Well, the right kind of chocolate does! Everybody loves chocolate; it's delicious, and comforting! When you're happy you want it, when you're sad or stressed out, you really want it! But because of that, you're going to consume calories, fat and carbs - full stop! But even though so many people would have you believe it's your enemy, you'll be pleased to know that it does in fact really lurve you!
First things first...you can stop worrying about chocolate because not all chocolate and it's ingredients is created equal! As a society, we're given a dozen new things to worry about each day, so why put yourself under that pressure? Granted, some things do need worrying about, like the obesity epidemic for one, and as part of that many would have you believe that chocolate is one of the biggest contributors, which to be fair it can be. But when you eat the right kind of chocolate, that's simply not the case!
Chocolate Can be HEALTHY!
There's a reason the ancient Mayans referred to chocolate as the food of the Gods! When you choose a dark chocolate with a high cacao content, especially if it's raw, the healthier it is for you. Cacao itself to me is one of what I call "The food of the Gods", and it's so good for you, which is why it makes it way into most of my products one way or another. Rich in magnesium, which takes part in more than 300 processes in your body, it's credentials are wicked!
Sadly chocolate (which is one of the many products made from cacao) has been polluted with unnecessary and toxic additions. I'm talking things like refined sugars, corn syrups, bad fats, and all manner of artificial things. I am so glad to see that a lot of the world is waking up now to the fact that ingredients left closest to their natural state are the best for us, and that's what they're demanding!
To get the best benefit from your indulgent treat, and often the best taste, choose a chocolate with as few ingredients as possible. As well as that, those with an ingredients list that reads like a chemistry lesson are unlikely to leave you feeling great either! If cacao, or even good quality cocoa is listed, make sure it's listed at the top, and has a high percentage count. 70% and above is a good guide. Another rule I live by is that you shouldn't need a Nuclear Physicist to help you pronounce the ingredients!
All sugar is not created equal
Most chocolate will contain some kind of sugar, which in itself is not a bad thing, but not all sugars are created equal. Most mass-produced chocolate contains various types of "sugar". I say "sugar" because that's often what it says on the label, but what is "sugar" to you? To me, it's a bit like calling a curry a "meat" curry! Meat is a collective word that often means the flesh of something - but what something? In other words it's a meaningless word because it doesn't specify the type and nature of sugar, and therefore it's harder for you to know what it does to your body. Most mass-produced chocolate is sweetened with "sugar", which gives you very little transparency about what it really is.
The couverture chocolate that I use is sweetened with coconut blossom sugar, an unrefined sugar. You can go look it up online and read how it affects your body. With something described as "sugar" you can't do that. I only use unrefined sugars in all of my products, and that's because the way they are harvested or processed means that they often have at least some trace amounts of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants etc. left in them, that add at least some health benefits to your indulgent treat. Whereas white sugar, on the other hand, tends to have been stripped of any health benefits in the heating and refining process.
Now to why Chocolate actually loves you & makes you happy!
A handful of foods made from cocoa beans contain a chemical compound called phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical released by our brains when you fall in love. PEA stimulates the nervous system, increases the heart rate and blood pressure, and triggers the release of hormones like dopamine that create feelings of euphoria, making you feel happy and loving - yum! When you are in full-blown PMS, your dopamine and serotonin levels drop. "Your body says No" and knows when to call for help. So, there is a genuine reason why we crave chocolate at that time of the month or when we just need a mood boost!
One of the many reasons I like to keep my ingredients as ‘raw’ as possible (i.e. by minimising the amount of heat I apply to them) is because heat destroys many of the minerals, antioxidants and natural chemicals in it. I use raw cacao in all my chocolate products, which is made by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao, meaning you get more of the good stuff, and feel great.
Does this mean I can now describe my cacao containing products as a ‘Love Drug’?!
Oh, and by the way the connection of the image; it's a chocolate coloured Labrador, and puppies also make us happy!!
Chocolate contains the "Good Chemicals & Fats"
Often in my marketing messages I love to bang on about how my products don't contain any chemicals. But now I need to put the record straight, and say that it does contain some chemicals - the good ones!
Organic cacao butter is as pure as you can get, it’s the natural fat from the cocoa bean. Cacao butter is high in Oelic Acid (otherwise known as Omega 9 found in avocado’s and extra virgin olive oil) – and you know they’re good for you right? This 100% vegan fat is a great addition for those who are on a plant-based diet or who are trying to get more healthy, saturated fats in their diet.
Cacao is packed with nutrients. The amount of magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, chromium and different nutrients is in astronomical amounts for a food. The amount of magnesium alone it gives you is a great reason to enjoy cacao. Magnesium increases energy, calms your nerves, relaxes your muscles and it prevents migraine headaches, apparently.
Blueberries are known for their high levels of antioxidants. But did you know that cacao has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries! What are antioxidants good for? You’ve probably heard of them in those expensive face cream adverts! When you bite into an apple leave it for a while it browns – that’s oxidizing. Antioxidants help with aging and absorb the free radicals in your body. Free radicals are toxins and pollutants we come in contact with all the time. So, eating more antioxidants is great for your body.
Chocolate [made with cacao] is one of the best foods on the planet! There are so many massive benefits, and they shape why we crave it. But we often think we're craving chocolate, when in fact our highly intelligent body is really craving many of it's benefits. So, if like me, you're in to wellness and wellbeing, you'll know that it's really important to listen to your body. It literally "speaks" to you all the time, telling you what it needs - good stuff!
So, find the good stuff and feel free to indulge! Like I said, [good quality] chocolate loves you, so don’t hold back on loving it back, and enjoy it's benefits that can make you feel better, live a happier life and have better hormones. It tastes good and it has massive healthy benefits - who wouldn't want to fall in love with something like that!
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