Greening The Zoots

On My Addiction To Cheap American Chocolate

Sometimes in early 2020 my daughter asked that we start buying Fair Trade (turns out that classification is complicated but for the sake of this let’s just accept everyone knows kinda what I mean) coffee because of all of the exploitation that happens of humans and the environment from coffee production. Unfortunately – it turns out – for a family that drinks 3 pots of coffee a day, that’s quite an increase in the grocery budget and we still have no consistent source of income. So, instead? I told her I’d only eat Fair Trade chocolate as chocolate is another industry that it terrible for humans and the environment, but I can change my habits without changing the budget.

Here’s the thing, for a large part of 2020 my coping mechanism was cheap American chocolate candies. Specifically: Peanut Butter M&Ms. But also? All of the chocolates my Mom keeps in her house. I’d just grab one (or more) every time I was over there which was several times a day. So, me changing my chocolate habit was actually quite a big deal. I am also desperately addicted to refined sugar. I know this because I tried to give it up once and almost murdered everyone in less than 24 hours. So, my cheap American chocolate habit is SERIOUS.

I spent a few weeks trying to find “good” Fair Trade chocolate that I actually liked and ended up on this candy bar. I don’t normally like “real” or “dark” chocolate but this is not quite as rich and has caramel chips in it so it softens the blow of the bitter flavor a bit.

Here’s what I’ve been doing: I keep this bar in my purse and once or twice a day I break off a few squares. Instead of going through bags of peanut butter M&Ms or raiding Mom’s candy jar. It’s actually going quite well! My daughter is quite proud of me. It’s interesting…there’s a few funny things I’ve learned about myself (and my cheap chocolate/sugar addiction).

  • I have much more control with these candy bars. Even if I’m feeling the emotional pull of a sugar binge, I don’t actually want to finish the whole bare because…well…it’s not that good? I mean, it’s good, but to my taste buds it’s nothing like a full bag “sharing size” peanut butter M&Ms which I can demolish solo in one day. Breaking off one row of chocolates on that Lily bar is really sufficient. I never even really want to eat more.
  • I’m learning that I like it more and more. At first I hated every “real” chocolate bar I tried. And I even tried that fancy ruby chocolate that everyone compares to cadbury milk chocolate and…UGGG. NOT A FAN. This one was the only one I thought had potential but now? I kinda like it. My taste buds are improving? Or changing? Or something?
  • My cravings have wained a bit for sugar overall. I know how real sugar addiction is and I know how real the cravings are. I did not set out on this experiment to change that, but I guess I kinda did a little bit? I haven’t had any cheap American chocolate in 12 days (I think?) and I’m definitely noticing that I’m not desperate for it like I was at first. It was really difficult to pass Mom’s candy bowls before but I promised Nikki so I stuck to my fancy chocolate and stayed strong and now those Twix Cookie Minis are not as alluring.

I don’t know. I just, this is the first time I’ve ever tried to change my chocolate habit which as been pretty intense for the last few years. I still get cheap chocolate in the periodic hot fudge sundae at the McD’s drive-thru and in the coating on my generic Wal-Mart granola bars…but I have definitely cut back a lot because I used to keep those bags of “sharing size” peanut butter M&Ms hidden in my car. (Not because I was ashamed, but because I didn’t want to share.) And it’s just funny now I’m a fancy chocolate girl.

Here’s to expensive chocolates that taste like dirt!

(I know I’ve kept the topics here very light the last two days. This is me coping the best way I can.)

4 thoughts on “On My Addiction To Cheap American Chocolate”

  1. Well done you going fairtrade, you won’t look back switiching to the good stuff. I incipate one day you may jump from milk to dark chocolate and make your way up the scale to the 70+ cocoa scale. Could happen! It did for me 🙂 Presently have half a 90% cocoa bar, half eaten since 6th of January. LOL I’m not counting the days honest, that’s when I got my last grocery delivery. Sugar is a hard legal drug to kick and its in everything. Evenmore so in America I noted when I used to spend time in NY. Shopping for cereal and yoghurt without added sugar was hard, before I discovered Trader Joes.

    P.s. I am lucky that I live in a country where you can’t get mint M&M’s a friend brought back abg forma n American trip and I scarfed them. Maybe you can in the M &M stores, but I’m allergic to peanuts and they wreak of them, so its a no go area.

  2. Kim, a SUPER LONG reader, like 10 years already, here. Joke in Amsterdam. I work for a chocolate company now… one that really tries to take responsibility for the systemic inequality in the cocoa supply chain because indeed the “cheap” chocolate is an abuse to small cocoa farmers.

    I’m happy to send you some excellent chocolate?? ?

  3. I feel your pain. I wish the siren song of kale was as loud as M&Ms. Can I recommend Tony Chocoloney? Giant bar, good variety from milk to dark with various nuts/crunchy bits, $5 at my local store.

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