If you’re like most Americans, age 48 and older, then you have been lied to about proper dietary health for as long as you’ve been alive.
My name is Alex Wayne and I’ve dedicated the past 12 years of my life to nothing but advanced alternative health experimentation on the perfect test subject…me.
You see, I used to be morbidly obese, smoked 2+ packs a day of Marlboro Red, drank Budweiser like a fish and pigged out on chocolate like it was the only food available.
Well…little did I know, one of these three “bad habits” would end up saving my life!
Your Taste Buds Can Fool You…Don’t Trust Them
Like most Americans my age, I grew up in an era where the sugar and dairy lobbies spent billions of dollars lobbying Washington. As a result, we ended up with a diet rich in sugar and milk. You wouldn’t believe all the stuff that has sugar and dairy in it.
This brings me to chocolate. Most Americans grew up with Nestle Crunch bars and other milk and sugar-laden, milk-chocolate concoctions. This stuff is pure garbage and should be avoided at all costs, yet most of us have consumed it for what might-as-well-be forever.
That’s how it was with me until my research and experimentation took me to Europe a few years back. It was at a small country cafe outside of Antwerp, Belgium that I first experienced the difference between GOOD chocolate and BAD chocolate.
I finished up a light breakfast and the waiter brought me the bill alongside a small dark brown, almost black, little block. It looked like a small brick of dirt, actually.
I asked him what it was and he replied, “try it, you will enjoy.”
At first I thought I had bitten into a piece of dirt. It was more bitter than anything I had ever tasted before, but I willed myself to chew it all up and swallow it. It felt so strange because I never once thought that I was eating chocolate.
In fact, I thought of my childhood favorite (Crunch Bar) and wished I had one to wash away this horrible taste. I left that cafe vowing to never return, but a funny thing happened…
The Power of Purity
I spent the rest of the day walking around, taking pictures, and doing all the things a tourist does. Now remember, this was some time ago, so I wasn’t the slimmed down, healthy Alex Wayne back then. I was still carrying around my stereotypical middle-aged American belly, while getting winded after anything longer than a walk to and from my car.
But this day was different. I felt pretty light and quick on my feet. Even though I sweated up what felt like a ten-gallon cowboy hat’s worth of water, I wasn’t hungry or tired. I arrived back at my hotel that evening ready for bed. I had a very light dinner and fell asleep like a baby.
The next morning, I felt refreshed and new. I followed my routine from the previous day, except this time, the little dark brown block of dirt left a less bitter taste in my mouth. I wound up having a small sandwich during my day’s worth of walking around and taking pictures.
By the third day, I was already accepting of the way my little “dirt brick” tasted. My waiter became more animated as the days went on. “You are liking it, yes?”
I was beginning to like it. My tastebuds were changing and as I would soon learn, there was a very good reason: purity. Even though my little “dirt brick” was about 1/16th the size of a Nestle Crunch bar it was absolutely jam-packed with the nutrients my body craved and had been missing for, well…pretty much my entire life.
My “A-haa” Moment
I dove deep into my research, scouring every medical journal and known study I could find. The data was overwhelming. Everywhere I looked people who consumed a certain type of chocolate seemed to have healthier hearts and lower blood sugar. In other words, they were far less likely to develop heart disease and diabetes.
But something still wasn’t right. I went to every supermarket, grocery store, and regional farmers market I could find. I bought and compared every type of chocolate.
I tested them all on myself and immediately noticed two things:
1) Chocolate which boasted a Cacao/Cocoa percentage above 70% was so much richer in terms of flavor. I would have one or two bite-sized pieces and would feel like I’d eaten three-to-four Crunch bars.
2) Anything with at least 50 grams of dark chocolate gave me a strong energy boost, but not the wiry-jittery three cups of Starbucks sort of energy. No, this was subdued but long lasting.
How An Algebra Flunky Discovered Divine Mathematics
Back in high school, I couldn’t do math to save my life. I’m still one of those guys that needs a calculator to figure out how much to tip. But I do believe that I’ve found…
A heaven-sent math formula for greater heart and blood sugar health.
Here it is. Combine the two factors above and you’ll get the following:
50g of dark chocolate + a MINIMUM of 70% cacao/cocoa content eaten daily =
1) Increased blood flow
2) Reduced blood pressure
3) Reduced LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
4) Increased HDL (“good” cholesterol)
5) Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke
6) Stabilized blood sugar and fat metabolization, leading to reduced insulin resistance, which can prevent diabetes from developing and stop it from spreading
7) Increased resistance to anxiety and depression
This last one turned out to be crucial for me. You see, throughout my childhood and obese adult years, I suffered from bouts of anxiety. It wasn’t anything crazy, I mean I wouldn’t go off into a dark corner and shake, or anything like that. But I would get anxious and even a little depressed from time to time.
My solution was always the same. I would eat. Pigging out always helped with anxiety and any feelings of depression. It was my simple “over-the-counter” cure for life’s ailments. But in reality, it was killing me slowly. It’s almost needless to say, but I will anyway…
About two months after I returned from my Belgian trip (I began eating very dark, high-cocoa content, chocolate on a daily basis), I stopped to realize that I hadn’t felt anxious in almost three months.
This was, actually, the first health-benefit of “good chocolate” consumption that I noticed.
It would get better…
The Science Behind The Salvation
As I dug deeper and deeper into my research I found that the actual cocoa in dark chocolate is very-high in a secretive substance called, Resveratrol.
Resveratrol is naturally occurring in several plants as a response to injury, or when the plant is under attack by pathogens, like bacteria or fungi. It is overwhelmingly found in the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries.
In fact, Resveratrol is the reason behind red wine’s rapid ascent in dietary popularity.
Harvard University professor and scientist David Sinclair claims that:
“(It’s) as close to a miraculous molecule as you can find…One hundred years from now, people will maybe be taking these molecules on a daily basis to prevent heart disease, stroke, and cancer.”
On the flip side of the coin, the indigenous Kuna people of Panama and Colombia are known to drink up to 50 cups of cocoa each and every week, yet there are no recorded cases of any of them suffering from heart disease or diabetes.
This is largely due to a substance called Epicathechin, a very strong antioxidant, which has insulin mimic action and improves heart health. Dr. Norman Hollenberg of Harvard Medical School found that the Kunas, who live on the San Blas Island Chain in Panama, have a lower risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes compared to the indigenous people on the mainland. Dr. Hollenberg even suggests that we consider Epicatechin as a vitamin.
In addition to research, both scientific and anecdotal, cocoa has been found to:
*Lower insulin resistance
*Increase blood elasticity
*Reduce stress hormones
*Improve gastrointestinal flora
*Serve as a neuroprotector
*Lower the risk of diabetes
*Lower the risk of inflammation
*Lower the risk of cancer
By the way, I am working on a huge report on the Kuna people that I will be sending you soon, so make sure you keep an eye out for it. It will amaze you how healthy these people live.
But back to cocoa…
The high Epicatechin content even carries potential fitness benefits, specifically, the ability to boost endurance and muscle growth by inhibiting a muscle-growth-inhibitor called myostatin.
Some researchers have gone so far as to say that it can suppress appetite by increasing production of Ghrelin, aka “The Hunger Hormone”, thereby keeping you feeling fuller longer.
Epicatechin may also be able boost testosterone levels through rapid stimulation of the pituitary gland, which leads to the release of luteinizing hormones, which direct your testicles to produce higher-levels of testosterone.
Good Chocolate vs. Bad Chocolate
By this point, I’ve made it pretty clear as to what makes a specific type of chocolate beneficial, but I’ll go one step further. I call it my idiot-proof plan, because, well…as much as it wounds my pride to admit it…
For a very long time, I was an idiot about food. So I made this rule for people like me.
As you may have guessed, I call it the “50/70 Rule”…
It means that I consume 50 grams of dark chocolate, with a minimum of 70% cocoa content.
Now listen, I don’t do that every day and if I do, I’ll break up the “50” portion into halves, quarters, or even tenths. Sometimes I just shave some chocolate onto my lunches as a change of pace for flavor.
The other side of the coin is that the big chocolate producers don’t want you to know about all of this. The reason is simple: profits. They’re in bed with the sugar and dairy producers, plus…
Their audience loves sweets, but the flavonoids in cocoa make it taste very bitter so even though they could be honest with you, they’d rather lie and keep advertising chocolate as something that should be sweet, sugary, milky, and gooey.
The Final Test
Okay, before I go, I’m going to give you one last chocolate secret. This one is so simple it’ll make you laugh, but it works like a charm. This is the fastest, easiest way to know if you’re eating GOOD or BAD chocolate.
First, break off a piece that is roughly the length of your middle finger.
Second, put about a half inch to an inch inside your mouth, in between your cheek and gum line. Now, let it sit there and allow your saliva to do some work. Two-to-three minutes is fine.
Third, pull the chocolate out of your mouth and squeeze the sucked part in between your thumb and your index finger.
Fourth, take a bite out of the opposite end…that’s it. The end.
Here’s what will happen…
If you are eating real dark chocolate with a 70% or higher cocoa content, the piece of chocolate between your fingers will be a little bit slick and moist. It might even stain your fingers, but not much. The important part is that the opposite end, the one that wasn’t in your mouth, will be crisp and firm to the bite.
Now, if you are eating chocolate with low cocoa content, or it has too much dairy, or too much sugar, something entirely different will occur. The part that rested in your mouth will almost immediately melt when squeezed between your fingers.
In fact, the lower the quality of the chocolate, the more likely it is that it will already be visibly thinner than the opposite end. Once you do bite into the opposite end, it will still have crispness, but noticeably less than the good stuff.
When I was a kid I loved doing this with my Crunch bars. I’d hold them until enough chocolate had melted on my finger tips to lick it off like a proper little glutton. I remembered it and then tried it one day and lo and behold…it actually worked as a testing method.
This whole story goes to show you that the path to better, healthier living and cleaner eating isn’t something you’ll simply find the first place that you look. All the information that is out there is bought and paid for by some person or group. That’s reality. It may seem cold and harsh, but it is what it is.
Personally, I have neither the time, nor the interest to play moral policeman.
All I know is, I built a happy, healthy life for myself and my loved ones through more than a decade of painstaking research which took me from overweight, borderline diabetic — hypertensive, with a high-likelihood of developing heart disease, and low-testosterone to boot…
...To a guy who is healthy, happy, and best of all, able to share it with his readers.