Last weekend, one of my friends went to a yoga fair in Manchester and reported that she hadn’t done any yoga but had bought quite a bit of chocolate (raw, naturally), which, if I’m honest, is my sort of yoga event!! Apologies to all yoga goddesses out there!!
It is a very rare human who doesn’t like (or even love!) chocolate, and with the ever-growing selection of raw chocolate bars on the market, we can now enjoy one of our favourites without a side order of guilt.
Chocophiles (yes, that IS a word) must have welcomed the news this week that chocolate makes us cleverer. Studies showed that cognitive ability was improved by eating chocolate, although there was no differentiation made between dark and milk varieties, and as yet, no firm proof of just why it helps to fine-tune our grey matter! This is not a good reason, however, to munch our way through a large bar of any old chocolate!!
In the quest for fantastic health, it’s prudent to stay well clear of commercial chocolate which contains lots of refined sugar, dairy and a variety of additives. Instead, I recommend an exciting exploration into the world of raw and handmade chocolate. Here’s why …………
Just a small note before I start, I refer below to cAc-AO and cOc-OA. This is not a typo!! Cacao is the good stuff; cocoa is its more processed offspring.
Chocolate starts its journey as a cacao bean. Cacao’s Latin name is “Theobroma cacao” which literally means “Cacao, food of the Gods”, which says a lot!! It contains various minerals including magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as Vitamin C. It also boasts some amazing feel-good factors such as anandamide (aka the “bliss chemical”), PEA (which helps focus and alertness) and tryptophan (precursor of serotonin). Perhaps we can start to see why it’s so good for the old grey cells after all? 🙂
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans, thus preserving all the nutritional goodness.
Commercial everyday chocolate uses cocoa, which is the result of roasting raw cacao at very high temperatures. Already a poorer version of itself, refined sugar, dairy and other not-so-healthy things are then added.
Raw, handmade bars also have the additional advantage of having an extra dose of love added. 🙂
Not everybody has the time to play alchemist in their own kitchen to produce amazing bars, but it’s reasonably easy to enjoy the feel-good, health benefits of raw cacao by simply adding raw cacao powder to dishes.
Try blending a small spoonful (it’s up to you whether you make that a teaspoon or a dessertspoon!!)
• to a morning green smoothie to make breakfast a little extra special
• to a glass of almond milk, with banana and 2 – 3 dates to provide a welcome pick-me-up milkshake in the afternoon
• to an avocado, banana, 2 dates and a smidgeon of lemon juice, to make a quick and easy treat after dinner
A spot of bliss on a spoon 🙂
Judith Reid is Naturopathic Nutritionist who is passionate about all things natural, elephants, travel and dance. Using purely natural methods, she recovered from illness and changed her life in the process.
To read more about Judith click here.
You can enjoy delicious and healthy organic, raw cacao in the form of cacao nibs or powder – both are available from the natural health shop
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