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almost 4 years San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States Story
 Why I’ll never give up chocolate,  and neither should you!

The first chocolate I fell in love with was a giant solid Easter bunny—a gift from my uncle when I was four years old. He knelt down and placed it on the floor in front of me. Wrapped in clear cellophane with a big pink bow on the top, it was taller than me. Since Easter was a very religious holiday in my Italian immigrant family, that bunny was a little taste of heaven for me. My mouth watered as I thought of taking a bite out of one of those creamy ears! Every day after dinner, my mother cut off a little piece of that chocolate bunny for dessert. That was the start of my life-long love affair with chocolate.

As an adult, I continued to indulge in chocolate of all kinds despite the fact that I was always an advocate of healthy eating and exercising. I rationalized my chocolate habit as being my one vice in my healthy lifestyle. But as I got more and more educated about health and wellness, I started feeling guilty about eating chocolate, mainly because I felt like a hypocrite. How could I write, speak and teach people to live healthier with my dirty little chocolate secret?

As I learned more, however, I found there were more health reasons to eat chocolate that not. The cacao bean, which is what chocolate comes from, packs a ton of health benefits and antioxidants. Consider these facts:

  • The phenyl ethylamine in chocolate is mood uplifting
  • The cacao in chocolate has antibacterial properties
  • The flavanoids in chocolate help keep blood vessels flexible
  • The carbs in chocolate raise serotonin levels making you feel good
  • The cocoa butter in chocolate can help raise good cholesterol

I was grateful my love affair with chocolate did not have to be broken or hidden. However, I also learned that not all chocolate is created equal. A lot of over-the-counter chocolate is loaded with dairy products, sugar, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Even before I got my health coach certification, I knew that those ingredients were not good for anyone. So, if I wanted to continue my affair, I had to find healthier chocolate. And just like searching for that perfect partner in life, I made a list of what my chocolate would look like. It was organic, non GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, fair traded, at least 70% cacao, less than 5 grams of sugar per serving and no artificial anything. Of course, it also had to taste delicious! Yes, this was a tall order, but when you love something that much, you will search until you find it, even if you have to suffer through some bad relationships first.

I tried dozens of chocolate, and I did finally find one brand that met all my criteria and more; it actually contained extra anti-inflammatories—flaxseed oil and turmeric. One piece a day of this yummy healthy chocolate, and I’m back in heaven. My love affair with chocolate continues happier and healthier. Isn’t life delicious!

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Inspiring personal growth, professional success and positive change. Author of The Goddess of Happiness, Vita’s Will and Note to Self: Love (Book & Screenplay). Lover of food, fashion, fitness, funky music, dogs, dancing, cooking, laughter and anything Italian.

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