Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Fell Into a Vat of Chocolate... Warning! This post is not fit for male viewers or the faint of heart

It is an unfortunate (and disgusting, I might add after I cleaned up after a puppy mess with the bathroom trash) fact of life, all women suffer from ‘the monthly curse’. Some may refer to a woman’s period as “auntie flo is coming to town” or even less articulately, as being “TOM”. Whatever you want to call it, it is never a pleasant experience as it is at best uncomfortable and mildly embarrassing, at worse a woman’s period is debilitating agony that stops life for 5 days of a month. But boy! that time of the month is a BIG challenge!

I can’t stop my chocolate craving! Why is that? I really don’t like chocolate. It’s bitter. So why the craving? If you ask a menstruating woman whether she’d rather have chocolate or world peace, I reckon chocolate would win, hands down.

Fortunately, the cravings are only for a day or two and the way I deal with it is by giving in. I know. I’m weak. Already today I’ve consumed 2 – count them 2 Chocolate bars! Never mind that they were dark chocolate, dairy and soy free. They still had sugar. Those calories still add up. It’s not like my body is going to give me a “by” because I have a “visitor.”

I looked it up online (in case I was the odd one out) but it appears to be quite a normal thing.

What exactly about chocolate is it so wonderful?

One of the reasons that women crave chocolate is tied to hormones. Did you hear that? It’s not my fault. I’m hormonal. When estrogen levels drop (such as during PMS or perimenopause/menopause), so does the brain serotonin level that helps us feel calm.

AHHHHH!!!! That explains the irresistible urge to grump at people and why I feel like a bear awakened from hibernation far too early in the spring. (Better watch out. I might just be on the rampage).

Think about it, when a woman is menstruating, she is losing the ‘best’ blood in her body, the most nutrient rich stuff which is why women are more likely to be anemic than men. Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal but it is also the 11th most abundant element according to mass in the human body (the first being the metal calcium) so we need it! Chocolate contains a high level of magnesium and it has been shown that magnesium can help alleviate menstrual cramps. The body is an amazing thing, if you are in tune with it, it will always tell you what it wants.

In addition to its creamy, decadent taste, chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that some people describe as giving them the feeling of being in love…often referred to as optimal brain happiness. Another chemical, theobromine, provides a caffeine like effect to the body.

Additionally, we now know that dark chocolate is also a source of the antioxidants called polyphenols. The term antioxidant is one you see frequently in the world of “health food” but what does it mean to you and me?

Maybe it’s like taking a brand new car to the beach and leaving it there for a month or so unprotected. I’m pretty sure it would oxidize or rust. However, a good wax job could help to prevent that oxidation or rust So antioxidants are like a good hot wax.

It’s no wonder chocolate is the NUMBER ONE most craved food! Even my husband isn’t exempt…. But I don’t think he can say he’s hormonal. He’ll need to come up with his own excuse.

If you’re craving chocolate when you’re on a period, don’t feel guilty about having a small amount to satisfy the craving. If you are still crawling up the walls desperate for it, try drinking low calorie hot chocolates like Cadbury’s highlights which are only 40 calories a mug. Ultimately you need to have self control, so try light exercise like yoga or pilates to forget about period pains if you are trying to be ‘good’.

Maybe I’ll go find some magnesium rather than chow-ing down on my third chocolate bar. 

I was successful in getting in a yummy salad today before I started a fast. I am fasting for my friend who is having surgery tomorrow and is worried. I am fasting in prayer for her peace of mind.

I kept my day simple. TOM help with that. I don’t feel like doing anything.

Salad – Day 10 spring greens, yellow peppers, honey mustard dressing.

Practice of Simplicity – Day 7 – mostly lazy today… dare TOM.

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