How to get high on chocolate
via The Sweet Beet by Michelle on 9/27/10
I was given a gift the other day that I promptly eliminated. I ate it. Even up until the last bite I thought I had self-control, but empty packages don’t lie.
The gift was raw chocolate – or to be more specific, a magical concoction whose main ingredient is raw chocolate.
Here’s why I think the control part was difficult – I was on a serotonin high. The chocolate we usually eat is roasted – neutered of its nutritional powers. Raw chocolate is nutritionally “intact”. One chemical found in abundance in raw chocolate is tryptophan, a neurotransmitter which creates serotonin, the feel-good chemical that courses through our blood. We think of serotonin as being a brain chemical, but 80% is produced in the gut. It’s not in your head – eating well does directly affect your mood! (Other “high” inducing foods endowed with tryptophan, are dates and bananas.)
And while chocolate is making you happy, it’s also nourishing your cells. Cocao is a fruit and raw cocao is the number one food-based antioxidant – far higher than blueberries or strawberries. (Oxidation is what naturally happens to cells, and over time this wears out your body, and contributes to disease. There is strong evidence that consuming anti-oxidants helps to control this.) Dark chocolate has gotten a lot of attention as a “health” food, but raw dark chocolate is in another league.
But buyer beware, some raw chocolate bars are horrific and taste like sawdust. (Leave a note in the comment section if you’d like to know the one I’d recommend avoiding and I’ll email you the answer). The one I devoured was gnosis chocolate – specifically Fleur de Sel – sold at Whole Foods in NYC, in the raw section (you won’t find anything raw in the Chocolate section). Raw chocolate is not mass yet, so brands tend to be pretty local. (Update: Here is the link to all the US stores where you can buy Gnosis) . Price-wise, it’s higher than roasted chocolate but it’s cheaper than drugs and as far as I know still legal.
Photo: A bite taken out of my “gnosis chocolate” bar before being devoured. Copyright ©Michelle Madden