How not to's - Choosing a Gmail address

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The tip i'm about to share with you here might sound like it isn't a tip but believe me it is, and that very tip could help you avoid having to scratch your hair next time you'll want to quick-register on let's say a site like, using your Gmail address...

Let's say you've created a new Gmail address a week ago and it's all fine. But now you're trying to connect toYahoo via your new Gmail addee, such connection procedure being a feature more and more sites tend to offer nowadays, giving users the opportunity to not having to waste 10 mns or more typing registration info by simply allowing them to import their Google or Facebook data.

How not to's - Choosing a Gmail address
Gmail logo

And then it happens, you're denied registration on the ground that, i quote: 'Your Gmail email address contains text string not allowed in Yahoo!'. You start copy-pasting the message to your Google search box as soon as it gets thrown at your face but it won't go, it simply won't go because there are no workarounds for this one. No workarounds other than using a different Gmail address or use your Facebook credentials (if any) or else going for the full registration spin process, which of course wasn't your idea at first.

Such situation happens simply because your Gmail address probably contains a dot between your first name and surname, or an underscore maybe, or any character that Google itself allows at registration time. But take my word for it, a dot is enough to make you wish you had known all this in time.

Chances are this should never happen to you now, now that you know ;).

Stay tuned for more on

Fancy some chocolate? No thanks, i've quit!

It sort of amazes me that i could spend a good 38 years of my life not knowing that chocolate actually contains caffeine. Yes, you've heard it, chocolate and all cocoa-related products do contain caffeine. I can already here you say 'hang on, i've never seen any chocolate product package stating there was caffeine in there!', that's right, there aren't, and this for a good reason: cocoa beans naturally contain caffeine, so that companies are not legally required to mention its presence, unlike Coca-Cola who has to print the word caffeine on its labels simply because the caffeine that's contained in a coke has been added, and failing to do so would be against the law.

 Now, as to how much caffeine is contained in chocolate products, one good rule to stick to would be, the darker the chocolate product looks, the more caffeine it contains, but this isn't the only rule to be considered. Remember the Tomaco episode from the Simpson's? well, that's what industrially-injected-caffeine products reminded me of when i first heard about them. Nowadays you get caffeine-enhanced cereals, so basically even products that originally don't contain caffeine, can have caffeine added to them. But back to how much caffeine is 'contained in chocolate products', it would be safe to say it averages the levels found in decaffeinated coffee, yes, decaf contains caffeine, even though a lot less, probably 10 mg a cup while a black tea averages 60 mg. But the problem with decaf is the method used to decaf... . If done chemically, then chances are you're probably swallowing weird chemicals that harm your body even more then caffeine does, when you're having your cuppa. It is difficult to give a reliable comparison since people make tea differently. It's also true to say that the levels of caffeine contained in the cocoa beans vary according to the way the beans are roasted, the variety itself too. A Hershey bar, dark one, contains 60 mg, just like an average cup of tea does.

Chocolate does contain caffeine
Cocoa products do contain a certain level of caffeine

 Basically, if your doctor sets you on a caffeine-free diet, for whatever the reason, or if you've just decided to quit consuming stimulants because you wish to have a life that's way healthier, you won't completely be off the hook until you have said no to:

- coffee, decaf, tea, decaf tea and all related products
- chocolate and all cocoa related products
- all products to which caffeine is added industrially and belonging or not to the aforementioned categories
- and...said no for 5 days.

Indeed, caffeine is a drug, not a habit, it's a drug, and the physical withdrawal from it, in the most severe cases can take up to 5 days, only. The rest being psychological... . Upon quitting you will most likely experience headache symptoms, which then again, will vanish soon enough. But if you have no intent to quit consuming caffeine products, then this article would have still helped you get the facts, hopefully.

One vital fact about cocoa product consumption though is that, in 2013, about 75 % of the world cocoa consumption comes from the Congo, where enslaved kids make for forced overhead. Those kids are more or less deliberately abducted at the Burkinafaso border and sold for approximately 230 euros to local producers or whatever you will call them. Companies like Nestlé deny being engaged in such practices but... documentaries have been made already, containing hidden-cam footage, backed up info, this is the real price for chocolate, not just the price to your health.

 Now you will say, chocolate contains anti-depressants that help me cope with things... . Wrong angle i say, because, consuming anti-depressant foods only contributes to raising the toxicity level in your body, beside addicting you to the anti-depressants contained in them anyway, and although you first get the impression you're better of living that way, it only adds up with everything else you usually have, only to affect your metabolism the wrong way, thru time and you end up gradually thinking, being convinced that you couldn't make it without your chocolate bar once in a while. But it's just like saying eating more will get you less depressed and than you will feel happy and start eat less... it just cannot work, at least for long enough.

One important debate is, can the levels of caffeine contains in decaf or in cacao make you addicted? Some scientist think that yes, while some don't and it's very difficult to come up with consistent data in those areas on the overall. From my experience, the problem with caffeine contained in chocolate is not its levels, especially if you do have coffee already on a daily basis, but rather the toxicity it brings to your body and ultimately to your brain, knowing that all addictions in the body respond to one and the same place in the brain, as much as we know nowadays. So that, in other words, consuming chocolate destabilizes your metabolism even more, the body not being even able to actually make a difference between the sensation caused by the withdrawal from caffeine (which happens as soon as you have stopped eating your chocolate or having your coffee and NOT when it's been two days you haven't had your coffee or chocolate bar) and the normal sensation of hunger for food.

 Writing about the pros and cons of all caffeinated beverages and writing about addiction is beyond the scope of this article, but know that, if you seriously consider quitting caffeine then alternatives there are, such as Rooibos or Hibiscus infusions or simply a hot milk or a glass of water, depending on the season or where you live, there are always alternatives.

So, what is your relationship with cocoa-related products and are you one of those who feel they could never do without their afternoon chocolate bar or on the contrary are you already managed to escape the chocolate trap and prefer fruits or anything else as snacks?