Posts tagged ‘chocolate’
This one is for the ladies (although men, you are more than welcome to read on!).
And this post is for the fabulous females that get those ridiculous cravings for chocolate about, oh, every 28 days or so. Sound like you?
I take it one step further…not only do I obsess about chocolate (more than usual), but I just want, want, want carbohydrates. So, if this is a Universal symptom of PMS, what does it mean? I decided to investigate.
Here’s what I found:
Sugar cravings (and other carbo cravings) are really our body’s way of asking for fuel during this time in our cycle. Our desire for chocolate bon-bons is heightened because right before menstruation, certain hormone levels increase, increasing our response to insulin (which brings sugar into our cells). Thus our body can experience feelings of low blood sugar. SO our need to eat a bowl of pasta topped with chocolate chips is our brain’s way of screaming for quick fuel! See…it’s not your fault.
So, what can you do? Certainly you can indulge, as I do. However, in an effort to NOT go overboard, a diet rich in complex carbs (read: whole grains), veggies, fruits, beans, etc. will keep your brain going with a constant stream of fuel.
Hence, fewer blood sugar crashes lead to fewer chocolate bar wrappers.
Just as an aside, lately I’ve been learning all about my menstrual cycles, the physical changes my body experiences, and how my cycle affects my life in general. It is FASCINATING! I’m working with The Laughing Sage Wellness Center in NYC. Sign up for their newsletter, and/or read this article for an into!
People (especially my New Yorkers)–I’ve got something good for you.
I just tried some super delicious cupcakes, and you can trust me…I’m a cupcake snob.
I even had 2 of them! Yes, 2!
But you wanna know the best part? They’re the size of a quarter. NO JOKE. Seriously, the size of a quarter.
The creator of this deliciousness is Baked by Melissa, who has 2 small shops in NYC’s Union Square and Soho. She’ll also cater an event and ship nationwide. With over 10 flavors to choose from, it’s a win-win.
I love that I can eat 2 of these babies and still feel groovy. However, be forewarned…they’re like Pringles. Once you pop….
Ah, trigger foods. We all have them. Our preferences usually fall into two groups: salty and sweet. In times of high stress, you’ll most likely go for one or the other. Like the age old debate of chocolate vs. vanilla, you’re either sweet or salty. Chocolate bar vs. oil & vinegar potato chips? What do you reach for?
Me, I’m a sweets girl. Always have been, probably always will be. But the thing is, I’ve started to ALSO incorporate the salty…crackers with hummus, salty potato chips. So now I’m playing for both teams.
I’m bringing this up because I’ve been pretty stressed out the past 2-3 weeks. Starting with my Chemistry exam (which I aced, thank you very much) and ending today (my Diet Assessment midterm), I’ve been a little, how do you call it?..tense.
If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that I’m an emotional eater (and binge eater, but no binges as of late). When I get stressed, I turn to food to comfort me. Some people drink alcohol, others run 6 miles, and other smoke cigarettes. Me, I eat.
I used to be OK with just dark chocolate. And then the chips and hummus snuck in.
I found I was eating all of them pretty uncontrollably, especially when I wasn’t hungry. I’d use food as a procrastination tool–after all, if I was eating, then I couldn’t be doing work. Staring at the bottom of a hummus container equally comforted me and made me feel like crap at the same time.
So, a wise woman (my mother) told me: “You’re setting yourself up for failure. You need to remove the triggers.” Light bulb moment!
So this past weekend I did. I dumped the chocolate, the hummus, the chips. Why is this OK for me? I’m not saying that I can never have chocolate, chips and hummus ever again, or that I’m “bad” for eating too much of it. It’s OK because I know if at any time I want chocolate (or whatever), I give myself permission to go out and get it (I do live near like 5 amazing bakeries). But in the house–nuh uh, not now.
And you know, it’s worked. I find myself turning to food less, because, let’s face it, it’s difficult to drown your sorrows in a pile of carrot sticks.
My question: If you know you have trigger foods, how you can you set yourself up for success around them?
Yes, I know I’ve neglected you since Thanksgiving. It’s been crazy hectic in my life, and I needed to take a little break and get things in order. I’d rather write when I’m feeling inspired rather than rush to put something together just for the sake of it.
Today, I have a VERY important annoucement. I am OFF dieting. Yup, you heard me. O-F-F D-I-E-T-I-N-G. No more. Nada. And guess what else is really shocking? I’ve been eating sugar. Yup. I’ve been eating sugar EVERY DAY for the past 2 weeks and it’s been AWESOME. Seriously, I LOVE chocolate. I forgot how much. Do you want to know how many times I’ve had a binge? NONE. Zip. And do you want to know how happy I am? Extremely. Immensely. So happy I want to run around nekkid. (not really, but you get the point)
The Universe delivered the book “Intuitive Eating” into my hands about 3 weeks ago. This book “spoke” to me, and related to me, in ways that were so spot in it was spooky. I started crying after I read the Introduction. I recognize, from reading, that my chronic dieting, and dieting mindset, has really held me back. At points, when reading, I was so shocked that I could let my thinking get so far off course. So, I have started my path as an intuitive eater, which means, in a nutshell, that I listen to my body for what it wants, and I give it exactly that. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, and give myself permission to eat whenever and whatever I want (there are no good and bad foods).
The most important factor, which is very strange to me, is that weight loss is NOT the goal. Rather, gently letting your body reach it’s natural weight is the goal. It takes time…months, maybe even a year. But your body knows best, (and if you let it have whatever it wants, it will naturally want healthy foods, which luckily I enjoy). I must admit, I have no clue what my natural body weight even IS. I lost a lot of weight in college (through proper diet and exercise) and then after college, spent the years dieting, restricting myself (and binging, too) and spending hours in the gym. I kept that up for a good long while..until I couldn’t any longer. Fast forward to now..after a very tough semester and turning to food to help me get through the stress, I’m heavier than I have been in years. So who knows. But the major shift, again, is actually NOT CARING. I am more in love with living a life peacefully with food than fitting into a super small size.
So, this is my new adventure, and I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I went to the grocery store last night and allowed myself to buy whatever looked good. In addition to my favorites (which are healthy), i picked up Salt and Vinegar potato chips, gluten free fig newtons, laughing cow cheese, chocolate jello pudding, and the most amazing chocolate ever–Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. And now that I’ve been allowing myself to have these foods around the house, they kinda lose their allure. I had one square of chocolate, savored it, and I was satisfied. Imagine that.
So, won’t you please join me on my path to eating intuitively. If my journey is anything like other “IE” eaters, it’s going to be bumpy and rocky. Two steps forward and one step back. It will take time. But, for me, I see a shift already. I feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can stop putting pressure on myself to be the “perfect” eater. Now, I can just be.
Check out the website and feel free to ask me any questions about the process. For your reference, below are the 10 guidelines for Intuitive Eating, taken from the website.
Intuitive Eating Principles
1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
10 Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts
I’m sure you’re all DYING to know the latest report from the publication Candy and Snack Today. What, you’re not a subscriber? It doesn’t arrive with your Oprah and Shape each month? Come on, people!
Of course I’m not a subscriber to this industry journal, but this story popped up in one of my daily nutrition news searches. It seems that the next trend for candy and confections in 2010 is….Relaxation Snacks. Yeah, I kinda scratched my head with that. I have no idea what a “Relaxation Snack” is, however, I have been known to use food to place me in a nice stupor (aka food coma).
According to the report (which you can find here, if you’re so inclined),
“One trend he expects is more brands shifting toward relaxation foods from comfort foods. Look for items such as anti-energy bars, snacks and a resurgence of dark chocolate rich in anti-oxidants designed to actually relax or put you to sleep.”
Seriously? I need a chocolate bar to put me to sleep? ANTI-energy? Apparently, this desire for “relaxation” through food has been prompted by more meals being cooked and eaten at home. Um, that doesn’t make much sense to me. Am I missing something?
“The food industry, he suggests, has woken up and learned that products, including confectionery, that use real foods as ingredients, are increasingly popular, particularly among Baby Boomers.”
Seriously? Why are people SO obsessed with quick fixes and getting nutrients through CANDY? I’m sure the public is just salivating at the thought of getting their vitamin C or lunesta from a dark chocolate truffle. Sure, dark chocolate is good for you (filled with tons of antioxidants), in small portions. But eat it because you like it, and NOT because you want to fall asleep!
Seriously, what will we think of next? Personally, when I want a good night’s sleep, a warm cup of herbal tea and a bath seem to do it for me!
As you know, I’ve started to tackle cutting out sugar, which hasn’t been as difficult as I feared. I haven’t had dessert or sweets in about three weeks now, and I’ve never felt better. Truly. I don’t even MISS chocolate, which is utterly mind-boggling to me. While I know how cliché the saying “If I can do it, so can you” is, nevertheless it’s true. I never thought I could go without chocolate for even a few days, let alone 3 whole weeks.
However, I find that I’ve been relying on “quickie-carbs,” or refined carbs that you might not think of as sugar. Refined carbs are carbohydrates that cause a rapid, high spike in your blood sugar, giving you a high at first and ending with a crash. Examples are white bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, crackers, and basically anything “white” and not a whole grain. So, while I’ve been disciplined in nixing the chocolate and sweets (and I don’t really eat much of the other stuff) I HAVE been eating crackers. And lots of them. If you’ve ever had a Mary’s Gone cracker, you’ll understand why I’ve been addicted. They’re incredible, super crunchy, and healthy as far as crackers go, but only in limited amounts (you can find them at many supermarkets and health food stores) I’ve realized that it’s gotten a bit out of hand, and I’ve replaced one addiction with another (sweets for crackers), so I’m working this week to cut down on my cracker and dip intake.
That’s one issue. But, on top of the crackers, I’ve got another problem. I’ve noticed in the past month that I’m eating standing up in my kitchen quite often. I’ll pop a few blueberries into my mouth while preparing my oats for breakfast. Or, I’ll get home from work/gym/school and go straight to the pantry, whip out my Mary’s crackers, and stand in front of the refrigerator and eat them with humus. Or, I’ll taste and taste and taste while I’m cooking and by the time I’m through, I’m no longer hungry for dinner, yet I end up eating dinner anyway (However, I do come from a long line of “noshers,” so I’m fighting genetics on this one.)
Do you find yourself eating standing up? You might not realize you’re doing it, as it’s a mindless activity. We can get ourselves into trouble because usually while we’re standing we’re doing something else, like talking on the phone, watching TV, or about to rush out the door. In my case I’ve been feeling very rushed and a bit overwhelmed in my life with so much on my “plate” that standing up has just become easier. Sometimes when I come home from school, I’m so hungry that I can’t even wait to make a plate of food…I just head straight for the refrigerator and eat basking in the glow of the fridge. Which, of course, leads me to eat way more than I needed or even wanted.
When we don’t eat at a table, we’re not mindful as to what we’re putting in our mouths. In fact, if we’re doing ANYTHING while we eat, such as watching TV, we’re not paying attention to what we’re eating, probably leading us to eat much more (we’re creating a disconnect between our brain and our mouth) It’s also been said (as my wise mother likes to remind me) that when you stand up to eat, your brain doesn’t register the calories or that you’re actually ingesting food so you don’t feel full and you eat more. Whatever the reason, the end result is usually the same: eating more than you had planned.
So, you ask, what am I doing to combat my eating-while-standing plight? For one, I’m trying to slow down. This morning, for instance, I was cutting my banana in the kitchen and I had to STOP myself mid bite to recognize that I had just snuck that bite. It’s such a subtle gesture that my brain barely has the time to register what I’m doing. So that’s where the slowing down and being mindful comes in.
I’m also making sure that I ONLY eat at my dining table. It’s now a rule. If I’m not sitting down at the table, I can’t eat. Mealtime should be an act of enjoyment and gratitude, a kind of meditation and concentration, and you just can’t do that while you’re talking on the phone, reading a magazine, and eating food all at the same time. How can you truly taste your food if you’re not paying attention?
And lastly, I’ve started keeping a good ol’ fashioned food journal where I’m writing down everything I eat. Every bite, even if it’s just a taste of something. A journal is a wonderful weight loss tool (I owe my 25 pound weight loss in college to my food journal). You’ll be surprised at all the extra food you eat during the day. I’ve realized that I’d been eating about 2-3 servings of crackers with 3-4 servings of hummus (at 60 calories per serving) and that REALLY begins to add up. So, I challenge you to try keeping a food journal for a week and see what pops up for you.