Monday, July 23, 2012

Theft By Chocolate Guest Post!

This week I'm lucky enough to have this great guest post from Luba Lesychyn author of the new book Theft by Chocolate. A big thanks to Ms. Lesychyn for sharing her thoughts about this great new book with us :) Don't forget to enter the Theft by Chocolate Giveaway for your chance to win $150 in Chocolate!! 

Just What Is It About Chocolate?

by Luba Lesychyn

            Besides being the author of Theft By Chocolate, a sassy museum mystery about a woman of a certain age looking for chocolate, love, and an international art thief in all the wrong places, I work at a city college in Toronto that is home to one of Canada’s most renowned cooking schools. And I live in a city that has the most restaurants per capita than any other city in the world! So I have done a lot of enjoying, consuming, and contemplating of food over the years. And much of that food meditation has focused on what it is that I love so much about chocolate.
Chocolate is not the only food I love (though it is the only one with which I am truly obsessed). I love eating – plain and simple. And for twenty-five years, I have been a dedicated gym rat, and added dance and running to my activities over time, to accommodate my love of food. In other words, I have always worked out to eat.
 I became vegetarian three years ago and although I cut out meat, fish, and poultry, my love for food has not diminished. I miss some elements about these foods, but it has less to do with flavor and a heck of a lot more to do with another food characteristic. Allow me to explain…
When I first became vegetarian and was shopping for alternative foods at my favourite organic grocery store, the deli counter carried mock chicken and mock shrimp (tofu-based). I found these foods rather odd. Wasn’t the concept akin to people wearing faux fur instead of real fur (which to me is like saying “we’re going to pretend we’re wearing fur, but it’s not real fur, really”). So with the faux animal proteins, it’s like saying “we’re going to pretend we’re eating meat, but it’s not really meat, really.” Huh?
But as my days as a vegetarian continued, it all started to make sense to me. I began to miss the texture of meat, the way it broke down when you chewed it, the way it felt making its way down to my digestive system, and even the way it rested in my stomach.
So now I get the reasoning behind mock meats. It seems humans can more easily get over living without certain flavors than they can of being deprived of certain food textures. And this notion, I realized, applied as much to chocolate as it did to animal proteins.
I first noticed how much I loved the texture of chocolate after I started doing detoxes or cleanses, as they are also known. For a period of anywhere between a few days to a month, one eliminates products like meats, sugars, grains, and dairy from their body to help “cleanse” the digestive system and to rid it of toxins. People always ask me how I am able to be so disciplined about it considering how much I love my sweets, but once I commit to the process, I stick with it until it is concluded. Surprisingly, I have found that I can live relatively easily without these foods. But what I always find most challenging about doing a cleanse is not having a food that crunches like chocolate and then melts into a liquid treat as it glides down the throat.
I do eat a lot of nuts during a detox (note: a lot of cleanses advocate eliminating nuts, but I would starve without them), and they do satisfy the crunch factor I would normally get from chocolate. But there is nothing, nothing, and nothing that crunches and then melts like chocolate. I know carob has been touted by many as a substitute for chocolate. No offense to carob growers, but it ain’t chocolate.  
I’ve tried just about everything from meditation and hypnotherapy to Bach flower remedies and past life regression to eliminate my chocolate cravings – and been unsuccessful. The longest chocolate droughts I’ve had have been about three to four months, following hypnotherapy. I have tried to make peace with the fact that chocolate and I will likely be “one” for the rest of my life. But I will have to continually work on monitoring the quantity of chocolate I consume.
And some of those struggles are mirrored in the capricious adventures of chocolate addict Kalena Boyko in Theft By Chocolate.


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