As someone who is actively promoting healthy lifestyle for several years, I noticed the pattern with some of my clients, regarding their eating habits. Beside being a chocolate maker that is making a healthy dark chocolate based super-food, I also help my clients with their diet. Working closely with people, over the years, I noticed a repeating pattern when it comes to food: Most of our clients have a very strong work discipline.The majority does not even smoke, they drink socially, they even exercise moderately at least. However, once in front of a full plate, all the will power is simply gone. Especially if in the plate is fast processing carb food like: pasta, dough, bread, doughnuts, fries or fried food in general, also sugar packed sauces, dressings, deserts and drinks. Once I noticed and confirmed that the issue is rather more often than random, I was curious to see if there was a reason for such behavior.

I personally had never been a big eater, so I could not really try to use myself, and see if I could figure it out. The most obvious “suspect” for unhealthy eating and then the consequences that vary from moderate to risky, was of course the food itself. Unhealthy, processed food, enriched with tons of additives, sugar, salt, artificial flavors, artificial colors, flavor enhancements, preservatives and the list goes on, is definitely the cause, but how come knowing all of the above, that most of us still opt to consume it on a daily basis. Healthier, raw or unprocessed food has a flavor that most people simply do not like. I hear very often from my clients:” I know I should eat this or that, but I really do not like the taste”. Or “I know it is bad to eat whatever, but”…

Well, there might be an explanation that will hopefully, at least offer some comfort. Eating unhealthy food is somehow “programmed” into our brains. It seems to me that as we were growing up, we were being fed certain foods that develop our eating habits later in life. I am not sure if it is lack of parent’s knowledge or simply the pace of modern life “pushes” children into eating highly processed, sugar and salt loaded food from the early age, thus creating some kind of “food reflex”. Also I notified that what I call “food reflex” seems to be less noticeable if the person is not overweight, but majority of our chocolate clients say that they were not overweight at younger age. Somehow without them adding extra meals or calories, at least in their view, the pounds kept pilling up over time, regardless. I strongly believe, in order to “cross” to the “right” side, we must “re-program” our selves. “Re-programming” is a few step process, that is not so difficult to achieve and then maintain. Switching from an unhealthy to a healthy lifestyle is not a temporary event. I mean it should not be. It has to be a complete lifestyle change. One cannot decide to lose, for instance, thirty pounds, somehow manage to do so, and then continue as before. Let me share what I discovered over the years.

First and foremost: Understand the food you are eating. Treat is as something that deserves to be understood and analyzed, before you open your mouth. Once inside our body, there is no way out. Why is it important to understand the food we are eating?

The main reason is because it creates a “chain” reaction in our bodies. Certain foods simply ignite the “spark” that later explodes. It could be either in a bad way, but also in a good way. There is something called glycemic index. The simplest way to explain it is that glycemic index is the sugar level in the blood that changes levels after we eat. The higher the level, the hungrier we think we are. The slower it goes down, the more food we consume in the meantime. The more food we consume, the higher the index goes. Sounds like fun? Let me add to that: processed food, sugar added foods, sugar added drinks, pastry etc (do some research, you would not believe the amount of foods that have added sugar (bacon for instance) ) are designed to create blood sugar spikes. Processed food is designed to raise glycemic index, so that the urge that we have after eating, to continue munching, is actually a natural reaction to blood sugar levels (it is not related to diabetes). Our brain is “tricked” to over eat and then the chain reaction simply goes from there: overweight, fatigue, low energy level, sleep deprivation, anxiety, high blood pressure, bad skin, bad hair, bad mood and the list goes on. And what do we do then? We eat more of the same food, that put us in the bad position, at the first place. Why? Because that same food, when consumed, creates a very short spike of “happiness” that dries out pretty quick. That is how we enter the vicious circle of short lived food related happiness, and long term misery, in general.The very first step in switching the “program” to a healthy lifestyle is actually to fight the glycemic index addiction. Do not worry. That is not rocket science. It takes approximately 2-4 weeks of moderate discipline to “clean” your body. Once “clean” your body is turning into a powerful “machine” that does exactly the opposite: It makes you look good, feel good, sleep better, feel more energized and happier in general. However this time the feel good sensation is not short lived, artificially induced reaction. It is a long lasting state of well being. What takes most of our clients by surprise once they get off glycemic addiction, is that now they see the food they are eating not only as their best friend, but a very tasty as well. Once glycemic addiction is defeated, our sense of flavor also gets off the addiction to crave sweet, oily or salty foods mixed with tons of totally unnecessary additives, that have absolutely no nutritional value. Quite the opposite. The harm that processed food creates is well documented and easily available for research.

So why am I even talking about all this? I am talking about this because we created Skinny Chocolate, a chocolate based super-food that assists in weight management; it helps suppress sugar cravings and helps maintain lower glycemic index after eating. Skinny Chocolate is made to tell your brain after you just had a meal: I am good. No need for desert, sugar loaded soda drink or munching, until my next meal. Remember: Less Is More!. Choosing healthy lifestyle does not mean turning into a food obsessed fanatic, but this time instead of overweight one, you become a health food fanatic. We advise our clients that it is perfectly fine to “pig out” once every 7-10 days. It is perfectly fine. Once off glycemic addiction, junk food cannot harm you any more. If you really have occasional need to reminiscence about bad old days, treat your junk meal as for instance a recreational drug.

Wendy Dawn is an artisanal chocolate maker and creator of Truffolie chocolates (truffolie.com). Wendy studied at the French Culinary Institute and L’Ecole Vahlrona in New York.