Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dark Chocolate Bars Flying Out the Door

Our limited stock of Grenada Organic Dark Chocolate bars is disappearing fast. Within a few hours of our newsletter going out, a third of our inventory flew out the door. Of course, our price of $1.99 a bar (compare at $2.99-$3.99) makes our new 71% organic cocoa bars a very good buy.

Interestingly enough, Stephen and Teri were hesitant about adding a dark chocolate bar to our catalog, but voted in favor based on great research on dark chocolate and health. You see, our Florida office prefers sweeter milk chocolate confections, while Tess and I are dark chocolate fans at heart. Adding chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, was my idea, so I am quite happy to see fellow fans among our members.

Inventory-wise, it's probably just as well that the Florida office has to manage the chocolate bars, as Tess and I would be tempted to eat too much chocolate if the bars were allowed to whisper to us all day long! :-)

Drop a line if you have a favorite chocolate fanatic story!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dark Chocolate Bars for the Holidays

It's true. I love chocolate, dark chocolate, actually. I have convinced my brother, Stephen, to carry a trial run of dark chocolate bars for the holidays.  He would prefer milk chocolate, but we're going with the dark chocolate (71% cacao content) based on Tess voting "for" the dark chocolate. Teri was not particularly enthusiastic but is open-minded.

When looking for a vendor, I was clear that we should carry an organic, rainforest-friendly chocolate. I found a company that not only offers USDA Organic chocolate, but also uses solar power for their manufacturing process and produces chocolate in small hand-crafted batches. 

We're buying a limited quantity of high-quality 3 ounce dark chocolate bars for the holiday season and will see whether enough of our members are interested in dark chocolate or not.

Curcumin & Black Pepper May Help Prevent Breast Cancer

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that curcumin,  (derived from turmeric) and piperine (from black pepper) helped halt breast cancer cell proliferation without harming normal breast tissue cells. 

Here's a promising passage from the University of Michigan's recent press release with a quote from lead author, Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., R.D.:

The researchers applied a series of tests to the cells, looking at markers for breast stem cells and the effects of curcumin and piperine, both alone and combined, on the stem cell levels. They found that piperine enhanced the effects of curcumin, and that the compounds interrupted the self-renewal process that is the hallmark of cancer-initiating stem cells. At the same time, the compounds had no affect on cell differentiation, which is the normal process of cell development.

“This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue,” Kakarala says. “Women at high risk of breast cancer right now can choose to take the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene for prevention, but most women won’t take these drugs because there is too much toxicity. The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.”

Interestingly, curcumin and piperine affect cancers that are not estrogen sensitive as well as those that are, while commonly-prescribed pharmaceuticals limit estrogen, known to be a "factor in most, but not all breast cancers."  

Low toxicity. Low cost. Potential prevention as well as treatment of cancer. It's a pretty good package deal for these two health-promoting botanicals, turmeric (curcumin) and black pepper (piperine).

When we formulated our Constant Health, with 250mg of turmeric per serving, we were advised to include 10mg of bioperine (a standardized extract of piperine) to increase the bioavailability of the turmeric (curcurmin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric). Our Constant Health has a whole host of other antioxidants, detoxifiers, vitamins and minerals, and fibers in a rice protein base. If you are interested in the white paper I wrote on Constant Health, with Dr. Hugo Rodier's review, here's a link.