Britain is a nation of chocolate lovers. We must be because every year we chomp through an estimated 660,900 tonnes of the stuff; that’s an average of 11kg per person per year or put another way, 3 bars a week.
Why we love it so much might have something to do with the fact that chocolate is packed with Tryptophan an amino acid that increases serotonin Secretion in the brain; Serotonin’s the ‘happy’ hormone that controls your mood. Little wonder then that the taste, texture, and smell of chocolate make us all feel happier.
Recently, chocolate’s also been found to be both good for the heart and surprisingly, for the blood sugar levels too. A study in University of Copenhagen found that people felt fuller and craved fewer sweet, salty, and fatty foods when they ate dark chocolate. That’s because dark chocolate has a low glycaemic index meaning the body digests the chocolate slowly keeping blood sugar levels stable and giving us that fuller for longer feeling.
Our love for chocolate is not without its difficulties – we love it, we crave it and we should eat it too, but it’s a guilty love we feel. Google “ guilt free chocolate” and nearly 3 million results appear, we want all the goodness of chocolate but without the resulting guilt and worry about putting on weight.
The problem is we’re not eating a little bit of dark chocolate every now and again to reap the benefits. Instead we’re chomping our way through 3 bars a week of the high in sugar, fat and calories milk-chocolate-variety and having to deal with the weighty consequences.
The answer lies in HOW the chocolate is eaten; let me explain. For those of us who eat chocolate on the run, while in the car, behind closed doors, while watching TV, as a sideline activity or when no one’s looking then this is where we’re all going wrong. We’re eating the equivalent 3 bars a week mindlessly. Eating mindlessly is why we’re over indulging without taking in any of the enjoyment we so crave. What we need to do is eat chocolate mindfully, that’s being completely conscious and aware of what we are eating, enjoying the experience completely and being focused only on that task.
Just like meditation, you need to experience mindful eating for it to make sense because reading about how something tastes is so different from actually putting it in your mouth and having the experience. My personal favourite for this exercise is chocolate but you can do it with anything at all the same rules apply. Personally, I think you’ll enjoy this process the most if you break off a square of really good quality dark chocolate, rather than doing it with, say, a cheap ole chocolate bar, but that’s entirely up to you. Whatever type of food you choose, eat it as if it’s the first piece you’ve ever tasted and the last piece you’ll ever have the chance to taste.
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