Dark pleasures

Source: weekend today December 4 - 5, 2010, Page T3, column, (The Fairer Text)
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Georgina Chang, georginac@mediacorp.com.sg, 05:55 AM Dec 04, 2010

PHOTO: To err is human, to stuff your face with chocolate is divine The general consensus is that with chocolate, you're always guaranteed to feel good and be satisfied. With men, you're not always guaranteed to feel good and sometimes you’re left unsatisfied.
weekend today December 4 - 5, 2010, Page T3, COLUMN, the fairer text

Georgina Chang
weekend today December 4 - 5, 2010, Page T3, Column (The Fairer Text)

The writer is the senior creative director of 987FM and Lush 99.5.

I LOVE chocolate. I can easily eat three helpings of chocolate desserts a day, sometimes at one sitting. Preferably at one sitting.

Most women have the same fervour for chocolate. Present us with a luscious chocolaty cake covered with dark chocolaty fudge and our eyes light up with unbridled desire, accompanied by squeals of delight. All our weary worries are eradicated in that moment.

PHOTO: Special Dark
Though milk chocolate might win in a popularity contest, many experts have been lauding dark chocolate (especially the variety containing high cocoa content) because it’s chock-full of antioxidants. And according to Jordan Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Maker’s Diet, the sweet stuff releases endorphins and serotonin, which act as antidepressants. Some proponents also say that just a few pieces of the excellent-quality dark chocolate can seriously curb your cravings. It’s rich in chemicals that stabilize your brain when it longs for sugar—so it goes a long way. For another healthy bonus, go organic, too: “Regular chocolate is sprayed with heavy pesticides that we end up consuming,” Rubin says.

Meanwhile, most men look indifferently at this same gorgeous dessert that has just stirred up so much excitement among the women folk.

When I heard that the Chocolate Bar at Marina Bay Sands Sky Park was open to the public, I was one of the first to rush down for this delectable chocolate buffet. The chef had created 57 different kinds of chocolate desserts, including cakes, profiteroles, macaroons, ice-cream, mousse, torte, and truffles.

I felt like I was in heaven.

PHOTO: Dark Chocolate is proven to lower blood pressure. Depending upon your age, you can decrease your blood pressure if you are at a high risk of developing chronic hypertension, dark chocolate has clear benefits to your health.
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Every time I described that decadent experience to friends, the women empathised with my delirious joy.

The guys, on the other hand, were perplexed. "How can you eat so much dessert? Doesn't it make you feel sick? When I want chocolate, I just have a Kit Kat bar," they'd say.

Plebians (Belonging to, or characteristic of commoners. A person who is coarse, or lacking in discernment, keen insight and good judgment).

I've always wondered why men and women react so differently to chocolate.

PHOTO: Phenylethylamine is a substance popularly dubbed as the "Love Chemical" associated with feelings of attraction and excitement.

Chocolate has 400 flavour components, but it's the phenylethylamine that's credited for making you feel pleasure. It's a naturally occurring trace amine in the brain that releases dopamine in the mesolimbic pleasure-centres.

Say what? Well, all you need to know is that dopamine peaks during orgasm. So you can't blame us for sometimes saying that chocolate is better than sex.

The general consensus we giggle about is that with chocolate, you're always guaranteed to feel good and be satisfied. With men, you're not always guaranteed to feel good and sometimes you're left unsatisfied.


PHOTO: One of the other foods is actually one of our society’s guilty pleasures, chocolate.
Dark chocolate gets its wholesome properties from flavonoids , a group of polyphenolic compounds also found in foods such as red wine, tea, onions and parsley. Epicatechin , the particular flavonoid found in dark chocolate, helps the body in a number of important ways. Epicatechin acts as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are chemicals that mop up free radicals —highly reactive molecules that can damage the body’s cells. Dark chocolate is twice as rich in antioxidants as red wine.
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So I realise that when I proclaim that I eat chocolate every day, I'm actually suggesting to the world that I'm not quite satiated in bed. Oh dear.

Chocolate makes women feel good but it's not the only thing. Diamonds, Prada bags, and a rich boyfriend could do the same thing, I imagine.

Meanwhile, beer makes guys feel good, same as watching football, having an iPad and a sexy girlfriend who wants to do it all the time.

It's inherent in us to search for things that make us feel pleasure. Life is constantly filled with crises and dilemma, so we have to do enjoyable activities to escape the negativity and stress.

An ex-boyfriend of mine used to flirt blatantly with the women at his office, which made me quite upset. Now I realise it was simply to relieve his daily frustrations and anxiety. A friend rides his bicycle furiously for six hours and comes back entirely sore and limping - but that's his way of releasing tension.

PHOTO: The Buzz on Coffee
While we recommend keeping your caffeine consumption in check, in Eat Drink and Be Healthy by Walter Willett, MD, (co-developed by the Harvard School of Public health), coffee is said to help decrease the possibility of developing kidney stones (because of its diuretic components) and gallstones (as it prevents stone formation). Also, the libation contains antioxidants, which have shown to lower the risk of diabetes and has antidepressant properties. “It helps elevate serotonin and dopamine in the body and boosts your mood,” says Dr. Orloff. However, she warns against drinking more than three cups a day: “It can burn out your gastric lining.

I think sitting in a cafe enjoying a chocolate torte and cappuccino would have the same relaxing effect, but these men won't listen to me.

It's probably an image thing. Telling his mates about his extreme sporting endurance and sexual conquests is manly. Sipping latte and nibbling on bits of baked goods isn't a macho thing to boast about.

I've tried to explain that the Aztec warriors used to sip this beverage straight (no milk, no sugar, just 100 per cent cocoa) to fortify themselves before battle and other types of conquests. Emperor Montezuma himself would consume 50 golden goblets of this to maintain his regal power.

These men still won't listen to me.

Enlightened guys, however, know that the way to a woman's heart is to give her copious amounts of chocolate. And by partaking in this gratification with her, he has achieved a closer bond and is guaranteed a fair bit of her favour.

But, still, he just can't bring himself to tell his friends he was at a chocolate buffet all afternoon.

Then there are some men who are genuinely enthusiastic about chocolate. They reassure me that the love of this dessert is not limited to the lack of fulfilling activity in the bedroom. These men know that they have a groovy move with the ladies. It's like finding out he's a great cook, a great masseuse, or that he's really witty and funny - when revealed to us, you become extremely attractive.

Now, in our pursuit of feel good factors, let us not be discouraged by naysayers who insist that chocolate is bad for you. I actually lost weight when I was working with a luxury chocolate boutique, simply by eating good chocolate every day.

PHOTO: The seemingly sinful dark chocolate which we always link with guilty pleasures can be quite good for your health. Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. Moreover, dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Recent research has shown that there are various nutritional benefits of dark chocolates.

The key is dark chocolate. It's higher in anti-oxidants and it boosted my metabolic rate. I was also constantly happy, despite all the trials and trepidations around me.

Life enjoys throwing you challenges. So what do you enjoy throwing back at life?

I choose dark chocolate as my weapon of choice.

By Georgina Chang, georginac@mediacorp.com.sg, 05:55 AM Dec 04, 2010
The writer is the senior creative director of 987FM and Lush 99.5.

PHOTO: Dark ..... Let the Sunshine In!
After all we’ve learned about the sun’s damaging effects—uneven pigmentation, sagging skin, premature wrinkles, and melanoma. But let’s not act too hastily. Turns out, the sun helps your body generate much-needed vitamin D, which can combat osteoporosis. “Vitamin D is necessary because it helps you absorb calcium, which everyone needs,” says Alexandra Fingesten, MD, a doctor of internal medicine affiliated with New York University. “If you’re working inside all day, it’s important to get outside, even for a little bit. And consult with your doctor about taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.


PHOTO: Life enjoys throwing you challenges. So what do you enjoy throwing back at life?


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