Monday, February 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: Chocolate Revisited

When Valentine’s Day fell on a Monday two years ago, I devoted my Meatless Monday post to the history of chocolate and its possible health benefits.

With Valentines’ Day on Thursday [and me a bit stretched from Storm Nemo clean-up] it seems a good time to revisit the topic.

Chocolate is without a doubt on many shopping lists. The health-conscious will be perusing labels for the ingredients. How dark is the bar? Does it contain high fructose corn syrup? Is it organic?

The eco- and/or or socially-conscious shoppers will also be on the lookout for some other designations.

The first is the Fair Trade Certified label. Products bearing this label guarantee that the farmers who grew and harvested the cacao beans (in the case of chocolate) were paid a fair wage.

The second is certification from the Rainforest Alliance. The Rainforest Alliance works in over 70 countries to preserve forested areas while promoting sustainable agriculture, forestry, and tourism, all the while ensuring that those working in protected areas earn a fair income. You can watch their video on vimeo.

According to the National Confectioners’ Association, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day. How we choose our chocolate really can make a difference — to the health of our loved ones, and to the betterment of the world.

Happy Monday. Happy Valentine’s Day. Have a great week.

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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