Moderation, Fads and keeping things logical!
Have you ever seen a 7-year old bounce from wall to wall after eating a few squares of Milky Bar? That looks pretty super to me!
Now any Deliciously Ella fans who may be reading, I know what you’re thinking, Milky Bar, that’s not exactly a raw cacao nib now is it?! No, no it’s not. So my next question: – Have you ever fed a 7-year old some raw cacao or 90% chocolate? I have, and I can tell you that the super smile turns into a wretch and a frown!
What makes something super – Well that, perhaps, is subjective.
I want to preach the tiresome mantra ‘everything in moderation’ (no not anything and everything, but most things are ok!).
I want to get the crux of this article. It is two-fold; – On the one hand, I aim to point out that by trying to be super healthy you may be developing some extremely unhealthy traits and ultimately decreasing your wellbeing. On the other hand, I want to point out some facts about how healthy cacao is, but also remind you that eating some low-grade confectionary now and then won’t cause you to become suddenly unhealthy!
My inspiration for this article came about from reading an article in GQ written by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. She discussed the social problems in family homes and schools regarding personal eating habits.
Families are stretched (financially and emotionally) partly due to stubborn teenagers following social media juggernauts offering up their eating/juicing advice.
I won’t start dissecting each online guru’s advice, but I will say that simply going dairy-free/vegan/paleo/5:2 for no reason other than ‘because she does it’ is just silly.
Would you bee-sting your entire face just because a Hollywood celebrity does? I hope not!
Funnily enough, I’ve just gone dairy and egg-free (no humble paleo pie for me), I’ve done this based on some intolerance testing. My plan will be to gradually reintroduce eggs, and then eat a sensible volume. It’s my fault! I’ve probably eaten more than a lifetime’s supply in my 31 years.
Yasmin’s article ends with a mention of a school, where 27 out of 30 female students were off dairy. The head teacher suggested the students were displaying obsessive behaviours and body dysmorphia.
Dairy is a genuine problem for many people. However, I find it impossible to believe that 27/30 teenagers suffer a dairy intolerance. It makes for scary reading, an example of ‘don’t know you don’t know’, people will jump on board with change, having little understanding of why they’re doing it.
Maybe this article should have been about the benefits of dairy!
If we go back through the centuries, there is data to suggest that certain parts of the world where cacao consumption was high (the beans grew freely) experienced some of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease. The populations had a low prevalence of atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
Current studies are highlighting positive correlation with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled due to cacao improving insulin sensitivity.
Potential benefits of cacao: –
• Energy, endurance & stamina
• Cognitive function
• Concentration & Focus
• Cravings and satisfaction
• Weight management
• Healthy stress response
• Cardiovascular response
• Skin health
• Exercise recovery
Now for the non-science based views: –
To ensure you at least have a chance of experiencing the exhaustive list of benefits offered from cacao consumption then it would be prudent to aim for high-quality chocolate (see video).
Cacao itself is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, it has been through much less of a process, as such is high in antioxidants and magnesium.
To create a bar of chocolate cacao is warmed to produce cocoa. Aim for plain varieties and obviously, the higher % bars have less sugar in exchange for more of the good stuff! Be aware a high % bar of chocolate contains a high amount of calories, so eating a large bar a day to maximise the benefit may not be recommended.
To round off this article I’d like to go back to the start and make a few comments in bullet point form as summary:
• Milky Bars alone won’t cause you too much ill health. If 90% of the time your diet is ‘on point’ then a treat of any edible description should just about fit in your plans
• Occasionally eating naughty food is good for your soul and mind
• Don’t just follow fad diets and social media trends without fully understanding the reasons. Ask yourself ‘why’?
• Also, ask yourself this question – Do sweet potato, date, and chia seed brownies satisfy your sweet tooth? If so then fantastic! If they don’t then what was the point in making and eating them?
• Be conscious of the calories in your paleo cheesecake. ‘Healthy’ and low calorie are not mutually inclusive.
• Eat with your taste buds, not your eyes. Don’t spend 30 minutes creating ‘egg clouds’ for breakfast. They look ridiculous and taste revolting. Judge food on flavour, not whether your young children think it looks ‘fun’. On that note, please never bake an avocado!
• Eat dark chocolate as part of a healthy diet but do it in moderation! Eat white chocolate a whole lot less!
• Don’t feel guilty for any occasional slip up’s in your quest to eat healthier. If you have a blip just accept it, enjoy it and move on.
Thank you my friends,