Posts Tagged ‘#giftsforher’

What’s in Your Valentine’s Day Chocolate

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without somebody writing an article about the chemistry of chocolate. That person might as well be me. So without further ado, let’s discuss theobromine, a molecule that you may have heard is in chocolate and cocoa products. Here’s what you need to know.

Chemical structure of theobromine

Chemical structure of theobromine. The sticky note is seasonal. (Credit: Carmen Drahl)

What is in your Valentine’s Day Chocolate?

Theobromine is a molecule made by plants. It’s most famous for being one of the many compounds naturally found in chocolate, but it’s also in tea, among other plant products. Theobromine was discovered in the 1840s, in cocoa beans as a matter of fact.

If you take a look at what theobromine looks like at the atom scale, though, there’s no bromine (which would have the abbreviation Br) in sight. Just carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Confusing, right? As it happens, letters spelling “bromine” ended up in the name by coincidence. When biologists encountered cocoa trees and related plants in Central and South America, they gave the name “Theobroma” to this genus of plants that was new to them. Theobroma, in Greek, roughly means “food of the gods”. Somebody must’ve really enjoyed their cacao drink back in the day.

 Why “theobromine”, then, with the “ine” at the end? Theobromine is an alkaloid, a nitrogen-atom containing, naturally occurring compound. Many alkaloids share that “ine” ending in their names- it’s a chemistry naming convention. Think strychnine, but also morphine, caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine.

Yikes- it’s like cocaine?! No wonder chocolate is bad for my dog.

No dogs got sick in the making of this stock photo. (Shutterstock)

We Are All Revolutionaries

Theobromine is indeed dangerous for dogs at high enough doses. Caffeine is, too. The website Pet MD has published a chart where you can determine risk of chocolate toxicity for your pet based on your pet’s weight, and amount of chocolate consumed. Type of chocolate is also a factor in the chart, because dark chocolate has higher amounts of theobromine compared to milk chocolate.

Dogs’ digestive systems process theobromine less efficiently than our human guts, which is why it’s relatively easy for them to be poisoned. Cats are also at risk, but they’re less likely to eat sweets.

According to the National Hazardous Substances Database, humans may experience milder effects of theobromine at high enough doses, including sweating, trembling, and headaches. For the vast majority of people, eating chocolate and drinking tea in moderation is no problem.

Please don’t read this story and rush to judge all alkaloids as bad. This is a tremendously large family of plant molecules. And like any large family, some members make you feel good, some might annoy you after an extended stay, and some are toxic even in small doses.

Quinine is an alkaloid, as well, and it is used to treat malaria. The World Health Organization puts quinine on its List of Essential Medicines.

One more point: Depending on what you’re looking for, a toxic compound may be beneficial. As Pulitzer-prizewinning science journalist Deborah Blum reports:

The dark chocolate effects are so acute for canines, that the alkaloid has been tested with some success as a means of controlling coyote populations.

Chocolate’s an aphrodisiac, so I’m good to go for Valentine’s Day, right?

Not exactly. Theobromine is one of the compounds that contributes to that reputation, along with phenylethylamine. Theobromine can indeed make your heart beat faster, but you could say the same thing about caffeine, or cocaine for that matter.

No rigorous studies prove that theobromine or chocolate puts people in the mood. Let me quote from two journal articles that evaluated many labs’ results all at once: “Any mood benefits of chocolate consumption are ephemeral.” And “these substances could have a positive direct and indirect influence on sexual health and function. Nevertheless, randomized studies are needed to confirm these hypotheses.” There may be a placebo effect associated with eating chocolate on Valentine’s Day, and at the end of the day, that’s just fine.

Valentine's Day Chocolate and other Valentines Day Gifts

 (Shutterstock)

There’s much more to the chemistry of chocolate. If I haven’t quelled your craving, you can download a handy infographic on chocolate chemistry by Andy Brunning of Compound Interest.

From Forbes by Carmen Drahl

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Let’s gear up for the Ho Ho Holidays!

It is safe to say, we can Make Spirits Bright, Deck The Halls and last but not least: Welcome Jolly Old Saint Nicholas to town!

The Toronto Santa Claus Parade is on Sunday November 18th in person at 12:30. The Original Santa Claus Parade has been an exciting must see jolly, festive event since 1913. There are floats, bands and happy clowns. There are also letter carriers collecting letters written to Santa. If you can’t adorn your red nose in person, you can always catch it on CTV at 4:30.

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”

“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list,
He’s checking it twice,
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town…”
You too can get into the spirit of the season with our festive wares. We have ideas for the whole family: Young, the young at heart and the old(er) wiser folks too.

Santa Claus Approved Gifts

Ho Ho, the Emergency Santa Kit will instantly turn anyone into the jolly old man.

Emergency Santa Clause Kit at Danna Bananas

 

The Santa Mustache Pacifier will turn your little one into Santa Baby. It is BPA free.

Santa Claus Mustache Pacifier at Danna Bananas

Create the most famous reindeer scene of all with these Christmas photo booth accessories and some or your original misfits. The Christmas Photo Booth will make your Christmas party photos just a little more like a Santa Claus Parade.

Christmas Photo Booth

The Rap Year Book

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Re-live those favourite rap songs from 1979 and on.

“The Rap Year Book is an in-depth look at the most influential genre of music to come out of the last generation.”

rap-year-book-back

May The 4th Be With You

Friday, May 4th, 2018

“May the Fourth Be With You” or “May the 4th Be With You”, which ever way you spell it, Star Wars Day is on the 4th day of May. 

Hmm, I wonder:) when and how this day and pun began?

I have a hunch to celebrate all things Stars Wars and the saying that evolved from the first film in the 70’s, 1977 to be exact:

“May the Force Be With You!”

These six words have becme a universal language phenomenon.

Here is a cute YouTube video that collaborated different character clips saying these memorable words:

My favourite and first character saying this is good ol’ Yoda but these words were uttered throughout various Star Wars films.

One is such is Han Solo saying it to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and others.

I really like these words as they inspire and give you a sense of comfort. They are strong and encouraging words that are very positive. We all need vibes like this in life and not only in a galaxy far, far away .

This saying is similar to “Namaste”. You are acknowledging one’s presence and sending them good luck, light and love. The force in a sense is light too.

 

We have compiled some Star Wars themed gifts in a gift shop not in a far away cyber world:

 

If you are an an inspiring baker, you will like Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies

“May the Fudge be with You” while baking 30 Star Wars-themed sweet treats from “Jar Jar Fig Bars” to “C-3POatmeal Crisps” and many more.

star-wars-cookbook

 

 

 

Star Wars Death Star Ice Mold

May the spherical Star Wars Death Star Ice Cube Tray melt your warm heart but keep your beverages cold too:

 

star-wars-death-star-ice-mold

 

 

The Ice Sabers Star Wars Cookbook

will let The Freezer Be With You when you concoct some cool treats from a Galaxy far, far way:

star-wars-ice-sabers-cookbook

 

star-wars-cookbook

 

Channel your inner Jedi, celebrate and May The Force Be With All Of Us!

 

 

 

Secret Santa Gift Ideas

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

They see you when you’re slacking. They know when you come in late. They know if you’ve been bad or good so be good for your work’s Secret Santa exchange.”

Tis’ the Season for the annual Secret Santa gift exchange

Do you have an office holiday party or other Christmas party to attend where you need to give a Secret Santa gift? Danna Bananas has compiled a list of gift ideas and yes we checked it twice. We have a plethora of Secret Santa Gift Ideas that are very gift-worthy and will suit all ages.  From fun to functional to funny and off beat…everything in between, Danna Bananas has you covered. Your secret Santa problems are solved here! Your co-workers, freinds and family members will definitely approve with apeeling glee.

Fun Secret Santa Gift Ideas

 Christmas Trivia Card Game

This game is the perfect game to brush up on your Christmas trivia facts such as, “All of the other reindeer, how many are there?”  Since this game is compact, it can pack nicely with all the other holiday gifts to travel to grandma’s house or your Uncle Bob’s abode.

Christmas Trivia Card Game for your Secret Santa

Ugly Xmas Sweater Drink Markers

It is a familiar problem, you have a sip, you wonder off to gab and then you forget where you left your drink. Since these drink markers are so ugly, your festive cocktail will definitely stand out in the crowd.

Ugly Xmas Sweater Drink Markers for your Secret Santa

 

Top Spin Pizza Cutter

Yum! We all love pizza, right? And who doesn’t like the sound of music emitting from a turn table?  Let’s give a round of applause to the genius who invented the Top Spin Pizza Cutter. They merged our love of pizza and music and created this cheesy kitchen gadget.

Top Spin Pizza Cutter for your Secret Santa

This is just a sample of gifts. These can also stuff your stockings. Remember you want fun, unique and memorable stocking stuffers that will create a face of awe!