Chocolate Is the Balm
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Dear Mr. President,
I know you’re a real busy guy. It can’t be easy grappling with the hideous problems of today’s world, hoping your constituents won’t lynch you over your catastrophic war, blase annihilation of our natural environment, systematic elimination of our once-sacred civil rights, blah blah blah.
But I think I can help.
Who am I? No visionary, to be sure. No Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela or Gwen Stefani. I’m just a middle-class mom from simple, sunny Santa Barbara. With a dessert fetish, there I said it. But it’s that last quality that made me uniquely suited to spot the salve that’s going to save the universe.
With all due respect, sir, you are wasting your time bombing foreign nations. Because the planet’s miraculous cure-all - the formula that’s going to wipe out our plagues - isn’t military domination. Nor tax cuts. Nor oil.
It’s chocolate. Naturally occurring, abundantly available chocolate. The stuff that’s sitting in a bag in your pantry right now awaiting, but unlikely to last until, Halloween.
You can’t flop out of bed these days without hearing about another study that proves cocoa heals all ails. You see, chocolate is no longer a guilty pleasure used to bribe children and shame adults.
It’s a wonder drug.
Dark Chocolate is touted as a medical superhero, beating up on that sinister villain Heart Disease and thwarting Big Bad Cancer’s evil plan to take over the world. It’s combating chronic fatigue, boosting attention spans and even (leaping longevity, Batman!) staving off death!!
Scientists use nifty words like “polyphenols“, “oleic acid” and “flavonoids“, which I swear I didn’t make up, to explain chocolate’s boon to the body. Here are the words I use to describe the phenomenon:
It’s about flipping time.
Once favored by the Aztecs as a bitter brown beverage, chocolate was brought back to Spain by Cortez and doctored up with sugar. Long touted as an aphrodisiac, it’s still used by healers in Oaxaca, Mexico, to treat the stings of bees and even scorpions.
My question to you, Mr. President, is if this stuff can both engender love and neutralize venom, what can’t it do?
If I were you, I’d stop worrying about leaving children behind and start thinking about what lies ahead for us all - with the science of chocolate. Let’s fund a study to see if cars can run on Hershey’s syrup. And reverse rampant deforestation by blanketing the earth in evergreen cacao trees; what sweeter solution to world hunger?
Since chocolate is a natural mood enhancer that’s been used for centuries to treat depression - did anyone track See’s sales after 9/11? - why not drop cocoa-powder bombs on our enemies in the Middle East? Call me old-fashioned but it’s almost impossible to want to hijack an airline when you’ve mainlined a nice mug of Ovaltine.
OK, I admit chocolate isn’t perfect. It melts in your hands right before it stains your clothes, all while it’s making you fat. But then again … maybe it doesn’t! We used to think chocolate caused acne; not only has that theory been disproven but now high-end spas all over the country smear it on clients’ faces to make skin softer and smoother.
And remember your parents’ warning that chocolate would give you cavities? Turns out antibacterial agents in cacao actually fight tooth decay.
Don’t dismiss a resource like this just because it comes in a foil wrapper, Mr. President. Besides, even if chocolate doesn’t prove to be modernity’s magic medicine, just think of all the fun you’ll have saying “flavonoids.”