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ANGELBELIEVER's Photo ANGELBELIEVER SparkPoints: (55,345)
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4/3/08 4:40 P

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Some basic chocolate “truths”:

Chocolate comes from a plant – it’s the seeds (within the pods) of the cacao tree. It’s naturally very bitter; if you munched on a cacao bean, you would find a very harsh and bitter taste, nothing like chocolate as we know it.
Chocolate varies in its preparation. There are government regulations of what can be called “chocolate”, depending on its ratio of: cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk. Ranging from baking chocolate (almost no added sugars), to dark chocolate (limited sugar and abundant cocoa solids), to milk chocolate (lots of sugar, added milk, and less cocoa solids), to “white” chocolate (NOT classified as chocolate at all, because it has no cocoa solids!)
A special type of antioxidant is found in cocoa solids, called “flavanols”, which are where the health-promoting heart healthy claims of chocolate come from. This is dose related, meaning the more you eat, the more flavanols you consume. As a comparison, it takes nearly four ounces (that’s 3-4 regular size dark chocolate bars), consumed every day to promote a reduction in blood pressure! That’s 500 calories and 42 grams of fat!
The new “super cocoas” are the wave of the future to harness the health benefits associated with the flavanols. The first of these is a Flavanol Rich Chocolate (containing 200 mg per serving – that’s a lot!), produced by the company, Cocoa Via. It’s the active ingredient, without the sugar and fat of a regular chocolate bar.
Chocolate is also a “carrier” for other nutrients, which are unrelated to the activity of the flavanols. Calcium fortified chocolates (in milk and dark varieties) provide ˝ the daily calcium requirement in one disk (at 30 calories), plus vitamin D. Plus, phytosterols (plant chemicals) are added to some chocolates to boost the cholesterol lowering ability of the product (Cocoa Via bars with 80-100 calories each). Again, any potential health benefits come from regular – daily – consumption.
Bottom line? Enjoy a modest serving of chocolate IF you enjoy it. Don’t start consuming chocolate as an addition to a “healthy diet”. Calories count, so monitor your portions, and allow a small indulgence. You don’t need to justify a chocolate treat for the health benefits of chocolate. While there are some health benefits to flavanols, they’re also present in a variety of other foods, including apples, grapes, wine (fermented grapes!), and tea.

As with all things eaten, moderation is key! emoticon

Elayne from
Florida Eastern Time Zone

" My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play, there's no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very,very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am--my faith, my knowledge, my being." by John Coltrane

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life!.-Annonymous

Music is a moral l


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ANGELBELIEVER's Photo ANGELBELIEVER SparkPoints: (55,345)
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4/3/08 1:48 P

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I thought it would be good to have an Inspirational Article Thread. Here's an article to start things off.-Elayne

“Weighting” on the Lord
by Nancy Kennedy

I'm desperately trying to get back on track.

March 5, 2008 | In the last few months, I’ve been dealing with two parallel problems.

Problem #1: I’m stuck at a weight-loss plateau. Five years ago, I joined Weight Watchers. A year later, I’d achieved my goal, losing 37 pounds from my five-foot, one-inch frame.

Losing the weight was incredibly easy: Since my husband worked out of town, I only had to cook for myself. For nearly a year, I lost steadily, never hitting a plateau, never yo-yoing one pound up, one pound down.

For the next three and a half years, even after my husband retired and was home full-time, I stayed between five and seven pounds below my goal weight, diligently tracking my daily “points” and attending meetings.

But then I started to slack off. I’d go a week without exercise, yet rarely an evening without a bowl of ice cream while watching TV. Not surprisingly, I gained some weight back.

Around Christmas, I decided to get on track. I knew the best way to compensate for straying was to get back on the proven path.

But even though I have less than ten pounds to lose this time, I haven’t been able to lose weight as easily as I did initially. In fact, although I’m doing everything I did when I experienced victory after victory, I’m not losing weight. I’ve even gained a few more pounds! Something’s going on inside me I don’t understand—and I don’t like it.

Problem #2: I don’t know how to say this any other way—sometimes I want to quit Jesus. Not really, but I’ve thought about doing so a lot lately, even though I’m not in crisis, and I’m not prone to depression. But just as I’m at a weight-loss plateau, I’m at a faith plateau, and I don’t like that, either.

I want to “quit Jesus” when I think how badly I want others in my family and sphere of friends to share my Christian faith, and they seem uninterested. I toy with the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy. As a result, lately I’ve had trouble getting to church. My husband goes only occasionally, and I'm tired of going alone. So I get up, dress, leave on time, then stop at Wal-Mart and dawdle, telling myself that I should get back into my car and just go. That once I’m there, I’ll be OK. That God’s grace is sufficient to see me through.

So far I haven’t actually skipped church. For several weeks now I’ve crept in late, sat way in the back. But I’ve gone—and God’s met me there.

At last week’s service, the congregation sang “Rock of Ages.” When we got to the “wash me, Savior, or I die” part, I sang it with all my heart. Unless you wash me, Jesus, unless you hold me and keep me from slipping—or running—away, I die.

The other day I e-mailed my Weight Watchers leader. I told her I know when I’m fudging on the plan, and, this time, I’m not. I’m frustrated and a bit discouraged, I told her, but I won’t give up. I don’t ever want to go back to the way I was. I’ve come too far—and tasted victory.

Besides, for me, I’ve discovered there’s no other way to lose the weight.

The same truth applies to Jesus. Once, when some of his followers started turning away, Jesus asked his disciples if they, too, wanted to quit. Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

I always come back to that truth. When following Jesus becomes wearying, when doing right feels fruitless, when everyone else seems more successful, I remember the apostle Peter’s words.

I can’t quit. I won’t quit. I have no other, no better place to go.

Question for Discussion:

Have you experienced frustrating, confusing times in your relationship with God? What keeps you from quitting? Have you ever “quit Jesus”? What made you leave—and what brought you back?
emoticon

Elayne from
Florida Eastern Time Zone

" My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play, there's no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very,very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am--my faith, my knowledge, my being." by John Coltrane

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life!.-Annonymous

Music is a moral l


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