was made by the bloodied hands of some kid in Africa. Don’t let that child down, fight for their rights by buying from responsible brands.
Over to you
I believe that we deserve to have a healthy relationship with chocolate, but to do that, we have to be mindful about our consumption – both from a nutritional and ethical standpoint. If I can leave you with anything let it be this: quality chocolate is good for you but you should eat it in moderation, and dark chocolate is the healthiest kind but it tastes so much better when you know it was made fairly.
Sophia Smith is beauty and lifestyle blogger, graphic designer and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about eco-friendly and green topics, sustainable fashion, and conscious business. Sophia’s other hobbies centre around her love for yoga, wellness rituals and living in balance with nature. She loves sharing meaningful content that inspires people and has covered topics ranging from organic beauty products and sustainability to self-care and mental health. Sophia has contributed to a number of publications including Eco Warrior Princess, Naughty Nutrition, Herbs Mother Earth Living, Sivana Spirit, Urban Naturale, Carousel, and Cause Artist. You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter @sophia_bri.
Image courtesy of Tamas Pap.