The Dark Nights of Chocolate

chocolateI propose that all pregnant ladies and new mothers should be given a chocolate supply.  For medicinal purposes……..obviously.

Ok, that’s not going to happen in reality….but you should all have an emergency bar (at least) of chocolate that no one else in your household can lay claim to (you know what I mean).

Most women (there are some that prefer cheese or savoury treats….bizarre creatures) have had an extended love affair with chocolate for most of their lives.  I am one of these.  There will have been break ups (‘I am NEVER eating chocolate again’), flings with different brands, types and luxury confectionery, and times when attempts have been made to pretend that the passion isn’t still burning strong within.

There will always, however, be a dependable type of chocolate of choice, there unwaveringly over the years, that has seen you through life’s highs and lows, the obstacles, the elations, the hours studying, celebrating new jobs, the gossips with friends, break-ups and reconciliations, the lonely times, the family times and most importantly, the times when you just want to indulge yourself in the wonder that is the sensation of chocolate melting in your mouth.

Pregnancy and motherhood are now also to be included in my list of the times when chocolate is sometimes a necessity.  During pregnancy, there aren’t many treats that you can enjoy without being chastised by someone.  Despite its caffeine, fat, sugar and calorific content, it is allowed to be eaten!  If you’re not drinking, smoking, taking illicit drugs, partying ‘til dawn, eating your brie, pate and shellfish, then it could be seen as a fair swap.  It was definitely my treat of choice during pregnancy (as it has been throughout my existence)!

Whilst breastfeeding and craving carbs (and still not drinking, smoking, partying ‘til dawn, taking illicit drugs etc), despite wanting to lose pregnancy fat, it has still remained on high on my agenda.  Chocolate has been my friend in the middle of the night when everyone else in the house was asleep and I was breastfeeding or changing a nappy.  Chocolate was there when the baby cried constantly in the day and there were never-ending household chores, nappies, meals, dog poo, washing and bathing to be seen to.

I do not regret any of the moments that I have spent with chocolate during pregnancy and motherhood so far, and do not feel guilty for enjoying it, and have no intention of deserting it any time soon.

Interestingly, the times when I have left chocolate for various reasons, have been quite easy after the initial couple of weeks.  Its addictive properties have a reduced pull once they have left your system, so don’t despair, even if you are a real chocoholic, if you need to, you can do it.

As for other members of your household saying that you shouldn’t be eating chocolate….  Are they breastfeeding?  Are they up four or five times a night feeding a baby?  Are they tired beyond belief?  Are they stressed by the unknown quantity that is a new baby?  Are their blood sugar levels completely out of whack due to pregnancy and stress hormone levels brought on by their change in lifestyle?

No.

So they can go and buy their own/some more chocolate when it has miraculously been found to have vanished.

If they argue that it is not good for you….point out that there is evidence aplenty of the benefits of chocolate.  There is a long list of relative perks of eating flavonoid-rich dark chocolate, including a recent study that found that eating dark chocolate every day over a decade may lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and other studies that show that people who indulge in dark chocolate daily keep to a better healthy weight than those who yo-yo diet.  So yes, you may have to put away your old faithful bar of galaxy or dairy milk and switch to dark, but………

So what are the rules for healthy chocolate scoffing?   Eat dark chocolate, as it is the dairy and sugar content in most chocolates that change the properties, reduce the antioxidant content and increase calorie and fat content.  Try to get the highest quality that you can and the highest percentage of cocoa (60-70% plus) and even better is to go for fair trade ingredient bars.  Oh, and yes, realistically, for health benefits you are supposed to eat just one or two squares of this chocolate per day.  But I certainly wouldn’t argue with a pregnant or new mum if she is reaching for the whole bar, even when it is not dark chocolate!

Have a lovely day.

Kate

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