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In the Publisher’s Note last issue I discussed my plan to shed some weight. And, as a result of cutting back on the alcohol and late night snacks I’ve shed 12 lbs in the past two months. Which on the face of it is pretty impressive. But when we do a “deep dive” on the numbers (actually it’s more of a feet first slip into the pool than an actual deep dive), virtually all of that loss came in the initial month of my efforts. Since then, the weight loss has more or less plateaued.


This might have something to do with my annual attendance at the Canadian Health Food Association trade show in late September. Every year I go to connect with my advertising partners and to see all of the new products that will be rolling out. You can see the trends in advance. In recent years fermented products (kombucha, sauerkraut, kim-chee) and fungi (ie. chaga) were all the rage. This year there was a strong showing for “Keto” products, sugar substitutes (ie. konjac root and monk fruit sweetener) and “functional nutrition” and adaptogenic foods (ie. blue algae smoothie powders). Tonic columnist, Megan Horsely and I discuss all of that in episode #101 of THE TONIC Podcast (which you can upload at thetonic.ca). But I also noticed another trend which may have derailed my efforts - extremely dark chocolate.


There were a lot of companies touting some seriously dark bars, and they were gracious enough to provide me with sample bars (like pounds of bars, collectively) to sample...and my obligation (to you dear readers) to try their products ran concurrent to my efforts to lose weight. Because, once I get started “sampling”...  


As a frame of reference my usual “go to” bar is Camino’s 71% fair trade dark chocolate; which is accurately described as “bittersweet”. I really can’t have it in the house. It beckons to me late at night to be devoured. Some of these new products were in that flavour profile range. Me to We’s Chocolate that Changes Lives includes some fair trade dark bars (65%) which are approachable and tasty -and in buying them you’ll be doing some social good. Galerie Au Chocolat’s dark (72%) bar with fleur de sel is sublime. Local favourite Chocosol has a stone-ground 75% bar dubbed “Darkness” which has a skull on the package (as a warning?).  If you’re a dark chocolate neophyte I recommend any of them.


But, if you’re looking for the full dark chocolate experience, try and get your hands on Camino’s new 92% “Nightfall”. I was dared to try it and was surprised that it actually had a fruity finish. I also had the pleasure of meeting the Dutch owner of LoveChock; a direct trade company whose story is truly inspiring. They specialize in raw chocolate. The packaging is both gorgeous and environmentally friendly. He gave me 8 (!) bars to try ranging from 85%, containing sweet nibs and salt to 93% “extra-dark” (crazy intense) to 99% “extreme dark” (for masochists only). Now that I’ve finally worked my way through the chocolate, next issue I hope to report on my continued weight loss success. Stay tuned!


In the meantime you can enjoy this issue of Tonic while munching on some trendy dark chocolate yourself.  Joel Thuna explains all about the health benefits of the aforementioned Chaga. Megan Horsely has some great gift ideas for the health-conscious. And if you’re motivated to try the Keto diet I recommend my Q and A with Ryan Foley excerpted from episode #95 of THE TONIC Podcast. As always,  if you want to discuss anything you’ve read in this note, this issue or on the podcast, feel free to reach out to me.