Tuesday, May 12, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 19 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“You’re the stewards, literally, of this land. When you say Crowsnest Pass is small, no, you’re not. You’re absolutely not.”
- Don Johnson  
- on land use in the Pass   


Looking Back - John Kinnear “The sun glared down like a fat man staring at the last chocolate in the box.”
 I guess I’ve always had a weak spot for the modern version of that ancient Mesoamerican royal drink known as “chocolatl.” I must confess I’m definitely not as addicted as Emperor Montezuma who reportedly drank fifty or more portions daily. I do however “overindulge” at times, a polite way of saying, “stuff my face.”
Some people claim to suffer from chocolate “cravings” or that they are “addicted to the stuff.” It seems that modern science has come up with umpteen reasons for the apparent irresistible draw that chocolate has.
How gratifying it is for chocoholics to have researchers on their side providing compelling theories in defense of chocolate.
Just as science has given red wine a pat on the back for its phenols (anti-oxidants) that protect against heart disease so it is with chocolate. One square of milk chocolate contains almost the same amount of phenols as a glass of red wine. Plain dark chocolate has even higher amounts. The technical backup on this is that phenols prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins into bad fats that clog arteries and cause heart disease. Sounds good to me.
Amongst the 300 or so chemicals identified in this “wondertreat” we find one known as phenylethylamine, a relative of the amphetamine family. Amphetamines raise blood pressure and blood glucose levels making us feel alert and giving us a sense of well being. And what, one may ask, could possibly be wrong with that?
Next up on the defense list is endorphins, that pain-killing creature we release in moments of stress and pain. When chocolate is eaten the brain purportedly releases b-endorphin which is an opioid peptide (almost sounds illegal doesn’t it?). It is the driving force behind chocolate’s ability to influence mood and “generally leads to an increase in pleasant feelings and a reduction in tension.”
Another chemical present in this processed cocoa bean mixture is one that stimulates mental activity. Seratonin is a complex amine found in our blood and especially in our brain and is a psychoactive constituent of chocolate.
These days anything that can rejuvenate our cerebral cortex after we have hammered it mercilessly with hours of lame TV is most welcome.
Last but not least, one of the most profound chemicals scientists claim to have found in our Hershey Bars is actually sexual in nature. Something this good just had to have a sexy side to it, right? It seems that one element of chocolate mimics a hormone we generate exclusively when we fall in love. Yes, there is real chemistry involved in falling in love and yes its substitute can apparently be found in you know what.
All these extraordinary pluses for such a universally appealing product have left me a little nervous. I am well aware of the average woman’s propensity towards chocolate and I am beginning to wonder if man’s role in our culture is being clandestinely threatened. How so you ask? Well, if chocolate’s makeup can do all that scientists say then a substitute for a lot of which we can foster feeling-wise in women is within reach in almost any store.
A few years ago the granddaddy of all “feel good” stores opened up on main street Fernie. A factory no less! Within its walls are chocolatier’s and cauldron cooks cranking out a myriad of chocolate and confectionery goodies. The cascading wheel used to temper chocolate there transfixes one and draws one deeper into the stores sparkling array of goodies. Exotic mixtures of roasted cocoa beans, milk and sugar are carefully crafted and blatantly presented to the so- called weaker sex for their consideration.
The evidence of their impact can be seen daily as dreamy-eyed women wander aimlessly down Second Avenue in Fernie, nibbling and cooing to each other. They walk by men like they don’t exist. So what’s a guy to do? I’ll tell you what. Fight fire with fire that’s what. Burn down the chocolate factory? Melt down all the bunnies and ship them to the Lundbreck landfill?  Hell no!!
 Grab yourself some barks, a slab of almond and a handful of decadent macadamia clusters and get with the program. In no time this comfort food that is an anti-depressive and reliever of boredom and pain will leave you feeling right with the world. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! 
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John Kinnear Archives

   Volume 79 - Issue 19 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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