"I’m practicing veganism,” my best friend texted me at the start of the year — a far cry from her past new year’s resolution to “eat more bacon.” And so it begins: “I can’t, I’m on a juice cleanse.” “I only drink mushroom elixirs now.” “This $40 jar of raw manuka honey will totally solve all my problems.” (OK, that last one was me, but in my defence, I thought the jar would be bigger and it’s anti-inflammatory. Or is it an antioxidant?) New year, new food fad. 

I get it, I want a fresh start too (or at least the illusion of one). I would also like to leave some of my bad habits back in 2022 (Uber Eats-ing ice cream, not taking a lunch break). But since when did new year’s resolutions turn into restrictions? 

In the midst of all the crash cleanses and Kardashian theories, we’re depriving ourselves of one of the most important things about food: joy. I often wonder if the anxiety surrounding food ends up having a much worse impact on us than that extra slice of chocolate cake.

Yes, being conscious of what you’re putting into your body is super important for your health and for our environment, but sometimes wellness can feel overwhelming — keep the carbs low and the guilt high, am I right? If there’s one food trend I am all for giving up this year, it’s guilt — whether we’re putting it on ourselves or shaming others for their choices.

Maybe self-care is found at the bottom of a green juice bottle and maybe it’s also found at the end of that lasagna tray. Choose your own adventure, just make sure it’s yours alone and not something random you've been told to buy from an internet person getting paid by the very same detox tea brand they're promoting. I think I’ll have that second slice now. 

Want to feel good about treating yourself? Try these conscious chocolates

Chocosol

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Small-batch, bean-to-bar, artisanal dark chocolate made in Toronto that comes in biodegradable packaging? Heck, yes to all of that. ChocoSol’s dark chocolate starts with organic cacao sourced directly from Indigenous communities across the Americas. The cacao is then ground by volcanic stone wheels for a rich chocolate that has all of the good antioxidants and none of the bull.

chocosoltraders.com

Endangered Species Chocolate

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Endangered Species Chocolate has all the great stuff you want from dark chocolate: responsible sourcing and organic, natural ingredients. But they take it one step further by donating 10 per cent of their annual net profits to conservation organizations like the African Wildlife Association and the Rainforest Trust.

chocolatebar.com

Qantu Chocolate

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This Montreal-based, award-winning chocolate is worth the shipping, trust me. I first heard of Qantu from food writer and certified chocolate taster Mary Luz Mejia, who's reported on Canada's bean-to-bar chocolate movement. Qantu's beautifully illustrated bars caught my eye instantly, and their chocolate is made from heirloom cacao bought directly from co-operatives by Qantu owners so there's no middle-man. I swear you can taste the difference. 

en.qantuchocolate.com