Wednesday, February 17, 2010
HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE: Why it's good for you and why it's bad for you.
Chocolate comes from the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the cacao or cocoa tree. The word "Chocolate" comes form the Nahualt language of the Aztecs. The Nahualt word xocolatl means bitter water. The pre-Columbian peoples of the Americans drank chocolate mixed with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote. Europeans sweetened it by adding sugar and milk and removing the chile pepper. They later created a process to make solid chocolate creating the modern chocolate bar. Although cocoa is originally from the Americas, today Western Africa produces almost two-thirds of the world´s cocoa, with Côte d´Ivoire growing almost half of it.
Chocolate (pronounced /ˈtʃɒklɪt/ (help·info) or /-ˈəlɪt/) comprises a number of raw and processed foods produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America, with its earliest documented use around 1100 BC. The majority of the Mesoamerican peoples made chocolate beverages, including the Aztecs, who made it into a beverage known as xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water". The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor.
After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids (and thus does not qualify to be considered true chocolate).
For hundreds of years, the chocolate making process remained unchanged. When the people saw the Industrial Revolution arrive, many changes occurred that brought about the food today in its modern form. A Dutch family's (van Houten) inventions made mass production of shiny, tasty chocolate bars and related products possible. In the 1700s, mechanical mills were created that squeezed out cocoa butter, which in turn helped to create hard, durable chocolate. But, it was not until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that these mills were put to bigger use. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies began advertising this new invention to sell many of the chocolate treats we see today. When new machines were produced, people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide.
Why it's bad for you:
It's not the chocolate that is bad for you, it's how they make it these days and the additives and chemicals they put it in. Yes it is possible to eat chocolate that is actually good for you and you can eat it everyday!!! Uhuh uhuh!!!
Today, it is one of the most popular and recognizable flavors in the world. There are many foods that contain chocolate such as chocolate bars, candy, ice cream,cookies, cakes, pies, chocolate mousse, and other desserts. I absolutely love chocolate, hands down my all time favourite taste, and I wanted to figure out a way that I could eat it every day and not get fat, I never thought it was possible until I started this Earth Diet and was forced to look at how chocolate is made so I discovered cocoa and created my own recipe for chocolate balls. The world's top producer of cacao beans is Africa, where recent controversy has focused on the use of child labor in cocoa production.
Several types of chocolate can be distinguished. Pure, unsweetened chocolate contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. These are better for you then much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining chocolate with sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. "White chocolate" contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids.
On the other hand, the unconstrained consumption of large quantities of any energy-rich food such as chocolate is thought to increase the risk of obesity without a corresponding increase in activity. Raw chocolate is high in cocoa butter, a fat which is removed during chocolate refining, then added back in in varying proportions during the manufacturing process. Manufacturers may add other fats, sugars, and milk as well, all of which increase the caloric content of chocolate.
There is concern of mild lead poisoning for some types of chocolate.Chocolate has one of the higher concentrations of lead among products that constitute a typical Westerner's diet, with a potential to cause mild lead poisoning. Recent studies have shown that although the beans themselves absorb little lead, it tends to bind to cocoa shells and contamination may occur during the manufacturing process.
Why it's good for you:
The good news is that its sooo good for you, but I'm talking real chocolate, not this processed crap. It's the ingredient that makes chocolate "Cocao" that is good for you. Cocoa solids contain alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Some research found that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals, although current scientific evidence is against health improvements by dietary antioxidants. I eat my chocolate balls almost every day!
Romantic lore commonly identifies chocolate as an aphrodisiac. A study from James Madison University, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, showed that post-exercise consumption of lowfat chocolate milk provides equal or possibly superior muscle recovery compared to a high-carbohydrate recovery beverage with the same amount of calories. Studies suggest a specially formulated type of cocoa may be nootropic and delay brain function decline as people age
Chocolate is created from the cocoa bean. A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening...
Cacao pods are harvested by cutting the pods from the tree using a machete, or by knocking them off the tree using a stick. The beans with their surrounding pulp are removed from the pods and placed in piles or bins to ferment. The fermentation process is what gives the beans their familiar chocolate taste. It is important to harvest the pods when they are fully ripe because if the pod is unripe, the beans will have a low cocoa butter content, or there will be insufficient sugars in the white pulp for fermentation, resulting in a weak flavor. After fermentation, the beans must be quickly dried to prevent mold growth. Climate and weather permitting, this is done by spreading the beans out in the sun from 5 to 7 days.
The dried beans are then transported to a chocolate manufacturing facility. The beans are cleaned (removing twigs, stones, and other debris), roasted, and graded. Next the shells are removed to extract the nib. Finally, the nibs are ground and liquefied, resulting in pure chocolate in fluid form: chocolate liquor. The liquor can be further processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
When cocao is processed and bagged, thats when I buy it as powder and make my own chocolate. or if you want to go a step further back and I totally adore you if you do and want to hear about it so make sure you email me and you can actually buy the beans and roast them and powder them yourself :)
Challenges: When I live in a colder environment my body wants warmer foods, which means cooking more foods. I was absolutely loving eating raw and all my salads on the sunny Gold Coast! I will eat raw as often as I can even though I am cold ;) Oh also I was in the shopping center today in Birmingham, Alabama and there was absolutely NOTHING for an Earth Dieter to eat...not even an apple in this entire shopping center! The food court (and trust me I checked out every single food place) was burgers, takeaways, fries, large sodas, etc etc) didn't have one piece of fruit. I guess people don't go to the supermarket to eat healthy?
This is the size of the waffle fries at the shopping mall...almost the same size as his hand! (Andrew Roth - lead actor in The Man In The Maze)
Triumphs: I am in Alabama!!! I lurrrrrrve the Southern accents, the lady on the plane talking through the safety instructions, I was meant to be watching the ladies in front demonstrating the safety exits but I just wanted to watch the lady with the voice from the back of the plane! The planes had wider walkways as well, not sure if that's just because the planes are larger here or because they people are larger. As soon as I got off the plane I smelt deep fried something and sausages and American breakfast mmmm so I went and ate my fruit that I had bought the night before. As I was flying over Memphis I saw white on top of a hill and trees and am thinking is that snow??? Wha and where am i! Ha! Yes it is cold in Alabama and I am noticing how my body is not wanting to eat cold salads with wet lettuce and avocado as that is sort of a summer food, I am craving warm things to keep my body warm.
What I Ate Today:
Breakfast:one green apple and one avocado at the Huntsville airport :)
Lunch: 6 nectarines. One herbal tea from starbucks.
Dinnner: Indian Dahl! Mmm mmm! Lentils cooked with ginger and corriander. With rice. The directors Wife Nimmi cooked and it was beautiful mmm mmm! With raw cauliflower.
Dessert: 3 nectarines.
Recipe: My recipe for Chocolate is in blog Day 115!
Exercise: Driving count? hehe driving around Alabama all day :)
249 days to go!!!