Ever since I can remember, I have had a love affair with chocolate. Any form chocolate came in, I was open to it. Favorite cake? Chocolate. Favorite ice cream? Chocolate. Favorite desert? Anything chocolate.
Chocolate has been my go to sweet food for decades and a giver of immense amounts of pleasure and comfort when I was in need of emotional support. However, over the last few years, as I have journeyed to heal my relationship with food and my body, I have begun to connect with food, and especially chocolate, in a new way. Learning more about the origins of where my food comes from and connecting more with farming practices and the earth has allowed me to see food as MEDECINE as well as an energy source. I’ve learned that using food as a constant emotional crutch is not only unhealthy, but can eventually become life threatening.
Below you will find three techniques I’ve used to help overcome and manage my food cravings and addictions, especially for chocolate.
1. Connecting with the Source of Our Hunger:
In my efforts to discover new tools and alternative techniques for nurturing emotional imbalances, I have come to fully embrace the concept “You are what you eat.” By making conscious choices about what we put in to our bodies and why, we can do a better job at keeping ourselves balanced and healthy.
Before putting anything in my body, I now ask myself the following questions:
“Am I really hungry right now?” “What part of me is hungry?” “What am I hungry for?”
By playing with these questions, I’ve learned that there are many hungry mouths inside of my body. Taking the time to listen to which part of you is actually hungry before you eat can help you be more clear on how to best feed yourself. For example, if my stomach is the one that’s grumbling, then perhaps I need a meal that will give me more sustenance and energy throughout the day. If my mind is the one calling for food, which happens more when I am writing, reading or focusing on creative projects, I am more selective about giving myself liquids or specific foods and herbs that help me to focus and concentrate. If my heart is hungry, most of the time it’s not food that my body wants, but some type of emotional nurturing or love that is required. Finding out what part of yourself is hungry and listening to what it is wanting will help you to keep a more balanced lifestyle.
In addition to connecting with internal physical and emotional needs, I am also learning about the nutritional value the food I consume carries. As a vegan with a family history of anemia, I was overjoyed to learn how Cacao could feed my body with iron, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, potassium and a wealth of other essential minerals and nutrients. The more I develop a personal connection with Cacao, the less and less I crave any kinds of other sweets or junk foods.
2. Replacing Deprivation with Abundance:
Another way to deal with battling food cravings, especially for chocolates or sweets, is to simply allow yourself to have as much food as you want (as long as it is in its raw, healthy, unprocessed form and not loaded down with sugars). By allowing myself to have as much raw Cacao as I want, I actually need much less to be satisfied and notice my cravings for other foods subsiding throughout the day. Letting go of the “forbidden fruit” aspect of chocolate immediately began to free the obsession my inner child had with wanting it. Think about it. When someone says, “don’t think of pink elephants,” what is the first thing you think of? When you tell yourself you can’t have something or something is bad, your subconscious and the little child within you wants it even more. If you go the opposite route and allow yourself to be filled with a sense of abundance and a plethora of options, you become less and less interested in overindulging and become interested in other things that are more satisfying.
3. Creating Your Own Chocolate:
I have also found that becoming more involved in the creation and preparation of my food has reduced my food cravings and addictive tendencies. I no longer buy chocolate at stores and am now fully enjoying the process of making my own chocolate.
For those of us who have not become gourmet chocolate makers, you might be surprised at how easy it is to make raw chocolate at home. It is a fun and rewarding process and can take less than fifteen minutes if you keep it simple.
The basic recipe (taken from The Veggie Nook) I have been using is as follows:
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup raw Cacao powder
- 1-1½ large tablespoons of raw or natural Honey (flavor to taste depending on how sweet you would like it)
The process is quite simple. Take the coconut oil and heat it in a small pot over a low flame until the oil has become translucent. As soon as it becomes clear, remove it from the flame. Then, as you add in and stir the Cacao and honey, you have created chocolate! You can make it into truffles, molds or even add in nuts, coconut and almond butter. Play with it. I’ve found the more creative I become in making my food the more love I am putting into it and thus, the more nourished I become.
I’ve also noticed that eating chocolate in this way helps me feel more focused, energized and alert and I have energy that lasts for much longer periods of time. This is a refreshing contrast to eating chocolate bars heavily loaded with processed sugars and artificial sweeteners which increase your cravings and cause you to feel tired and drowsy afterwards.
I’m looking forward to continuing this exploration with Cacao and sharing all the ways to play with this healthy and inspiring super food!