A meditation on chocolate – how to appreciate chocolate
If you are reading this, then I imagine that you – like I – love chocolate. Chocolate has been my weakness for as long as I can remember. I used to devour anything chocolaty like Cookie Monster eats cookies; through meditation and practice, I have learned to savour it and appreciate its subtle aromas.
The secret to eating as much chocolate as you want without getting fat is to change how much you want. As mentioned in The Secret, this can be achieved through appreciation. It is difficult to appreciate something when you are not focused on it – food has more flavour when you are not distracted.
There are three aspects of chocolate eating that I will focus on during this blog; they are:
- Eating period
Types of chocolate
The chocolate selection at most grocery stores is expansive, to say the least. With dozens of varieties of chocolate bars, pralines and truffles, it can be challenging to choose. I make this choice much more manageable by limiting the chocolate I buy to chocolate with about 85% cacao.
85% might be too bitter when you start this practice, so feel free to start with 60 or 70%. I recommend sticking to dark chocolate as milk interferes with those delicious chocolaty flavours. I find that 85% has a good balance between the natural bitter-tannic character of the chocolate and the added sugar.
I have tried one containing 95% chocolate and found the astringency and bitterness overwhelming. By the time I had finished that chocolate bar – no wasting – I had found myself craving it. I had grown accustomed to the bitterness and could appreciate the chocolate’s flavours.
I still prefer my 85% chocolate; it’s enough. If you do not habitually eat chocolate this dark, it can be off-putting – it’s quite bitter. But do as I did and finish the bar. Not in one sitting; it doesn’t even need to be in a week, but revisit the chocolate periodically. Particularly when doing the exercise below and seeing how your appreciation for it changes – you might even start craving it.
How much chocolate is enough?
The daily recommended “dose” of chocolate is between 30 and 60 grams. This is the amount of chocolate you should eat if you want to reap the benefits which include happiness, heart-healthy anti-oxidants and brain-boosting minerals.
While chocolate contains a lot of healthy substances, it also includes a lot of fat which is why it is best to eat it in moderation. When consumed in the cookie monster fashion shown above, it is easy to eat several times this recommended dose.
Eating darker chocolate will help for two reasons: it’s less bingeable and best eaten slow – which takes us to our next point.
I want you to meditate on your chocolate; it should be your object of focus. Chew minimally – if at all – just enough for the chocolate to fit comfortably in your mouth, and then go somewhere you won’t be disturbed for a while.
I usually eat my chocolate at work, and I swear my boss knows when I have put a piece in my mouth because he always chooses that exact moment to talk to me. Thankfully, he now knows my morning routine and leaves me alone when my mouth is full of chocolate.
The more you chew, the faster the chocolate will be gone – this is why I want you to avoid it. Something special happens when you let it melt slowly. At first, it’s cold and relatively flavourless; it takes time for your mouth to warm it. Then, you gradually get exposed to the flavours of the chocolate.
Chocolate flavours include anything from coffee, mushroom, and citrus to floral and anything in between. Tasting chocolate is similar to tasting wine. In both activities, you want to take your time, focus and develop a profile for the thing you are tasting.
Aside from the flavour profile, the taste and texture profile of chocolate ranges greatly. These characteristics include tannin, bitterness, saltiness and sweetness. If you start with a 70% chocolate bar – which might be a better place to start – there will definitely be some sweetness.
However, tannin and bitterness can mask the sweetness of the chocolate. Don’t assume that a lack of sweetness means it doesn’t have sugar – wait for it, the sweetness will come.
While these tastes and flavours are here for you to enjoy, meditating on chocolate will free your mind allowing you to enjoy it more deeply. In mindfulness meditation, your focus is on thoughts, and your reaction to these thoughts is typically thinking:
“That was a thought.”
Then you move your attention back to the breath. In chocolate meditation, your thought process is very similar but instead goes something like this:
“I appreciate that flavour/ texture/ taste.”
Then you move your attention back to appreciating the chocolate. This can be hard to visualize, so I have recorded a meditation to guide you through the process. Sign up for my monthly newsletter below and gain access to all my guided meditations – it’s free.
Let me know if this post motivated you to start giving chocolate more focused attention. I would be happy to hear about your journey in the comment section below.