2008.10.15 Food pyramid features new kind of apple

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

After dinner, which was a bowl of coleslaw and a slice of whole wheat bread with sunflower seeds, David placed a washed apple next to my plate as I was reading a magazine.

“I already had an apple today. I ate it earlier while I was reading my book,” I said.

“It’s time to get out the food pyramid again so you can see chocolate isn’t on it and you need more than one fruit a day,” he replied.

Study after study says chocolate—dark chocolate—is good for this and that. Helps keep teeth strong. Slows aging. Lowers blood pressure. Lowers cholesterol. Surely it must be somewhere on the food pyramid by now.

I didn’t want another apple. And I didn’t even want a piece of chocolate. Not the Chocolove Dark Chocolate with 61 percent cocoa content or the even more potent Chocolove Dark Chocolate with 73 percent cocoa content.

Instead, I wanted to finish off the package of Newman’s Own Newman-O’s chocolate crème filled chocolate cookies. I have no self control when it comes to Newman-O’s. I can usually stop at three or four Newman’s Own Ginger-O’s, but the chocolate version of Paul’s sandwich cookies slays me. I am putty to its siren song.

And even though I didn’t write the ode that follows—it’s on the package of Newman O-s—I can understand the sentiment.

Ode to Newman-O’s

You might, m’lady

tweak my nose.

You could, m’lord

step on my toes.

But Heaven help

those poor bozos,

who try to filch

my Newman-O’s

I bought the cookies because they were on sale. They cost way too much at regular price so I grabbed them—it’s hard to pass up a bargain even when I know I’m flirting with five pounds on the hips.

Almost as soon as I got them home, buyer’s remorse set in and I tried to get them out of the house. First I bagged up nearly half of each package of cookies to share with David’s parents and aunts. And then I put the half-filled packages in a bag and set it on our entryway dresser, the last stop before leaving the house. I was going to bring the cookies to the kids participating in the Teen Read-A-Thon at the library Saturday.

But I totally forgot about them until I got home from work and wondered what the heck was in the bag on the dresser.  Imagine my delight when I still had cookies in the house! The Newman-O’s lasted until Sunday afternoon.

I have to be nuts to even consider eating cookies—even ones made with organic flour and organic sugar and organic oil. My younger brother Mark was just diagnosed with diabetes and I figure genetics being what they are, I’m probably not far behind in joining the ranks of people with a finicky pancreas.

What is it about getting diagnosed that whips people into shape? Don’t we know all along how we should be eating and that we should be getting enough exercise and sleep?

Mark knows. He’s a massage therapist and well versed in living a healthy life. He once ran in the New York City Marathon and he’s run many 5K and 10K races. But life gets in the way sometimes and it takes a slap in the face diagnosis to make you stop eating four pounds of candy a week while watching movies.

Like with most studies on any one subject, there is a lot of variation in what they conclude and even what constitutes the substance under study.

Some consider dark chocolate anything with 35 percent cocoa content; for others it’s more than 65 or 70 percent. That’s what I learned poking around on the Internet.

But the most exciting bit of information I came across was Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Guess what’s right up there on the top?

You got it. Dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa.

How d’you like them apples?

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