|Photo courtesy of Chocolate Note|
Me VS Chocolate:
"Chocolate makes me so happy..." - My famous first and last words. My dad always likes to tell the story of my first real sentence when I was sitting in the front of his black Porsche with my face covered in a melted Hershey's bar circa 1990. Ever since chocolate has been my absolute guilty pleasure and if I am truly being honest with myself, I realistically indulge in it every single day. Whether it be a handful of Brookside's dark chocolate blueberry acai morsels (which are beyond amazing by the way) or a spoon full of Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie froyo after dinner, I am always craving that rich smooth flavor of chocolate. I am also non-discriminating when it comes to flavors. I adore the fruity, vanilla-y, creaminess of white chocolate just as much as I crave the decadent, deep, coffee-tinged taste of dark chocolate. I am also definitely not a "chocolate-snob, indulging in everything from hand-crafted cocoa-coated truffles from a gourmet chocolate shop as well as that truly sinful Reese's Peanut Butter Cup I slipped into the freezer for an hour or two. The love affair I have with chocolate can only end in utter despair.
Though I am not a devout Catholic, or a truly active Christian (in a church sense), I always give up something for Lent to test my commitment and ability to follow through with something responsibly. I believe it reveals my weaknesses so that I can build myself to have stronger character and conviction. Even if you are not a Christian, practicing Lent can be a very cathartic and rewarding experience. Traditionally Lent is practiced for around 40 days, beginning Ash Wednesday (3/9) and lasting until Easter Sunday (4/24), but many people continue long after to see how strong their endurance is or simply because they feel the change should be a more permanent one.
The reason I bring up lent for your reading pleasure is not because I decided to give up chocolate, but because according to Buzzfeed.com, food is the #1 thing people tend to give up during this time (alcohol was #5). I think we often times feel guiltier about what we eat/drink versus other habits because their effects are less visible to us. When we eat or drink we feel the effects both immediately and later on. Whether its the instant pleasure of the taste of something or the lbs we put on later from eating it, we recognize the effects of eating and drinking because they are so observable. We don't always readily see the consequences of our actions, like swearing, texting and driving, spending too much time on social networking sites, or even something as small as being tidy, though these are also popular omissions for lent. We tend to obsess over the food in our life first. With that said, lent is the perfect time to let go of a comforting familiar food and force yourself to try something new in its place. Last night, I chose a butter-pecan milkshake instead of chocolate and my world was illuminated. I had never tasted butter-pecan flavoring before and my taste buds exploded with delight. Of course I realize I traded one hunk of calories for another, not entirely the point of Lent, but I realized that instead of moping around about not getting chocolate, I could choose to explore new tastes in its place, maybe some not even sweet.
So now I ask you, what are you giving up and why? How are you going to stay strong and make it through? What has worked in the past and what hasn't?