What comes to mind when you think of chocolate? If you would have asked me that question a few years ago, I would have said “weight gain”. But what I’ve realized in my own personal life, is that chocolate is not the culprit of weight gain that I thought it was. How I think about chocolate is so different because eating chocolate occasionally is really about the quality and the quantity I’m consuming.
All chocolate is made from Cacao Beans (also known as Cocoa Beans). And although all chocolate is made from cacao, all chocolate is not created equal. Growing up during the holidays, there were always bags of Hershey’s or some other milk chocolate in bowls on our coffee table and I was happy to eat it!
What I’ve learned is when I nourish my body with foods that not only are nutritious and also taste good, there is no guilt. Cacao comes from a small tropical tree, the Theobroma cacao, (Theobroma is Greek for “food of the gods.”). Cacao is native to Central and South America, but is grown commercially throughout the tropics. Cacao contains many nutrients as well as phytochemicals.
Here are a few reasons why adding just a small amount of chocolate occasionally to your diet especially during Valentine’s Day make’s that time with your loved one so much sweeter.
Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested, including blueberries, red wine and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Antioxidants are phenomenal at protecting our cells from free radical damage. Once we’ve consumed antioxidants mostly through the foods we eat, it slows down, or even prevents, the oxidation of other molecules. When molecules in the body oxidize, they can create free-radicals. It is very normal to have these free-radicals in the body, but in excess, they can wreak havoc on our cellular structures. When it comes to antioxidants, think of them as your best friend that wants to protect you at all cost.
Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese. All of these minerals are essential to great health, but what really gets me excited is that cacao is high in the “beauty mineral” sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails and hair, promotes beautiful skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports a healthy pancreas. I could go on and on about the many benefits of cacao, but I want to leave you with this recipe that is super delicious and easy to make.
I hope you share this recipe with the one you love!
Chocolate Love Cookies
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp. virgin coconut oil
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ½ cup agave nectar
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly and scoop out mixture with measuring teaspoon.
Roll into small balls and flatten with your fingers. Every so often wet your finger tips with a few drops of water to prevent cookies from sticking to your hands when flattening them. Place on unbleached parchment paper in Pyrex dish and place in the freezer for a couple of hours to maintain proper texture and consistency or if dehydrating place at 115 degrees Fahrenheit and place on texflex sheet for about 4 hours and then place directly on dehydrator sheets and finish dehydrating overnight. Store cookies in the refrigerator.
Tracy Neely is the founder and owner of Nourish & Flourish Healthy Living, a holistic nutrition and wellness consulting practice located in Orlando Florida.
Tags: chocolate cookie recipe, Raw Food, raw food diet, Raw Food Recipes, Tracy Neely
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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a month since I posted. I am truly sorry for that. I apologize to myself as well as to you, dear readers, since writing for this blog is one of the few things I do just for myself, that gives me a sense of identity, and a lot of personal satisfaction. I’ve tried to keep my weekly postings a top priority as, for the reasons just stated, they really help to keep me grounded and happy. All I can say is, for the last month, I’ve been a bit distracted.
In my last post, I officially declared I was in nesting mode. I used the phrase in the sense that I planned to hole up in my “nest”, kick my feet up, relax, and ease into the final stretch before labor. Well, since then, in addition to my usual routine, I have managed to organize/host 4 parties, attend various meetings, have the kitchen and laundry room painted, and deal with one really scary emergency room trip with my son. Not to mention being completely consumed with all things Election…so much for relaxing!
There is another use of the phrase “nesting mode”, however, that refers to a sort of manic state some expecting women get into, to prepare the “nest” so to speak, for the new arrival. You know, where the mom-to-be gets on her hands and knees to scrub every inch of the floor with a toothbrush, or decides at 2AM she must defrost the freezer or organize all the baby clothes by color, or some such other obsessive-compulsive task.
Well, this didn’t happen at all for me with my first pregnancy (beyond just covering the basics), but this time, I am that crazy woman. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night and organizing kitchen drawers, preparing meals for my son for two days out with explicit instructions, obsessively keeping on top of laundry, and reading and re-reading all the signs of labor to look for. Oh, and yes, folding and refolding all the baby clothes….My “to-do” list has always been a mile long, but suddenly, frantically, I feel panicked that I won’t get through it all before the baby comes. It’s really quite ridiculous! And all this has made it a wee bit difficult for me to prioritize.
On the flip-side, I feel great, people say I look great and can’t believe I’m “due” in a matter of days. If it weren’t for all the contractions (been having them for weeks now), I’d totally forget I was pregnant, and sometimes do anyway. I am trying to keep my mind off of it too, since my first baby was 12 days late, so I’m not holding my breath that this one will come on time. In fact, I am cherishing every moment I have with my son (and would actually welcome some extra time), as I know we will never have the same relationship again, where it’s just the two of us most of the time. I look forward, and with eager anticipation, to meeting the new baby and expanding our happy little family, but at the same time, a piece of me mourns the loss of the very special dynamic we have right now.
Now that the election is over, my bags are packed for the birthing center, thank you notes are written, the sky is not falling, and I don’t have too much left on my roster, I’m hoping I can finally kick back a bit…but then again, you never know ?.
Tags: chocolate cookie recipe
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