I interviewed Aussie Raw Chocolatier Emica Penklis, a very-special-kind-of someone with a SUPER interesting relationship to food and approach to eating—chocolate (but the healthy kind), even in the mornings ! Her view on life and eating is inspiring, and you can feel her LocoLove magic as soon as she walks in to a room. She carries with her a sweetness and presence that is so comforting; it’s as if she injects life with an extra dose of serotonin from all the organic cacao she handles daily.

So here she is, opening herself up and letting us explore her Chocolate world!

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In relationship with yourself:

  • How do you start your day? Well right now its 5:55am, I start my day by getting up and having a glass of water. Some times I add lemon, or chlorophyll, depending on how I am feeling. Then I make a tea, usually Matcha with coconut milk and stevia or honey. Then I go back to bed, not to sleep, just to sit on my bed and write or read for a while. Af- ter this I usually meditate for 20 mins and go for a walk to the ocean. Breakfast generally comes after the meditation.
  • Do you look at your phone as soon as you wake up? Sometimes, this is a habit I am not proud of, though I’m having a long distance relationship so I have been doing this a lot more often.
  • Do you have any morning rituals? Yes, many. I like to wake up early and write in my journal or write some poetry or something, what ever is on my mind. Often its just thoughts or things I want to manifest. I also practice meditation, it used to be TM, now its a mix of things I have made up. I also have a ritual of gratitude, this seems to be the best thing for keeping me from being self indulgent in my emotions and seeing the bigger picture. I have been learning some tantric breath work and other practices which I have been incorporating and testing out, being pretty honest here! I also have a wooden flute which I play occasionally if I feel theres something I need to release emotionally, for some reason the flute brings it out.
  • Is there anything you MUST always do (other than food) before you leave home? Yes, I must have a tea and brush my teeth, wash my face ect.
  • Do you prefer sleeping by yourself or with someone (not in a sexual way)? I like both, this past year was the first time I had slept with myself for around 10 years so its been pretty nice. Not something I want forever though, I like cuddles.
  • What do you tend to do when you feel vulnerable? (do you eat, go for a run, talk to someone, etc) When I feel vulnerable I usually stay in bed half the day if I can, often this isn’t the case. I make sure I feel everything and that I’m not hiding anything from myself. I write and I read books and articles on the issue that I am feeling. I like to go deep into my emotions and learn from them. I also have some really amazing people in my life that listen to me and understand me, this really helps. Generally I like feeling vulnerable as its a nice reminder I am human.

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  • Who or what pushes your buttons? (What are the triggers that make anger, jealousy, or fear come out?) Over working, this has a bad effect on me, when I work too much even though I love my job. I find it imbalances me and I occasionally get tired and lose focus on whats important. I am a calm person and it takes a lot to upset me. The only thing that really throws me off my path is romantic love, I am a massive romantic and I can can distracted if things don’t work out the way I want them too.
  • What do you do when strong emotions come up? (How do you manage anger?) As I said I am pretty calm, though also human. Its rare for me to feel angry, When feel angry I write about the way I am feeling and ask myself why I am feeling angry. What is it I need to learn here. Generally its usually because I am trying to control something thats out of my control, so surrendering and trusting in a higher natural law generally helps.
  • When you are looking for answers, where do you look? (any go-to books, people, website, spiritual master?) I am pretty introspective person, so I look within myself, the answer is usually there. I like lots of different spiritual books, though I don’t look to them for answers. I am the only one that truly knows my path, I find if we look for the answers outside of ourselves we can be lead astray. Also my body usually sends me signs with illness or aches and pains, this can often mean I am not being honest with myself about something. I also ask nature/the divine to give me signs I am on the right path, and usually it does, I will find little signs/experiences along the way that keep my feeling inspired. This can be dangerous though and it usually means I am confused about something, then the tarot cards come out and I don’t know how to read them properly haha.
  • What do you want most in life? To know myself deeply and to be in love with all life, also to be totally self expressed creatively and whole. Not to be fragmented and all over the place, to be clear and congruent between my heart and mind.

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In relationship with food:

  • What’s the first thing you eat in the morning on a week day and around what time? Usually matcha and coconut latte, then either a smoothie, avocado on sprouted bread or berries and sheep yoghurt. Around 7-8am.
  • Do you drink coffee? Yes, though only occasionally, I love the taste and feeling it gives me. Though I eat so much cacao so I can have too many stimulants.
  • Is there anything you must have in the morning to start off right? Good quality water, Its really important to hydrate after sleep.
  • When’s the next time you eat? I really dont have set meal times, I usually eat some Loco Love chocolate after breakfast. Then lunch is at around 12:30, I try to have lunch in the middle of the day.

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  • What’s your favorite food for lunch? Is that what you have most times? Salads, yes I love vegetables and I eat a lot of them. I like to mix it up and makes sure I have some protein, either goats cheese, nuts and seeds, eggs, occasionally fish.
  • Do you usually snack? If so, what is your number one go-to snack? What about late-night snack? I dont really snack, I used to snack a lot; saying that sometimes I snack all day. my go to snack is loco love chocolate, berries and yogurt, avocados, nuts, fruit and vegetables. If I need a late night snack, which I don’t generally, its usually chocolate.
  • Is that what you have every day for breakfast? How about the weekends? How about when you travel? My breakfast changes alot, I don’t have any rules around these things. When I travel usually I have breakfast later and its generally not as nourishing. I always try to have a green juice or something alkalising, though obviously it depends where I am travelling.
  • What’s your favorite food for dinner? Is that what you have most times? I love curries with quinoa or rice. I love cooking, though the past few months I have been making some average meals.
  • Do you have any food allergies or any food groups that you avoid? I don’t have any allergies, though I find my body operates better when I avoid certain foods such as gluten, refined sugar and too much dairy. I never drink milk, I always have nut milk or coconut milk.
  • What was your favorite food as a child? When I was a child I liked all food, though my favourite was Mexican, tacos and burritos with lots of cheese, avocado and sour cream.

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  • Are you a fast eater, moderate eater, or slow eater? I’d say moderate, depends on if I am distracted with emails. I do eat slow when am out with friends.
  • What nutrition rules/ theories do you live by, if you live by any? I listen to my body, if it feels I need to take it easy on heavy foods then I do. I can usually feel it if I need to be a little more cleaner with my diet, by cleaner I mean no gluten, no refined sugar and no alcohol. I dont really drink alcohol very often, though occasionally I do. I like wine, though only in small amounts and good quality. I also eat organic and whole foods, mainly vegetarian, though not strictly anything.
  • What are your 3 favorite dishes? I like it when friends cook dinner for me, as long as its based on vegetables, organic ingredients and doesn’t have gluten I love it. haha.
  • What are your 3 favorite fruits? berries, mango and avocado
  • What are your 3 favorite vegetables? Cucumbers, cauliflower, sweet potato and greens such as rocket (are they vegetables)
  • Do you enjoy food in general? I love food
    Do you eat until the point of feeling full? Sometimes, especially if the food is extra delicious.
  • What puts and end to your meals? Do you drink coffee? tea? dessert? wine? Depends on if I am out or at home, at lunch when I am out I have herbal tea. at home I have chocolate or tea. At dinner depends on the restaurant, if they have a range of amazing desserts then I will have it, if not then its not something I crave.
  • Would you say you tend to eat more when you’re out with friends or eating by yourself? Portions are generally the same, though when I go out if we have entrees and dessert, this can obviously lead to eating more than I need.
  • Do you prefer to eat by yourself or with others?  I do like eating at home, as the quality of food I buy is better and I like to know whats in my meals. I love eating with friends and sharing food with a lover.

IMG_1045-2 A funny thing happened the day I interviewed Emica, in that there was no other photographer, so we shot ourselves with AutoTimer. Yes, I know you can tell we did that.

  • When you’re alone, do you eat more when you’re at a restaurant or at home? Depends, generally the same.
  • When you eat at home, where do you usually eat and how do you eat? (do you stand in front of the fridge and eat directly out of it. Do you eat in your room? Watching tv? In silence? sitting down? I eat at the dinning table in silence, or watch something on my computer/ listen to audio books and podcasts. I don’t watch TV and try not to eat directly out of the fridge.
  • What are 3 pick-me-up foods (expansion foods) that you eat when you need energy, excitement, and a lift up?Cacao, Matcha green tea and lighter foods such as salads
  • What are 3 foods that calm you down (make you feel safe), and act as a sort of comforting, energetic hug? Baked vegetables, curries and soups
  • Is losing weight a concern for you? Has it ever been? Do you ever restrict yourself with food? No, I am naturally thin. It hasn’t always been this way though, I was a fashion model all through my 20s and part of the game and the only thing you can control is your weight, so I had a terrible relationship with food. I would restrict food, binge on foods and live on sugar. I had to learn how to eat properly and love my body, now days I have a great relationship with food and my body, it took a lot of learning and self acceptance.
  • What’s your favorite restaurant to go to in NYC? For breakfast or lunch I like El Rey or Dimes, I don’t live in Nyc so its hard to know what the best restaurants are. I love Japanese, EN was delicious and the Greek food in Queens is pretty special. Also if I feel like something plain and good quality I like Souen.
  • If you had only one day to live what would be your last meal? Hard question, for some reason I am thinking the Greek food I had in Queens a few weeks ago was amazing; Saganaki mmm.

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And that’s not ALL.  Emica even shared a chocolate recipe with me.. a SUPER SPECIAL SUPER SUPERFOOD one.