Is Chocolate sexy? by @TaylorLeeWrites

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz

Chocolate Candy

In answer to the question above, the answer is ‘Heck Yes!” Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but if you’re a Romantic Suspense writer like I am, love and romance is a 365-day-a-year adventure. While science and romance may seem to be at odds, I love it when science studies issues critical to those of us who write (and love) Romantic Suspense. The scientific study below (reported by Diana Herrington @DancinginLife) asks: Which is a more powerful sexual turn on – a piece of chocolate or a kiss from the person you love most? Think you know the answer? Read on.

A Study of Chocolate

“According to a study at Mind Lab chocolate stimulated the brain more intensely than a kiss with a partner. They had 6 couples in their 20s wear heart and brain monitors. Each person in the study placed a piece of dark chocolate on their tongue and let it melt without chewing. Later, the couples kissed in the way they normally would. What the study found was that when the chocolate melted in the mouth, all areas of the brain were stimulated far more intensely. Their hearts even beat faster for longer after the chocolate than the intimate embrace.

Chocolate is famous for containing a ‘Love Drug’ because it triggers feelings of attraction, euphoria and excitement, mimicking the brain chemistry of a person in love. Dr. David Lewis, one of the researchers at Mind Lab, said: “There is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz. A buzz that, in many cases, lasted four times as long as the most passionate kiss.”

Chocolate Boosts Mood, Eases Depression

Chocolate contains approximately 380 known chemicals, some of which promote serotonin production which boosts our mood and eases depression. They give a hormone rush that is similar to the rush of love-making as the pleasure center of the brain is triggered somewhat similarly to the peaks during an orgasm.

Chocolate has had a reputation as being an aphrodisiac throughout history. This dates back to the Mayan period from about 250 AD to 900 AD. The Mayans were chocoholics and highly valued the cacao bean. A man could hire a prostitute for eight to ten cacao beans. Rumor has it that the Aztec emperor Montezuma known for being a hot lover, drank 50 cups of cacao a day before heading off to his harem.

Nonetheless, the actual truth is cacao has never been fully proven to be an aphrodisiac. It does have the chemical composition, but in quantities so small you would need to consume as much as the emperor Montezuma did (which is not recommended).

A Feel Good Food

Without question, chocolate has been proven to be a “Feel good food.” Research proves that its ingredients help relax us mentally and physically and brings a sense of wellbeing which can promote sexual interest. Since chocolate improves mood, it can improve sex, but it does not need to strictly be an aphrodisiac.”

Back to the question: “Which is more powerful —a yummy piece of chocolate or a kiss from the person you love the most?”  My answer:  Why choose?  Double your odds.  Have them both!

Here is a tasty decadent chocolate recipe full of healthy ingredients using dark chocolate:

Cherry Pecan Dark Chocolate Bar

Ingredients:

  • 4 squares (approx. 112 gm) unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid light stevia
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/4 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries, chopped in half

Directions:

  1. Dry roast pecans in a toaster oven or in frying pan (stir frequently so they do not burn).
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or very carefully in a saucepan.
  3. Use coconut oil to oil a small pan of approximately 8 inches square.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the cherries and pecans in the pan.
  5. When the chocolate is melted; remove from heat.
  6. Mix in the coconut oil and stevia.
  7. Then mix in honey.
  8. Pour melted chocolate mixture over the cherries and pecans.
  9. Let cool in refrigerator or freezer.
  10. Once set, then cut into squares. Store in covered container in refrigerator or freezer, if desired.

****

As you are nibbling on your chocolate and having found a great person to share it with, grab: 

Jorden

JORDEN

Book 3: The Justice Brothers Series By Taylor Lee

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JORDEN, Book 3 in USA Today best-selling author Taylor Lee’s provocative new series, The Justice Brothers.  JORDEN, the oldest Justice Brother, is unquestionably the most distinguished.  But underneath that sophisticated persona is a sexy, challenging lover.

  • An Assistant US Attorney fights the legal battle of his life. This time Jorden’s on the defense and his children are at stake. 
  • An evil woman isn’t about to let her children and former husband go without a fight. And this woman fights dirty! 
  • A family drama that calls for the best and the worst of the two passionate lovers. Unfortunately, Jorden and McKenna discover that Justice—like Love– isn’t always fair or

WARNING: Romance so HOT it singes the pages.  HOT, tough, explicit. Not for the faint at heart.  Definitely bring a fan!

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Sugar Problems

From Dr. L. Lambert: Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you still need to be vigilant about the amount of sugar you consume every day. It’s not so much what you sprinkle on your morning cereal as what you eat when you’re noshing on processed foods. From sweetened beverages like fancy store-bought coffee to pasta sauces to breads — and of course, desserts — sugar is in lots of foods we eat.

Why You Need to Worry About Sugar
By A. Klemes, DO, FACE

Of all the things we eat, nothing perhaps does more harm than foods that are awash in sugar. Cakes, cookies, sugar-sweetened beverages like gourmet coffee and sodas come to mind. But sugar is everywhere — in low-fat yogurt and barbecue sauces, in granola, protein bars and canned soup, in canned fruit, smoothies and even spaghetti sauce and ketchup.

Sugar is everywhere because food manufacturers know our bodies crave it. When we consume sweet foods, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It also releases opioids, which are associated with addiction. Of course, there are legitimate reasons food manufacturers add sugar: It gives foods flavor, texture and color; sugar preserves some foods; and it balances the acidity of some foods like tomatoes, among other things. And it makes sweet foods sweet.

How Much Sugar Is Okay?
The federal government recommends that Americans 2 years and older limit their sugar intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s only 200 calories from added sugar — or roughly 12 teaspoons. Another way to put it: there are roughly 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon, so 48 grams of sugar is the limit on a 2,000-calorie diet. A 20-oz soda has roughly 65 grams of added sugar. This extra sugar consumption is fueling record levels of obesity and the diseases that come with it: heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Health Consequences of Too Much Sugar: More than 70 percent of Americans are overweight (me included!) or obese. The AHA estimates that the average American consumes more than 60 pounds of added sugar every year. The extra weight is driving an increase in preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea and even depression, among other conditions. In particular, sugar may interfere with leptin, a hormone the body produces to regulate hunger. Studies show that sugar may lead to leptin resistance—which can trigger obesity.

Sugar by another name: When you do buy processed food, pay close attention to food labels. Sugar masquerades under many different names, some of which you’re probably familiar with: corn syrup, sucrose and fructose. But there are at least 61 different ways manufacturers indicate sugar on a label. Here are some examples: Corn Syrup, Sucrose; Fructose; Honey; Fruit Juice; High Fructose Corn Syrup; Evaporated Cane Juice; Dextrin; Dextrose; Maltodextrin; Refiner’s Syrup; Sweet Sorghum; Molasses; Maltose; Glucose; Corn Sweetener; Beet Sugar; Barley Malt.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid all added sugar, but if you keep an eye on food labels and prepare more of your own food, you can hit recommended intake targets and eat a healthier diet.

When Dr. Lambert warned me that I was borderline diabetic, I stopped nibbling on dried fruits, chocolate covered almonds, and other deliciously addictive snacks.

Are you seriously avoiding extra sugar?

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This is a wonderfully exciting romantic suspense novel. The characters are appealing and the setting is very romantic, a chateau in the Loire Valley. There is an interesting cast of characters. The plot is full of action and the reader is never sure who is on the side of good or evil.” ~ Romance Studio
Murder, mystery, and intrigue seem to follow Cheryl as she assists Francois on his project. A great contemporary romantic read.” ~Review Your Book
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The Memory of a Dog

“Dogs are often known for their loyalty, intelligence and maybe even their short attention spans. But a study published in Current Biology found that a dog’s memory may be better and more complex than we previously thought.” Global News

I just read an article on Google that couldn’t be more appropriate.

Bosty is a happy dog who loves to play with friends.

He was due for a grooming appointment at the same place where his mommy has been taking him for four years.

Professional dog grooming comprises the cleaning and hygienic care of a dog, including bathing, hair removal, nail trimming and ear cleaning. Good groomers also check for signs of health problems by looking out for swelling, parasites, heat, cuts and thrush. Regular dog grooming helps a dog stay fresh, keep calm and enjoy a coat that’s free of tangles and fleas.

Bosty is always happy to go out, whether walking or riding in the car to run an errand with his mommy.

Today, when the car stopped in front of his usual pet groomer store, Bosty stared through the window and barked. His mommy opened the door for him to jump out. Instead he shook his head, backed up to the other end of the car and cowered on the floor, whimpering and refusing to move. There was no way to make him move from his corner. His mommy gave up and returned home.

It turned out that at his last grooming, the tech cut near his ear by mistake, a tiny cut that must have hurt him, although his family didn’t notice and the store didn’t report it.

Now Bosty will go to a new dog groomer.

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College Application Responses

We’re done with Valentine Day and Super Bowl. Monday is President Day. But these are not important days for three young adults in my family.

“February 25 and 26 are the most important days of my life, Nonna,” my granddaughter declared this past weekend, her voice shaky.

This young girl who’s seventeen and two of her relatives who already turned eighteen are anxiously waiting for college application responses, the emails that would change their lives, or at least decide of their futures, and announce if they have been accepted or rejected by the colleges of their choices.

  • Review for college admission is based on:
  • Secondary School Academic Performance
  • SAT or ACT scores.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Consistent involvement throughout high school that demonstrates a student’s interests and passions, as well as how applicants contributed to their school, community and/or family.
  • The quality of thought in the admission essay.
  • Personal Background and Experiences: Students who show the potential and desire to succeed in an academic environment. Students who can be learners, leaders and thinkers.
  • No one single factor determines an admission decision.

I remembered my own children receiving the famous long-awaited letters with admission decisions from various colleges. Now everything is electronic.

So here I am, waiting and fretting with my first grandkid who is about to leave the family nest.

While the children are worried about the next steps in their lives, their parents are tabulating their bank accounts. “Do you realize how expensive colleges are now?” they often complain, conveniently forgetting that their own parents have gone through these anxious moments to pay their tuitions. “Oh, but now, fees are outrageous. They better get some scholarships to help.” Do they realize how much pressure they put on these young ones?

As a loving grandmother, I’m siding with my grandkids and praying they get accepted to the colleges of their choice, and start the next phase of their lives on the right foot.

I still have my tassels worn on graduation day caps, the yellow from Northeastern University in Boston, and the blue one for my Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. They are proudly displayed in our home office.

Wishing our young ones good luck for next week and best wishes for a successful and happy future.

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