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Pass the Chocolate

August 28, 2012

Last night I dreamed that my dog, a cocker spaniel named Sammy, could talk.  He is a smart little dog, but this took smart to a whole new level! In my dream he was at the foot of our bed, where in reality he does sleep every night. He sat up, looked at me and said “ I want chocolate. I want every kind of chocolate. I want lots of it.” That was it! I woke up and he lay there silently sleeping at my feet. Well he has done it now. I cannot get chocolate off my mind and of course we don’t have one single bite of it in the house.  None in the frig, cupboards, or dog dish. None stashed in my desk, my husband’s desk, or in my purse. None in the glove compartment of my car.  None in the junk drawer! Believe me, I looked …..everywhere……high and low! It’s a sad state of affairs for sure.

I began thinking about chocolate and decided since I didn’t have any around to munch on, I would do a little digging to see just what all this hullabaloo is about. After all, 50% of us girls claim to prefer chocolate over sex and in the UK at least one study says that eating dark chocolate is more rewarding than passionate kissing. I suspect that those 50% of women and those dark chocolate eaters do not have the right lover boy or good kissers in their lives. Such a pity! Of course it could depend on what state of groomed perfection their partners may or may not have been in at the time of the poll as well. I was about to say that I would take my husband over a piece of chocolate any time, but I just glanced out at the garden. It is 100 degrees outside, he is working out there, and is a sweaty mess. Looks like something just dragged through a mud puddle.  I’d have to choose chocolate at this exact moment!

Chocolate is a psychoactive food. It is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree and has been called both the food of the gods and the food of the devil. I am not sure that the theology of either claim would hold up in your local church, temple or synagogue, but so be it. It is claimed to be a stimulant and an aphrodisiac. Cacao beans were used extensively in the Aztec culture. Chocolate itself was reserved for warriors, nobility, and priests and was associated with fertility as well. Aztec taxation was levied in cacao beans. 100 cacao beans could buy a slave. 12 cacao beans bought the services of a prostitute.

Chocolate is thought to be good for improving cognitive performance due to the flavanols  that stimulate neuromuscular activity, thus enhancing memory and alertness. That claim alone does it for me. Anything to improve memory in this Chatty Grandma’s old age. Next time I see my doctor I am asking for a prescription for chocolate…three times a day after meals and one at bedtime just in case!

And speaking of old age. Many of the world’s supercentenarians were passionately fond of chocolate. A French woman, Jeanne Calment, the only confirmed human to have lived over 120 years, habitually ate two pounds of chocolate per week until her physician induced her to give up sweets at the age of 119 – three years before her death at age 122. WHY, I ask? Had she not given it up, she may have lived another decade! These doctors! Always fiddling around and trying to fix what isn’t broken! A recent study of 8000 Harvard graduates showed that chocoholics lived longer than abstainers. Their longevity may be explained by the high polyphenol levels in chocolate….a substance known to help protect against heart disease.

The consumption of chocolate triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates. Enhanced endorphin-release reduces one’s sensitivity to pain. Ah ha! Another great reason to eat this divine food! Forget the aspirin, motrin, tylenol, etc. Eat chocolate! Endorphins probably contribute to the warm inner glow induced in chocoholics, and explains why chocolate gifts bring such joy to the recipient of the sweet treat.

A few studies suggest that the mere smell of chocolate significantly reduces theta activity in the brain, otherwise known as tension and anxiety. Woo hoo! Forget the anti-depressants. Eat chocolate!

Feeling down? Having a bad day? Need to chill out? Want to live longer than the dog next door? Here’s to a sweet summer afternoon….have a bite of chocolate. Or two. Or three!

Chatty Grandma







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  1. Ann permalink

    So did you ever get any chocolate?

  2. Jeannie permalink

    I am a chocolate fan too, on the down side, chocolate relaxes the upper spincter of the stomach and can contribute to heartburn .. . especially in me.. phooey!

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