Bet­ter cho­co­late than never

Jamaica Gleaner - - ACROSS THE NATION - Tony Deyal was last seen say­ing that a bal­anced diet is a cho­co­late in each hand.

(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.

MY APOL­OGY

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.

I

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