Few will deny chocolate makes us feel good. For that moment it is in our mouths, we experience pure sensuous delight. All the pain and anxiety of the world around us melts away and everything is bliss and pleasure.
Then we swallow and the world rushes back in. But for a few vanishing moments we feel uplifted, relaxed, maybe a little turned on….maybe a lot.
Chocolate is a sexy Valentine’s gift for a reason. Everyone loves chocolate. It’s rich, smooth, creamy, luscious, decadent and naughty.
Chocolate actually, chemically, induces feelings of love and lust in our brains when we eat it. I’ll argue that when we feel good, we feel all gooey crazy in love. I’ll argue this is our natural state of being, our equilibrium.
If you are in love and looking for a way to enhance your Valentine’s Day love fest, chocolate could rev up your sex drive and increase feelings of euphoria and pleasure. This is why chocolate is associated with lovers.
If you are not in love and looking for a way to endure Valentine’s Day, chocolate could mimic the euphoric gooey feelings of being in love and make you feel blissy. This is why chocolate is associated with frustrated singles, breakups, and sitting alone in your apartment watching Love, Actually snarking after a hard day or bad date.
69 Reasons Chocolate Makes Us Feel All Crazy in Love
Just kidding, I only have 8:
Chocolate releases the neurochemical of pleasure in our brains.
Dopamine kick starts a brain messenger chemical called DARP-32 that activates hormones that rev up sexual arousal.
This is the chemical that surges through us when we are embraced by someone we love and during the eruptions of sex.
Chocolate contains tryptophan that produces serotonin.
Serotonin is our other feel good chemical. It diminishes anxiety and increases our ability to fight stress. Many antidepressants work by increasing serotonin levels.
Increased brain serotonin promoted by chocolate increases sexual excitation, desire and responsiveness. Women have more serotonin in their systems than men and appear to be more sensitive to chocolate. Chocolate provides a mood boost to women during PMS and menstruation, when serotonin levels are often down. It also puts women in the mood for love. Men and women with depleted serotonin levels demonstrate increased aggressive sexual tendencies, a higher rate of masturbation, and increased promiscuity.
Many people consume chocolate as a form of self-medication, whether they are aware of the fact or not. Chocolate’s serotonin elevating activity helps to modify mood in positive ways and acts as a sexual sweetener.
From the Sanskrit word meaning “bliss”, this is the “bliss chemical” released when we are feeling great. It releases endorphins and plays a role regulating mood & pain perception.
Found in high levels in brains of those who vigorously exercised, creates that feeling of “runners high”.
It’s a cannabinoid, like THC found in marijuana. In the human brain, anandamide binds to the same receptor sites as THC, producing blissed-out feelings of euphoria.
Besides marijuana and the human brain, chocolate is the only other source of cannabinoids.
4. PEA (Phenylethylamine)
Chocolate raises levels of PEA (phenylethylamine), “the love chemical”. This chemical gets our hearts pumping, increases blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate, and increases feelings of joy.
By stimulating dopamine production, it seems to help create feelings of attraction, excitement and euphoria.
When we fall in love our PEA levels increase and we become giddy and optimistic.
PEA is released when we are sexually aroused and can peak during orgasm (insert joke here).
Arginine is an amino acid found in coca0 that may act similar to Viagra, increasing blood flow to the penis and amplifying sexual desire.
Unprocessed chocolate is one of our richest sources of magnesium, an essential mineral almost 80% of us are deficient in.
Another dopamine stimulant, deficiencies can hamper dopamine’s production in the brain.
Magnesium relaxes menstrual cramping, relaxes muscles, aids digestion, increases flexibility, and increases brainpower.
Makes sense that women crave chocolate when cramping, doesn’t it?
Sugar releases even more dopamine to the brain. Brain scans imply eating sugar has a similar impact on brain chemistry as cocaine.
Opiate blockers given to heroine and methamphetamine addicts have been found to block the desire for cookies but not for strawberries, proving that processed sugar affects the brain the same way drugs do, but the natural sugars found in fruits do not.
Sugar is as addictive as any drug. When we eat sugar, we can get caught in a vicious cycle of craving more.
Sugar has no nutritional value and the body must use stores of vitamins and minerals to process it, so eating sugar actually depletes us of nutrients!
Chances are if you are eating chocolate, there’s a good amount of sugar in it. There’s actually a good chance you’re having a little chocolate with your sugar.
8. It Tastes Gooooood
Simply, chocolate tastes so good it makes us feel good. The unique combination of aroma, texture and taste makes eating chocolate a pleasurable experience, stimulating the emotional ‘feel-good’ centres of the brain.
Beating yourself up because you eat a lot of chocolate when lonely, sad, emotional, stressed out or PMSing? Let yourself off the hook.
Now, knowing all this, doesn’t it make sense that lovers and the lonely alike seek out chocolate to enhance their love-making, or replace it?
Believe it or not, we are feel good creatures. The body is perfect and is constantly working to feel good, be happy and experience pleasure. It’s natural to crave chocolate when the feel good chemicals in the brain drop. The body/brain seeks balance and restoration.
Remember, Valentine’s Day is for love. In love or single, the #1 person to give some love to is YOU. Let yourself off the hook! That doesn’t mean go eat a box of chocolates, it just means if you do, love yourself anyway.
Listen up sugarjunkies and x-sugarjunkies alike, you can have your chocolate without being all crazy about it:
CHOOSE GOOD CHOCOLATE
- READ LABELS!
- Look for non-gmo, non alkali-processed chocolate that is less processed and therefore has more magnesium and antioxidants
- Chocolate should be the first ingredient (i.e: not sugar)
- Look out for sketchy ingredients (soy lectin, sunflower lectin, natural flavors, etc)
- Look for single origin chocolate (meaning it came from one plantation)
- Choose organic
- It’s more expensive (you’ll savor it more)
- It’s more delicious.
- It’s less processed
EAT CHOCOLATE MINDFULLY, WITHOUT GUILT AND MEAN SELF-TALK
- Don’t just shovel it in
- Don’t feel bad about it
- Don’t do it and then call yourself a fat, stupid, weakling or whatever mean words you use.
- Don’t regret it. If you eat a piece of chocolate, own it. Relish it. Delight in it.
- Be present. Take a moment, slow down, pay attention, savor it, close your eyes, bliss out.
EAT IT WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE
- It will taste better
- Since it will enhance feelings of love and bliss you’ll have someone to extend those feelings to instead of numbing out and feeling alone.
YOU CAN HAVE CHOCOLATE WITHOUT SUGAR
- There are some brands of chocolate out there that use stevia or coconut sugar.
- Avoid chocolate that has maltitol, splenda, aspartame, agave or anything you’ve never heard of before (sugar is better for you than any of those things).
- My favorite chocolate maker Chocovivo sells a 100% bar I use in the recipe below.
- They also have a few limited edition bars sweetened with coconut sugar or fruit.
- There are several artisanal chocolatiers making bean to bar chocolate from single plantation sources. Usually these chocolates use organic ingredients, are less processed and made by hand. If you really want to have your chocolate and limit your sugar intake, it’s not really that hard.
Sugar-Free Chocolate Love Recipes
X-Sugarjunkie’s Spicy Love Chocolate Maca Truffles
- 1/2c good quality unsweetened cocao powder
- 1/2c maca powder (increases libido and energy, regulates hormones)
- 1c nut or seed butter of choice
- 1 T honey or maple syrup, date paste or stevia to taste
- about 1 T of coffee or water (depends on consistency)
- dash of sea salt
- cayenne pepper (gets heart pumping, increases body temperature)
If making your own nut butter, place nuts in Vitamix or high power blender and make butter. If using store-bought, place in blender (you could also mix ingredients by hand). Add maca, cocao, sweetener and salt. Blend until smooth using tamper if needed.
Roll into little balls. Sprinkle with cayenne. Store in refrigerator.
X-Sugarjunkie’s Dark Love Chocolate Bar
- 100% chocolate bar (I recommend Chocovivo’s bar as it is less tannic (bitter) than other 100% bars i’ve tried.)
- honey, maple syrup or stevia to taste (or you could just add dried fruit)
- nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon or whatever makes you feel all warm and gooey.
- (optional) 1/2 T maca powder
- 1 teaspoon hot water
- sea salt
- parchment or wax paper
Create a double broiler by filling a pan with enough water to bath a heat-resistant bowl halfway up.
Turn heat on to medium.
Break up chocolate and place in bowl, stirring frequently until melted.
Stir in maca, water and sweetener.
Add chosen chocolate bar ingredients of choice. (I chose sunflower seeds and walnuts.)
Spread onto parchment paper.
Add salt to taste.
Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Close your eyes. Let it melt on your tongue. Bliss out.
Have questions, comments or a chocolate experience you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!
Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie