The art of a healthy, happy life

Mmmm…Chocolate

chocolate stackOkay, so I didn’t intend this week’s blog post to be about chocolate…but I just made my own trail mix and I have chocolate on the brain.  You see, chocolate is the only food that has its very  own food group. Actually, that’s not true – but don’t you think it should have? Powerfully comforting, seductively sweet, mouthwateringly delicious – many people eat chocolate at least several times a week.

 

Which begs the question…is Chocolate Good for You? 

The answer is both yes and no. Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, sexual malaise, fatigue, hangovers, anemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter –serotonin – in the brain.

But eat the wrong kind of chocolate and you’ll get loads of sugar, calories, and junky ingredients.

 

How to Eat Chocolate Responsibly

Chocolate begins life as raw cacao (pronounced kah-kow) beans. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols, cacao is a powerful superfood. The more processed cacao becomes, however – think commercially produced candy bars – the fewer healthy components remain.

So how do you get the most out of your chocolate fix?

  • Don’t be afraid of the dark. The darker the chocolate, the more cacao it contains.
  • Know your numbers: the percentage you see on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in that chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 75% to 85% cacao.
  • Go raw – or as unprocessed as possible.

 

Looking for more fun ways to enjoy chocolate? You’ll love this dark chocolate treat. Invite some friends over and make a batch!

 

truffle ballsRaw Chocolate Truffles 

Prep time:  20 minutes
Makes 25 truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Water (to mix)
  • Roll-in ingredients: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate nibs, raw sugar, cacao powder, ginger, or something else you love

 

Directions:

  • Mix cashews in a food processor until it forms a powder, adding enough water to create a thick paste.
  • Add maple syrup to cashews and pulse to process.
  • Add cacao powder. Pulse to process.
  • Refrigerate for four hours or overnight for best results.
  • Form teaspoon-sized balls of dough. Coat balls in your chosen roll-in ingredients!
  • Enjoy…and don’t eat them all at once! (One or two a day is a perfect amount.)

 

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