I’m thinking of renaming my weightloss approach to “Losing Weight Without Giving Up Chocolate”…..because, well, it works! I’m willing to give up certain things in the name of wellness, but chocolate is not one of them. A day without chocolate is like a day without air…dead and lifeless. Yep, I’m that serious about my chocolate.
Cacoa (pronounced kuh-KOW) beans are seeds from the fruit of the Theobroma Cacao Tree. See–when you are eating chocolate you are eating a seed–think sunflower, pumpkin, etc…everyone knows seeds are HEALTHY.
The cacoa bean is rosted and ground into a thick chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic, sorry!). If hardened, we get unsweetened chocolate, aka baking chocolate. The fat that is pressed our of the liquor is cocoa butter. Cocoa powder is the result of the dried and sifted remains of the liquor.
Cocoa contains flavonoids–powerful antioxidants that protect the body from harmful molecules called free radicals (they may be FREE but they do RADICAL things to the body). Here are some other benefits:
- contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay (tell that to your dentist!)
- just the smell of cocoa raises theta brainwaves, resulting in relaxation
- cocoa butter contains oleic acid–that’s the same good stuff that is in avocados which raises your HDL (good cholesterol)
- cocoa raises serotonin levels (who needs Prozac? give me chocolate!)
Higher cocoa percentage equals more flavonoids, less sugar and a more intense, delicious flavor. Aim for a minimum of 65% cocoa. If it doesn’t say the percentage on the package, don’t buy it. Currently, I am up to 85% cocoa, and LOVE it. This is for heavy lifters only, though, so work your way up gradually so you don’t get hurt.
To lose weight, keep your serving size around 100 calories/day. Target sells some great chocolate in individual portions, which helps minimize overconsumption. Which is easy to do with chocolate.
Chocolate….your true friend on your way to wellness.
Breathe! Smile! Enjoy!