Saturday, March 17, 2007

Eat Chocolate, Save the World

Chocolate is possibly the most popular food on earth. It's also one of the oldest known foods - the Maya and Aztec peoples of modern-day Mexico and Central America are the first to have made cacao into chocolate.

For many, chocolate is a 'guilty' pleasure mostly due to its high fat content and its allegedly addictive nature.

It can be good for us though, in the right proportions. Chocolate contains protein, riboflavin, calcium and iron, all of which contain health benefits. A Harvard University study even found that men who ate chocolate lived one year longer than those who didn’t.

Above all, chocolate makes us happy when we eat it and being happy makes us feel good. It's not only interesting, but very important to think about where chocolate comes from and how it's made. Jacques Torres, known as Mr. Chocolate, has a great 5-minute video on his website explaining the process of how chocolate is made.

Going even deeper, however, you can make a commitment to sustainability by ensuring you purchase and consume chocolate that comes from fair trade cocoa farmers. This means that the cocoa is farmed in a responsible way, free of exploitative labor practices. It also means that farmers emphasize renewable resources and soil and water conservation, grow crops without using synthetic fertilizers or the most persistent pesticides and avoid genetic engineering or ionizing radiation. TransFair USA has a list of fair trade chocolate companies.

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