Healthy chocolate for your kids: guilt free
It seems no matter what else you give up (caffeine, sugar, white flour, fried foods, etc.) it will be next to impossible to kick the chocolate habit. That irresistible melt in your mouth, feel good sensation is too sensuous to give up.
When I was pregnant I began searching for healthy chocolate, and though 70% dark organic chocolate satisfied my cravings, I still felt guilty because it always left me wanting more, and I knew the caffeine in it was not good for the developing bun in my oven.
Then I learned from a friend that I could enjoy chocolate bliss guilt free, and it could actually be very healthy and safe for my baby.
I started learning about the health benefits of cocoa…
HISTORIC USE OF COCOA: THE FRUIT
The history of chocolate is that it has been around for more than 3000 years. It was used by ancient Meso-American civilizations for almost every purpose, from currency to medicine.
The Aztecs made a potent medicinal drink called xocoatl, “bitter water”, out of ground cocoa beans and other spices. The Mayans used the cocoa beans as currency, symbolizing edible wealth. The cocoa harvest was so important in their religion that they had a cocoa God, Ek Chuah. These ancient civilizations knew the power of this magical fruit. One cocoa pod, containing 20-60 “beans”, could feed an entire tribe for the day!
MINDBLOWING HEALTH FACTS ABOUT COCOA
- Cocoa is actually a FRUIT that contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any food on Earth, and a full spectrum of nutrients found naturally in different fruits and vegetables.
- Antioxidants are what our bodies need to prevent oxidation, and fight off the free radicals that cause aging and degenerative disease.
- The cocoa bean is especially high in magnesium, an essential mineral for bone strength. The magnesium in cocoa is converted into calcium and iron by the body. Kids generally have magnesium deficiency, and it has been linked to disorders like ADHD.
- Raw cocoa beans contain over 300 chemically identifiable compounds, making cocoa the most complex food on Earth.
- Recent science shows that healthy chocolate has supreme anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
- When it’s processed without heating, roasting or alkalizing, cocoa powder contains super antioxidants called flavanoids.
Dr. Richard Cutler, director of anti-aging research at the National Institute of Health, says “The amount of antioxidants that you maintain in your body is directly proportional to how long and healthy you will live.”
- What is it that makes us feel so good about eating chocolate? Anandaimide is the chemical that creates that chocolate bliss, and elevates our mood by releasing serotonin.
- Cocoa also contains high levels of PEA which increase brain chemicals that help us stay focused and alert.
- It has appetite suppressant properties which help with weight loss!
BUT HOW DO WE TAP INTO THIS WEALTH OF HEALTHY CHOCOLATE BENEFITS?
Dr. Norman Hollenberg, flavanol expert at Harvard Medical, says that most chocolate is not flavanol rich. That’s because processing is key to flavanol content.
Unfortunately, almost all commercial chocolate makers roast their cocoa beans and heat the chocolate at high temperatures, so it loses around 70% of its antioxidant properties.
They also add caffeine, to keep us hooked!
YOUR SOLUTION – RAW CHOCOLATE!
Benefit from the astounding benefits by making your own raw healthy chocolate! You can also buy ready made raw chocolate.
HEALTHY CHOCOLATE RECIPE
1/2 cup Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs (also available at your local health food store)
1/2 cup coconut butter or cacao butter (melt on low heat in a double boiler)
1/2 cup raw honey, yacon syrup or healthy sweetener
Grind the raw cacao nibs into a powder. Mix all ingredients by hand until they are thoroughly mixed. Pour into chocolate moulds and freeze. They should set in a few hours (depending on the thickness of the moulds), after which you can take them and store them in the fridge.
Yummy additions to your chocolate include:
- Chopped nuts
- A sprinkle of bee pollen
- Shredded coconut
- An edible flower on each square
- Raisins, goji berries or chopped dried fruit