Food Justice · Healthy Living · love · Occupy Big Food

Chocolate, Love, & Fat: A Valentine’s Day Rant

Well, Happy Valentine’s Day you beautiful person! And also, Happy Full Moon Friday! Today is a lovely day and I couldn’t be happier to share my thoughts with you. Today is the day of love, chocolate, and flowers. Now, I have a few issues with all of the things today represents. First of all, we should show love to all those significant people in our lives as often as we can – not just once a year. Hopefully we all know this and I don’t need to rant about that…but chocolate, chocolate is a rant-worthy topic.

Hershey’s Kisses, Russel Stover, and Dove chocolates are all slave chocolate. Do you support child labor through your eating habits? Probably. I don’t. A few years ago, I researched this and made a commitment to eating fair-trade, organic chocolate. Not only do I disagree with commercial chocolate sourcing, it also tastes like crap. Who wants crappy chocolate? Well, if you love M&Ms, Reese’s cups, or Snickers, you’re eating crappy chocolate.

Oh how lovely, a chocolate treat with over 15 ingredients…yum?

Chocolate is a delicious combination of cacao, some type of sugar, and some type of cream/butter. Okay, so you’re looking at 3 or 4 ingredients to make chocolate…but what is listed on your ingredient label for an M&M? Let me share with you the ingredients of M&M Milk Chocolate (the standard bag): Milk Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, skim milk, cocoa butter, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, salt, artificial flavor), sugar, cornstarch, less than 1% of corn syrup, dextrin, coloring (includes Blue 1 lake, Yellow 6, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2), gum acacia.

Okay, so, you see a lot more than just cacao (you don’t even see that), sugar (there are a few kinds of sugar in M&Ms), and cream/butter. All those colorings are shown to cause health concerns and aren’t used in international markets. But sure, keep the US eating crappy chocolate. Even WebMD talks about the adverse affects on behavior when children consume food with such dyes. So, let’s do a comparison. What about chocolate chips, they are kind of like M&Ms just without the colorful outside…so what is in a good brand of chocolate chips?

Equal Exchange makes some lovely chocolate chips (and other chocolate items, they are my choice when purchasing chocolate). Here are the ingredients of semi-sweet chocolate chips: Organic raw cane sugar, Organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter. … Am I missing something? Oh no, there are only 3 ingredients and each one is organic and 100% fair trade. Wow. I love you Equal Exchange. 

So, as we treat ourselves to love, chocolate, and joy today, let’s remember to pay attention to the chocolate we’re eating. Aside from chocolate, many of us worry about weight and try to consume less fat because of this concern. Well, let’s break down the fat myths.

Over the past 20 years, as our diets have changed (mostly due to the industrialized food industry), we’ve consumed more unhealthy fats and less healthy fats. Instead of butter, lard, and coconut oil, we eat partially hydrogenated soybean oil like it is our job. We avoid egg yolks, but consume egg white products filled with other crap. Instead of using raw milk in our coffee, we consume artificially flavored non-dairy replacements. These replacements are usually filled with additives (flavor & color), GMO ingredients, and hydrogenated oils.

Companies like Nestle argue that GMO ingredients (in their chocolate, and other products) are safe. We’ve been eating them for a long time. Yeah, okay like humans haven’t been eating for thousands of years…but 50 years, that is a LONG time. No, it really isn’t. Let’s stop thinking in such a short-term way. For thousands of years, we lived off of the land. Now, we abuse the land and argue that we do it to “feed the world”.

I ask that we become aware of our food intake. Eat all the dairy you want (if you’re not lactose intolerant), but eat it from a good quality source – like a local farmer. Eat bacon. But don’t eat Bob Evans bacon. Eat grass-fed pork bacon from a local farmer, not treated with nitrites and other additives. Let’s show our love to ourselves and our world by eating better quality foods, even if they are bacon and chocolate and against all the conventional wisdom we’ve been fed over the last 20 years.

Remember, you are not a commodity. You are a person and you have an effect on the environment you live in, so don’t be a bad member of the community. Your dollar is your biggest voice, so spend smart and your body will be rewarded. Love yourself, and prove it by nourishing it with healthy foods that you love. I promise your life will be better because of it!

3 thoughts on “Chocolate, Love, & Fat: A Valentine’s Day Rant

  1. Interesting … Obesity is rampant, more and more folks are getting chronic illnesses at younger ages, cancers are developing in younger than expected ages in people with no family history of it, folks are getting allergic to food left and right, life expectancy will probably decrease when the kids of today are older … IMO it’s all because of crappy food choices and no physical activity but since food companies make tons of money, no one will say anything like tobacco

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