Home It's All Mental How To Indulge Like A Grown Up: What Chocolate Taught Me

How To Indulge Like A Grown Up: What Chocolate Taught Me

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I’m someone who loves chocolate. I mean, looooves chocolate. Delicious, heavenly goodness. Yes. I love it. If you catch me at the right moment, you might catch me talking to my chocolate. “I hate that I have to do this to you, but… [insert gobbling sound] just know that I love you for everything you’ve given me..”

It’s that deep.

So for me, the supermarket checkout lanes were more fun than the actual grocery store. Why? Because the game was “avoid swiping the entire chocolate rack into your cart with one hand.” I’m ashamed to tell you that, some days, I lost. [insert big frown here]

During the down time when I started to let go of processed foods, I had a period where I was looking up everything, much to my detriment. The more I learned, the angrier I became and the more I wound up giving up.

Unfortunately… one day, I just so happened to turn over a chocolate bar… and much to my disappointment, I saw the same science lab I’d been seeing on the rest of my food.

Imagine the look of shock and horror across my face. I don’t even think I remember what was more frustrating – the fact that my chocolate wasn’t, in fact, chocolate… or the fact that I couldn’t just allow myself to remain in blissful ignorance. I just had to turn over that darn wrapper and see what the hell I was eating. It wasn’t pretty.

It was also enough for me to give up chocolate completely. It was like nothing was safe! If I couldn’t understand the label, I couldn’t do it. It had to go.

So… fast forward. I happen across a young woman at the farmer’s market, who appears to be a chocolatier. She’s nice, she’s sweet, she’s… selling organic dark chocolate?! Say what? Not only does she have organic dark chocolate truffles, but she has vegan organic dark chocolate truffles? Oh, help me.

At this point, it’s been almost a year since I’ve last had chocolate. (I wasn’t playing when I said I’d given up.) I bit into her truffle, and it was like the clouds opened up… a choir appeared behind me singing the Hallelujah chorus… and a ray of sunlight began to beam on me alone. I could’ve floated! Immediately, I asked her what comes in one package.

The inside of my tiny box of vegan organic dark chocolate truffles… dusted with Dutch cocoa powder. Yummy.

“In each individually wrapped package, you get two truffles.”

“Okay,” as a grab my wallet, reaching for a couple singles. “How much?”

“Five dollars.”

In my mind, the record skipped. Y’all know I’m cheap, right? TWO truffles for five dollars? I tried to not have a visible reaction on my face to her price, but I don’t think I was successful, because she laughed pretty loudly at me. It’s ok.. I laughed back.

“Don’t worry, you’re not the first to have that reaction!” she told me. I felt trapped – I wanted the chocolate, but dang – I couldn’t justify paying that much for it, when I know that my former favorites are in the checkout lane for three for a dollar right now!

“I like to think of my chocolates as an indulgence — something you definitely don’t do every day, but when you do do them, they’re definitely worth the wait.”

At this time, my daughter started asking for a piece of chocolate to taste, too, and the lady – charming as she was – went ahead and gave her a tiny piece. Since I’m a sucker for people who engage my little one, I went ahead and decided to purchase from her. But as I reached for my five, I told her, “I could see that… because I spent way more on chocolate before. If I just bought a really nice piece of chocolate every now and again instead of crap every other day, I’d still be happy… and not be broke!” and we both laughed as she handed me my purchase.

And trust me, my chcolates were undoubtedly worth it.

But that experience taught me a valuable lesson – a few valuable lessons, to be honest. First, an indulgence is an opportunity to enjoy something… not hide from the world in it. I had to realize that in my effort to abstain from the chemicals and the foods engineered to “make me enjoy, love, and want to buy more of them,” I was forcing myself to stop eating my emotions. I was forcing myself to cope with my realities outside of food… because food was no longer sooooooooo satisfying to me anymore. So, even though I was afraid of what chemicals might’ve been in those dark chocolate truffles (she has four ingredients in her truffles and even shared the recipe with me!), it didn’t matter because it had been so long since I’d tried to use food as an emtional shield.. the attempt didn’t even make sense to my body anymore. Besides… the chemicals weren’t there anymore. It wouldn’t have worked, anyway.

Secondly, I was spending a lot of money on chocolate. A lot. Chocolate cookies, chocolate pies, chocolate bars… but the reality is, the amount of actual chocolate in them is negligible. Most of the “chocolate” that I was eating might contain just enough chocolate for the manufacturer to put “chocolate” or “cocoa powder” on the label.. but the majority of it was some strange flour/oil/”natural flavors”/corn syrup combination. So my “indulgence” was, really, just me binging on fake chocolate flavored flour paste. My indulgence wasn’t even worth the time it took to eat it.

If I spent $3 each day on chocolate – a giant chocolate bar or a big bag of little chocolate bars that couldn’t even remotely compare to the two bites of chocolate I paid $5 for? Then guess what. Not only did my delicious chocolate ensure that I’d never go back to the crap chocolate, but it saved me money. Spending $5 every couple of weeks as opposed to $15 each week? C’mon. I might experience a little sticker shock, but I’m still saving lots of dough.

Lastly, it’s okay to indulge. The idea is not to put myself in nutritional prison. The idea is to learn how to curb my habits and guarantee my health. So yes, that means that I have to occasionally tell myself “No, you don’t need any chocolate today” or even “No, you don’t need chocolate this week.” If I truly think about why I “need” an indulgence, the answer (if my conscience isn’t cluttered by hunger) is usually that I don’t need to indulge. I don’t need to indulge. I need to make sure that when I want to indulge, it’s not for the wrong reasons. I need to make sure that both my indulgence and how often I indulge are both in check – make sure they won’t prevent me from reaching or maintaining my goals.

I always knew chocolate would do me some good… I just never thought it’d be this much.

What are your indulgences? What tips do you have to share?

Forget all that… any good recommendations on how to enjoy chocolate? I’m kidding! (Sort of.)

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21 comments

LaTisha September 2, 2010 - 10:37 AM

I indulge on Godiva organic chocolate once in a couple months.. Their truffles are 2 dollars each.. and OMG delicious and smooth… you are lucky you have a Chocolatier that is local and vegan!

I’ve lost almost 30lbs since I started clean eating! Thanks for the straight forward articles.

Erika September 2, 2010 - 11:23 AM

Oh no, mama… we’re not talking Godiva, here. You’ve got to go foreign or local if you want REAL good stuff.

Check this out for a little insight, lol: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/341076

We fancy, huh? LOL!

And CONGRATS on 30lbs gone! Let’s celebrate with a glass of water, LOLOL!

son jae January 13, 2012 - 6:59 PM

OMG!!!!! i have never read an article that was so informative, real, entertaining and funny….. i initially saw ur website on aol and it immediately caught my eye. a black woman who openly exposes herself in regards to the struggles we have with our weight… im sorry… thats unheard of. for all the oprahs, janet jacksons, jennifer hudsons and so on….. for me ur story has been refreshing. im a plus size girl ….who went from 115 to 250 at my largest n about eight years. now back to my reply about chocolate…. i enjoy this snack too and when u said u talk to ur chocolate …. i honestly was like how did she know lol….. thank u and i mean this as sincerely as i can …. i do realize this is coming from a complete stranger…. thank u……

Streetz September 2, 2010 - 8:30 PM

I dont wanna hear ISH from you when I talk about popeyes!!! lmaooo

Great post.. watch mine next week hahahaha

Erika September 2, 2010 - 8:43 PM

So, you mean to tell me that your scheduled weekly visits to Popeyes are… an indulgence?

Shoutout to needing an upgrade. Good grief. LMAO!

Streetz September 2, 2010 - 9:16 PM

I hate you Jodi!!!! lmaoo

Nah its a weekly cheat.. which ive given up to prove a point to a certain blogger smh

Aisha September 3, 2010 - 7:17 PM

See I need to throw away my scale because it had me crying the other day into a slice of vegan chocolate cake.

Shante February 1, 2011 - 10:06 PM

I don’t eat a lot of sweets and it isn’t something that I want everyday or even once a week really. I do take into account the tasting that I have to do at work. However every so often I do want something sweet. That being said a lot of clean recipes I see are for like date balls or something. I’m like I don’t think so. I don’t like dates. I’m considering making and freezing black bean brownies from scratch made with w.w. flour and muscovado sugar since it unrefined as well as making my own frozen yogurt.
I swear if I didn’t have an electric read as POS because I hate electric, oven and stove top I would have a clean eating food blog. I still might try but you don’t know how much I hate electric.

Lee March 25, 2011 - 4:48 PM

I work in downtown Chicago, and there’s a Leonidas near my office. I’ve passed by it a few times and been intrigued, but I’ve never gone in. After checking out that Chowhound link, I think I’ll tip toe in for an indulgence next week 🙂

My evolution into a chocolate snob, combined with my determination to be a healthier eater, has lead me to skip chocolate treats if they’re not really WORTH it (creamy, flavorful, high cocoa content, etc.). I hope Leonidas pays off.

Dana May 18, 2011 - 10:57 AM

“fake chocolate flavored flour paste”

Really Erika? You just made me hate chocolate. And I had some Ghirardelli on standby that has been calling my name since Easter. Gross.

Your blog is completely eye-opening – and it is killing my fridge and pantry! Seriously, my pantry is on crutches right now and when I go grocery shopping it’s just full of those little green produce bags and butcher paper from the meat/seafood dept. And I’m so mad that you’re turning me against mayo!

But … I’m down 6 lbs in a week so I’m not complaining! *munching my organic granola and greek yogurt*

Milaxx June 1, 2011 - 12:32 AM

“I like to think of my chocolates as an indulgence — something you definitely don’t do every day, but when you do do them, they’re definitely worth the wait.”

Thank goodness I am doing something right. When I gave up processed foods I knew I wasn’t going to waste my calories on a snickers anymore. When I eat a piece of chocolate it had better be the good stuff.

Colah June 5, 2011 - 12:23 AM

“I saw the same science lab I’d been seeing on the rest of my food”

I need to know what science lab you’re referring to. It could make my life a bit easier. Email me please!

Ria November 18, 2011 - 1:52 PM

Thank you for this post. This was my first time coming to your blog and I stumbled upon this post. Just last night I was telling myself I eat too much chocolate, like tw0 or three servings a day. I had stopped eating chocolate bars for several years but recently picked back up on it. Your right though, it’s not really chocolate at all. This post served as a reinforcement for my thoughts. Thank you. Chocolate is for indulging and it better be worth it, meaning REAL!

Chase February 24, 2012 - 2:55 AM

I’ve learned to upgrade to the better chocolate…still struggling with the moderation 🙂

Erika Nicole Kendall February 24, 2012 - 11:14 AM

Nuh uh…the good stuff – the really good stuff is either mad expensive, or not sweet enough to trigger that response. So… you’d better get down to the bottom of that one, mama. *hug*

glow June 19, 2012 - 7:30 PM

Nice article. Yes quality trumps quantity. I indulge in lake champlain dark chocolate african blend that I buy from a local store. And no I don’t buy it often one bar lasts a while. Just one square satisfies.when you start to have things of finer quality you don’t go back.

Chells October 3, 2012 - 2:04 PM

Hi Erika,

I almost jumped up and down when I read “Lastly, it’s okay to indulge. The idea is not to put myself in nutritional prison. The idea is to learn how to curb my habits and guarantee my health.”

People often assume clean eating is some type of diet and look at me strange (like: I thought you were on a diet?) when they see my lunch or ask me how I made a certain dish (because I use natural ingredients not low-fat/non-fat/fill-in the blank substitutes).

I haven’t weighed myself in a while but I have been told that I’ve lost some inches and I am so glad that I found your blog. Because of you I can get (and remain) healthy without confining myself to “nutritional prison.”

Thanks!

Shea December 29, 2012 - 1:35 PM

Chocolate, when made the right way and not containing all of the fillers and refined sugar, is actually considered a superfood loaded with Antioxidants. Trader Joe’s sells pure, real dark chocolate. And when it’s real chocolate you only need a tiny piece to satisfy your cravings! They sell chocolate bars for 1.99 each and theyre a pretty good size and very tasty!

Janine January 17, 2013 - 8:12 PM

Agree with Shea- true dark chocolate naturally has a deep, woody, almost fruity flavor that is totally satisfying. I can eat two little squares and be done.

Angel Blanca June 13, 2013 - 10:40 PM

Great. Now I want one of those truffles, but I’m in DC…Are you shipping/bringing me some, or nah?

Really good chocolate is amazing, and I love having REAL food without any ingredients I cannot pronounce.

xoxo

Jessica June 18, 2014 - 2:44 PM

When I want something sweet, I crave chocolate. Some people eat skittles, or “fruity” candies or pastries, forget that BS, I need a big bar of CHOCOLATE!! Chocolate is savory, its like a mini meal to me. I can let it melt in my mouth and taste every bit…..omg I am going into shock at my desk typing this…..yyuummm. Now I have to go out and find some REAL chocolate…..the hunt begins.

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