Here is an audio file about chocolate. Essentially a 9-minute listen on the topic of what chocolate does for mood. It’s 18 minutes total but halfway he digresses to other topics: http://jonbarron.org/media/effects-chocolate
Here are my notes:
Chocolate may have a temporary feel-good effect for depressed people, but long term effects are negative. Plus, the effects also depend on your personality as such: If you are a Craver type, anticipation stimulates your dopamine.
In contrast, emotional eaters are looking for an immediate fix; they eat chocolate looking for an opiod effect (because of pre-existing low mood), but the chocolate doesn’t work very well. It can worsen the earlier mood or state.
Exercise is measured to improve mood and the effects last longer. (If I start to eat chocolate again, I may only put it in my mouth as I’m beginning some exercise LOL!)
Darker the chocolate the better, health-wise. Adding cayenne is healthier.
To increase enjoyment, plan ahead then eat it SLOWLY, and use anticipation of it to your advantage (like the Craver type).
If you are craving chocolate, examine your mood state and determine if you have depression. Look up anti-depressants on jonbarron.com because he gives you alternatives that are better than pharma drugs. [Note: see also moodcure.com]
What I have learned over the past month+ of being chocolate-free by choice, is that my plan is just that: to learn about the neurotransmitters. I went to a Paleo style diet with no added sugars – I do still have starches and fruits and stevia. But with this diet and no chocolate, my cravings for chocolate have drastically subsided. What remains is still my underlying emotional frustrations and tiredness, which I used to “treat” with dark chocolate every day. I now say, I will only eat chocolate when I know I’m not doing it to try to treat my mood or energy symptoms. Even then, I will need to put a cap on it and allow it only once a week. In the meantime, I would not have classified myself as “depressed,” but depression does come in different forms, not just the crawl-under-the-covers variety. To me, it doesn’t matter what you call it, I am looking to improve my nutritional status so that all my hormones, including neurotransmitters, will be functioning as well as possible.
To that end, I discovered JonBarron.com tonight and have done too much reading late into the night (again). I highly recommend his website as a fount of awesome health information. His articles on digestive enzymes and the digestive process are like gold in our hands.