Takin' the Cocoa Cure
PRE-PROLOGUE: During our 24 hours of hell, the only thing we discovered is that Hal's blood pressure is in the high range of normal. Not high blood pressure, as he is quick-like-lightening to point out, just in the tippy-top limit of normal. "Which is still normal," he says, "not high." Proof that denial affects even the sane.
PROLOGUE: A few days ago, I stumbled onto an article making the startling revelation that cocoa - organic, sin azúcar [seen ah-SUE-car, without sugar] lowers blood pressure as well as makes you smarter, happier, sexier... the list goes on ad nauseam. I innocently sent Hal a link to the site. He latches onto the notion - the article IS from Harvard, after all - and starts researching the internet. Cocoa is grown in Costa Rica, not a lot (that we know of), but some. We just don't know where to find it. The hunt begins.
Last Sunday, as Hal and I were strolling through Sabana Parque, we came upon one of the many tents set up around the park, each protecting a clutch of vendors from the 9° latitude sun. The gods are with us. Amongst this gaggle is a seller of locally-grown organic cocoa. There is a Costa Rican organization, ACOMUITA, Asociación Comunal de Mujeres indígenas de Talamanca,* that trains women to grow (from seeds to fruit) and process (grind up and make into squares and candy) organic cocoa.
Hal goes wild at the cocoa stand. He buys a big chunk, 2 small square bars reminiscent of Baker's chocolate from whence cake is born, 2 bags of powdered cocoa, and a bag of candies. The candies are delicious, con azúcar [cone, with] and grainy, fudge-like. Could this be good for you? Hey, Harvard says so.
Since Sunday, we've had shaved organic cocoa on EVERYTHING that lends itself to the flavor: fruit, French toast, ice cream, oatmeal. Powdered chocolate in our coffee, which doesn't taste that great and leaves cocoa sludge in the bottom of your cup. For some reason, it doesn't dissolve like you think it will. Hal cuts off little chunks and eats it. The man's cocoa crazy.
Then, last night, Hal comes home with a bag of mini-Snickers. Call me skeptical, but this seems a little outside the box. I point out that Snickers bars may not have the same health benefits as organic cocoa. He shrugs. I fear there may be more wrong with him than high blood pressure. IF he had that.
This morning, Hal is triumphant. His blood pressure is down today. I tell him I'm going to blog about his current insanity. Here's our conversation:
HAL: "You are going to mock me in front of the whole world? [He has a rather inflated idea of my readership.] Not only am I healthier, by buying that chunk of cocoa, I am supporting an entire Bribri [BREE-bree] family. And my blood pressure this morning was down to 137/79."
ME, mockingly: "Down from 140?"
HAL, indignant now: "No, down from 145/83. And that's after only one day on the stuff. In a week, I'll be comatose. So there. Gimme one of them Snickers bars."
It's sad, isn't it, what testosterone does to a perfectly fine brain? More in a week.
*Asociación Comunal de Mujeres indígenas de Talamanca: ah-SEW-see-ah-see-OWN co-moon-ALL day moo-HAIR-ace een-DEE-hen-es day tall-ah-MAHN-cah, Community Association of Indigenes Women of Talamanca