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Wellness

What I Know About The Power Of Mindfulness

It’s possible that one of your favorite foods is actually made out of toxic chemicals. If so, there’s a way to protect yourself from them. I’ll try to do this without sounding like a crazy person. That’s why I’m writing this post.

I’ve learned a lot about the science and social impacts of the chemicals in what I love to eat. When I’m eating chocolate chips and drinking iced tea, the chemicals of which make it up are mostly hidden but not completely. While most of the chemicals cause no problems, some could conceivably damage health.

I learned this from a study by Stanford researchers , led by Dr. Eric Lander, which showed that people who ate the highest amounts of the chemicals in chocolate—cacao seeds—were at higher risk for disease and dementia, whereas those who ate the least contained the least (and those who ate both had no apparent relationship). I love chocolate so much, I decided to try to avoid chocolate, because I don’t want to get my brain damaged. As an added precaution, I made a few more changes to my diet.

First I stopped eating dairy: I bought milk. It’s made of whey, which is similar to casein—a milk protein that may contain dangerous levels of dairy chemicals.

I bought eggs, because I love eggs in everything, and they are a good source of vitamins, a good source of protein, and come from a good part of the plant world. On the other hand, eggs are also high in cholesterol. I’ve always had an egg allergy, since I grew up eating my Easter egg white alone (but I still like eggs).

For the past few months I’ve been switching to almond milk. It’s so healthier than cow’s milk. The downside of almond milk is the price, especially in Seattle.

Lastly, I switched from eating coffee made with whole bean to decaf, in favor of drip coffee. The only downside is that I have more sugar in my body than when I was drinking drip.

Here are some other facts from the study:

• More than a third (35 percent) of those consuming the highest amount of this type of chocolate—cacao, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder— had cognitive impairment. • About a third of those consuming the highest amount of chocolate or other types of milk chocolate—milk, whole milk, and cow’s milk—had cognitive impairment. • There were no differences in cognitive impairment between those who also consumed artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and cyclamate) or decaffeinated coffee and those who did not. • High levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were also found in those consuming the highest amount of chocolate (43 percent of those). • The researchers noted that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and some of their byproducts were also associated with coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

So there you go. Don’t eat chocolate that’s also made of toxic chemicals. I know this is all kind of obvious to me, but it still took me a long time to come to this conclusion. But I do see the benefit—and the potential harm—of limiting my diet to natural foods. I could probably live a healthier lifestyle if I reduced my consumption of coffee, alcohol, and sugar. But I think it’s also more worthwhile to try to figure out ways to reduce my exposure to chemicals that I may be allergic or sensitive to.

It’s not all clear yet. We don’t know yet where all of the chemicals that make up cacao come from and how to get rid of them. We also don’t know all of the chemicals in milk or where they come from.