Chocolate And Mornings By The Beach

Oh. My. Gods.

Imagine chocolate. Now imagine all the guilt that’s often mixed into eating chocolate: There’s all the sugar, for one thing, and the dairy elements which are bad for your body. Then there’s the knowledge that the vast, overwhelming majority of cocoa beans are grown under horrific conditions, with extensive child labour under slave-like conditions.

And then imagine there’s a chocolate which is responsibly sourced, organic and under fair working conditions, which doesn’t contain refined sugar (and instead coconut sugar, which is actually good for you), and which is hand-made by a few amazing people who put their hearts and souls into their work. Best of all, it tastes DIVINE.

Meet Magic Mayan Chocolate.

Every bite puts me into chocolate ecstasy. And every single thing in it is good for you! It’s got to be the ultimate chocoholic’s dream. I’m telling you this in so much detail because they ship worldwide, and as you know, I’m all for supporting small businesses (if you watch their video, you’ll see this truly is handmade chocolate and not a factory. They even fold the wrapping paper around each bar by hand, individually). So goeth forth and buyeth their entire stock!

D’you know, the precious, valuable, mostly organic and always whole foods I eat these days have a remarkable effect, not just on my body. People often complain how organic is expensive, and yes, it certainly isn’t cheap. But I find that, all in all, I’m not spending that much more money on food. Work lunches were never cheap, even when they were a sandwich or wrap full of wheat, dairy, and wilted lettuce. Takeaways cost money, too, and so did all the little chocolate bars and packs of crisps I used to buy during the day. Now I spend 8 Euro on a jar of coconut oil that I know will sustain my body and make me feel amazing. It just underlines how precious food is.

Alright, I’ll shut up about food now, I promise! What else is new?

My job continues to be a joy, although we’re going through some trials that are probably normal for a newly set up branch (our company is American and we are its first non-US location). Currently we’re working in the US market, and that’s why we’ve agreed to work later for three out of five days to somewhat off-set the time difference. Today, for example, I’ll start at 10.30am and finish at 7pm. It’s only temporary but I have to say, I don’t mind it much. The days are long and the sun is still shining when I get home, plus there is practically zero traffic this late. And I get to spend half the morning with my budgies, who are birds after all, and therefore liveliest in the morning.

So lively in fact, that they chirped me awake at twenty past six this morning. Ugh. I briefly considered murdering them and then couldn’t help smiling as I recognised each one’s voice in the racket they were making. So I got up and joined them downstairs, and now I’m sitting here with the sun streaming in through the window, a mug of peppermint tea next to me. Life is good.

I get some work done in the mornings too, which is great because I’ve been busy! I have been writing two very personal articles about my journey to a positive body-image, and about my life as a highly sensitive person, and they’ll be featured as guest posts on two amazing women’s blogs in the next weeks. I’ll let you know when that happens!

I’m counting my blessings, and there are many, among them the light, balmy evenings of spring, the incredibly beautiful, almost ethereal light blue of the sea when I get home from work, and things like strawberries to look forward to in the next few weeks. There, I’m back on food again – gaaah! Sorry!

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The mug of tea is finished, and I’m off for a morning walk. I took the above picture on one of those, just to give you an idea! Have a lovely time, and enjoy spring.

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The Magic Fiddle, And My New Love

Some days are just magical.

I mean, most days are, but some stand out for sheer perfection. I’m seeing a lot of those right now, but I’ll just give you an example, last week when the weather was still mild and sunny. I’d had another wonderful day learning about advanced wound care and talking to my lovely colleagues, and then on the way home I stopped by the health food store.

The sun was still shining (a few months ago it was already dark when I drove home from work!) and when I went to pay for my parking, I passed a fiddler playing trad in the street. I listened for a while and dropped a coin into his hat, and then accompanied by the music on the air, I went to buy some whole-food ingredients for more gorgeous, nutritious, and oh-so-yummy meals.

Then I went home to my new love. My love is black and sleek and sexy, and we have a date every evening, one as delicious as the next… I’m talking about my new food processor!

You see, I decided that with all the saving I’m doing, not going out, not buying more than the most essential of clothes and the like, it was time to spend some money on a. myself and b. some amazing friends I love so much I want to give them the world. I ordered a Kenwood food processor for me (it was reduced in price, so I paid under 100 Euro! We were clearly meant to be together), and some presents for the aforementioned friends. When the last of the presents arrive, I’ll pack a parcel containing my heart, and send it off.

I’m all warm and fuzzy.

As for the food processor – I can’t believe I’m writing a blog entry about a food processor, and be excited about it – that was necessary because so many of the ingenious Emily‘s recipes require one. How come I un-cook raw food these days? Well, it was like that:

Remember how I wrote a while ago, that I’ve freed myself from the pressure of being thin, of conforming, of “being good” – and how I’ve completely dissociated food from my own self-worth? That I love my body curvy or not-so-curvy? All that is still true. Actually, it’s true more than ever.

Over the past few years, I needed some protective layers because I felt I had to put on a different persona for my daytime work. I wasn’t happy in those places, although they had their redeeming factors, like a few precious people I can relate to and became friends with. I loved my expanding body; it’s exactly what I needed at the time, and with my long-fought-for freedom of judgment, I was and still am at peace with myself.

Now that I can be ME at work and enjoy every minute of every day, I found that I don’t need the protective layer any longer, nor do I need the fatty, unhealthful foods I have been eating. I don’t actually like junk food, I find it distasteful, and so I started to eat whole, taste-explosion types of food like the above vegan pizza, or the to-die-for raw lasagna with cashew cheese and broccoli sun-dried tomato pesto.

I’ve done this for nearly four weeks now and while I eat about 80-90% vegan, I’m not putting labels on what I’m doing. Why? Because you can be vegetarian or vegan and still eat crap like sugar or processed plant-oil fats like margarine (yuck!!). My motivation is different, and simple – I eat what does me good. All my life I’ve been in mild to moderate pain from my digestion. I thought it was NORMAL because it’s all I’ve ever known! Only recently did I realise that when I cut out sugar, gluten, and dairy, the pain miraculously disappears.

And that’s the sum total of my philosophy. You won’t find me preaching! It feels good and tastes amazing, so I eat it. If it stops doing me good tomorrow, I’ll start eating differently tomorrow.

It’s so simple.And having known eating disorder and guilt and shame around food, I’m eternally grateful that I’ve arrived in this place. I’ve never enjoyed eating so much. And now excuse me while I devour the last of the chocolate almond butter cups!

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