Chocolate: cravings.

Botanical name: 

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: anything for chocoholics?
From: (William Statler)
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 19:32:28 GMT

>I'm trying to lose weight. I think my biggest weakness is chocolates. Are there any drugs that are supposed to help reduce chocolate cravings? Also, has anyone had any luck with any other herbs to lose weight?

You should decide first if you primary goal is to lose weight or to free yourself from chocolate cravings. If you don't mind being an addict, you might try substituting lower-calorie forms of chocolate.

Here's a hot cocoa recipe from Jonathan Ott's 1985 book, "The Cacahuatl Eater: Ruminations of an Unabashed Chocolate Addict":

Because even the cacahuatl eater does not take his cocoa straight from the tin, but rather in milk, and since this is in fact his favorite form of his favorite drug, he will first acquaint the reader with that delicacy modestly denominated "Ott Chocolate", which is prepared according to the following recipe:
12 oz non-fat milk (the cacahuatl eater has a big cup)
7 g Dutch-processed cocoa (about one overflowing teaspoon)
8 g honey (one level teaspoon)
This superb elixir is compounded by first scalding the milk, adding the cocoa and honey (altering the proportions according to taste) and vigorously whipping with a wire whisk. The cacahuatl eater usually adds a few drops of pure vanilla extract ... together with a few drops of orange extract. While this is the approved flavoring, the cacahuatl eater has been known to substitute almond and/or mint extract for the orange extract, and even at times to add all these flavorings together....

Ott calculates that his recipe totals 183 calories, about the same as a 1-oz piece of Hershey's Milk Chocolate. You can cut this a bit further by using an artificial sweetener (I usually use That Which
Cometh In Little Blue Packets And Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken -- use whatever you prefer).

An even lower-calorie option is to add some cocoa powder to your tea. This is an acquired taste, I think. My favorite is green tea (Stash brand, preferably) with a teaspoonful of cocoa. (It's hard to get the cocoa powder to dissolve if you just dump it in the tea, so I usually do it this way: put a spoonful of cocoa in a cup, add a few spoonfuls of hot water, microwave about 15 sec, stir the resulting syrup until smooth, then fill the cup with boiling water, mix, and put the teabag in to steep. Serve with sweetener and a little milk.)

Actually, green tea alone makes a pretty good substitute for chocolate (from the "cravings" standpoint).

Chocolate cravings are probably due to the psychoactive compounds naturally present in cocoa: theophylline (chemically similar to caffeine), a trace of caffeine, phenylethylamine (chemically similar
to amphetamine) and anandamide-type compounds (chemically similar to the cannabinoids from marijuana). I rather like the combination myself. I don't want to use the term "anti-depressant" because that might sound like medical advice, but cocoa does tend to cheer me up. If that's the way it works for you, then perhaps just switching to a lower-calorie way of eating it would be a good solution. (On the other hand, if you have extreme chocolate-eating "binges", this is a different problem and one I'm not qualified to make suggestions about.)

Good luck with the diet!

=-=-= Bill Statler =-=-=

From: (Tsu Do Nimh)

>I'm trying to lose weight. I think my biggest weakness is chocolates. Are there any drugs that are supposed to help reduce chocolate cravings? Also, has anyone had any luck with any other herbs to lose weight?

Amanda -

If you crave chocolate, take one small piece, and let it dissolve slowly in your mouth. Make sure it is really good chocolate, not some imitation diet crap. Wait about 15 minutes, check the craving level, and repeat it if it's still high. Chocolate has some potent brain chemical changers in it, and many women crave chocolate for that reason. If you fight cravings they will build up and then you pig out.

Give in to a craving, in a small way, with EXACTLY what you had in mind to eat and they will become less powerful. Stall them with "diet" substitutes and they stay around. For example, someone who craves ice cream will be far more satisfied with one scoop of really great ice cream than an entire case of imitation diet stuff. After a while, you get "picky cravings" - that's when you drive cross town for the exact slice of blueberry cheesecake you want and leave without eating anything because they are out of blueberry.

As for the herbs and weight loss ... a balanced diet, moderate exercise (walking ½ hour morning and evening) and writing down everything you eat can do wonders.

[Your cravings will go away if you help your liver. - Henriette, Feb2002.]
[And chocolate cravings if you supplement with magnesium. -Henriette, Jan2009.]