As #Veganuary and #DryJanuary fade into memory, it’s time to start thinking about what’s next on the quest for ultimate health in 2019.  #GlutenfreeFeb anyone?

The abstemious start to the New Year ultimately tees us up for rampant indulgence by Valentine’s Day (whether or not you “do” the holiday), meaning its time to talk about chocolate.

Before removing my nutritionist hat, I will acknowledge that chocolate does indeed contain sugar, and that you should never eat a quantity in one sitting that is larger than your head.  You can however reduce the sugar, and even make it #vegan (if you’re so inclined) by selecting a good quality dark chocolate.

With permission granted, let’s eat our chocolate with a bit more awareness than when we mindlessly gnawed Quality Street on Boxing Day.  Respect the beautiful artisanal chocolate you receive from a lover (or buy yourself, it’s ok).  Say thank you, for the ultimate intention of eating is to nourish body, mind and spirit.

Unwrap the chocolate like a curious squirrel monkey, investigate the packaging, colours and words. Break off a piece, hold it between your fingers and proceed with the same curiosity. Describe the aroma, texture, colours – is there a pattern on the bar? What else do you observe?

Place it in your mouth without biting and notice all the flavours, textures and sensations you are experiencing in your mouth and the rest of your body. Are you smiling, maybe even closing your eyes and saying “mmmmmmm”? Did it trigger a memory? 

Now ask yourself if you really want any more – or if you want to savour this moment and preserve the remainder for another day? You may find yourself satisfied after even the smallest amount.

Distracted eating can lead to overeating – learning to be present in the moment helps us delight in the experience and master our intentions.