You might have noticed that we have recently removed the nutrition information labels from the backs of our boxes. “Why is that?” you might ask. Well, since the advent of these labels, twenty-odd years ago, has the overall health of Americans improved any? I think we all know the answer to this. By whatever metric you care to use, Americans are less healthy today than before nutrition labels. This is not to say that these labels have caused this decline, but they don’t seem to be helping.
Whenever I sell chocolate at one of our farmer’s markets, I always get customers that scrutinize the nutrition labels on the backs of our bars. What are they are looking for? Some nugget of nutritional rectitude that will confer edibility on the bar?
I’ve come to the conclusion that nutrition labels aren’t meant to educate people and help them make better food choices. They are basically a marketing scam designed to confuse and blind consumers to the truth. Really, who can make heads or tails of a nutrition label? Most American have no idea what a gram is – let alone a milligram. So, if a product has 3 mg of cholesterol per serving, and there are 14 servings in the box, and you’ve eaten a third of the box…what does it mean?? Ah! On the front of the box it says “30% less fat” or “20% fewer calories” or maybe “heart-healthy”. Now that I understand!
Those people that have learned to decipher nutrition labels are also buying into the scam. They really aren’t seeing the forest for the trees. They are so caught up in sugar, calories and trans-fat that they are failing to realize that the product they are holding is likely not even real food. Real food does not come with a nutrition label! There is no nutrition label on a cabbage or a flounder or a tomato or an egg.
I have a suggestion to vastly simplify nutrition labels - and actually make them useful to people. Here is my universal nutrition label. It’s just one sentence: “Not more than 10% of your diet should consist of products with a nutrition label.”
I want to share with everyone a new and very powerful diet that I have been working on. Being the modest fellow that I am, I call it "The Nathan Diet". Now, I was planning on coming out with a book, doing a DVD, infomercials, etc. However, considering the seriousness and urgency of the problem (and considering the entire diet consists of just seven words) I have decided to reveal this amazing diet now.
Please get a pencil and paper. I'll wait....
OK, here it is:
"Don't eat ANYTHING advertised on national television."
If you follow this diet, I promise you will lose weight, become healthier, happier and live longer.
Why avoid "food" advertised on national television? Because all of these products are, necessarily, mass-produced, have long shelf-lives, and are cosmetically perfect. These are all things that militate against freshness, wholesomeness and naturalness. Let TV ads be your guide in what NOT to eat.
Visited Tom Menezes at his Alae Estate farm outside of Hilo. We are using his nibs in some of our bars. Tom is a cacao pioneer in Hawaii and probably one of the most knowledgeable cacao farmers in the state. He's also an amazing ag scientist.
Tom intercrops his cacao with banana.
Tom intercrops his cacao with banana.
While visiting Sharkey's farm we got to sample some of his fresh cacao juice (made from the pulp of cacao beans). It's one of the most refreshing juices I've ever tasted - tangy and tart yet sweet.
Baked a fresh batch of Waialua (North Shore Oahu) beans for our nibby bars. We used a convection oven that we have never used before, but it worked great. The aroma was amazing. Imagine your home (floors, ceilings, walls and furniture) made of freshly baked brownies. These beans have a beautiful tang to them. I think our next batch of nibby bars will be something special.