Better chocolate than never
(Chocolate: the Consuming Passion) supports my view: “As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate.” Ms Boynton also said, “Research tells us 14 out of any 10 individuals like chocolate.” In fact, a new British survey has revealed that nine out of 10 people like Chocolate. The tenth lies.
It is said that if chocolate is the answer, the question is irrelevant. However, chocolate seems to be the answer to many things, including the meaning of life. Elaine Sherman (Book of Divine Indulgences) insists, “Chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and behaviour by making you happy. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally. So, eat lots of chocolate!” Actually, a lot of scientists and their research also support this claim.
EATING IN MODERATION
A University of California-Berkeley Wellness Newsletter states, “One large, ongoing study of the benefits of exercise found that men who eat chocolate in moderation live longer than those who eat none.” It is supported by a recent study that has found that regular chocolate consumption is associated with better cognitive function. According to the study, published in the journal Appetite, chocolate consumption was found to be associated with cognitive performance “irrespective of other dietary habits”.
The research showed that more frequent chocolate consumption was significantly associated with better performance on [tests including] VisualSpatial Memory and Organization, Working Memory, Scanning and Tracking, Abstract Reasoning, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Researchers suggested that regular chocolate intake could help “protect against normal age-related cognitive decline”.
Research has also found that chocolate is good for the heart and circulation, reduces risk of stroke, lowers cholesterol, and protects the skin against sun damage. One study found that it could even help you lose weight. According to neuroscientist Will Clower, a small square of good chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full”, cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.
In my case, coffee comes a close second to chocolate. Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed, it is said, but chocolate makes it worthwhile. Medical News Today confirms, “A cup of coffee in the morning may pack more than just an energy boost. More and more research is emerging to suggest that there may be several health benefits associated with drinking this dark black beverage, from helping prevent diabetes to lowering the risk of liver disease.”
A few days ago, finding myself in South Trinidad early in the morning and dreading the long, painful traffic jam into Port-of-Spain, I invited a colleague to a meeting at the newly opened and heavily hyped Starbucks outlet. I had been extremely critical of the Rituals chain, which still dominates the beverage market in Trinidad and several other Caribbean countries. I had said the coffee was weak, the price was high, and the service was extremely poor.
I ordered a combination of coffee and chocolate, known as a mocha or mochaccino. It cost about US$6, took very long to make, the music was too loud, and worse, while I was sitting trying to listen, I hear loud laughter, giggling, and a hubbub caused by a dance session involving six of the staff. It did not help that a mistake was made on my bill and I was overcharged, not from the coffee and cocoa combination, but by Starbucks. I tried calling a representative of the company with the Starbuck’s franchise, Prestige Holdings, and found that I did not have enough Prestige to warrant a telephone discussion with the person responsible for managing the brand.
I found out three things in the process. The first is that I must apologise to Rituals owner Mario Sabga, who has always at least given me a hearing. The second is that poor customer service is a Caribbean problem, and the workers in every public area, whether hotels or fast-food chains, play the music they prefer at the volume they like and to heck with the customers.
The final and most important is that nobody makes coffee, cocoa or mocha, strong enough, not Starbucks or Rituals, to help us keep our cool when dealing with poor service and brand managers who are making so much money, Starbucks so to speak, that they don’t need to listen or speak to their customers.