A Valentine’s Day No Guilt CHOCOLATE: CACAO


VALENTINE’S DAY is the day set aside, in many countries around the world, to celebrate love, often through the exchange of cards, flowers and, of course, chocolate. How could this feast of CHOCOLATE happen now, only six weeks after all those New Year’s resolutions have just begun to settle in?  A huge day for truffles, and chocolate in the shapes of hearts & kisses, more chocolate is consumed during the Valentine’s Day holiday than at any other time of the year… and most of it the processed kind.  Let me tell you how to keep your New Year’s resolution by eating a healthier kind of chocolate!

I walked into my favorite food museum yesterday, Whole Foods, and was greeted by a cheerful woman standing by a display that featured raw chocolate powder, cacao powder.  Interested in what she had to say, I listened as she extolled the virtues of this delicate Mayan Superfood.  She featured recipes made from this magical powder, one being a chocolate sauce for desserts.  I happily sampled the contents of the little paper cup she handed me, which contained a slice of banana, drizzled with this delectable.  Knowing the benefits of cacao, the chocoholic that I am, I of course, made the purchase.

In my book, THE BROWN FAT REVOLUTION, I recommend to those of us who are true “chocoholics” to take the plunge and just “be done” with the craving.  Get rid of any guilt and celebrate with chocolate, good chocolate.  A holiday level chocolate treat contains about 250 calories, certainly, not enough to throw everything off kilter.  I assure you, there will be no metabolic catastrophe and you will continue to shed that soft, yellow fat, once you resume your diet and exercise program. I always kept a stash of dark chocolate in my freezer as the “grab of choice” in a pinch.  I now consume an even smarter choice,  a more pure kind of chocolate, which is made with raw cacao powder.

 Unlike popular commercial chocolate, which is processed, raw cacao consists of an abundance of healthy antioxidants that are preserved through the benefit of the cacao not being heated.  Many of the health beneficial flavinoids are not compromised by the process of cooking  the chocolate.  Pure raw cacao will not cause insulin spikes that are sometimes cited as a cause of overeating and weight gain.

In my book THE BROWN FAT REVOLUTION, I explain how “sugars and sweets produce, as you know, a rapid elevation of glucose into the blood.  Insulin then spikes to normalize your blood sugar and move the glucose into your tissues.  IF the glycogen stores there are already full, it’s already on its way to becoming yellow fat.  The most effective approach is to avoid sugars …”.  Further, “if there’s no sugar there, there is no glucose to shunt to your tissues.  Instead, because there’s an insulin spike but no real sugar to manage, your body will tip into hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).  In fact, after the high peak is reached, your insulin usually drops lower than what it was prior to the spike.  This makes you very hungry.  It’s a gain-weight situation.”

Good chocolate has a lot going for it, and for you! Studies have shown that it does not cause acne, nor does it increase dental cavities or cause diabetes.  It is a super antioxidant. It is actually touted as having 2X the antioxidants of red wine, 3X the antioxidants of green tea.

Heart Health: It dilates the blood vessels, improves circulation, helps to regulate blood pressure, and lowers LDL, or the bad cholesterol.  It contains oleic acid a heart-healthy  monounsaturated fat that is said to raise HDL, or the good cholesterol.

Mood Health:   It raises the level of Serotonin, thus acting as an anti-depressant. It helps reduce symptoms of PMS. It simulates the secretion of endorphins, giving way to the feeling of pleasure and well being

Skin Health: It is rich antioxidant properties laden with vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, Vitamins B1, B2, C,D & E

The TAKE AWAY is to dig in and enjoy!  Choose unsweetened dark chocolate or cacao.  Either way, it will be a healthy treat, helpful to your well-being.  Eat good chocolate and have just a little bit more of it!

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