It is getting more common now, thankfully, for people to believe that some people just can’t tolerate certain foods. While some people get up-at-arms when the terms allergy and intolerance are used in a way they call “inaccurate,” for me, knowing allergy testing is not very accurate itself, and that if something makes you sick you shouldn’t eat it… well, I say, let’s forget about semantics. The word intolerance has a connotation of being less serious to many people. I think, if a food makes you sick when you eat, tell people you are allergic, so they take it seriously, even if the allergist said you aren’t. People who care about you don’t want you to get sick when you eat with them. People who don’t care about you- well who cares what they think about what you call your food issues.. make them take it seriously.
Well, now that I have that little rant out of the way, let me tell you about chocolate, and allergies. My new allergist told me that chocolate usually contains very high amounts of dust mites. If you are allergic to dust mites, or suspect you might be, and you eat chocolate regularly, you are stirring up your immune system, and could be aggravating other allergies in the process.
He told me that the “three G’s” as he calls them, are the best for being careful to clean the beans before processing. I believe those three were Green and Black, Ghirardeli, and maybe Godiva, but don’t quote me on that last one. Green and Black is also Fair Trade, something that is becoming important to me.
There are other chocolates that are fair trade, but I have not researched the dust mite issue with other brands. Combining my soy allergy, with concerns about dust mite allergy, and fair trade is a very tricky business. Thankfully, if I keep soy out of my diet, I can tolerate a little soy lecithin in something like a little chocolate added to my muffins. I am working on finding a fair trade chocolate chip that I can eat. (If anyone knows of one, please share it with me!!)
I want to leave you with a thought here, regarding chocolate, and fair trade. It’s a blog post by another woman called “Here, Let Me Ruin Halloween for You.” Even if you think you know about chocolate, and the farming of it, I encourage to read her short article, and watch the first 10 minute video of the BBC documentary that she includes. I actually watched it with my kids, to start a conversation about compassion, respsonsibility, our money and our choices. (My thirteen year old son ended up watching the entire documentary, and deciding to continue research on the subject). I admit to buying a couple bags of traditional candy for my song to take to rehearsal last night, to share. I am not judging or preaching fair trade. But this is something as a family we are really taking some time to think about, in the season that is all about the chocolate. I’ll let you know what I find out about allergy-friendly and fair trade chocolate!