I want to discuss chocolate and alcohol on today’s post. There is a fact that has stuck in my mind from an episode of Bergerac I watched in the late 80’s. I was a teenager, but as a child of a father who drank too much, things you see and hear stick in your mind and finally find a resonance when you grow up.
A baddie wanted to poison Bergerac, and laced a cake with a hallucinogenic drug. He was bound to eat it, they said, because as an ex-alcoholic he would not be able to resist the sweet stuff. I remember thinking at the time “ah that’s why my dad does not eat desserts”. Like my father, I always skipped pudding; why eat cake when you can have another glass of wine? On these occasions John Nettle’s character was never far from my mind. Was I an alcoholic?
When I gave up alcohol, the real nature of my sweet tooth was exposed. Many members in Club Soda share the same experience. It can be frustrating if you are also trying to lose weight, to find that you are craving Haribo! Can the world of temptation not give us a break!
So I am here to help you cut yourself some slack. Chocolate can be your friend when cutting down on booze. That’s because it has magical properties beyond the sweetness itself.
It can perk your mood: Chocolate contains phenylethylamine which is a stimulant. It’s molecular structure is similar to amphetamine – inducing an elevated mood.
I also found that I drank when I was hungry or tired – so knowing how to solve this problem with something other than alcohol helped. Sugar can give you a short-term energy boost (chocolate also contains theobromine which is chemically related to caffeine) and it can certainly curb your hunger pangs. It’s not a long-term diet plan, but it is a no-alcohol fix.
It can create a feeling of satisfaction – of having curbed your urge. Chocolate contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid, which is involved in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel calm and satisfied.
Chocolate can be full of rich, complex and intense flavours. My motto has always been that if you are going to eat something to curb a craving, then make it the best. Good chocolate, made well, that brings out the character of the cocoa bean will go a lot further in making you feel satisfied. Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda dark chocolate options come with a range of flavours, depending on their origin. Hotel Chocolat‘s posh range are described like wines, and I am a bit in love with them (a Club Soda milestone is to get a discount from them for our members)!
Is this post about giving you permission to eat chocolate this Easter? Well, yes. But there are good reasons to cut yourself some slack, and on Easter Monday the good stuff will be reduced in price, making it an even better treat.