Every now and then, I get a mad craving for hot cocoa. There’s something special about a warm cup of chocolate that makes you feel at once comforted and energised. Years ago, in 2006, Ben and I took a trip to Europe. It was January, and verrry cold. In between brisk walks along boulevards we’d duck into heated cafes and order huge, hot mugs of thick, rich, sweeeeeet cocoa. We would take off our gloves, hug our mugs close and as we sipped we would write in our travel journals and discuss whether to go out for dinner or wander the streets with nutella crepes. Occasionally we would ordering a baguette or pastry to share alongside our drink, but more often than not it was all about le chocolat chaud.
Back home we continue to make this drink regularly, though our version is a little different. Rather than using super processed cocoa powders or chocolate with added sugar, I reach for raw cacao and honey to go with the milk. That’s it, three ingredients, warmed gently on the stove. It’s heavenly.
DOING: typing on my computer while Joan naps. I’m 2.5 days into a virus sickness thing and it’s kinda floored me. I’ve been out of action – not doing work besides replying to emails, not going on walks, not doing much of anything. I’m a firm believer in resting when unwell. But today I feel a little more up to things. I’m even typing, look at me go! Update: it’s been a week since I began this post, and I’m all better now. I wrote it mostly when I was unwell, with a few updates here and there.
HEARING: my neighbour take their bin down their driveway.
DRINKING: right now, a coffee with CoCo Quench.
EATING + COOKING: bleh, food has been highly unappealing during this sickness. My nausea was reminiscent of first trimester days, it REALLy took me back and got me both excited to hopefully fall pregnant in the coming years and curious as to how I will manage caring a little person while being sick. Update: over the weekend when my appetite returned I made my favourite banana pancakes and they were gooooooooooood.
I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about their feel good foods. What foods give them the glow, help them thrive and allow them to be their best selves. These are foods that gift you energy, a clear mind and a flowing, well-functioning body, and the cool thing is, this is different for everyone. Some feel amazing eating pasta, others feel crap eating dairy, legumes are power food for some while others cannot even look at them. There’s more to it than just food alone, of course, our lifestyle (stress! exercise! sleep!) plays a huge part in how we feel and function. But I like to start by thinking about food and how it makes us feel.
Most of us know our bodies work well when we eat vegetables, and indeed along with veggies there are a few well-known “healthy” foods that research shows many benefit from including in our diets – oily fish, extra virgin olive oil, fermented foods, etc. But “feel good foods” can also include cake and other stuff that is not given superfood status, yet is important all the same. Tiramisu is most certainly on my feel good food list. However because of cultural diet rules and words like “clean eating” (which encourages all or nothing thinking and assigns a moral value to food, leaving people guilt-ridden any time they deviate), it can be hard to allow these foods into our lives and take them for what they are – something to be enjoyed in a quantity and frequency that truly makes us feel good – and then move on. Because our food choices are largely influenced by external forces (which often come in the form of people who have found something that works for them and who simply want others to feel similarly wonderful by following their path) it can be tricky to hear what our bodies are telling us. But by working on tuning out these voices and diet rules, we can quiet the noise and listen to our bodies…we can hear what it is telling us and figure out what our own, individual feel good foods are in our current season of life (because it does change)… and we can honour what our body is telling us and eat accordingly. It’s pretty neat.