It's not so atypical for me to be drinking wine on a Saturday night. However, last night I traded in going out for staying in w/ my great friend little Lauren, a bar of dark chocolate, a couple bottles of red wine, and lengthy conversations.
As we sat and watched a spider make its web on my porch between my morning glories and apple tree, we contemplated "important" things (brought out by the wine I'm sure) like starting a vegetable farm (we are serious), great loves, adventures we had together in college (I may start a separate blog about those), and Lauren 's furniture designs to name a few.
I love when little Lauren makes a trip down to see me because the days are filled with inspiration and creativity. I cook. We eat (I feel the need to feed her when she comes down because she is so little, hence her nickname). And she comes up with great combinations .... hence the pinot noir and dark chocolate.
I normally do not eat dessert, however since dark chocolate (over 70% cocao) has antioxidant properties, I feel that I am doing something good for myself. You may say that I am using this as an excuse to eat chocolate, but its true! Wine also has been found to have antioxidant properties (it really comes from the grapes but it is so much more fun to drink wine!) Resveratrol is the agent credited with these cleansing qualities, however I believe that we (read scientists, doctors, and researchers) don't know everything about the nutrients our bodies utilize from fruits and vegetables. So I'm sure there are other nutrients we pull out of grapes.
Now there is an argument for not drinking if you are sick or have a disease like cancer, but research shows that the countries that are notoriously heavier wine drinkers (France and Italy for example) have a lower rate of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. This is interesting because the French also boast a high fat diet which has been advertized by our "experts" as bad for your heart. Dietary fat will be ellaborated on in a future post...
Back to wine and chocolate!
It is recommended from a cancer-prevention point of view that no more than a glass or two of wine a night is healthy. It has shown to improve your mood, increase blood circulation, and may lead to more frequent and exciting bedroom activites (always a plus!!). And don't forget its antioxidant properties!
But on a serious note, we learned last night that pairing dark chocolate with pinot noir (the wine with the highest levels of resveratrol) is very tasty to the pallete. I do not believe that to focus on eating to prevent cancer means that you can't have fun or eat goodies. Chocolate and wine are good for you in moderation!
Here are some guidlines to help you find the right stuff...
Chocolate should be at least 70% cocao and should not have any soy products in it. Read the ingredients!!! A few good soy-free chocolate brands found at Whole Foods are Pure Icelandic Chocolate, Alter Eco Fair Trade Chocolates, Equal Exchange Chocolates, and Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Chocolate Nibs (warning- this particular one does not have any sugar in it so if you eat it by itself it is extremely bitter).
Red wine is better for you than white wine and pinot noir is the best (it also happens to usually have a light flavor which is paired nicely with most everything ). If possible ask for organic wines with "no sulfites detected". Many liquor stores and wine shops are starting to carry a small selection of these wines.
9/8/11 UPDATE: A new video and article I found at ABC News