For many, especially women, chocolate is truly a soulful pleasure. Researchers have even reported that the number-one craving for women is chocolate. According to Doreen Virtue PhD.D and author of Constant Craving, “love and emotional attachments are so important to women, and chocolate creates the feeling of being loved, cherished and understood.” Phenylethylamine (PEA) is a compound that naturally occurs in chocolate. When consumed, it releases endorphins in your brain that produce a mild feeling of euphoria, mimicking the sensation of being in love. So chocolate really is a love drug!
In my practice, I differentiate between physical, emotional and soulful cravings. On the physical level we may crave chocolate because we are not receiving enough essential fats in our diet or because magnesium or certain amino acids and neurotransmitters are low (the feel-good hormones). Chocolate contains serotonin, theobromine and anandamide which all help to elevate mood and feelings of calmness. Our physical cravings are often about releasing our “hormones of happiness.” Often correcting our macro and micro-nutrients within our diet can help alleviate our physical cravings for chocolate.
Emotionally we may crave chocolate because we are unfulfilled in our love life. Feelings of disappointment, boredom or anger with your relationship can trigger the need for chocolate. These feelings can overtime lead to sadness and depression, so the chocolate offers the temporary feeling of happiness that one is not receiving in their relationship. Dr. Virtue believes, “ chocoholism is a cry for love, intimacy and romance. It is the perfect antidepressant for the love sick.” Chocolate fills the void and then becomes a constant craving. In this case, if you want to overcome your chocolate cravings the work would be to resolve the issues in your relationship. I can assist you with this by using The Demartini Method® - a series of scientifically proven questions that help shift your mental perceptions and remove your emotional blocks which bring you to a state of love and gratitude. When you are fulfilled, grateful and feel in love, phenylethylamine is naturally released and the need for chocolate subsides. It is often never about the food we are craving, it is about what the food represents and offers us that we need to explore. The chocolate opens the door to a deeper exploration of what is happening in your inner world.
If it is not a physical or emotional craving, then the desire for chocolate can simply be a soulful one - a pure love and joy for chocolate. Being present and in the experience of eating that square of high quality, dark organic chocolate. The smell, the taste, the texture, the antioxidants, the joy and the pleasure. These cravings are much more controlled than the physical and emotional cravings. They occur occasionally and truly come from a place of “I would love to have some chocolate” vs “I need to have some chocolate.”
Chocolate is a perfect example of how powerful a food can be. It truly has the power to alter your mood and help you feel love. For some the relationship to chocolate is simple and for others it is more complex and may need to be explored so that it does not sabotage your good nutritional intentions. Whether your desire for chocolate is for the antioxidants, the pick-me-up, the hit of love, to curb a sweet tooth or for the mere joy and pleasure, always choose a high quality certified organic dark chocolate (70% minimum – I prefer 85%). The greater the content of cacao found in chocolate, the less sugar is used. Read ingredients to ensure you are receiving pure cacao and there an no binders or fillers added. A lot of chocolate brands contain an emulsifier called soy lecithin. Soy is the number one genetically modified crop, so you don’t want that to taint your chocolate. Vivani is a brand I recommend which is available at Market 17, Vitamins First or Community Natural Foods, or you can order it on-line.
So this Valentine's Day (and every other day), enjoy some delicious high quality dark chocolate and consider is this a physical, emotional or soulful craving?