Chocolate: It’s a Valentine “mood food”

February 7, 1997


Giving chocolate to a special person on Valentine’s Day may be more than a friendly gesture. U-M housing nutrition specialist Paula Herzog says chocolate contains a chemical that stimulates serotin, a hormone that makes us feel mellow.

“It’s a mood food,” Herzog said. “Chocolate does make people feel more relaxed, and it can be part of a healthy diet.” She points out that in addition to comfort, chocolate provides energy.

Herzog says its smell, texture and flavor make chocolate appealing and satisfying. However, she says that some candy bars are unhealthy because the chocolate coating disguises the sugar and fat base. She also points out that despite its name, white chocolate is not true chocolate because it mostly contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids and vanilla.

As a Valentine’s present, expensive brands may do more than impress the recipient, Herzog says, because less expensive chocolate may contain wax, while cocoa butter in the better brands enrich texture and flavor.

For more information, contact Herzog at (313) 764-1152 or e- mail Inter-faith relationships: Is love enough?

When it comes to love, conventional wisdom says that the heart falls first, then the head. But when the relationship involves two people of different faiths, going in head-first may be the better option. “It’s hard, because people fall in love first, regardless of faith,” says Susan King, former minister at U-M’s Guild House.

King says a loving relationship between two people of different religious backgrounds is often problematic. She explains that “faith, an essential uncompromiseable part of the couples’ life, may create difficulties for inter-faith relationships.

“It is much harder to be in a relationship with someone of a radically different religion because oftentimes support structures are lacking,” King says. “It can put immense strains on the relationship.”

King adds that many couples are able to combine each other’s religion and honor all holidays and practices. “It depends upon the intensity of belief in a faith,” she says.

For more information on inter-faith relationships, contact King at (313) 662-4060. Beatles love songs for the Valentine

When choosing songs for your loved ones, Beatles’ tunes may steal your heart, says U-M School of Music Prof. Walter Everett. Beatles’ love songs, he says, have their own charisma.

“I think what makes their love songs stand the test of time is that they demonstrate a harmonic twist,” says Everett. He cites the 1960s hit, “Something,” written by George Harrison. That song changes keys and harmony to add a different tone and mood to the piece. Everett categorizes Beatles’ love songs as usually soft, slow, expressive of strong feelings and single- voiced.

Everett recommends several love songs written by Paul McCartney: “And I love her,” “I will,” and “O’Darling” for Valentine’s Day giving. He also says the 1977 re-issued album “Love songs” is a collection of the Beatles’ romantic melodies from throughout their recording career.

Everett can be reached at (313) 763-2039 or (313) 994-5879. When vows aren’t enough…try a short-term loan

Securing a marriage by exchanging vows was not valid enough for Egyptian women in the first century. U-M papyrology Profs. Traianos Gagos and Ludwig Koenen say middle-class Egyptian wives used short-term loans to safeguard their marriages.

“A woman’s position in early Egypt was precarious at best, with little stability or financial security,” Koenen says. “As long as her fianc