Chocolate Wellness WINNERS!

Thank you all for sharing your love on how chocolate is used in your wellness routines. My little chocolate wellness treat usually consists of a few pistoles of Intentional Chocolate at night as setting the intentions for good rest and sweet dreams along with a cup of ginger tea, to melt the pieces on my tongue.

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I will share a few of the wonderful entries we received–

“I eat your chocolates as a fix to my chocolate needs and it uplifts me. Thank you!!!” — How wonderful!

“I find that dark chocolate of at least 70% helps with headaches probably by opening up the blood vessels and calming my blood pressure down.” — Yes, a lovely calming effect!

And the WINNER:

“When I’m stressed out and feel like I’m about to panic, I would eat dark chocolate while listening to calming meditation music while breathing slowly for about 15-20 minutes. I find this will usually bring me back to task at hand with a more positive attitude.”

Thank you Sau-Ming Lee for your entry. Please email ashley@intentionalchocoalte.com with you address for your free bag of chocolate (wellness!) and as a bonus we will send you a link of our chocolate meditation, as it sounds like you would love that!

Chocolate Wellness

As part of our partnership with DBSA we have been providing chocolate meditation tasting kits to support groups around the US. Please read for a lovely story of wellness…

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“Your gift of the chocolate meditation kit was very timely as the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) challenge for the month of July was to find ways to relax and prevent stress from building up.  Here at the Recovery Cooperative of Muskegon we are a peer run drop in center for people who live with a mental health diagnosis.  At our DBSA meeting today we had two staff and five members attend.  We began our group today by practicing chocolate meditation.

These are the comments from the people who participated:  I loved the flute music, enjoyed it, this was a relaxing way to get ready for group, I enjoyed it but thought the chocolate was bitter, this is a good way to calm down from anxiety.

Again, thank you so very much for the gift of the chocolate meditation kit.  We all enjoyed it very much and thought it was a great wellness tool.  We plan to practice chocolate meditation again at future meetings.”

DBSA-Logo-Horiz-Bluehttp://www.dbsa.org for more information.

Tell us how you enjoy chocolate for wellness and be entered to win a free bag of chocolate!

Walk a little longer and farther by eating Dark Chocolate!

Chocolate again comes in with another potential health bonus!!

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Polyphenols — compounds found in cocoa — may reduce oxidative stress and improve blood flow in peripheral arteries. “Polyphenol-rich nutrients could represent a new therapeutic strategy to counteract cardiovascular complications,” said, Francesco Violi, M.D., study senior author and professor of internal medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome.

In a pilot study of patients with PAD (14 men and six women, ages 60-78), study participants increased their ability to walk unassisted after eating dark chocolate, compared to when they ate milk chocolate. After eating the dark chocolate, they walked an average 11 percent farther and 15 percent longer (almost 12 meters/39 feet farther and about 17 seconds longer) than they could earlier that day. But distance and time didn’t improve after eating milk chocolate.

The improvements were modest. Still, the benefit of dark chocolate polyphenols is “of potential relevance for the quality of life of these patients,” said Lorenzo Loffredo, M.D., the study’s co-author and assistant professor at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.

 

To read the full study click here.

 

The Don’ts of Chocolate Tasting

The Don’ts of Chocolate Tasting (this was written on  the C-Spot)

We’re often asked to lead formal tastings which we conduct on special occasions.
Most of these tastings affairs are, bluntly, just a ‘tarding up of the consumer: “now here’s how you eat chocolate: first, look at it by opening your eyes; second, smell it by breathing in thru your nose; third, listen to it by perking up your ears; next, bite it…” ad nauseam. People need nanny-style potty training like the Pentagon needs another explosive device.
Chocolate is a direct hit – it’s an easy to “get”.
But since you asked, here are a few quick “don’ts”.
Don’t:
…overthink taste.choco medi 4

Instead turn off your internal chatter & let the melt flow into an effortless attention that will freely interpret & translate a bar’s manifold flavors, without work, as relaxation sets in, taking on a meditative-trance aspect akin to mushin no shin, the Zen expression for “zoned”. That’s what the chocolate melt—literally / physically, figuratively / metaphorically— is all about.
Take a deep breath, inhale the perfumes & harmonize with the bar like that bird clasped in the hand—too loose it flies away, too tight, you’ll crush it.
…do as you’re told. choco medi2

Some proscribe chewing, for instance. Chew or let it melt on your tongue? Consider both – between alternate tastings or even together—because both have their strengths &, moreover, each reveals a different side of the flavor.
Chocolate, after all, embodies a full sensory experience—often an overload—engendering intimacy. So whatever feels good… use your body intelligence. Besides, it’s your chocolate.
…wait for the right moment.
Some cocoa gurus proclaim that certain times of the day are optimal for critical tastings.
Others say only after you’ve cleared the palate with some kind of slimey gruel or a proper hi-colonic (k, we jest on that one).
Our take: People link chocolate to sex since it carries that oozy body-melt & contains trace amounts of aphrodisiacs (such as PEA – phenylethylamine, the “Love Chemical”, an adrenal-related compound that is also naturally created within the hypothalamus of the brain & is released to flood the brain during orgasm, producing that warm glow).
Whether morning or midnight, sex can be good any time. The outdoor variety, for instance, under the midday sun when the senses are fully awakened.
Spontaneity… whenever the moment seizes & moves, carpe chocolatum, in sync with Roberta Flack’s “that’s the time, I feel like makin’…”

Memorial Day Rememberances

Memorial day serves as a reminder of the men and women who died in duty serving our country. The holiday began after the American Civil War to commemorate the soldiers lost in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day extended to honor all Americans having died while in service for our country.

If you are looking for a way to give back, consider USA Cares.

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USA Cares exists to help bear the burdens of service by providing post-9/11 military families with financial and advocacy support in their time of need. Assistance is focused on three main areas:

- Removing the financial barriers that prevent veterans from receiving treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. This program is saving the lives of veterans and restoring families.

- Removing the financial barriers that prevent veterans from securing employment.

- Providing emergence family services to veterans and active duty service members who sustain a significant reduction in pay because of their service.

Support Group uses of Chocolate and Meditation!

We have always felt here at Intentional Chocolate that eating chocolate is a zen like experience. You get to enjoy one of life’s pleasures, tasting all the subtle flavors that unlock in your mouth as you roll around the bite on your tongue. Over the past couple of years of offering the meditation we have seen the wonderful impact it has on people’s lives.

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As part of our partnership with our charity DBSA, depression bi-polar support alliance, we donated several chocolate meditation kits to the award winning support groups around the country. The support groups opened their hearts and minds to the idea of trying the meditation at one of their meetings. And we had some exciting feedback from the groups:

“Out of group members’ desire for socialization in a more relaxed setting than a support group meeting allows, we had our first of a planned monthly series of “game nights” tonight. I used the opportunity to do the 68% Tasting Meditation with attendees.

We had six people participating. They liked the experience. We did not experience the sensations and tastes as the Rev. Peluso described–the chocolate just tasted like chocolate–but we did sense, and enjoy, how this changed over time with the taste intensifying and diminishing and the solid softening and melting. It was noted that it felt good to slow down and relax, and one participant said that he had never enjoyed consuming a piece of chocolate so well before.
I asked if we should repeat this at our future “game nights” and all responded yes. So next month we will do another of the meditations.

“The tasting meditation does work to tune out external stimuli and thoughts while focusing on the meditation. A participant who has partaken in all three sessions to date reported that, as a result, he has scaled back his chocolate consumption, a daily habit, out of inspiration to be more responsible and mindful as he consumes chocolate more slowly.”

If you have support groups that are interested in trying out our meditation tasting kit for free, please email ashley@intentionalchocolate.com and she will provide you with more details. Or if you want to donate directly to DBSA please see their information below.

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Why DBSA and IC?

DBSA and IC line up with their core value of envisioning wellness within the world. It’s a great time to connect over the Valentine’s Day holiday, as it’s a time of connection through love. Chocolate is a food of love and actually contains the love molecule – PEA. Studies have shown that regular consumption of cocoa has been found to improve cognitive function and mood because cocoa contains polyphenols. Polyphenols can increase the blood flow to the brain and boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and endorphin, all of which contribute to feelings of feeling good. IC adds their special ingredient – intention and the end result is a delicious gourmet bit of well-being.

To help DBSA support groups, on top of donating 15% of net profits, IC is also giving chocolate tasting meditation kits to the support groups.

About DBSA

Their vision

DBSA envisions wellness for people living with depression and bipolar disorder.

Their Mission

DBSA provides hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders.

Who they are

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is the leading peer-directed national organization focusing on the two most prevalent mental health conditions, depression and bipolar disorder, which affect more than 21 million Americans, account for 90% of the nation’s suicides every year, and cost $23 billion in lost workdays and other workplace losses.

DBSA’s peer-based, wellness-oriented, and empowering services and resources are available when people need them, where they need them, and how they need to receive them—online 24/7, in local support groups, in audio and video casts, or in printed materials distributed by DBSA, our chapters, and mental health care facilities across America.

Through more than 700 support groups and nearly 300 chapters, DBSA reaches millions of people each year with in-person and online peer support; current, readily understandable information about depression and bipolar disorder; and empowering tools focused on an integrated approach to wellness.

What Makes DBSA Unique

DBSA is led by and created for individuals living with a mood disorder, and that experience informs everything that we do.

How to Support The Cause Directly

http://www.dbsalliance.org

Bonus Day at Global Giving! 30% of your donation is MATCHED!

Please consider donating to Heal One World. This wonderful project helps to provide preventative healthcare for those in need. For as little as $10 you can help someone get treatment. Visit the link below:

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/heal-one-world-inner-city-preventative-healthcare/

 

Heal One World was formed to help connect people in need particularly children and adults with chronic illnesses

with preventative health care, non-traditional/complementary modalities, natural non-invasive treatments, and guidance in learning self-help techniques that are generally not covered by insurance. The access to this help is offered on a sliding scale, free or donation basis. The non-profit organization holds classes on a free or sliding scale basis that provide self-help and self-healing techniques in the Pico Blvd. studio. Heal One World also arranges and promotes clinics where low cost treatment can be found, as well as maintains a database of providers who are interested in helping those in need. The focus is on long-term well being of body, spirit and mind. Heal One World offers people in need a forum to ask questions and state their issues, and then helps them find the best provider to help them reach their goal of health.B1

The studies on Intention and Oolong tea!

Back in 2007 we conducted a double blind science experiment with Ions and Deer Park Monestary to see if embedding chocolate with intentions of experienced meditators proved to increased well-being. When we got the results back that embedded chocolate actually increased the well-being 67% we then published the article in Explore magazine.

Recently Explore magazine, Nov/Dec ’13, published an article by Dean Radin, PhD & Yung-Jong Shiah, PhD who conducted a similar study with the affects of intention and belief on mood while drinking oolong tea. The test was conducted over the course of one week and used to see if they could reduce mood fluctuations of the 189 participants in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, that are caused by changes in local weather and other common influences.

Every night the volunteers, for the full week, would record their mood using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire.  As double blind studies go – One randomly assigned group blindly received tea that had been intentionally treated by three Buddhist monks; the other group blindly received untreated tea from the same source.

The conclusion? Well, the Tea treated with good intentions improved mood more than ordinary tea derived from the same source. What’s even more interesting is that the belief that one was drinking treated tea produced a large improvement in mood, but only if one was actually drinking the treated tea. This showcases that belief and intentional enhancement interact and that the esthetic and intentional qualities associated with the traditional tea ceremony may have subtle influences that extend beyond the ritual itself.
So drink up! We have bags of Intentional Oolong Tea waiting for you! And today and tomorrow only get 20% off all tea with code ICTEA at check out.29135 IC Tea 7oz
For more on the study and to read the full article you can visit here.

Chocolate, you just don’t stop! Another reason to love you…

It seems like weekly there is new fantastic research extolling the health virtues of chocolate. Last week we saw that chocolate may actually help diabetes and now this week we are finding out exactly how chocolate works in our internal system making it so good for us. As we spoke about in one blog post a few months ago chocolate contains phenols, an antioxidant, a compound in cocoa-rich chocolate are the same as the ones found in red wine. Now we can see how those antioxidants work!

Researchers with Louisiana State University unveiled at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) their study, the first ever to look at the effects of dark chocolate on the various types of bacteria in the stomach. Their research showed how certain bacteria in the stomach consume parts of the chocolate thus fermenting it into anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit the heart and gut.

Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study’s researchers, explained “We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones.The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate,” she said. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.” The other bacteria in the gut are associated with inflammation and can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. These include some Clostridia and some E. coli.”

“When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke,” said John Finley, Ph.D., who led the work.  This study was supported by the Louisiana State College of Agriculture and a Louisiana AgCenter Undergraduate Research Grant.

Exciting times in the world of chocolate! Want some now? Order online at www.intentionalchocolate.com

Intentional Chocolate Raspberry

For more on the study American Chemical Society. “Precise reason for health benefits of dark chocolate: Thank hungry gut microbes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154725.htm>.

Chocolate and diabetes – it’s a better relationship than you think!

The news just keeps getting better on chocolate. Last week we posted it’s ability to help keep arteries lubricated which reduces chances of heart attacks. Now we’ve just read another amazing study done in Japan where an epidemiological analysis found that long-term chocolate consumption may actually LOWER your chances of getting diabetes. Yes you read that right.

This test was followed over a 13 year period with around 7500 participants at risk for diabetes. What they found was that the risk of diabetes decreased as the frequency of chocolate intake increased, up to 2-6 servings (1 oz) per week. Consuming ≥1 serving per day did not yield significantly lower relative risk.These results suggest that consuming moderate amount of chocolate may reduce the risk of diabetes. Though they do claim that further research is required to confirm and explore these findings.

Chocolate, you magical food you!  And so that you can get healthy with chocolate, we are giving a 15% off all chocolate items today and tomorrow with discount code HEALTH. Now go and enjoy some chocolate! www.intentionalchocolate.com

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For the abstract of the study please read below:

Chocolate intake and diabetes risk.
Greenberg JA.
Author information
Abstract
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
In-vitro and rodent studies, and short-term human trials suggest that compounds in chocolate can enhance insulin sensitivity. Also, a recent prospective Japanese epidemiological analysis found that long-term chocolate consumption was inversely associated with diabetes risk. The objective of the present analysis was to test the epidemiological association between long-term chocolate consumption and diabetes risk in a U.S. cohort.
METHODS:
Multivariable prospective Cox Regression analysis with time-dependent covariates was used to examine data from 7802 participants in the prospective Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Cohort. The data included 861 new diabetes cases during 98,543 person-years of follow up (mean = 13.3 years).
RESULTS:
Compared to participants who ate 1 oz of chocolate less often than monthly, those who ate it 1-4 times/month, 2-6 times/week and ≥1 time/day had relative risks of being diagnosed with diabetes that were lower by 13% (95% confidence interval: -2%, 25%), 34% (18%, 47%) and 18% (-10%, 38%). These relative risks applied to participants without evidence of preexisting serious chronic disease that included diabetes, heart attacks, stroke or cancer. In conclusion, the risk of diabetes decreased as the frequency of chocolate intake increased, up to 2-6 servings (1 oz) per week. Consuming ≥1 serving per day did not yield significantly lower relative risk.
CONCLUSIONS:
These results suggest that consuming moderate amount of chocolate may reduce the risk of diabetes. Further research is required to confirm and explore these findings.