As a Holistic Nutritionist for those with health issues, dietary restrictions, and/or on Body Ecology Diet (BED) …. this is a common question I get; mostly by women starting a new way of eating. Most people, women or men, don’t like the idea of quitting chocolate, no matter how big a health problem they have. I understand, I’m a chocolate lover myself ?
Here’s what I say, once you removed the ‘biggies’ (i.e. gluten, yeast, pasteurized dairy, sugar), start food combining, and apply 80/20 rule you might find your health naturally transforms in a better direction.
Doing those things is often enough to turn around a health issue, because each of these will reduce the trigger load on your immune and digestive system. In this case, you might find that eating a small piece of chocolate, sweetened with stevia/lakanto — sugars that don’t feed yeast, bacteria, or viruses in the body — is perfectly fine. Now, if you are someone with a chronic health issue and feel debilitated in your body, then you might want to stay on a healing diet protocol, like stage 1 of B.E.D., for about 3 months and avoid chocolate.
I used a gut healing protocol to heal a chronic case of yeast overgrowth back in 2010. Up until then, I was in a bad place, always sick and uncomfortable. I was open to doing anything that would make me feel better; including not eating chocolate. I quit cold turkey for 3 years. Hard to believe, even to me, but it felt right at the time.
One of my mantras is “mind over matter becomes habit”, a habit you drop into as easily as you once grabbed for your chocolate stash. I promise you. I see this all the time. I remember going to a party and smelling chocolate cake, my body barely reacted, didn’t even salivate. I knew on a gut level I wasn’t physically ready to eat it yet. Once I felt better, you know that I created a raw chocolate recipe!
Like coffee, chocolate contains caffeine worth mentioning, not much but some. Many people with compromised immunity and digestion have trouble breaking down/metabolizing the constituents in caffeine. This is the person who says “I have a caffeine sensitivity”. A person becomes sensitive to caffeine when the caffeine itself is not broken down properly by your gut and ends up stimulating the adrenals; eventually burning-out (aka adrenal fatigue).
Note: 1 tablespoon cocoa powder = 12mg caffeine // 1 cup green tea = 35 mg.
Gluten intolerance is another thing. People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease will often react negatively to chocolate. A reason for this is a reaction caused by cross-reactivity, because chocolate contains a protein that is a similar structure to the gluten protein. In this case, your immune system can mistake chocolate for gluten.
Oxalates are naturally produced chemicals in most plant foods (i.e. cacao, spinach, broccoli, almonds). Oxalates are usually excreted from body via urine, but if you have oxalate sensitivity, then the oxalates can accumulate in your body; forming sharp crystals that result in joint pain, kidney stones, and brain issues.
Strengthening the gut with a probiotic (supplement or food) is one way to reduce oxalate buildup; another is to reduce the amount of oxalate-rich foods you eat. Count oxalates, not calories 🙂
May all bellies be happy!