I Am A Chocoholic!

I admit to being a chocoholic which as you may appreciate could give me a bit of a problem in my professional life. As the Green Goddess I am expected to be on a permanent diet and never to be tempted by anything so sinful as a chocolate But I’m pleased to be able to tell you that contrary to the picture sometimes painted of me by the media I’m actually quite normal. In fact I am not fanatical about my diet and I have never been fanatical about any aspect of my life. I prefer the Philosophy of life which says “moderation in all things” and “a little of what you fancy does you good”

That isn’t to say that I over indulge. I don’t think I have ever really over indulged in anything in my life. How boring I can hear you say. No it isn’t – it’s just that I found out quite early in life that everything in moderation is the healthiest approach for mes me, it suits me and helps keeps me out of trouble. It also gives me plenty of scope. I have no real dietary fads or fancies and I like to think I eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit, fibre and not too much fatty foods and as you might expect I take plenty of regular exercise. My well balanced diet contains a little of everything, including chocolate, which I love as much or even more so than the next person. And just like the next person I love chips and cream cakes and all kinds of “naughty but nice” things. And yes I do feel a little sinful when I partake of such goodies – but I also cherish, relish and enjoy the moment of consumption. But I don’t over indulge. Chocolates are special, they are treats and like all good things in life are to be enjoyed and remembered with pleasure.

Even so when I make choose, devour and savour my chocolate delights if I’m honest the calorie calculations are going on in my head. Subconsiously I’m asking myself “is this 50 cals or 100 cals” – and the vision of a pure green lettuce leaf io cals – takes shape in my mind as I continue subconsiously to plan a simple lunch for the following day. But I don’t have a problem with this. It’s one of my dietary secrets. It’s the way I can continue to indulge in one of life’s great pleasures – chocolate and not get myself hung up with guilt. It enables me to live and enjoy life to the full that day – whilst keeping a cautious eye to the future.

Of course I wouldn’t stuff myself full of rich chocolates every day. Chocolates are special and over indulgence in anything is potentially harmful and could damage my health. And anyhow it would bring me out in spots and Oil of Ulay wouldn’t thank me for that me for that. Excess calories from the chocolates which contain fats, sugar and nuts and all those other delicious things, would simply get stored up around my body in fatty deposits in most inconvenient places. Most of us women know where those places are don’t we? As the old West Country saying goes “When a man and a woman to 40 doth come – man puts on belly and woman a bum.”

What is they say about chocolate, biscuits, cakes and puddings and many other delicious treats “A moment in the mouth and a month on the hips. It takes a lot of hard work and exercises to work off the excesses. Fortunately I don’t mind all that but many women are not so keen Better to not over indulge and to keep chocolate as a special treat to appreciate in small quantities The best things in life come in small packages – or so they tell me and like many of the good things in life we must learn to use but not abuse. Even over indulging champagne can leave us feeling bloated and under par. But in moderation a few beautiful bubbles can lift our spirits and make an ordinary day seem quite extraordinary.

I was born and bred in the West Country and my school was situated in very close proximity to Fry’s of Somerdale – the huge chocolate factory near Bristol. It belted out the delicious aroma of chocolate all day long and when the wind was in a certain direction it permeated every pore of my body as I ran around on the sports field next to the factory. I often wonder if my chocoholicism started on that school sports ground. Since I was a little girl I have been interested in all forms of movement and sport and I danced and jumped and ran and swan, and all the time with that delicious chocolate smell up my nostrils! I associate the aroma of chocolate with happy healthy times.

I wonder how many of you have heard of or remember, a delicious little chocolate bar which was produced by Fry’s of Somerdale many years ago? It was called “5 Boys”. If so you have a long memory! For those of you or wonder what on earth I’m talking about, I should explain.

Over 50 years ago a bar of “Frys 5 boys chocolate” would compare with the Jelly Beans craze of today’s children. In other words it was often used as a bribe. You know the sort of thing…… “if you shut up and sit down I’ll give you some Jelly Beans” – or in my day “Diana behave yourself and if you are a good girl you may have a “5 boys”. On the wrapper of this small long milk chocolate bar was the clue – a series of 5 faces of a little boy. The first picture on the left hand side was a picture of misery. Then gradually over the series of 5 shots this miserable child miraculously changed from a sniffling brat into an smiling angel. And all from eating a “5 boys”. It made a big impression on me as a very little girl, it was a reward for being good, and led me to believe that chocolate had magic powers.

From innocent childhood I moved on into my teenage years. Unfortunately I was born too early to enjoy the swinging sixties and as a gawky young girl had to endure the restricted fifties. Chocolate played it’s part during those embarrassing times in the courting game as a symbol of love! Many a beau, some tall dark and handsome, others not, but rather spotty and short (disastrous for the elongated string bean that I was) – wooed me with HUGE boxes of chocolates tied up in a mass of ribbon. Chocolate was the language of love – fashionable and correct in the Fifties!

The young men must have watched too much TV, especially the advert “this lady loves MilkTray” as they fought for my favours and sought their rewards. Sadly for all but one those eager young men and the chocolate bribe failed. I still got to the Alter at the tender age of 19 intact. That reminds me – I must be owed an enormous box of chocolates!

As I got older my tastes became more sophisticated and there was a transition from milk to dark chocolate. Later still my taste buds changed yet again and I decided I enjoyed dark chocolate very much indeed – but I appreciated it even more, when it was given an extra “oomph” by the addition of a little liquor.

A few years ago I had teenage sons. Well – if I’m absolutely honest it’s many, many years ago since I had teenage sons. I know ‘cos they too grew tall, finally lost their spots, and are now fine handsome men of 36 and 38.

But believe me as teenagers Tim and Nick were a handful and often caused me angst and anger. But they soon cottoned onto the fact that their Mum was a chocoholic, and with their fast developing boyish charm discovered a way of getting around Mum. During the more difficult testing, teenage years, a box of liquor chocolates would often be presented to me as a peace offering after a family fall out. The chocolates became the signal for a truce. With the family at peace I would relax with the box of chocolates and savour the flavour – that was – until the next time!

Yesterday I was out shopping and i bought chocolate not for myself, not as a bribe, and not as a reward, but as a symbol of my love. The chocolate Easter bunnies may be getting fat, but my two adorable little granddaughters are getting excited about Easter and the thought of Chocolate Easter Eggs. For Jessica and Charlotte at the tender age of 2 and 4, chocolate is only occasional, but something very special. Nothing changes does it?