The story begins on the Island of Okinawa, Japan. Where the residents have a diet and lifestyle that results in one of the highest concentrations of 100 year-olds in the world. At one time as many as 400 people were aged over 100. These Centenarians are also active - socially and mentally - even riding motorbikes around the island. Melt decided to investigate their dietary secrets and attempt to replicate them in Notting Hill, London.
The Okinawa diet is interesting as this is not some laboratory test or unsubstantiated tabloid claim that is difficult or impossible to replicate in the real world. This is a real-life situation in a real society, from which the whole community seemed to have significant health benefits and greater longevity:
i) 5 X times as many people from Okinawa live to be 100 years as their peers in the rest of Japan.
ii) 8 X times less likely to die from coronary heart disease.
iii) 7 X times less likely to die from prostate cancer.
So what is the secret: the answer lies both the typical Okinawan diet and the islands’ attitude toward eating?
Melt wishes to replicate the Okinawa diet in Notting Hill. The closest natural ingredients to the purple sweet potato we could find native to Europe was the blackcurrant. By mixing blackcurrant with dark chocolate we have tried to create the closest chemical compound to the "elixir of life"? Dark chocolate already has 4X more anti-Oxidants than red wine and as many flavonoids as 6 apples.
Dark Chocolate has the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) 20,816 of any food. Anti-oxidants can rejuvenate inactive senescent cells. Cells both looked and behaved like younger cells. Within hours of treatment, older cells had started to divide and had longer telomeres, which are the ‘caps’ on the chromosomes which shorten as we age.
Our answer to the social aspects of Okinawa lifestyle is club melt, our luxury chocolate monthly subscription, and our hands-on baking and cooking classes. These are social gatherings that are similar to Okinawa's festival and food culture. Okinawa's food tends to be seasonal, fresh and raw. Feedback from our classes has been very positive "one of our favorite experiences in London" "one of the best experiences of my life", "it was a fun, tasty and informative experience", "We laughed a lot", "We had an amazing time". Surely if we can't replicate the diet we can at least replicate the food culture and community.