Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I was a dedicated chocolate lover years and years ago. Not so much of late. In adulthood I got away from that sort of self-indulgence.
This was even in spite of all the surveys and analysis that noted the health benefits of (good) chocolate. and red wine.I limited my eating to...oh, mostly bread and white wine, with the occasional chocolate croissant thrown in.

But when you start looking around for nutritional benefits contained in the foods you like, it can be easy to become convinced that there are compounds in chocolate that promote alertness, lessen pain and promote well-being. The research will tell you, for example, the stimulants theobromine, caffeine, tyramine and phenylethylamine (PEA) provide a lift. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, lessens anxiety by producing the neurotransmitter serotonin; endorphins, the body's natural opiates, reduce sensitivity to pain.(

So Chocolate gives you an energy lift,less anxiety, a reduction in pain-who wouldn't recommend something that did all that? Well, a nutritionist or biochemist could argue that chocolate doesn't contain much of these ingredients. But a chocolate lover can be easily convinced of all the good benefits without any real proof other than placing one nice rich morsel upon your tongue.

In my post-hospitalization life which includes a need to take short walks to keep the muscles moving but without making a big push which could result in over-stress, which is counter-productive. I am enjoying walks which give me a specific purpose. Fortunately where I live there are enough things around which can be the point of the walk. I have a post office within 4 blocks and a library a couple of blocks beyond that. Interestingly five blocks away is a Mrs. Sees candy shop. Mrs. Sees has a great quality of chocolate which is sort of legendary. When you walk into the crisp white and black checked atmosphere of their stores you are immediately surrounded by the delicious smell of chocoalate. The display case holds everything from truffles to fudge to bridge mix.. It is wonderfully tempting to see all the good stuff and it is possible to select one or two pieces of anything which you can't resist.. And, they usually hand out a sample of their featured chocolate – bonus goodies – I love that. So I started making sure I have some money on me for some of my exercise walks, just in case I feel like stopping in at Mrs. Sees. One piece of something that rich and chocolaty is usually enough for me. How nice it’s so convenient.

All the factual "information" aside about how good this stuff is for you, my feeling about it is based onthe good taste and therefore how good that makes you feel. It's another one of those wonderful things like a warm sunny day or a misty morning when step outside and you can smell all the plants around, sort of herbal-y. Simple gifts; I am a woman who has learned to appreciate and not take for granted the those small things like the ability to take a few independent steps.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Food as Fuel
Those of you who know me or have been reading this blog for any amount of time will no doubt be surprised to read that headline. I typically have not regarded food as fuel. To enjoy, yes, to appreciate for its beauty, fabulous fragrance, composition, yes, all that. Strictly as fuel, no.
A recent health event caused me to understand that sometimes it is necessary to approach the consumption of food as something we must do in order to heal or build strength for fighting disease.

Here’s what happened to me- a brain aneurism. If you have no reason to know what those 2 words mean I say to you that’s extremely lucky. The name sometimes most commonly known for this is stroke. Not good.

Hospital food (like airplane food) is frequently the subject of some derision. I found the food to be good and appetizing enough. With the illness, I discovered this other approach to eating. Nutritional thinking. it is necessary to eat in a way to become or stay healthy. As a non-red meat eater, the idea that I must eat a lot of protein will change my approach to food, like it or not.
I know this is not revolutionary thinking. But, when you are in a hospital bed to long period of time, all your concentration is focused on what will take to get better and go home. Eating right seemed like small positive move in that direction. And continuing onward, I think in terms of what actions I can take that will help me that way.
Life’s lessons: Things that you learn along the way that you probably already know but just take for granted.
Eating well is one of those things.
I have more things to recommend. Life can change in an instant. I think it’s important to always let your loved ones know how much you care. Value those small moments each day that you enjoy. Do not take anything for granted. If I am lucky enough to regain my health I am convinced I will try my best not to take it for grnted.
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