Chocolate necklace
Photo: Jeff Harris
Willy Wonka, meet the Dalai Lama: The latest ingredient to infuse dark chocolate is the goodwill of meditating monks, which is said to lift one's mood above and beyond the usual bliss. O staffers were more than happy to put it to the test.
Intentional chocolate, a Los Angeles–based company, uses an electronic device that supposedly "records" the good intentions of meditating Buddhist monks and broadcasts them into a room where its confections are stored. According to a 2007 pilot study, coauthored by company founder Jim Walsh and published in the journal Explore, eating one ounce of the candy per day boosted positive mood and energy levels by an average of 67 percent after three days (as gauged by a psychological questionnaire). Skeptical? We were, too.

So we set out to mimic the study's design as closely as possible, enlisting the expertise of Dean Radin, PhD, senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California, who led the Explore study. The company graciously sent us two batches of dark chocolate, one infused with the monks' intentions and one not. (Important to note: We were double-blind—i.e., clueless—as to which was which.) Twenty-two of our staffers were divided into two groups—"intentional" and "control"—and filled out a mood questionnaire while eating their chocolate for three days.

The results? It was actually the control group who showed a positive trend of increased well-being—although the intentional group did have the biggest mood surge on the first day of chocolate eating. Still, we're inclined to believe Walsh when he says, "There's more to food than simply what's sitting on our table." For centuries, the religious have blessed water, bread, and wine. And who would argue that a meal cooked with love by a friend or spouse isn't more satisfying than takeout?

The best gift you can give your body, your soul—even your planet? Delicious, flavorful, satisfying food

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