I believe chocolate is much more than just candy. It’s a way of life.
Just the thought of its chocolateyness makes me smile, my eyes twinkle and my mouth salivate. I wake up and I think about chocolate. As silly as that sounds, it’s true. I talk about chocolate throughout the day. It’s my addiction. I am required to have it daily or I will die a thousand deaths.
It is a popular treat around the world. We see it everywhere. Chocolate is the basis for significant novels like The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, Chocolat by Joanne Harris and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Some of these novels have been adapted into major motion pictures, with their characters quickly becoming the newest Halloween costumes, and due to their memorable quotes and imagery have become intertwined into pop culture. How many times have we said to ourselves, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get,” in our best Forrest Gump voice? I’m guilty as charged.
The holiday season in the United States certainly tends to focus on chocolate, and major producers like Kraft, Nestle, and Mars take advantage of the public’s seasonal shifts. Christmas is a time for fudge and hot cocoa. Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and an assortment of gourmet chocolates are always preferred and expected in my stocking over the fireplace. Valentine’s Day focuses on heart-shaped, romantic, delectable in cherry and strawberry fruit delights. Halloween strives for quantity, offering giant economy sized bags of favorite candy bars, easy to relay to hordes of spooky trick-or-treaters. Easter is huge in the chocolate world; loot consists of Cadbury Crème Eggs and chocolate eggs, chickens and bunnies. Surprisingly, the grocery store shelves are not stocked with chocolate turkeys during Thanksgiving, but a chocolate pudding pie with graham cracker crust is as important as pumpkin pie at my mom’s table.
We consume chocolate cake on our birthdays; sweeten our morning coffee with special assorted creamers, stash peanut butter cups in the freezer for midnight snacks and basically will dip anything into chocolate from apples to pretzels.
These days, eating chocolate is comparable to drinking a glass of red wine once a week. Studies continue to reveal that chocolate is rich in antioxidants and truly contributes to a healthy diet. In March, 2012 an article on The Daily Beast claimed that chocolate decreases risk of stroke, reduces the likelihood of a heart attack, protects against blood inflammation, helps with math, may prevent cancer, reduces the risk of diabetes, is good for your skin, can control coughs, improves blood flow, strengthens your brain and makes you live longer. Whether these are myths or magic, I am convinced I need additional chocolate in my diet.
Most importantly, chocolate is satisfying. It’s something to indulge in, to self-medicate, to celebrate an occasion, or just because it so delicious. Whatever the reason, studies do show that chocolate may share some similar properties with marijuana. According to an article entitled Can Chocolate Give Me a Happy-High, chocolate contains several compounds that potentially could do so. Chocolate naturally contains the “most widely used psychoactive drug in the world,” also known as caffeine.
I believe in chocolate. I can not live without it. My fiancé can vouch for that. Right now, in my kitchen I have chocolate donuts, pop tarts, chocolate almond milk, ice cream and peanut butter cups stashed in the freezer behind frozen bags of peas. I hide chocolate in my night stand and wake up through out the night to eat it. See, I eat it in my sleep! I have very meticulously arranged my elliptical near my tiny kitchen so that I can think about all the chocolate I plan to eat while working out. My addiction to chocolate and my desire to not weigh 500 pounds is a tricky little battle I have to fight every day but at least I know that my addiction has some health benefits.
This is why I believe in chocolate.
*To view my academic essay and annotated bibliography on Chocolate, please click ChocolateFinal.