A lot of people are talking about eating healthy these days. It’s important to eat a little bit of each food group every day like milk and dairy, protein, fruits and vegetables and grains. It’s awfully hard to eat all these things unless there was one food that could do it all, and there is, chocolate. I know it’s important to be healthy and I have tried very hard to eat the right foods. I knew there had to be an easier way so I did a little research. I found out some very interesting things that our parents have been hiding from us for a long time. Chocolate is really a wonderful food!
In 1502, Christopher Columbus was visiting the New World and found a canoe carrying lots of things that were grown there. One of the things was a new kind of bean called a cocoa bean. He sent them back to Spain and they learned to grind them up with sugar to make a chocolaty drink. Now our parents are always trying to make us eat beans, string beans, green beans, brown beans and baked beans but it’s funny they never push cocoa beans. You see, chocolate comes from beans and beans are clearly vegetables so chocolate is the perfect way to include vegetables in our diet.
In 1875, in Switzerland, a very smart man had a brilliant idea. He combined milk with the chocolaty drink to make milk chocolate. Did you hear that? Milk chocolate! Another food group down and two to go!
Now you may think that there is just no way that you could find protein in chocolate, but think again. According to my research, a cocoa bean is 22% protein. This is almost exactly the same amount of protein as there is in peanut butter. Everyone knows that peanut butter is a great source of protein. In fact, it’s hard to do much better. Roast beef, chicken and even lamb are not much higher, maybe around 30%. So what does all this mean? Clearly, chocolate is a great source of protein.
That leaves grains as the last food group to cover. The dictionary describes a grain as “the small hard seed of a food plant.” It also describes a bean as the “edible, nutritious seed of a plant.” Notice anything similar here? Any lawyer would have to agree that a bean certainly fits into the grain category.
So there you have it. The marvellous cocoa bean and the wonderful chocolate it gives us is really the best food you can eat. One chocolate Easter Bunny is like a well-balanced meal. But wait, there’s even more to the story.
There is more to good health than just food groups. Many good foods have special things in it that can protect us from disease. Can chocolate stand up to this test? You be the judge.
Fruits and vegetables contain catechins, which are chemicals that protect us from cancer and heart disease. Guess where else you find catechins? You guessed it, cocoa beans. Not only are they a well-balanced meal, they are also medicine at the same time. Really good tasting medicine too.
Now why would our parents keep such a big secret from us? Why are they always trying to keep us away from chocolate? I think it’s obvious. They are trying to keep it all for themselves. Have you ever noticed how your parents will tell you they have to check your Hallowe’en candy? Actually, they are taking out all the good chocolate stuff before you even see it.
So now you know the real story. Chocolate isn’t junk food, it’s health food. I recommend everyone start eating a little more chocolate. If you’re still not convinced, think about this.
The Latin name for the cocoa tree is “Theobroma Cacao” which means “the food of the Gods.” That my friends, says it all!
(Emily wrote this for an oral competition at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 in 2009 and won this trophy while she was a Grade 3 student at St. John’s Catholic School.)