Monday, November 22, 2010

What Motivates You to Do Your Best? Raw Chocolates in London Review: Should We Sample Everything in Pursuit of Our Writing?

We're still in Anchorage, where it warmed up today from 10 degrees to around 32 (freezing): freezing it may be, but the 20 degree-increase in temperature makes it feel positively warm! You can't imagine this application of 'it's all relative' until you experience it in your flesh.

I'm more than ready to be getting home and have had a couple of embarrassing, shaming incidents where my behavior wasn't as I'd have liked because I hadn't eaten enough and my blood sugar was too low and I was cranky. What's the lesson here? Well, I need to fend for myself no matter what everyone else is doing, and I need to accept that my needs are different. More globally, I need to find some things that nurture me in Anchorage. I tag along with Phil and his friends, and they have been wonderful friends too, and very accepting of me. Some of them are even writers also, and afford me a tantalizing glimpse into Anchorage's thriving literary scene. But I don't know any raw-food enthusiasts in Anchorage and since there are raw products at the natural food store, there must be someone out there. And there must be other writerly types with whom I could connect also. So right now, a sense of frustration with myself at not having done my best is my motivation to do better. It's not pure and unmitigated shame: it's also a determination to do better.

What motivates you to do your best?

I have a couple more posts to make about our London trip and time is passing on and carrying in its current all kinds of other happenings to talk about as well. I'm looking forward to feeling less skewed and more caught-up.

I promised to share a review of the raw chocolate and other goodies that I broke the budget on at the Whole Foods in High St Kensington.

Pictured are 'conscious' 'Healthy Heart' chocolate bar and also their lucuma bar (with cacao butter, sort of a white chocolate) and 'pulsin's maple peanut protein bar and also their 'berry burst' with dried raspberries and goji berries and cacao. I also picked up this little ball
and a heinously expensive bar of Shazzie's Naked Chocolate that I seem to have failed to photograph. It wasn't an accident that the flavor of Naked Chocolate that I picked was the 'Siren,' with blue-green algae added, just like the 'Healthy Heart' flavor of 'conscious' chocolate that I picked out, shown above.

I have more intimate pictures of these goodies that I will add another time, since this internet connection is ridiculously slow and I want to post this blog before I have to leave! But it's kind of symbolic that I'm having such trouble posting photos, as I'm finding myself ambivalent about this whole reviewing process. I could tell you about how the conscious chocolate bar had more of a truffle texture, which was delicious and satisfying.

That the 'naked chocolate' bar, whose blocks are much thicker, was a little grainier, not a very good texture, but that both of them tasted great (the 'conscious' somewhat better) and the algae was a very unobtrusive note.

I could tell you that Phil, who loves chocolate but had never had raw chocolate before, thought that the raw cacao was a very 'harsh' note in the chocolate. I could tell you that 'conscious' lucuma bar was disappointing, especially since I'm on a quest to make chocolate without caffeine in it, and was thinking of exploring a white chocolate path. The cacao butter on the bottom was kind of waxy, the lucuma layer above was just too sweet.

I could tell you that the little 'berriball'

tasted a lot better to me than 'pulsin's berry-cacao offering,

which I would have categorized as somewhat 'harsh' too. But the 'berriball' had raisins and dates and much more sweet stuff in it whereas 'pulsin's was lower-glycemic.

I could tell you that my favorite thing was the 'pulsin' peanut maple protein bar.

Despite the fact that personally, I think that carob/peanuts/maple syrup is a very odd flavor combo, I liked the fact that they used carob and cacao butter, I loved that they used pea protein powder (my protein powder of choice, with hemp), and I especially loved that they were low-glycemic and low-fructose, with a minimal amount of maple syrup and 'brown rice malt' (a new ingredient for me) also with the sweetness of carob.

And thereby hangs a tale. What does it say that the bar I liked best may not have had the best flavor, but tasted good and was made from a set of ingredients that I was happy about? Furthermore, what does it say that sampling those raw chocolate bars just underscored for me that my naturopath is right and that I really shouldn't eat chocolate?

This all seems to say that maybe trying out all the chocolate bars isn't the best thing for me to do, and that as much as I love tastes and good foodiness, I (am compelled to) prefer what feels better in my body. The maple peanut protein bar tasted great (if a little offbeat) to me, and I ate half of it after lunch and half of it late afternoon and it didn't wig me out (the final ingredient was green tea extract, which I think is caffeine free) and it didn't spike my blood sugar. I would buy it again. All the others, not so much. I'd like to learn more about 'pulsin:' I noticed that although they are 'low temperature processed' and a small company, they did have whey protein in some of their flavors.

Another one of theirs I was tempted to try was a maca-ashwagandha flavor, except that (as I've shared before), I know that ashwagandha wigs me out, much as I love maca! So, I didn't try the bar with the ashwagandha: why did I try so many cacao bars?

And why was this a bad idea?

When I eat raw cacao, I feel an instant hit of anxiety and stimulation. It often makes my stomach feel more capacious, like I could eat more than I'd otherwise be able to. It's addictive: I always want more of it. When I eat it more than a day or two in a row, it exacerbates yeast symptoms and prevents me from sleeping. And of course, the social element: everybody adores cacao, and I want to share in the conversation about it, not be the party-pooper who says 'oh, it's bad for me!' (or even worse, 'oh, it's bad for you!')

I love that having a blog has helped me to feel freer to buy sometimes expensive goodies to review them. I used to put myself off with sticker shock and deprive myself of the experience. But I'm now recognizing that taking the blogging as carte blanche to try all kinds of raw cacao when I know that I find it addictive, that it gives me instant and then cumulative symptoms, and that it is counterproductive to the adrenal healing that I'm working on, may not be wise, smart or even self-loving. As my very wise and kind bloggie-friend Bitt says, "We have to do what's best for our health first and foremost." 

And so, when we got to Anchorage and discovered raw chocolate bars at the natural food store...and then later found that they're even available in Homer, and at about half the price of raw chocolate in London...
 ...I didn't feel like I was compelled to buy them just to review.

Yes, I do still have a review of Vega's Whole Food Vibrance bars coming up. But this twist in the tail of a blog product review might actually be a more interesting direction for the blog itself! I'm mulling over all that and will talk more about it in due course.

What has you blog writing or other putting yourself out there inspired you to do? Have you ever had to back off from certain things that it allows that don't serve you well?

I'll be back as soon as I can, with photos and hopefully another post. Much love.