Don’t Believe the Hype: Chocolate is NOT Good for You
By Jen Eddinger
I stopped eating chocolate years ago and I don’t miss it.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the experience of chocolate just as much as you do and it really is so incredibly delicious!
But without it, I sleep better, I breathe deeper and I feel more present.
Ayurveda – the ancient natural medical system of India and the sister-science to yoga – confirms that chocolate is NOT a health food.
Why is Chocolate Not a Health Food?
Chocolate imbalances all three Ayurvedic doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha), the fundamental principles which rule every system of your body.
Each and every one of us is some combination of these fundamental principles. If your Vata, Pitta and Kapha Doshas are balanced, you’re in good health. If you’re eating foods that imbalance your doshas and are living a lifestyle that’s not suited for you, you’re priming yourself for trouble.
Finding and consulting a qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner is the best way to determine your Doshic make-up (prikruti) and any Doshic imbalance you may have (vikruti).
Some things to consider the next time you reach for chocolate…
1. Chocolate Contains Caffeine
Coffee, chocolate and other caffeinated and carbonated beverages – along with raw foods and cold foods – provoke Vata Dosha. An excess of Vata Dosha means: gas, bloating, constipation, insomnia, nervousness, fear, anxiety and spaciness. Not fun.
Vata Dosha governs all of the body’s movements. A healthy Vata Dosha is displayed in your creativity, fluidity, flexibility and regular bowel movements. It’s created with a regular daily routine and the right diet and lifestyle.
2. Chocolate is a Stimulant
Stimulants like chocolate, alcohol and tobacco – along with spicy food, fried food and red meat – provoke Pitta Dosha. An excess of Pitta Dosha may manifest as anger, jealousy, a rash, diarrhea, stomach acid and ulcers.
Pitta Dosha governs your metabolism and the body’s temperature. When in balance, it’s your intelligence, digestive process and understanding. Keep Pitta Dosha cool and avoid those provoking heating foods.
3. Chocolate Clogs the Channels
That dairy filled chocolate is too sweet for Kapha Dosha and clogs the body’s channels, or srotas and leads to weight gain. Too much heavy and sweet foods leads to excess weight, attachment, lethargy and sluggishness.
Kapha Dosha is the structure and mass of your body. In balance, Kapha is loving, compassion and sturdiness. Kapha Dosha needs exercise and a Kapha Reducing Diet.
4. Chocolate is a Whole Food, Not an Isolated Chemical
Chocolate has had tons of press for many years now and we’ve all heard of the beneficial components of chocolate. But these are simply isolated chemicals. When we eat chocolate, we’re not just eating isolated chemicals; we’re taking in the whole form: the dairy, sugar, caffeine and artificial high it creates.
You think you want chocolate, but what are you really craving?
If it’s energy you’re looking for, what you really need to do is jump start your digestive power, or agni. If it’s feel-good chemicals you’re looking for, start a meditation practice. That’ll change your chemistry for sure. If your chocolate consumption stems from an addiction to caffeine, there’s plenty of alternatives that won’t make you crash.
Everything in moderation. And when you start to notice the imbalances that occur from a chocolate indulgence, a cup of Cardamom Tea is a great antidote. It clears excess Vata and Kapha Dosha from the digestive system.
Jen Eddinger is an Artist, Shirodhara Therapist and the creator of AyurvedaNextDoor.com, a place to discover the Ayurveda community around you. Her multi-author blog and directory of Ayurvedic practitioners, centers and schools is a leading resource for Ayurveda.
Jen is passionate about Ayurvedic panchakarma cleanses, Ayurvedic herbs, medicinal body oils for therapeutic self-massage and kitchari. She helps people better understand the Ayurvedic lifestyle and locate the practitioners, services and schools they are seeking.
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