105 year-old Adventist: “I’m giving up carob”

Matilda Burnham showing some classic fighting spirit on her birthday…
LOMA LINDA, Calif. — Matilda Burnham who celebrated her 105th birthday in Loma Linda today, stunned family and friends by retrieving a real chocolate cake from her fridge for dessert. “For decades upon decades I have settled for less in life,” said Burnham, “Today, I repent and am putting carob firmly behind me in the unsavory past to which it belongs.”

Immediately after her remarks, Burnham cut herself a thick slice of German Chocolate and wordlessly proceeded to devour it in less than 60 seconds not once pausing to look up or catch her breath. As she finished, shocked loved ones broke into applause, many dabbing at tears with their party napkins.

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“I have never felt more alive,” said Burnham as she washed down the last of her dessert with a swig of cranberry Martinelli’s. “I can’t believe it has taken me this long to take the plunge.”

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Reminding everyone present that “even to someone that has lived as long as me, life is short,” Burnham reached for the cake knife again. As she did she paused momentarily and cupped a hand to her ear before cutting herself another sizeable slice. “I thought for a second I heard thunder,” she said with a smile.


  1. Jim E. Carter

    “I have never felt more alive,” said Burnham as she washed down the last of her dessert with a swig of cranberry Martinelli’s. “I can’t believe it has taken me this long to take the plunge.” Cool! She could have eaten a box of Little Debbie Chocolate Chip Brownies, for good measure. She would really “feel more alive” after that!

    So when is ol’ Miss Matilda going to renounce the fake libation of Martinelli’s and take the plunge for the real thing, as so many other “Loma Linda Adventists” have? Maybe on her 110th birthday? (Maybe the new PUC vegan wine will be available in the Adventist Book Center by then!)

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  3. Ray Kraft

    Always been a mystery to me why so many Adventists (like my mother, who could have been Matilda’s sister) shun chocolate for the vastly inferior carob. And feel vastly superior for doing so.

    Chocolate, like carob, is made from the seeds of a plant, all natural and organic, God made them both.

    So why is one good, and the other bad?

    God made chocolate bad?

    • Ray, the tradition is actually based on the caffeine and theobromine content of chocolate. One ounce of dark chocolate contains about 12 mg of caffeine. Theobromine is a “chemical cousin” of caffeine with similar effects and is contained in much larger quantities. By contrast, carob does not contain caffeine or theobromine.

      • Ray Kraft

        Yes, but as far as I can tell there is no scientific evidence that there is anything harmful about reasonable doses of caffeine, or theobromine. Contrary, it appears they are prophylactics for some cancers. If they were harmful, as much chocolate as the world eats, people should be dropping dead of chocolate poisoning all over the place.

        I was having this debate many years ago with my mother, who wouldn’t touch chocolate ‘cuz it had caffeine, and me, who wouldn’t touch carob ‘cuz it tasted weird.

        Is there any data on actuarial life expectancy of chocolate eaters vs. carob eaters?

        • In order for such a study to be valid, it would have to control for all other factors that could possibly affect longevity. It would have to determine whether the observed effect is based on causation or whether it is merely correlation. Such a research design might need to involve a longitudinal study of human subjects over a period of years as well as a multi-factor postmortem study of their medical history and diet.

          I am not aware of such study, although I have not performed a full literature review. One source internet source claims that men who consume some chocolate tend to live a year longer than men who do not eat sweets; but that is surprising because milk chocolate is high in saturated fat and sugar. Most studies that found any health benefit to chocolate were not referring to the common candy milk chocolate form (candy bars, etc.), but rather to cacao or very dark chocolate. For more information, see: http://www.VeganVegetarianCookingSchool.com/health_tips/tips_chocolate-vs-carob.htm . The information appears to be quite balanced, listing some benefits of both carob and chocolate.

          • Ray Kraft

            Look at the chocolate bars next time you’re in the grocery – all the market growth is in dark chocolate with high cocoa content and semi-sweet or bittersweet.

            WebMD “Health By Chocolate” reports that chocolate is very rich in bioflavanoids, antioxidants, citing Diane Becker MPH ScD at Johns Hopkins stating that regular consumption of dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart attacks up to 50%.

            Cites a Harvard study demonstrating that chocolate lowers blood pressure, reduces LDL oxidation, and is anti-inflammatory.

            Cites an Italian study finding reduced blood pressure, and increased insulin sensitivity / reduced insulin resistance, and improves arterial blood flow as a vasodilator.

            Cites a small English study finding that chocolate enhances serotonin uptake and was effective in improving chronic fatigue syndrome.

          • Ray Kraft

            Deviating from chocolate, are you aware of the research done by Lester Morrison MD, then Director of Arteriosclerosis Research at Loma Linda University, in the 1940s-1960s, in which he reports dramatic mitigation of cardiovascular disease with high doses of chondroitin sulfate, as in glucosamine-chondroitin?

        • Chocolate also contains a cannabinoid (somewhat similar to the THC found in marijuana), which agonizes cannabinoid receptor sites in the central nervous system and can result in euphoric and analgesic effects similar to the “runner’s high.” Additionally, chocolate contains cannabinoid breakdown inhibitors. Due to these two features, studies have shown that chocolate can enhance the effect of THC. Moreover, the theobromine in chocolate is a vasodilator that pushes chemicals into the tissues, thus potentially exaggerating the effects of THC and the anandamide cannabinoid found in chocolate. See http://www.davidwolfe.com/invasion-of-the-cannabinoids/

  4. Ray Kraft

    I think I found the answer. Genesis 1:29

    “God also said, ‘See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food . . . except the beans and seeds of the Cocoa tree, from which you might make Chocolate, so, eating the seeds of the Cocoa trees, or anything made therefrom, that is forbidden, you must eat Carob instead.”

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