Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pregnancy and Chocolate

I've been cutting back on blogging the last week or two, and I fully blame my pregnancy. Lately I've been sluggish and tired, and I was told last week by my doctor to stop jogging and to get off my feet as much as possible.  Since my business is attached to my home, I have chosen to venture into the living room as often as possible and watch television during my resting time, even though I know I can rest just as well at the computer while blogging. 

I'm not sure why I've been so lazy. I think I am just a little depressed about being told to stop jogging and to even stop going for long walks - and I still have four months to go in this pregnancy! During my last pregnancy, I jogged right up until I was in the seventh month, and then I walked for at least an hour every day after that until I delivered my daughter. I am a very active person, and my business does require me to be on my feet all day long most days, so this is just as mentally difficult for me as it is physical, which seems to have caused me to just shut right down.  However, I have energy today, and I am finally sick of the television, so here I am, back to blogging.

Despite not blogging much these last two weeks, I have been tasting a lot of chocolate.  In fact, I've been tasting a lot of things, and eating way too much food altogether, which means that with no physical activity, I will soon be the size of my house!  So I need to go back to my usual method of chocolate tasting and just stick to some darker chocolates, 70% and up, which should help me to get over my current sugar cravings.

I know that some people may argue that I should not be eating chocolate at all while pregnant.  I recall getting that advice over and over again during my first pregnancy.  The reason?  Caffeine.  Everyone always likes to talk about how much caffeine there is in chocolate. Well, being in the habit of researching and writing about chocolate, I happen to know just how much caffeine is in chocolate. So I know that I would have to eat a ridiculously high amount of chocolate to even reach the one-to-two cup of coffee limit that my doctor had recommended to me.

During the last pregnancy, I completely switched to decaf coffee, and decided to still eat dark chocolate every day.  However, during this pregnancy, I decided I could not be quite so diligent and decided to still have one cup of regular dark roast coffee in the morning.  My decision was based on many things.  I now work for myself, so I need, more than ever, to be able to get through the day reasonably well. I recall falling asleep at my desk in an office full of people all day long during the last pregnancy.  But I need to be on my toes and working hard this time around, so a little caffeine in the morning can help with that.  Secondly, it is very difficult to find a decaf coffee that tastes as good as the regular stuff.  I hadn't believed that to be the case until I tried so many different kinds during the last pregnancy and never quite found one that I liked. Also, I have given up so many things that I like (wine, unpasteurized cheese, honey, peanut butter, chocolate mousse because of the raw eggs, etc. etc. etc.), that I thought the pregnancy might be more fun if I let go of my need to obsessively follow the 'rules' this time around.  After all, many friends and family members who have had babies recently did not give up their cup or two of coffee a day and they all have perfectly healthy children now, so why torture myself? 

So now I just have one cup of coffee in the morning, which I usually stop drinking half way through, and then I monitor my chocolate intake for the rest of the day so I don't overdo it. And in fact, I just read an article which said that a study by scientists in Finland showed that chocolate "makes for happy babies".  They interviewed 300 women who just had babies, and those who ate chocolate daily were more likely to say they had happy and active babies (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3604275.stm). The researchers think that the mood-altering chemicals in chocolate may possibly be the reason for the results.  Of course, this is not a real scientific study and only 300 women were interviewed, but I am choosing to believe it!

So all that said, hopefully chocolate will help my mood and get me out of this little slump.  As long as I don't overdo it, for the sake of the baby and for the sake of my waistline (since I can't exercise very much these days).  So with this in mind, stay tuned, more chocolate reviews and tastings coming soon!

In case you are interested, here are some stats on caffeine:
1 tsp of cocoa powder = 6 mg of caffeine
1.5 oz of dark chocolate (just over 1/3 of a 100 gram chocolate bar) = 28 mg of caffeine
Regular coffee (8.5 oz) = 65-150 mg of caffeine

So I'm not saying that you should eat a bunch of chocolate if you are pregnant, but I certainly don't feel guilty about a cup of hot chocolate made with cocoa powder or indulging in one-third of a dark chocolate bar!

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