Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Benefits! Dark Chocolate's Potential Effect on Chronic Fatigue Patients...

Dark chocolate's ever increasing potential benefits!

From the ever-informative ProHealth.com is this informative article about the potential benefits of dark chocolate on chronic fatigue patients...let's have a look at all the benefits! Here's an excerpt from this great article:

"...One study found that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (NO), a compound critical for healthy blood flow and blood pressure. Another study showed that flavonols in cocoa prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries, and make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause clots. Flavonoids are plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties; so far, scientists have found more than 4,000 kinds. Cocoa beans contain large quantities of flavonoids, and so do red wine, tea, cranberries, peanuts, strawberries, apples and many other fruits and vegetables.(2) The flavonoids in chocolate are called flavonols.

Generally, science has found that dark chocolate is higher in flavonoids than milk chocolate.(3) The way that cocoa powder and chocolate syrups are manufactured removes most flavonoids. "

Find the rest of this very intriguing, in-depth article here on ProHealth.com.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays! Can Myrrh Lower High Cholesterol?

Dark chocolate can lower LDL cholesterol, but myrrh? Interesting!

Happy Holidays!

From Health.com is this interesting article about the possible benefits of myrrhand lowering high blood pressure.Here's more from this intriguing article:

"...The resin of trees in the Middle East — known as myrrh — may help lower “bad” cholesterol, new research suggests.

The study author explained that myrrh resin could be used in conjunction with other plant materials to boost heart health, although it’s not clear yet how people might consume it, and more research is needed."

Read the rest of this article here on Health.com!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Reduce Waste This Holiday Season - A Few Tips!

From the great site, YourDailyThread.com is this wonderful, insightful article about how to create a greener holiday season! Here's more from the article:

"...Reduce Your Waste Post-Consumer and Tree Free Paper: Now when you can't send an e-card (grandparents that don't email or you appreciate the art of hand writing a card) using cards printed with soy or water based ink (that are low VOC) and printed on post consumer recycled paper or non tree paper choices such as cotton, hemp and others are the way to go. Here are a few companies that meet our criteria.

Copper Willow: A women-owned venture in Culver City, California that takes great care to not only create beautiful holiday cards but takes great environmental care with everything they craft. They also use antique printing machines and calligraphy and specialize in custom creations. www.copperwillow.com

Verde Paperie: This online L.A.-based boutique carries adorable boxed sets from designers and artists. Each item has a description to qualify its "greenness." www.verdepaperie.com

Green Field Paper Company: This San Diego based company specializes in tree free paper options such as hemp, java or even denim. They can do bulk orders as well. www.greenfieldpapercompany.com.

DIY Tip: If you receive paper holiday cards there are some crafty options for next year such as creating placemats for the table or holiday collages. You can always recycle or compost them rather then tossing them in the trash too."

Go to YourDailyThread.com to read the wonderful bunch of useful tips to make your holiday season a greener one!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dark Chocolate - Indulge for Good Health!

Reap the benefits of delicious dark chocolate!

From Health Magazine, here is a wonderful article about the mood boosting, heart helping benefits of chocolate! Here's a bit more, from Health.com:

Heart helper
".. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate dark chocolate had less of a protein that indicates inflammation, which can lead to a heart attack....

Mood Buster
There’s a good reason we crave chocolate when we’re down. Its tryptophan ups mood-lifting serotonin in the brain, says Leah Sherman, a naturopathic physician in Portland, Oregon. One study found that even the taste, texture, and smell make us happy."

Find out about more delicious benefits that dark chocolate has to offer here on Health.com!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3 Wonderful New Benefits of Dark Chocolate!

Love your dark chocolate more than ever! Here are three more exciting benefits...

From RealAge.com comes this very interesting article containing three more enticing, wonderful benefits that dark chocolate has to offer! Here's an excerpt:

"..Chocolate makes you smarter.

Ample research suggests that the flavonols in dark chocolate increase cerebral blood flow, which in turn may trigger the creation of new blood vessels and brain cells.

And a new study showed that older adults performed better on cognitive tests after eating small portions of the sweet stuff. Talk about a nourished noggin! (Here's why opting for semisweet or unsweetened chocolate may be even better for your brain.)"
Read the other two benefits here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If Dark Chocolate is 'The Food of the Gods', What is the 'Fruit of the Gods'?

We know that gourmet dark chocolate is hailed as the "food of the gods", but what is the "fruit of the gods"? Pomegranates!

From redOrbit.com is this delicious article about the superpowers of the fruit that is now being hailed for it's wonderful nutritional benefits - the pomegranate! Like dark chocolate, it has incredible health properties and a long history. Read more from the article:

"...The pomegranate, with its edible seeds inside juicy sacs, is high in vitamin C and potassium, low in calories (80 per serving, which is just under one-third of a medium fruit), and a good source of fiber. Pomegranates are especially high in polyphenols, a form of antioxidant purported to help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. In fact, pomegranate juice, which contains health-boosting tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, has higher antioxidant activity than green tea and red wine.
According to the American Dietetic Association, studies involving mice and humans show that eating pomegranates may help prevent clogged arteries. In addition, a recent study from Jonsson Cancer Center at UCLA found that levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen), a protein marker for prostate cancer, increased 35% slower in men with recurrent prostate cancer who drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily after surgery or radiation. (The study also found that it took 54 months to double PSA levels, compared to 15 months in men who did not drink the juice.) Increasing the time it takes for a man's PSA levels to double may postpone cancer recurrences and reduce his need to have other cancer treatment procedures, such as surgery or radiation, in the future.

Pomegranate juice also appears to suppress the growth of cancer cells and cause prostate cancer cells to die. It is believed that the antioxidants in the juice - particularly ellagic acid - are behind this beneficial effect. There are also some very early research being conducted to find out how pomegranate juice may be used to treat breast cancer and osteoarthritis."

Read the rest of this article here!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dark Chocolate Added Daily Means a Happy Heart!

Savor a half a bar of organic, gourmet dark chocolate per week for heart health...

From ScienceDaily.com comes this great bit of news about adding dark chocolate to your daily routine to keep risk of heart attack at bay. Here's more from the article:

"...A new effect, demonstrated for the first time in a population study by the Research Laboratories of the Catholic University in Campobasso, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute of Milan.
The findings, published in the last issue of the Journal of Nutrition, official journal of the American Society of Nutrition, come from one of the largest epidemiological studies ever conducted in Europe, the Moli-sani Project, which has enrolled 20,000 inhabitants of the Molise region so far. By studying the participants recruited, researchers focused on the complex mechanism of inflammation.

Photo from OhSheGlows.com

It is known how a chronic inflammatory state represents a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, from myocardial infarction to stroke, just to mention the major diseases. Keeping the inflammation process under control has become a major issue for prevention programs and C reactive protein turned out to be one of the most promising markers, detectable by a simple blood test.
The Italian team related the levels of this protein in the blood of examined people with their usual chocolate intake. Out of 11,000, researchers identified 4,849 subjects in good health and free of risk factors (normal cholesterol, blood pressure and other parameters). Among them, 1,317 did not use to eat any chocolate, while 824 used to have chocolate regularly, but just the dark one."

Read the rest of this article here on ScienceDaily.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dark Chocolate Each Day - An Alternative to Asprin?

A bite of gourmet dark chocolate could help your blood flow!

Could dark chocolate have the same effects on thinning the blood as asprin? Here's a great article from BBC News about a recent study by Johns Hopkins University in Chicago. Here's more from the article:

"....Researchers carried out tests on 139 "chocoholics" who were disqualified from another study because they could not give up their habit. Previous research has suggested that chocolate is good for the heart. The study, by Johns Hopkins University, featured at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.

The Johns Hopkins team started out examining the effects of aspirin on platelets, the tiny solid particles in blood that clump together to form a clot.

However, 139 people who signed up for the study were disqualified because they were unable to give up eating chocolate as required. Researchers have known for almost two decades that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and has other beneficial effects on blood flow.
But the "chocoholic" group gave the Johns Hopkins team an ideal chance to probe why this might be a little further by carrying out a biochemical analysis.

They carried out tests comparing how long it took platelets taken from the "chocoholics" and others who had not eaten chocolate to clump together when they were run through a mechanical blood vessel system.

Platelets from those who stayed away from chocolate clotted faster, at 123 seconds, compared with 130 seconds for the chocolate group. Researcher Professor Diane Becker said: "What these chocolate 'offenders' taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart attack."

Read the rest of this fascinating study here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Organic Fun! How to Start an Organic Garden...

An organic, gourmet garden in your back yard? Indeed!

From The Huffington Post is this great article on how to sucessfully start an organic garden. Highly beneficial to your health and to the environment, it's easier than most people think!
Here's more:

"...If grown properly, your organic garden will produce higher quality, healthier foods '" and will be good for the environment and wildlife.
Many people have high hopes for starting their own organic garden and reaping a small harvest from it. The problem is that many don't really know what an organic garden is. Organic gardening is more than popping some seeds in the ground and letting them grow "naturally." If grown properly, your organic garden will produce higher quality, healthier foods—and will be good for the environment and wildlife. But it will take planning and work. Here's what you need to know to get a green organic thumb.

Know the facts.
The definition of organic gardening varies among gardeners, but most agree that it means growing fruits, vegetables and flowers without using any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, and using practices that are ecologically harmonious, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You'll still have to get rid of weeds, fertilize your plants and stop bugs from eating them. You will still have to go out and supervise it every day, and dig just like you would with any garden.

Start with a small plot.
Begin your garden in a window box or in a few containers until you're more confident. If you want a larger site, a 4-by-4-foot garden is enough room. Don't plant too much. Plan your yield in terms of meals per person instead of some vague amount of produce."

Read the rest of these great tips here on The Huffington Post.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dark Chocolate's Five Fabulous Benefits!

Dark Chocolate features many benefits that contribute to your well- being...

From DoctorSolve.com is the wonderful run-down containing five wonderful benefits that dark chocolate has to offer! Here's an excerpt:

"...You've probably already heard of chocolate improving the mood, but there are more health benefits to chocolate that you may be unaware of. Before you go raiding the candy jar, keep in mind that these health benefits pertain to DARK CHOCOLATE only. That is anything with a cocoa content over 65%. Milk chocolate is probably what you are used to, but if you are interested in eating healthy it might be a good idea to give dark chocolate a try.

1. Good for the Heart - Due to the presence of antioxidants in dark chocolate, studies have found that in individuals with high blood pressure, a stick of dark chocolate a day can lower blood pressure levels. In addition, dark chocolate has been known to lower cholesterol levels by up to 10%.

2. Improves Mood - Dark chocolate stimulates endorphin production which in turn provides the brain with feelings of pleasure. A substance called theobromine which provides you with caffeine-like stimulation is also present in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains serotonin which is known to act as an anti-depressant."

Read the rest of the list here! Delicious.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dark Chocolate Each Day May Improve Metabolic Stress Response

Dark Chocolate is more beneficial than ever!

Here's a very interesting study found on Medical News Today - more intriguing news about how dark chocolate can help battle stress! Here's an excerpt from the study on Medical News Today:

"...A new study by Nestlé researchers suggests that eating a few pieces of dark chocolate every day may improve the metabolic response of people who report feeling highly stressed.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Proteome Research, was the work of lead investigator Sunil Kochhar, a researcher at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Anxiety and stress can cause various changes in physical and emotional states in humans, and in the longer term can also lead to serious health consequences.
Other studies have already shown that diet affects human metabolism through its influence on gut bacteria, and this too can have long term health consequences.
For this study, Kochhar and colleagues investigated the metabolic response in a group of 30 healthy adult volunteers who were asked to consume two portions of 20g of dark chocolate every day for up to 14 days.

The volunteers had already filled in validated psychological questionnaires from which the researchers were able to classify them into low and high anxiety traits.
To assess metabolic response, the researchers analyzed urine and blood plasma given by each volunteer during three test days at the beginning, the middle and the end of the 14 day period.
The main measures of metabolic response they looked at were stress-related metabolic changes such as energy metabolism and gut microbial activity. "

Read the rest about this study here.

Dark Chocolate Helps to Lower Stress!

Organic, delicous dark chocolate soothes stress...

From Sarah Altshul on Health.com is this relieving article about how adding dark chocolate to your diet may help to relieve stress. Here's more:

"...The team of researchers was led by Sunil Kochhar, PhD, who heads the BioAnalytical Science Department at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland. He and his colleagues designed the study to see whether eating dark chocolate every day for two weeks could affect the way the body metabolizes stress hormones.
They recruited 30 healthy young people—11 men and 19 women. They tested their anxiety levels and determined that 13 of them tested as “high anxiety” and 17 tested as “low anxiety” on standardized anxiety tests. They gave the volunteers 40 grams of dark chocolate (about an ounce and a half), containing 74% cocoa, every day for two weeks and tested their blood and urine at the beginning and end of the trial.

In the high anxiety group, eating chocolate reduced levels of their stress hormones, and the changes were “biologically significant,” Dr. Kochhar tells me. What’s more, people felt less anxious after munching on chocolate. The findings did not apply to the low anxiety group. “We observed improvement in the anxiety states of subjects immediately after their consumption of chocolate,” he says."

Read the rest of this article here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Nutritous Benefits of Dark Chocolate!! Pour the Chocolate Milk...

More reasons to love your chocolate - chocolate milk helps reduce inflammation!

In this fantastic article by Roni Caryn Rabin, we gain insight as to how consuming a wholesome glass of chocolate milk can be greatly beneficial! Here's more from the article:

"...Move over, red wine. Make room for chocolate milk. A new study suggests that regular consumption of skim milk with flavonoid-rich cocoa may reduce inflammation, potentially slowing or preventing development of atherosclerosis . Researchers noted, however, that the effect was not as pronounced as that seen with red wine.
Scientists in Barcelona, Spain, recruited 47 volunteers ages 55 and older who were at risk for heart disease. Half were given 20-gram sachets of soluble cocoa powder to drink with skim milk twice a day, while the rest drank plain skim milk. After one month, the groups were switched.

Blood tests found that after participants drank chocolate milk twice a day for four weeks, they had significantly lower levels of several inflammatory biomarkers, though some markers of cellular inflammation remained unchanged.
Since atherosclerosis is a low-grade inflammatory disease of the arteries, regular cocoa intake seems to prevent or reduce” it, said Dr. Ramón Estruch of the University of Barcelona, the paper’s senior author, adding that more studies were needed."

Read the rest of the good news here at NYTimes.com.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Love the Taste of Dark Chocolate? The Science of Taste & Smell..

Dark, gourmet chocolate is indeed a beloved to our taste buds...but do you know why?

From Science Daily is this article about the science of taste and smell! Truly fascinating - here's more from the article on ScienceDaily.com:

"...Most people don't realize that most of what we call taste -- enjoying a meal or a fine wine -- is actually smell," Karen Kalumuck, a biologist at San Francisco's Exploratorium, tells DBIS.
Kalumuck says 75 percent of what we call taste is due to what we smell. "Think about when you've a cold. You've got this stuffed up nose. I mean, what did things taste like? Not so great," she tells DBIS. "That's really because we can't have the odorant molecules meet up with the sensory receptors in the nose and transmit that information to the brain."

You can see how the nose and the mouth work together if you pinch your nose and eat a piece of candy, then unplug your nose while it's still in your mouth.
The nose has 5 million odor receptors that can detect 10,000 unique odors. On the tongue, there are taste buds. Inside each bud could be 50 to 100 taste receptor cells. Each receptor cell detects one of five different types of taste, sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.

What's umami? It detects the amino acid glutamate and was added to the list in 2000.
"Most ... have probably experienced glutamate in the form of MSG," Kalumuck says.

Also, spicy foods are not part of our taste or smell receptors ... They stimulate our pain receptors. So people who love spicy have a high tolerance for pain! And taste is all genetic! Your genes determine the type and number of sensors you have, so you can blame mom or dad if you don't like your food.
Kalumuck says you can learn to enjoy foods that might -- at first bite -- taste unpleasant."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dark Chocolate & Red Wine Share Benefits!

Gourmet Dark Chocolate and Red Wine, Packed With Benefits...

From the blog Dr. Shock MD PhD is this great article about the plentiful benefits of dark chocolate and red wine!

Here's an excerpt:
"....In a recent editorial a common mechanism for both red wine and dark chocolate is discussed. According to the author it is most probable that procyanidine, a flavanol, triggers an endothelial response thereby improving the endothelial function and decreasing the risk on cardiovascular disease. However these claims are based on in vitro research, done in the lab that is. This hypothesis has to be proven in vivo, in real humans and patients. It isn’t even clear how much and what kind of flavanols are absorbed to the bloodstream.

As in chocolate not every wine or red wine has a high content of flavanols. White wine has a lower content of flavanols approximately 8 times less and white wines do not contain procyanidins because the juice is fermented without seeds or skin. Procyanidins in red wine are derived mainly from the grape seeds, but owing to their poor solubility, seeds need to be present in the fermenting for at least 10–14 days for extraction of maximum amounts. So most cheap mass produced red wine isn’t fermented during two weeks and lack procyanidins. Manufacturing processes also affect levels of flavanols in chocolate products."

Read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Soul-Felt Spirituality & Wellness Series With Jim Walsh - Free Download Here!

From gourmet dark chocolate creator, Jim Walsh :" The Soul Felt Spirituaity Series"!

Just for you, we've made last night's 'Soul Felt Spirituality and Wellness' series with Jim Walsh available for download right here! Download and listen now to this enlightening, phone in conference about putting intention to work in your life!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tonight! A Free Phone-in Conference With Intentional Chocolate Founder Jim Walsh on Putting Intention to Work in Your Life!

Tonight at 6pm PST/ 9pm EST - From the creator of some of world's finest organic, ethical dark chocolate comes a free phone in conference: "Soul-Felt Spirituality & Wellness Series".

Here are more details from Jim Walsh about this enlightening series:

Join us tonight at 6pm PST/ 9pm EST for a spiritually enlightening, free phone-in conference on consciously putting intention to work in your life!
Now that you've discovered intention & spirituality, do you find yourself doubting if it works? Were you uplifted for a moment and then quickly fell back into doubt?

This insightful series of 7 speakers (including me) will guide you on a intentional journey.

Register for this transformational, no-cost event in three easy steps:
2) Watch your inbox for call-in details
3) Be sure to look for your complimentary bonus gifts just for signing up!

Listen to my first experience of the power of intention as well as those of other experts who, too, have consciously partnered with intention. We’ll share our humbling stories, guide you where you are, and fully enlighten you with practical steps for putting intention to work in your life.

Learn HOW to remain in balance and live on purpose.

Spiritual teacher, Michelle Skaletski-Boyd has partnered with Consciousness to create this wonderful Soul-Felt Series with you in mind.

I’m honored and inspired to be part of the speaker line-up, so please consider this your personal invitation to listen in.

Again, follow this link to RSVP...we look forward to hearing from you tonight!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Organic Dark Chocolate Benefits - Cardiovascular Health!

Gourmet dark chocolate is a cardiovascular powerhouse!

From the ever-informative WebMD comes this great article about the copious benefits that gourmet dark chocolate contains for us! Here's an excerpt that is indeed delicious news:

"...Based on his studies of the island-dwelling Kuna - who drink up to 40 cups per week of flavanol-rich cocoa and have a 10% lower risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes than people who live on mainland Panama - Dr. Norman Hollenberg of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, believes epicatechin, a flavanol found in cocoa (and tea and wine), is so protective, it should be classified as a vitamin.

Hollenburg's research, published in the March 2007 issue of the International Journal of Medical Sciences, revealed that compared to the cocoa-loving Kuna islanders, among those living on the Panama mainland, relative risk of death from heart disease was 1,280% higher and death from cancer was 630% higher.

The link between cocoa flavanols and cardiovascular health is likely due in part to their improving blood flow by increasing production of nitric oxide, a molecule secreted by the lining of our blood vessels (the endothelium) to signal surrounding muscle to relax.

In research published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, ((Heiss C, Finis D, et al., February 2007), eleven healthy male smokers, with smoking-related losses in endothelial function resulting in impaired blood flow, drank three cups each day of a flavanol-rich cocoa drink (306 mg flavanol/cup). Within two days, the men showed measurable improvement in blood vessel function. After seven days, impairment of blood flow in these smokers was almost reversed. However, the improvement disappeared within one week of discontinuing the cocoa treatment, prompting researchers to recommend daily consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa."

Read the rest of this article here - and don't forget to have a bite of organic, dark chocolate today! Your heart will love the benefits.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate..

Add Dark Chocolate to your Gluten Free Lifestyle!

Many people nowadays live with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. Luckily, there are many wonderful gourmet dark chocolate products out that make life a little easier- namely chocolate (hint: Intentional Chocolate's dark chocolate is gluten free!)!
Here are five tips from LiveStrong.com about making safe choices when the desire for a lovely bit of dark chocolate surfaces.

1. Get the Gluten Lowdown
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and its derivatives, and can appear in a wide array of foods. Aside from obvious forms of wheat such as bread, pastries, pizza and cookies, gluten is found in almost all packaged foods because it is used as a stabilizer to extend the shelf life of products. Unfortunately, this means that gluten can be found in many forms of chocolate, because it is used as an emulsifier or thickener. Luckily, those needing to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet can still enjoy chocolate, as long as they understand which brands in which they can partake.

2. Simpler is Better
If choosing chocolate on a gluten-free diet, it is best to first examine the package label. Any ingredient that is unknown or which you are unsure, should be completely avoided--better safe than sorry. In general, the majority of plain milk and dark chocolate bars are more likely to be gluten-free than anything containing caramel, crisp or crunchy ingredients. A general rule to remember is the simpler the product, the better the chance that it is gluten-free. Luckily, this also means that the majority of chocolate indulgences on a gluten-free diet are generally healthier than their ingredient-loaded counterparts. Strive to choose chocolate that has less than 5 ingredients noted on the label, such as milk, cocoa powder, sugar or other recognizable names.

3. Do Your Research
The majority of large food corporations will list the safety of their products online, so make sure to check the manufacturer's website for its gluten-free status. Consumers can also try calling the number of the company noted on the package to gain quick information about the safety of its ingredients. Unfortunately, even if a chocolate bar has completely gluten-free ingredients listed on the wrapper, it still may be processed in a factory that deals with gluten and wheat foods. This means it is best to choose brands that you know are safe, have researched, or have spoken to personally.

Read the rest here on Livestrong.com !

Friday, October 23, 2009

Can Mindfulness Make Better Doctors?

Benefits of mindfulness....
In this very interesting article from the New York Times, Pauline W. Chen MD delves into how mindfulness could make better doctors...here's more from The New York Times:

"...One night during my training, long after all the other doctors had fled the hospital, I found a senior surgeon still on the wards working on a patient note. He was a surgeon with extraordinary skill, a doctor of few words whose folksy quips had become the stuff of department legend. “I’m sorry you’re still stuck here,” I said, walking up to him.He looked up from the chart. “I’m not working tomorrow, so I’m just fine.”
I had just reviewed the next day’s operating room schedule and knew he had a full day of cases. I began to contradict him, but he held his hand up to stop me.

“Time in the O.R.,” he said with a broad grin, “is not work; it’s play.”

Photo: Art Becker/Getty Images

For several years my peers and I relished anecdotes like this one because we believed we knew exactly what our mentor had meant. All of us had had the experience of “disappearing” into the meditative world of a procedure and re-emerging not exhausted, but refreshed.
The ritual ablutions by the scrub sink washed away the bacteria clinging to our skin and the endless paperwork threatening to choke our enthusiasm. A single rhythmic cardiac monitor replaced the relentless calls of our beepers; and nothing would matter during the long operations except the patient under our knife.

We had entered “the zone.” We were focused on nothing else but our patients and that moment...."

Read the rest of this engaging article here!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dark Chocolate Beneficial For Pregnant Women!

Dark Chocolate Benefits for Pregnant Women:

Here is more wonderful news about the benefits of dark chocolate! Did you know it is incredibly beneficial for pregnant women?

Here's more from The Medical News:

"...According to scientific research in the U.S. eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, during pregnancy is good for mother and baby.
The new research suggests it could help prevent a serious complication known as pre-eclampsia, where the blood pressure soars during pregnancy and excess protein is released into the urine.
Dr. Elizabeth Triche from Yale University says pre-eclampsia is a major pregnancy complication which has cardiovascular manifestations such as hypertension and affects up to eight percent of pregnancies.

The researchers say dark chocolate is particularly rich in a chemical called theobromine, which stimulates the heart, relaxes smooth muscle and dilates blood vessels; it has been used to treat chest pain, hypertension, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries.
Dr. Triche and her colleagues wanted to see whether chocolate's suspected cardiovascular benefits also might help prevent pre-eclampsia.
To do this, they studied 2,291 women who had delivered a single infant - they questioned them on how much chocolate they consumed in their first and third trimesters and also tested levels of theobromine in the infants' umbilical cord blood...."

Read the rest of this article here - and don't forget your daily dose of chocolate!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amazing Heavy Machinery - The World's First All-Electric Locomotive!

From The Inhabitat and PopSci.com comes this groundbreaking story about the very first all electric locomotive! Here's more:

"...Norfolk Southern is the latest company to push a piece of heavy industrial machinery into green territory with their 100% electric NS 999 locomotive.

The zero-emissions train makes use of 1,080 12-volt batteries that allows it to run for 24 hours on a single charge--all while carrying the same load as a conventional locomotive."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Capturing' Lightening on Science Daily!

From Science Daily is this "enlightening" article about fascinating new ways to study lightning! Here's more about this amazing study:

"...First you see it ... Then you hear it! But how much do you know about it?
Storm chaser Lee Nichols, says, "Every now and then you see one that just starts from the middle of the sky and completely covers everything. Fascinating." When he sees clouds roll in, he rolls out! "We have punched a core of a storm, which means driving right through it -- in what's called a bear cage -- and lightning is just bouncing around all over the place," he tells Ivanhoe. "You're inside like looking out of lightning bars," he says.
But as close as we can get to it, there's still a lot we don't know about it. Martin Uman, a professor at University of Florida Lightning Research Group in Gainesville, Fla., says, "One of things we're trying to do now is understand how it strikes the ground -- how it strikes what it strikes."

Engineer Martin Uman and physicist Joe Dwyer are trying to crack the code and increase safety. Joe Dwyer, a physicist at University of Florida Lightning Research Group, says: "If you are a power company, you've got to make sure that lightning is not going to strike one of your poles and cause a blackout. You got to make sure that if lightning strikes your aircraft that you're not going to get people killed."

The two are literally capturing lightning. They launch a rocket with a wire connected to it out of tubes and into the sky. The rocket snakes its way up to the cloud, finds the charges in the cloud, and then brings the lightning down to the researchers.
Dwyer says they've learned lightning doesn't come straight down to the ground. It does so in a series of discrete steps."

Read the rest of the article on Science Daily here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Free Phone-in Conference on Putting Intention to Work in Your Life

From the creator of the gourmet, fine dark chocolates 'Intentional Chocolate' comes a great phone in conference about intention!

From Intentional Chocolate creator, Jim Walsh: The New "Soul Felt Series"

Jim Walsh on Spirituality and Intention:

Join us for a spiritually enlightening, free phone-in conference on consciously putting intention to work in your life!
Now that you've discovered intention & spirituality, do you find yourself doubting if it works? Were you uplifted for a moment and then quickly fell back into doubt?

This insightful series of 7 speakers (including me) will guide you on a intentional journey.

Register for this transformational, no-cost event in three easy steps:
2) Watch your inbox for call-in details
3) Be sure to look for your complimentary bonus gifts just for signing up!

Listen to my first experience of the power of intention as well as those of other experts who, too, have consciously partnered with intention. We’ll share our humbling stories, guide you where you are, and fully enlighten you with practical steps for putting intention to work in your life.

Learn HOW to remain in balance and live on purpose.

Spiritual teacher, Michelle Skaletski-Boyd has partnered with Consciousness to create this wonderful Soul-Felt Series with you in mind.

I’m honored and inspired to be part of the speaker line-up, so please consider this your personal invitation to listen in.

Friday, October 9, 2009

10 Heart-Healthy Foods!

Gourmet Dark Chocolate is one of the many heart healthy foods!

As we have previously mentioned, dark chocolate has an impressive scope of benefits and is very heart healthy indeed. While we're on the subject, here are 10 more foods that are wonderfully heart healthy! Here's a few choice bits of deliciousness courtesy of Health.com:

1) Oatmeal
Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.

Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties—which contain more fiber—and top your bowl off with a banana for another 4 grams of fiber.

2) Salmon

Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.

"Salmon contains the carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant," says cardiologist Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, the author of Lower Your Blood Pressure In Eight Weeks. But be sure to choose wild salmon over farm-raised fish, which can be packed with insecticides, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Not a fan of salmon? Other oily fish like mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines will give your heart the same boost.

3) Avocado
Add a bit of avocado to a sandwich or spinach salad to up the amount of heart-healthy fats in your diet. Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body.

"Avocados are awesome," says Dr. Sinatra. "They allow for the absorption of other carotenoids —especially beta-carotene and lycopene—which are essential for heart health."

Find out more here via Health.com! Also be sure to check out the great recipes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Solar "Lily Pads" in Glasgow ! An Incredible Vision...

From PopSci.com comes this astounding article featuring the latest advancement using solar energy - "solar lilypads"!

Here's more from PopSci.com:

"...Solar panels don’t have to be eyesores. The city of Glasgow is considering the installation of giant, glowing solar "lily pads" on the River Clyde. Designed by Scottish firm ZM Architecture, the circular floats are made of steel and recycled rubber and range in diameter from 15 to 45 feet."

Read the rest of this amazing story here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Save Money and Eat Natural? 10 Easy Tips...

Organic dark chocolate benefits are affordable, too!

Here's a copious crop of wonderful tips from Health.com! Check out the 10 ways that you can improve your eating habits naturally and save money! Here's more from Health.com:

1. The end of the brown rice rut
Because nobody has an hour to devote to a midweek side dish, quick-cooking quinoa and whole-wheat couscous are truly revolutionary. With the same satisfying texture and nutty flavor as brown rice (plus more fiber), these 10-minute grains give new meaning to fast food.

2. Almonds by the pound
If you’re sick of schlepping to crunchy co-ops to buy nuts, dried fruit, and grains in bulk, you’ll be happy to hear that mass grocery stores are rediscovering these money-saving bins. That means we can buy less-processed, less-pricey raw almonds, unsalted sunflower seeds, organic trail mix, and more where we stock up on milk and other basics.

3. Generation 2.0 market bag
Buying fresh means buying often. And if you’re biking or walking to the market to stock up, you need a tote that’s up to the task. The new reusable, planet-friendly bags do it all—they’re big enough to carry loads of goodies, truly leakproof, and way cuter than granny carts. On the fence about bringing your own? A single reusable bag could eliminate more than 1,000 plastic grocery bags in its lifetime.

Read the rest of these wonderful life-lifting tips here!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Does Chocolate Help Migranes? Good News...

More dark chocolate benefits! Organic, gourmet dark chocolate can ease migranes...

Here's some interesting news for those of you that suffer from migranes: chocolate may be a way to keep those pains at bay! Here's more from The Modesto Bee:

"...Researchers from Missouri State University say an animal study shows that dietary supplements of cocoa might repress inflammatory responses in the brain linked to migraines.

The study was presented at the International Headache Society's 14th International Headache Congress in Philadelphia this month. Results from the study indicated that consuming a diet enriched with 10 percent cocoa increased levels of anti-inflammatory compounds in the brain, as well as repressing levels of pro-inflammatory processes.

Photo: IntentionalChocolate.com

"It appears that a cocoa-enriched diet in rats can repress the proteins that are associated with the promotion and maintenance of inflammatory responses, such as migraine," said Paul Durham of Missouri State University's Center for Biomedical & Life Sciences, an author of the study."

Read more the rest here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1000 Year -Old Chocolate Ritual in New Mexico!

Vitality and dark chocolate? Dark chocolate benefits abound - ask the Inhabitants of Chaco Canyon..

From Science Daily is this wonderful article about how"Inhabitants of Chaco Canyon apparently drank chocolate from cylinders like these about a thousand years ago. " Read more below about the findings from Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Patricia L. Crown and her Collaborator at the Hershey Center of Health and Nutrition W. Jeffrey Hurst.

"....Crown has long been fascinated by ceramic cylinders excavated at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon excavated in the Hyde Exploring Expedition from 1896-1899 and the National Geographic Society Expedition from 1920 to 1927. Only about 200 of the cylinders exist and most were found in a single room at the site. The cylinders are now housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and at the American Museum of Natural History.

Photo: University of New Mexico

Archaeologists generally agree the vessels were used for some ritual, but there has been great disagreement about the specific use of the vessels. Crown was thinking about how the Maya drank chocolate from ceramic cylinders, and wondered whether the cylinders found at Chaco might have been used in the same way. It was clear that the Maya used the cylinders for chocolate. Experts could read the glyphs on the vessels that made it clear they were chocolate containers.
From 2004-2007 UNM graduate and undergraduate students had excavated the trash middens directly south of Pueblo Bonito and uncovered thousands of pottery fragments that could be used for analysis. Crown selected sherds that were from cylinders or pitchers. She could tell they were dated between 1000 and 1125 A.D. based on the decorative style. She selected a few sherds and worked with a graduate student to grind off the edges for testing, then sent the material to W. Jeffrey Hurst at the Hershey Center. He tested the powder using an analytical method he had developed and found the presence of theobromine, a marker for Theobroma cacao or chocolate."

Read more about these fascinating findings here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Detox Your Body Safely & Naturally!

Ethical, organic dark chocolate nurtures the body and soul!

From Health.com is are these wonderful steps you can take to rejuvinate and detox your body....and your life! Here's more:

"...Our 12 simple steps will help you detoxify everything from your food to your feet, from your bedroom to your breasts. Purifying your life won’t happen overnight, despite what those detox foot-pad makers promise on late-night television. (PS: They don’t work!) But if you begin today you’ll definitely be a little healthier by the time you get into bed. Here’s how to get started:

1. Protect against pesticides
Washing fruit and veggies is a must-do every time you bring them home. Why? An overload of pesticides in air, food, or water may set the stage for Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease decades down the road, according to research. Apparently the chemicals in pesticides—which find a home on the surface of produce—can damage the energy-producing parts of brain cells. There’s also a pesticide-and-arthritis link. Protect your brain and body by washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly, especially if you aren’t eating organic. (You don’t need to use fancy detergent; plain water should do the trick.)
Also watch out for pesticides in your own yard and garden, because anything you spray outside will likely end up in your home. Defend your greenery, instead, with insects (such as ladybugs) or a natural, safe repellent like neem oil (1 quart, $22.50).

2. It’s curtains for plastic
You know that strong odor emanating from some new plastic shower curtains and mattress covers? Blame the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used to manufacture them—which releases toxic chemicals that can make you dizzy and drowsy with just a few deep whiffs. Retailers like Target sell curtains made with materials like cotton, polyester, or hemp, which are safer to use and easier to clean."

Read the rest f the steps you can take to live a cleaner, purer life here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Evidence May Show 'Metacognition' In Some Nonhuman Animals!

Here's a fresh and fascinating new article from Science Daily! According to a new study by J. David Smith, Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo, there is growing evidence that "some animals share functional parallels with human conscious metacognition -- that is, they may share humans' ability to reflect upon, monitor or regulate their states of mind."

Here's more from Science Daily:

"....He says "comparative psychologists have studied the question of whether or not non-human animals have knowledge of their own cognitive states by testing a dolphin, pigeons, rats, monkeys and apes using perception, memory and food-concealment paradigms.

Photo: University at Buffalo

"The field offers growing evidence that some animals have functional parallels to humans' consciousness and to humans' cognitive self-awareness," he says. Among these species are dolphins and macaque monkeys (an Old World monkey species).

Smith recounts the original animal-metacognition experiment with Natua the dolphin. "When uncertain, the dolphin clearly hesitated and wavered between his two possible responses," he says, "but when certain, he swam toward his chosen response so fast that his bow wave would soak the researchers' electronic switches."

Read more about this incredible discovery here on Science Daily!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trees Become Electric? Scientists Bring out the Spark!

From the wonderful Huffington Post is this article about an 'electrifying' (pardon the pun) new discovery! Scientists at The University of Washington have discovered that trees may be a new source of electricity! Here's more from the article:

"...In an experiment that will seem familiar to students of the potato, the scientists stuck one electrode into a bigleaf maple, and another in the ground, and saw that the tree generated a tiny stream of electricity -- a few hundred millivolts. That's not enough electricity to do much ... but run a circuit and get published in the scientific journal Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Transactions on Nanotechnology.

Photo: University of Washington

(As of that potato, this experiment is different, the authors said: "The tree-power phenomenon is different from the popular potato or lemon experiment, in which two different metals react with the food to create an electric potential difference that causes a current to flow." The tree experiment uses the same metal for both electrodes.)"

Read the rest here - the future looks bright!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Still in Tip-Top Shape! Richard & Louise Guy....

Dark chocolate truffles and vitality of mind keeps them sharp...

Here's a fabulous story of a spritely couple in their 90's who stay mindfully and physically active with the help of exercise, yoga, chocolate and mathematics.

Richard, who is a professor of mathematics at the University of Calgary says "You just keep moving, keep your mind and your body working all the time." Then there's his wife of 69 years, Louise, who takes in a yoga class as part of her regular weekly regimen. Louise adds, "I do my own housework, because it's such good exercise. My biggest vice is the occasional indulgence of chocolate."

It never ceases to amaze us that certain foods and physical and mental activities terns up so regularly in stories of health, longevity and happiness! Read the full article in the Calgary Herald about this inspiring couple here.

Left: Richard Guy, 92, and his
wife Louise, 90, work out Friday
at the U of C in preparation for
their climb to the top of Calgary
Tower. Photograph by: Grant Black,
Calgary Herald, Calgary Herald

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jim Walsh to Speak at This Year's Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival!

Jim Walsh, CEO of the organic, ethical gourmet chocolate company Intentional Chocolate "Cracks the Cosmic Egg"!

As you may know, Jim Walsh is the CEO of HESA Institute and the CEO of Intentional Chocolate.This year, he is one of the speakers at this year’s Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival! Jim will present the short film, “Cracking the Cosmic Egg” which he describes as being "the new frontier in human energy systems where science, spirituality and nutrition all combine to provide maximum health benefits for mankind".

Here's a lovely clip providing more information about the festival:

The festival is September 18-20, 2009. Visit their website here for more wonderful sights & sounds!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Increased Longevity: Reap the Benefits of Healthy Living!

Time for a dark chocolate gourmet gift basket! Improve your vitality and longevity....

According to a recent article on BBC News' ever-fascinating website, healthy living can add 14 years to your life! We all know that consuming healthy foods and taking excersize are key elements, but let's delve a little deeper into the details, shall we? Here's more on BBC News:

"...Taking exercise, not drinking too much alcohol, eating enough fruit and vegetables and not smoking can add up to 14 years to your life, a study says. Research involving 20,000 people over a decade found those who failed on all criteria were four times more likely to have died than those who succeeded.

The findings held true regardless of how overweight or poor they were. The Public Library of Science Medicine study suggests many could increase their lifespan through simple changes. The research was carried out by the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council in the English county of Norfolk between 1993 and 2006. Participants were aged between 45 and 79. They were socially mixed although overwhelmingly white, and as far as they were aware at the time, did not have cancer or any heart problems."

"....A point was awarded for each of the following: not currently smoking, consuming between one and 14 units of alcohol per week (the equivalent of between half a glass and seven glasses of wine), eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day and not being inactive.

"We've know that individually, measures such as not smoking and exercising can have an impact upon longevity, but this is the first time we have looked at them altogether," said Professor Kay-Tee Khaw, who led the research.

Read the rest of this article here. Treat yourself well - and don't forget your dark chocolate!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inspiring! 'How Small Farmers Are Saving the World'...

Ethical organic farms are beneficial...

By Julia Moulden at Huffington post comes this wonderful article about small farmers and their siginificant contribution to making our world a better place! Here's more from HuffingtonPost.com:

"...Tim's family were farmers in Wisconsin, where his childhood intersected with the low point in the history of family farms. While his father lost interest in the whole business and moved on, Tim was bitten. As a student and young man, he worked freelance on farms across the state, heading west to take part in the wheat harvest each fall. By the fall of 1979, when he was ready to try farming on his own, the economics had changed so dramatically that it just wasn't possible. "Money was being handed out to consolidate the industry. Family farms were dying left and right."

Over the next decade, Tim started a horse transportation company, drove truck, and did what he had to do to support his family. But the pull of farming was strong. In the early 90s, he heard about community-supported agriculture (CSA), where a community of individuals pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. He knew it was time to make his move."

Read the rest of this inspiring story here, including ways that you can help!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Intention and Health - 'It's Good to be Good'!

Benefits of Intention!

Here is an in inspiring article written By Stephen G. Post, 'It’s Good to be Good: How Benevolent Emotions and Actions Contribute to Health'. Here's an excerpt of this excellent, deeply involved read that focuses on how good intentions nourish your health:

"...The convergence of evidence is striking in support of the hypothesis that benevolent emotions, attitudes and actions centered on the good of others are contributory to happiness, health, and even longevity in the agent of such giving.

Benevolence is chiefly about the well-being of recipients, but that said, it can be added that it nourishes the giver. The evidence that “doing unto others” is good for the giver has reached a high threshold. ".

Read the rest of this fantastic article here, as well as more wonderful articles by Stephen G. Post.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chocolate 'Slashes Death Rate' in Heart Attack Survivors

Dark chocolate, kosher and organic, offers benefits to heart attack survivors!

The wonderful benefits of dark chocolate never cease to amaze. We'd like to share with you the latest as to how the 'Food of the Gods' 'slashes death rate in heart attack survivors'!
Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times a week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared with those who never touch the stuff, a new study found.
Smaller quantities confer less protection but are better than none, according to the study, which appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Earlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow.
It also had shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women.
But the new study is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper if one has suffered an acute myocardial infarction — otherwise known as a heart attack.

"It was specific to chocolate — we found no benefit to sweets in general," said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a co-author of the study, which Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm led.
"It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate" in explaining the life-saving properties, he told AFP in an exchange of e-mails.
Antioxidants are compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules that accumulate in the body over time and can damage cells. The free radicals are thought to play a role in heart disease, cancer and the aging process.

Time to add some chocolate to your day? Indeed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

For The Kids - Bring on the Calcium (and more Chocolate Pudding!) .

Most kids may not have the taste for gourmet, dark chocolate truffles, but the do need their calcium!

From the lovely food blog, Food Blogga comes this delicously informative take on the amount of calcium that children need...and a great chocolate recipe to boot!

Here's more:

"...Here are some facts about kids, calcium, and bone health:

* Unfortunately, bone fractures are on the rise in children. Researchers believe this may be the result of decreased bone mass and reduced physical activity among today's children.

* Drinking less milk and more soda is a potentially dangerous combination for children's bones. By not drinking milk, children's bones are not absorbing the calcium necessary to build bone. Then by drinking soda, they are stripping their bones of calcium.

* Starting at age 9, kids need almost twice as much calcium as they did previously! That's because teens' and tweens' bones are growing the fastest.

* Fewer than 10% of girls and only 25% boys ages 9 to 13 are at or above their adequate intake of calcium. This lack of calcium can have a negative impact on both bones and teeth as these adolescents enter adulthood.

* 90% of adult bone mass is acquired in girls by age 18 and by 20 in boys."

What can you do about it? Read more here about what you can do to boost your kids' calcium - plus scoop us a fabuous recipe (great to use with your Dark Intentional Chocolate Pistoles). Enjoy the read!