Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chocolat



Katharine Hepburn once said, "What you see before you, my friend, is the result of lifetime of chocolate."  I'm only part-way through mine and I suppose I could say the same.  When I was a first grade teacher, my kids even named our baby guinea pig "Chocolate" in honor of my obsession with all things rich, dark and tempting.  At that point, I was so addicted, I ate M&M's with a spoon!

There have been occasions when I've given up chocolate for periods of time, but never for more than a month or so.  And since becoming a vegan nearly two years ago, my choices have been limited, but that's just fine with me.  I've found the alternatives are much more delicious and satisfying.  Hershey's Miniatures no longer tempt me when there's a decadent chocolate mousse chilling in my 'fridge.

As a writer, I rely on chocolate to keep me alert during late night editing sessions.   My acupuncturist encouraged me to give up coffee a few years ago and, to be honest, I don't miss it, particularly when a warm cup of chai cocoa is simmering on the stove.  Sprinkle it with a touch of clove, and I'm in heaven.

Every single day since my birthday in September I've indulged in some form of chocolate.  Not a lot, but enough to keep me jonesing for the next treat.  The next burst of energy.  The next rush of serotonin.  Particularly in the later stages of getting my memoir ready for publication, I went through gallons of chocolate soymilk, dozens of avocados that I whipped into chocolate mousse and even a small bag of vegan chocolate chips.  It was stressful and those simple, yet soothing treats kept me sane in swirl or rewrites and formatting.

How strange to now find myself free of chocolate cravings of any kind.

I once had a yoga instructor who encouraged me to eat like a deer.  In the fall and winter I should focus more on grains and dense proteins.  In the spring and summer, more fresh fruits and vegetables.  In some ways that resonates with me, in some ways not.  But I do find that my tastes change as the seasons do.  And even though the groundhog said we would have six more weeks of winter, my body is telling me otherwise.

And the first thing to go has been chocolate. 

I'm not promising there will be no more snow (Toledo is due to have another storm tomorrow evening), nor am I saying what's true for me is true for you.  I'm simply listening to my body's shifting messages.  I'm drinking more tea.  Eating more raw foods.  Focusing on quality, not quantity.  So -- in my world at least -- that heralds winter changing into spring.

I'll keep that in mind when I'm knee deep in snow drifts tomorrow, covered from head to toe in polar fleece and wool.  And if I want a cup of cocoa afterwards, I'll take that as Old Man Winter asking me to enjoy what might be my last for a long, long time. 

A girl can dream....can't she?