Chocolate… The ultimate comfort food

Have you ever just taken a handful of M&M’s and eaten them all at once?  More than likely.  Ever wonder why they seem to just soothe you and calm you down?  Maybe.  Did you know chocolate boosts the brain chemicals serotonin and endorphin?  These chemicals produce a feeling of euphoria.  Another compound called anandamide has known calming properties.  The ultimate comfort food?  You bet!  A drug?  Maybe a little… only this type of drug is legal, has no with-drawl symptoms, and has no downside after the so-called “High” has passed.

Chocolate’s other ingredients include magnesium and chromium (known to regulate blood sugar); theobromine which stimulates the central nervous system and is an appetite stimulant; caffeine (in relatively small quantities); and tryptophan (an essential amino acid).

So what do we have… a sweet that helps take care of your blood sugar, helps your reaction time and thought processes, helps you feel more awake, calms you down and makes you feel good… sounds like a great type sweet to me.

Honey, where’s the High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is both a preservative and a sweetener. It is produced through a process that changes the form of sugar in cornstarch from glucose to fructose. This sounds natural enough and does not immediately conjure up concerns about health risks, but a closer look at high fructose corn syrup reveals several factors that do cause concern. In particular, the connection between high fructose corn syrup and increased obesity along with the correlating health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.

HFCS is not the sole culprit in the obesity epidemic in this country. Its role, however, in this problem is simply its abundance. HFCS is the main sweetener in most soft drinks and at least among the top sweeteners in a plethora of other foods we consume every day including most breakfast cereals, snack foods, fruit drinks, sauces, spread, and dippings, salad dressing, condiments, jams, yogurts, … the list goes on and on.

Honey is a mixture of different types of sugars, water, and small amounts of other compounds. Honey typically has a fructose/glucose ratio similar to HFCS 55, as well as containing some sucrose and other sugars. Like HFCS, honey contains water and has approximately 3 kcal per gram. Because of its similar sugar profile and lower price, HFCS has been used illegally to “stretch” honey. As a result, checks for adulteration of honey no longer test for higher-than-normal levels of sucrose, which HFCS does not contain, but instead test for small quantities of proteins that can be used to differentiate between HFCS and honey.

Honey is a natural sweetener which contains the extra nutrition in the form of proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The plant enzyme amylase present in the raw honey is effective in breaking down and helping the predigestion of the starches in the bread. Taking honey also helps to raise the level of antioxidants required in the body.

But be warned there are bee farms that produce 2/3 of the annual honey production in North America by force feeding their bees high fructose corn syrup or other sugars, and keeping them under 24-hour hive lighting so that they will produce honey year round (the remaining 1/3 of honey produced in North America is pure honey). These tactics result in the bees producing a product that is only partially real honey; the other portion of the “honey” is high fructose corn syrup!

Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa

Côte d’Ivoire (or the Ivory Coast) is the largest producer of cocoa, with over 800,000 small-scale farmers and representing over 40 percent of the world’s supply.  Supplying such companies as Hershey’s, Nestles, ADM as well as many other multi-national companies.

Now this wouldn’t really be a bad thing…except that the Ivory Coast is well documented for using slave labor.  Slaves work long hours for no money, little food, and are treated like disposable machines.

No, strike that.  Machines are actually treated better; if they are damaged they are fixed.

If a slave is hurt or maimed by a machete, they’re simply discarded and replaced because it’s less expensive.

Slaves USED to cost up to $40,000 and so the slave owners at least took care of their “investment.”

Not today.  Modern day slaves can be bought for as little as $30…or free if they’re kidnapped.  So they’re cheap and disposable.

This is wrong and YOU can help by switching to Fair Trade coffee and chocolate.  Halloween is coming…don’t give Americans kids FREE chocolate…harvested by CHILDREN WHO WILL NEVER BE FREE!

Coffee, Black, Hold the Slavery

COFFEE STATISTICS: 50% of the population, equivalent to 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees.

COFFEE SHOP FACTS: Independent coffee shops equal $12 billion in annual sales.

COFFEE STATISTICS: The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 250 million working children, 120 million of whom work full time (no school).

COFFEE SHOP FACTS: Farmers, unable to turn a profit in recent years, have refused to pay their laborers, and instead kept them working without pay through beatings, intimidation and threats of magical spells. Child slaves in Ivory Coast are normally between nine and sixteen years old. These slave are illiterate, hungry and desperate for money.


Ok so we know slavery is bad, and in my opinion weakens a country as a whole; because while things may cost less for other countries who are exporting… that also means less money for the countries that we are exporting from.  In 1998, a U.S. State Department background report on the country acknowledged the existence of child slavery in Ivory Coast in West Africa. Later in 2001, Save the Children Canada reported the 15,000 children between nine and twelve years old, had been tricked or sold into slavery, many for just 30 cents.  If that’s the minimum that people are paying for kids, that would equal $4,500, that’s not really a lot considering all they do… and what is the American saying, “You can’t put a price on a human life.”  Certainly sounds like many in the Ivory Coast can and do.