Chocolate Log

Not all chocolates are created equal. This trip has had some which are better than others. This is an opinionated evaluation of dark chocolate. Usually about 54% or 56% dark.

Store brand from delhaze in Belgium.

This one from Belgium tasted great. I rank it a 4 out of 5. it had great taste but lacked just slightly on the cocoa butter content.

From migros in Switzerland.

This was a 2 out of 5. Would not buy again or recommend.

From chocolate shop in Brussels.

This was at least a 4.6 out of 5 and worth taking back to the states.

Migros low end store brand.

This was the same as Frey in a different wrapping.

My long time favorite bar has been Ja! By ReWe, a German grocery… I have heard that it is actually made by nestle. And is certainly a 5 of 5.

Long time favorite.

What I learned from fasting

My wife has been fasting off and on for a few years. It has been inspiring. I finally tried it. Friday night to Monday night nothing but salt and water. Here are some things I learned.

A pinch of salt when stomach cravings happen, make the feelings go away. I felt as if my stomach was full the whole time.

I didn’t really have any headaches and stomachaches like I did in Highschool. In Highschool I didn’t know about salt and I was biking 10 miles a day.

My stomach, back, and internals felt better with less in them. Granted I’m a bit over weight for my height and muscle composition at 200lbs.

My dad did fasting when I was in Highschool. It is probably what kept him alive. When he quit fasting he gained weight and then had a heart attack and died.

When reintroducing food to the GI track it can be painful. It makes me wonder if fasting is the normal state. If it is, then our culture is upside-down.

I’m keen to try this again for longer. But my todo list need larger margins. Where I don’t have to be all over the place.


Menu ingredients

There are only a few restaurants that I frequent, not because the food is somehow better there, but because the choice of ingredients by corporate chefs. Some businesses choose to use high fructose corn syrup as an additive in menu items (I understand this choice from a cost/profitability perspective, from a sugar/sweetness index perspective, and from an addictiveness perspective). For many years I have avoided fast food restaurants because the ingredient list is difficult to obtain.

In my case I am not part of the “HFCS is the evil in the food industry” crowd. I simply have an allergy where I can not process this sugar, and to consume it makes me physically sick. To give these institutions $5 for a meal, is to give myself a 5 dollar-14 hour illness. This has resulted in a lot of label reading. So when I go to a restaurant I always ask for ingredient lists.

Today I stop by KFC for the first time in 10 years, I asked the clerk behind the counter if they could give me an ingredients list for the traditional and extra crispy chicken, he promptly contacted his manager who came out and told me that they could not give out ingredients list for liability reasons. However, I could go to the website and look at the nutritional information provided by KFC on their website.

In a way this is surprising because at many places like QDoba I can ask at the register (which is no longer just a point of sale, but is a point of service) and receive a printed list of ingredients. Other companies have been able to print off ingredients from their point of service machines for menu items.

Here is the rub: KFC is one of those companies that uses a service to manage the information presentation of their ingredient lists. They use

Now the fact that they use a service is not inherently bad, and shows that some management thought has gone into providing customers with access to some ingredients, but the following question should be asked from a services management perspective: is this service meeting the needs of our customers? In this case I would like to suggest it doesn’t. The nutritionix page for KFC starts the user out by having them select the allergens that they would like to avoid.

The problem is that things like high fructose corn syrup are not considered allergens (by this website). A broader approach to information access in this case would solve more use cases. What if the question asked was: what ingredients would you like to avoid?

Asking the question this way would allow users and customers like me to quickly find menu items that fall within our dietary needs.

What is in a soda?

The pictured sign in the KFC, which is also shared with an A & W suggest that the root beer sold by A & W in this particular store is made with real cane sugar. It does not expressly state that there is no high fructose corn syrup in the soda, only that there is also at least some real cane sugar included in the drink. It is often the case with sodas that if they are made with real cane sugar it’s implied that there without high fructose corn syrup. So when my wife ordered me one I was curious what was really in the drink. With this in mind I went to the A & W website (because the staff of this jointly branded store is unlikely to tell me anything about the A & W ingredients either) to find their ingredients list. I found a PDF which shows that their root beer does contain high fructose corn syrup. The disappointing feature of this soda is that there is an apparent disagreement between the corporate messaging in store and their presentation online. I feel the in store messaging is misleading in a physically painful manner.


Photo of spork.

As an aside, my 2 year old daughter found eating with the spork difficult. The macaroni and cheese kept falling off. But this is is more about making the eating experience more family friendly, rather than less painful.