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Chocolate That Wants You To Be Happy

I almost deleted the odd press release that landed in my e-mail inbox a few days ago. At first glance I thought it was about "International Chocolate," which frankly, isn't that interesting; lots of foods are international these days.But then I read the opening sentence and did a double-take: "Inte...

I almost deleted the odd press release that landed in my e-mail inbox a few days ago. At first glance I thought it was about "International Chocolate," which frankly, isn't that interesting; lots of foods are international these days.

But then I read the opening sentence and did a double-take: "Intentional Chocolate ™, a leader in the revolutionary field of intention-enhanced food..."

I paused to consider what this might mean. Is most chocolate accidental? Do ingredients just bump into each other sometimes? (A cacao bean walked into a bar...ahem. Sorry.) Is the proverbial "road to hell is paved with"... chocolate?

Chocolates "infused" with good wishes. Photo courtesy of Intentional Chocolate.

The press release offered this explanation:
The good intentions are infused into the chocolate from advanced meditators – some who have trained with the Dalai Lama – which are then transferred to those who eat it.
Okaaaay. After checking the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st already, I went to the company's website, where I learned exactly what those meditators are thinking:
"Whoever consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being for the benefit of all beings.”
Well, that's awfully nice. And it's even nicer that the company is donating 100 percent of their profits to Haitian relief efforts from now until Valentine's Day.

I'm extremely skeptical that such "intention-enhanced foods" actually work, although the placebo effect can be powerful medicine, especially for "vigor and well-being." But studies do suggest several health benefits from eating chocolate in moderation, especially antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.

So if you're looking for a unique Valentine's gift, well, here you go. It's the thought that counts, right?
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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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