Toxic Chocolate – My Story!
The Harmful Effects Of Chocolate!
Toxic Chocolate – The Plan
I love chocolate! After reading about the benefits of chocolate and that thin people eat it every day, I decided to be one of those dedicated chocolate eaters. I first had to decide what products I wanted to use. My journey started in January of 2013.
Notice: This is not an endorsement or boycott of any product I used in this project. I don’t fault any product, but rather the actual cacao used to make these products.
Being a healthy eater, I decided to find a product that contained no refined cane sugar or artificial sweeteners. As it turned out, that was one of the most difficult tasks of this project. Almost 99% of the chocolate products on the market have some form of cane sugar added.
It wasn’t until I found the Sunspire product line that I discovered they had a grain sweetened chocolate chip product that contained no cane sugars. It was sweetened with corn and barley malt, a maltose form of sugar. This seemed reasonably the best choice as the cocoa content was high and the chips were tasty. The price at Whole Foods was around $7.00 for a 10 ounce bag of chips, but I found many deals on the Internet for the same product ranging from $4.50 to $5.50 a bag. This was the price in 2013, but I see that today the prices are about a dollar higher. There were also some outrageous prices around $180.00 per bag. I can’t imagine anyone paying such a high price!
In addition, there were a couple of other products that I found and used during this period. A very rich tasting dark chocolate truffle ball from LivingRaw. Whole Foods sold these for $4.49, but I see on the official Livingraw website they now sell for $3.95. Rare that a product would drop in price!
Also, on occasion, I would have rich dark chocolate pieces that came in a little fancy box, but I don’t remember the name. There were a couple different varieties with added berries. Each variety contained no cane sugar and were extremely high in cocoa.
One last thing: I also consumed a bag of raw cacao nibs, but that was a sporadic effort since the nibs were not a very pleasant eating experience. The consistency was that of chewing sand and the taste was bitter. But, I wanted to try them and so I did.
Toxic Chocolate – The Progress
Starting in January of 2013 I started eating about 2.5 ounces of the Sunspire chocolate chips per day, every day. I split the serving between breakfast and lunch. I would eat a healthy breakfast, then start nibbling on chips afterwards. Eating a handful of chips would take about 30 minutes. I savored each bite! The taste was delightful. A rich, dark chocolate taste that had an earthy, chocolate, vanilla finish.
I ate the LivingRaw and other chocolate pieces once a week after dinner as a dessert treat. These two items were not a consistent daily food item, but rather a supplement to the Sunspire chocolate chips.
During the first year, I did not experience any particular problems, nor did I notice any adverse effects on my body. In fact, just the opposite occurred! I felt more energetic and alert. My weight was constant at around 165 pounds.
In 2013, I had my vitals and blood checked at least twice that year, and each check showed that my blood work was in the normal range for all tests. My vitals were also great, according to the doctors. My heart rate was around 50 bpm; Blood pressure: 106 / 60; Body Temperature: 97.4 (I run on the cool side); and O2 intake at 100%.
In addition to eating a very healthy diet, I rode my bike every day for exercise and took daily vitamins and mineral supplements. At age 60, I was in fairly good shape and health. I expected the chocolate to give me added health benefits, based on the several articles I read about chocolate and cacao. So far, so good for the year.
In 2014 I increased my intake of chocolate chips to 5 ounces per day, eating chips after every meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I really enjoyed the taste and it never became stale or bland. It was addictive to finish a meal and savor the rich dark chocolate afterwards.
Throughout this time, my normal eating habits and diet did not change. I ate an assortment of vegetables, fruits, and my main proteins were limited to Turkey, grass feed beef, and lamb. Also, I drank plenty of water daily.
Toxic Chocolate – The Itch!
It wasn’t until 2015 that I started to experience some symptoms, but even then I did not connect them to the chocolate. I started having excessive itching around my left shoulder area and my skin in that area felt dry, rough, and welted with tiny bumps.
I also noticed a small area near my right thumb that was itchy and showed a small line that had tiny bumps. It resembled dry skin, but no moisturizer or lotion had any effect on it. In addition, my lower back became excessively itchy.
At first, these symptoms seems minor and, as I already said, they didn’t seem related to the chocolate. I treated them as a passing ailment that my body would rectify in due time.
Not so! The itching continued throughout the year and at times was very distracting. I also noticed that my energy level had dropped and I was experiencing more tiredness than I had in the past 2 years. None-the-less, I continued to consume the chocolate chips daily, not considering any connection between the chocolate and my symptoms.
By the end of 2015, I continued to have the itching problem that never seemed to get better or resolve. I also experienced less energy and more tiredness. Although these symptoms persisted, my doctors were not alarmed because my vitals and blood work all indicated I was still in excellent health without any problems, according to the test results.
Regardless of the tests and lab work, I still had the excessive itching and lethargy that indicated to me something was affecting my body. But, certainly, not the chocolate!
Toxic Chocolate – Hematuria!
In November and December of 2015 I noticed on a couple occasions that my urine turned a brownish color. I knew that could indicate kidney or urinary tract issues, but it happened sporadically and only two or three times within two months. Each time it cleared up within a day and I was back to normal.
Toxic Chocolate – The Episode!
Then, suddenly in January of 2016 I woke up with extreme pain in my lower left back! I could barely walk, but managed to take myself to the emergency room. The emergency doctors examined me and discovered I had a kidney stone! They gave me drugs to relieve the pain, but I never took them. I haven’t taken any medication, either prescribed or over-the-counter, since 1977.
According to the x-rays and ultra-sound, the stone was 4mm wide and slowly passing through my ureter from my left kidney. This episode lasted for two months! It wasn’t until March of 2016 that I passed a stone that I captured and saved for analysis. The stone was 4mm wide and 9mm long. Fairly large as I then discovered. The analysis was typical. The stone was a calcium based stone. Most are.
Toxic Chocolate – The Odd thing…
The odd thing about this incident is that kidney stones are not hereditary according to the medical information I read, and my doctors concurred. There is no history of stones in my family tree. During this time I actually cut down on my chocolate intake, but only because I wasn’t feeling very hungry in general. I drank a lot of water and teas, especially teas known to aid kidney stone relief.
By April of 2016, I was back to eating chocolate chips 3 times a day every day and thinking that my stone issue was gone. I started reading about kidney stones and how to prevent them from reoccurring. The information I read claimed that after the first kidney stone, the kidney was more likely to produce more! Not what I wanted to know.
Still, I did not relate the incident to the consumption of chocolate, and so I continued my chocolate diet. The itching continued and at times was really annoying. I continued to complain to my doctors about the itching, but they were unable to find any cause and claimed it was most likely a rash or dry skin. Nothing to be alarmed about.
Toxic Chocolate – A Different Episode!
Then in October of 2016 I woke up one morning in extreme pain once again. This time it was my middle to lower right back, but it spread to my front right side as well. I was in such pain that I could not take myself to the emergency room. I had to have someone drive me there.
In the emergency room, they did a CT Scan and discovered massive Gall Stones! I was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis, Cholecystitis, and Hematuria. As described below:
Literally “water inside the kidney”—refers to distension and dilation of the renal pelvis and calyces, usually caused by obstruction of the free flow of urine from the kidney. Untreated, it leads to progressive atrophy of the kidney. One or both kidneys may be affected. In cases of hydroureteronephrosis, there is distention of both the ureter and the renal pelvis and calices.
Is inflammation of the gallbladder. Symptoms include right upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally fever. Often gallbladder attacks (biliary colic) precede acute cholecystitis. The pain lasts longer in cholecystitis than in a typical gallbladder attack. Without appropriate treatment, recurrent episodes of cholecystitis are common. Complications of acute cholecystitis include gallstone pancreatitis, common bile duct stones, or inflammation of the common bile duct.
In medicine, hematuria, or haematuria, is the presence of red blood cells (erythrocytes) in the urine. It may be idiopathic and/or benign, or it can be a sign that there is a kidney stone or a tumor in the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, prostate, and urethra), ranging from trivial to lethal. If white blood cells are found in addition to red blood cells, then it is a signal of urinary tract infection.
Only Cholecystitis is hereditary, but I have no family history of any such condition! While at the emergency room the pain slowly subsided after about two hours. By the time I left the emergency room I was able to walk on my own, and the pain was relatively mild. The emergency room staff scheduled a follow up appointment to discuss removal of my Gall Bladder, but I never returned. I was not going to undergo surgery unless it was life threatening.
I went home and started to evaluate my condition. At this point I started to look at the chocolate as a possible contributor to my condition. Was it really toxic chocolate? I decided to stop all chocolate consumption from that day forward, just as a precaution until I did more research to reach a conclusion.
In addition, I found various herbs and teas that help relieve Gall Stones, and a couple products that claimed to soften and pass Gall Stones. Although I find such products questionable, I still decided to try them on the possibility that they may help.
I started taking a herbal product called “Stone Break” along with other supplements for Gall Bladder and Kidney health, such as Turmeric and Dandelion. I did not want to live without a Gall Bladder! After speaking with a person who’s Gall Bladder was remove, it was clear to me that life far worse without a Gall Bladder.
My new diet started at the end of October, 2016.
Toxic Chocolate – The Results
By the end of November 2016, the itching on my shoulder and lower back had subsided. The itchy area near my right thumb disappeared. My skin felt healthier and I wasn’t plagued with constant itching.
During November and December of 2016 I could feel times when my right front torso area would spasm slightly. I thought perhaps it was my Gall Bladder trying to expel another stone. Maybe many. The doctor at the emergency room said I had multiple Gall stones, but they didn’t have an exact number.
By January of 2017 all the itchy areas of my body were gone! The skin around my left shoulder felt normal and had no itchiness at all. I started to feel more alive than before.
Oddly, during this time my digestive system seemed to be inconsistent. Some days very normal, and others quite distressed. I wondered if it was a result of my Gall Bladder trying to cleanse itself and remove all those stones.
Soon I will go to the hospital and have them recheck my Gall Bladder to see if any stones are still inside it. That will be a contributing factor for what I do next.
To date, I have had no chocolate at all. I am still wondering if it’s at all worthwhile to eat any. It really does have some solid research indicating that it is toxic chocolate. I’ve now read through several websites and blogs about the dangers of cacao and chocolate. Since there are arguments for both side of the chocolate debate, I’m not sure who’s right, but I do know that in my case, I feel much healthier without chocolate than I did eating it daily. I will miss the taste. I’m thinking perhaps it would be OK to have it once a month, if at all. Maybe chocolate should be considered a vice, with long term detrimental effects, like smoking cigarettes. Well, at least eating chocolate doesn’t affect the health of those around you!