I want to discuss chocolate and alcohol.
There’s an episode of Bergerac from the late 80s that sticks in my mind. 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”.
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. Like my father, I always skipped pudding. Why eat cake, I thought, when you can have another glass of wine?
On these occasions, John Nettle’s character was never far from my mind. Was I avoiding sweet things because I just loved alcohol more? Or was there something else going on?
Giving up alcohol and embracing chocolate
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 sugar. 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.
Five reasons chocolate is your friend this Easter
Here are five important reasons chocolate is your friend this Easter, if you’re drinking less or not at all:
- Chocolate is a mood booster. It’s not magic or the power of positive association. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is a stimulant. Its molecular structure is similar to amphetamine, and it can induce an elevated mood.
- Chocolate is an energy booster. I often 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 and 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 an instant alcohol-free fix.
- Chocolate is satisfying. It can create a feeling of satisfaction, of having curbed your urge to drink. Chocolate actually contains tryptophan, the essential amino acid which is involved in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel calm and satisfied.
- Chocolate is hangover-free. This should go without saying, of course. But there’s no painful alcohol hangover with chocolate. Major bonus!
- 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 that’s made well and brings out the character of the cocoa bean will go a lot further in making you feel satisfied. Many supermarket dark chocolate options come in a range of flavours, depending on their origin. Hotel Chocolat’s posh range is described like wines, and I am a bit in love with them.
But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t love dark chocolate. The most important thing is finding things you love more than booze. Leave the self-judgement, restriction and diet culture bullshit at the door, and focus on giving yourself a moment of pure pleasure.
So bring on Easter Sunday
Is this post about giving you (and me) permission to eat chocolate this Easter? Well, yes.
But there are good reasons to cut yourself some slack. If your goal is to stay alcohol-free or drink in moderation, fulfilling that goal should always take top priority. And if an Easter egg helps you stay on track, embrace it. If it works for you, it works.
And on Easter Monday, the good stuff will be reduced in price, making it an even better treat.