Somewhat after the event, but every day is chocolate day where I come from …. 🙂

Plain Jane 171014

Plain Jane – It’s National Home Security month, Dyspraxia month…….but never mind that – it’s chocolate week

THERE is nothing like a spot of consciousness-raising. And there’s never been more of it. October alone sees the declaration of a specially-dedicated awareness month for National Home Security, Breast Cancer and Dyspraxia.

It is also a time for National Hate Crime Awareness Week, World No Beard Day, Family Friendly Week, National Spinal Surgery Awareness Day, World Food Day, National Arthritis Week and National Real Vanilla Day.

“We are on a precipice where we could lose pure vanilla within a generation,” says sustainability expert, Patricia Rain. Who knew?

You might be forgiven for thinking that by November, we’ll be on awareness overload, only fit for a good lie-down (lucky then, that it brings National Spa Week so at least you might get a massage while you’re at it) but by then we’ll be busily growing a moustache (Movember), eschewing animal products (National Vegan Month), knocking up tasty fillings (National Sandwich Day) and looking both ways at the traffic lights (Road Safety Week) while jiggling against our hips, any flushed-looking infants that happen to be grizzling nearby (National Teething Week).

All excellent causes, of course, worth getting your head out of a bucket for and taking note, but for a real perking up of one’s senses, I am delighted to share with the uninitiated, that right now (October 13-19) it is Chocolate Week! As the author of a ground-breaking weight loss book promoting the dark stuff as a chief weapon in one’s weight-loss armoury, I am obviously following proceedings with a special interest. I have both bars and a Belgian selection box (M&S – very good!) next to me as I type in order to give my endorphins a regular boost, and further supplies secreted in the writing room fridge – a small but essential piece of office equipment cunningly disguised as the stationery cupboard. In case you have yet to discover the joys and health benefits of cocoa, and all the wonderful justification that brings, let me do my bit for the campaign and enlighten you. Chocolate – the darker the better – contains flavonoids that can help lower blood pressure, and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. Dark chocolate is also a source of vitamins A, C, B6, and 45B12 as well as magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, and iron. In addition, it contains stearic acid which slows digestion down, which means, handily, a few squares will take a significant edge off your appetite, and leave you feeling fuller for longer. When you are hungry between meals – try sucking a couple of squares of dark chocolate slowly. Even if you end up eating six squares, you’ll only have taken in 125 calories (I am basing this on Green & Black’s 85 per cent dark – bring on that product placement deal), and had a relatively low carb, low sugar snack that will take you through to lunch or dinner a whole lot better than a bag of crisps or a couple of biscuits (which would be more calorific). And be more pleasurable than boiled cabbage and a cup of brown rice (ditto).

In addition, my exhaustive research has revealed that chocolate contains both tryptophan, an essential amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin – a natural antidepressant – in the brain, and phenylethylamine, a chemical that stimulates the brain’s pleasure centres and creates the sort of feelings we have when in love or having an orgasm. (Easily confused). (NB for my male readers: now do you see the sense in turning up with a large, exotically packaged box of confectionary under one arm?).

To sum up, on this special week, very dark chocolate will not only fill you up, but will cheer you up as well.

Useful, I’m sure you’ll agree, if you are grappling with facial hair, can’t eat dairy products and the baby’s screaming. National Smile Month’s not till next summer.


Read more: