The Chocolate Project: making chocolate our friend, not our enemy

I consume chocolate everyday as part of my Power Smoothies. However, my chocolate is in the form of Organic Raw Cacao nibs. Eaten by itself, you'll find raw cacao to be unenjoyably bitter.

In trying to get more friends and family into healthy eating. I decided to go out and research how to utilize the health benefits of chocolate candy bars, and offer any suggestions for how they should proceed to buy it.

Dark chocolate is known to have extensive health benefits. Chocolate can be a good way to get family and friends more into healthy eating by showing them that foods such as this, that can be enjoyed, if we educate ourselves on how buy. They rely on me to put in the research and that's cool, so to start my "Chocolate Project" I run over to Whole Foods and take a look at their extensive, "half of an aisle" array of gourmet chocolates.

I proceed to reading ingredients and, for most of them,  the only thing that gave me pause was the sugar. I realized however, I have no problem myself eating one of these bars every now and because I know that small amount of organic sugar is not going to adversely affect my overall diet. Also since,  I stick to natural sweeteners in my daily diet, I have been naturally weaned off refined sugar cravings, so I don't have to worry about becoming addicted. 

There were a few that were sugar free, but when you see the sugar free label, one has to be aware of whatever sugar replacement is there. Rarely is the replacement an acceptable sweetener such as Stevia or Birch Tree Xylitol.

So, I tell my family and friends, first AVOID all the cheap commercial chocolates like Hershey bars because of the unhealthy ingredients, then try to pick a gourmet bar that is USDA organic just to be safe, pick the one that has the highest percentage of cacao, and read the ingredients to insure no "strange stuff" is being slipped in there. I always jokingly say that these gourmet Dark Chocolate bars can cost from $3 to $7 dollars, so that in and of itself will prevent you from eating several of them a day LOL!! In the end, I unfourtunately did not find the ultimate chocolate bar with perfect ingredients, mainly because of the sugar, so these bars have to be regulated to an occasional treat for me.

As always, do your homework. I found several enlightening articles on chocolate, one of which can be found here.

So I tell family and friends to, always enjoy what you eat, let it evolve naturally, try getting into smoothies with raw cacao if possible, learn to read labels, an remember a little knowledge and a little work we can make those guilty pleasures work for us as opposed to against us. 

read my in depth article on the AMAZING benefits if Cacao

~stay healthy~

 

check out all my articles in "Eat Smart", the science of food (click here or on the photo below)

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