Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and in honor of it, I’m not going to talk about the nutritional value of chocolate. Yes, there does appear to be some real health benefits associated with eating small amounts of dark chocolate, but I think that’s really not what we eat chocolate for. Instead, when we focus on the good nutrition found in chocolate, it’s often an attempt to assuage guilty feelings that I encourage you not to have in the first place!
If we enjoy it, eating chocolate is part of intuitive healthy eating. We eat it because it tastes good, and eating too much of it doesn’t taste good. Mindful eaters know that nothing tastes good in excess. And if we don’t eat chocolate in excess, whatever things that are in it that may not be good for our health in excess aren’t relevant.
I argue that, if we like it, eating chocolate is good for our health regardless whether it contains anything that scientists have found has disease-fighting benefits or not. That’s because happiness is a big part of being healthy. If we walk around feeling down because we’re deprived, or guilty, or joyless because we don’t let ourselves take part in life’s pleasures that are food, it’s hard to feel happy.
So when your sweetie, or friend, or mom, or whoever, hands you a box of chocolates tomorrow, go ahead and enjoy! Banish those thoughts of calories, fat, weight, health. Just savor each piece you decide to eat, and trust your body to tell you when enough is enough. Then enjoy the rest of your day knowing you’ve treated your body well…and your psyche to boot!