12 Jan

“Choco-natomy:  The chocolate bone’s connected to the happy bone … and also, the happy bone is buried under a lot of cellulite.” ~ comedian Rhonda Rhea

Chocolate Bone

My (Dawn’s) husband swears my body is made of of half chocolate, so Rhonda’s funny quip really makes me LOL. [The word “choco-natomy” is Rhonda’s creation!]

I’ve been following the chocolate debate, and here’s what I’ve concluded:

  • Chocolate has flavonoids (flavanols and procyanidins), substances that can reduce our risk of coronary artery disease. The rise in these antioxidants (the same kind present in green tea)  help to protect from damage to the heart and blood vessels, guard our DNA from damage that leads to cancer, and control inflammation. The higher the cocoa in the chocolate, the higher the antioxidant flavonoid content is.  (Note: dark chocolate has higher cocoa concentration, so is better for us.)
  • Here’s the controversy: One report says chocolate is loaded with saturated fats (the bad kind) and sugars that cause cholesterol to go up. Another report says the type of saturated fat in chocolate (stearic acid) is unique and does not raise blood cholesterol.
  • Obviously, fruits and vegetables are better (more reliable) for us as a source of these flavonoids.
  • So I have decided to dip my fruits and some vegetables in a small amount of dark chocolate!

Dietitian Heidi Bates from Edmonton, Canada, says “Chocolate is a more complex food than most people realize…. The potential benefits of chocolate lie with its unique composition and how it is put together.”

All I know is that chocolate definitely improves my mood! There is apparently a compound in chocolate called phenylethylamine (PEA) that “enhances attention span and other brain functions in both humans and animals.” In other words, says Bates, PEA acts like amphetamine in the brain. (See, I told you it improves my mood!) But Bates noted that the caffeine in chocolate could also explain my mood swing.

But Rhonda had it right when she talked about the “cellulite.” Bates said, “You can get too much of a good thing…. If you eat too much chocolate, you could undo any health value that you have gained.”

She had to say that, didn’t she?

Bates and others suggest that we choose good-quality dark chocolate. It’s more satisfying and better for us ~ a little bit goes a long way physically and emotionally.

So I guess the topic for today is careful self-discipline, which is strongly linked to wisdom. We have to learn when enough is enough. Some things are clearly now wise in our lives (like smoking), but with other things, it’s really a matter of knowing how our bodies work, what is allowable, and what our limits are.

I used to say it was a matter of “moderation,” and I quoted Philippians 4:5; but the word for moderation there (in the Greek) is really talking about being “gentle, patient, and yielding.” It’s not talking about being “moderate” as if we see what we can get away with in our “Christian liberty,” and trying not to fall head-long into fleshly living! The same word is used in 1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 3:2, James 3:17, and 1 Peter 2:18 ~ which have nothing to do with our modern interpretation of “Christian moderation.” Those verses talk about the gentleness and submission involved in Christian character.

But back to wisdom and discipline. Can you see how those two are connected in helping us make wise choices? We are to live and die (and everything in between) “unto the Lord” (Romans 14:8) ~ all according to the Word of God and the wisdom-principles we learn by experience as God’s Spirit teaches and guides us.

We need to discipline our emotions (Proverbs 25:28), responses (Proverbs 19:11), conversations (Proverbs 13:3), resources (Proverbs 21:20; 6:6-8; 27:12) , time (Ephesians 5:15-16), and certainly, our health (1 Thessalonians 4:4).

And that brings me back to the chocolate thing. It seems to me that wisdom says chocolate (at least, the cocoa bean) is something God made that has these great benefits for us physically ~ but we all need to discipline ourselves to not eat too much of a good thing.

Hmmm … perhaps I should share that box of See’s “Nuts and Creams” I got for Christmas.


2 Responses to “‘Choco-natomy’”

  1. Sharon G. January 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    My argument was always, “Well, chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and beans are a vegetable, hence, chocolate is a vegetable.”

    Great logic, eh?

    Actually, I am a chocolate freak but I’m not as bad as I once was. I used to suffer from clinical depression and I craved chocolate almost constantly. Sometimes it was the only thing I could eat that didn’t make me want to puke. My doctor had told me that that (craving chocolate) was very common among people with depression.

    God has delivered me from depression, so I don’t crave chocolate quite like I used to.

    Still a nice treat once in a while, though, isn’t it 😉

    • Dawn Wilson January 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

      I’m with you, Sharon. Chocolate is a favorite food, but I don’t really crave it anymore.

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