Confession....I am a chocoholic. I eat chocolate every day. Yup. EVERY DAY. I use to eat milk chocolate...then switched to dark chocolate because of all the health claims. As I got older, my body couldn't handle all the added sugar. So when I educated myself more on the benefits of dark chocolate, I made a commitment to stick to eating more 100% cacao.
There are countless benefits of cacao. It's been known to aid in cardiovascular health, enhance mood, and is high in antioxidants. For me, eating pure cacao curbs my craving for the not so healthy chocolate. We say we "need" chocolate when in actuality, we are deficient in magnesium. Cacao is rich in magnesium so when consumed you'll be able to manage your need to overeat that chocolate bar or cake. Here are my 3 cacao staples I consume almost daily to avoid high sugar in chocolate, and keep my chocolate rages under control:
- Pascha Organic's 100% Cacao Chocolate Chips have replaced my chocolate bar addiction. I add these to trail mixes, yogurt, and homemade date balls. They are free of gluten, soy, dairy, nuts, and added sweetener. The extreme bitterness takes some getting use to. I recommend trying the lower percentage cacao chocolates before you get up to 100%. For a sweet treat, I'll stuff cashew or almond butter in a pitted date, and then add the cacao chips. The natural sweetness of the date really compliment the bitter cacao.
- Speaking of dates...RX Bar's Chocolate Sea Salt are my protein bar of choice when I'm on the go. With 3 egg whites in each bar, the 12g of protein definitely beat your typical chocolate protein bar. The other ingredients include dates, nuts, and cacao. These are delicious, and even my toddler loves them!
- Navitas Oganics Cacao Powder are featured in every chocolate flavored smoothie I blend. Their organic cacao powder is packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and magnesium. Side note: cacao is not the same as cocoa.
If you are addicted to chocolate, try replacing it with some of these. And ladies, when it's that time of the month and all you want is chocolate covered everything, give these a try to avoid the sugar rush crash turned into guilt thinking "OMG I ate handfuls of chocolate in one sitting". You don't have to give up your decadent restaurant desserts entirely. It's all about balance. On special occasions, I will indulge in only the very best chocolate desserts at my favorite restaurants. Once in a while I like to treat myself to Vosges Chocolates or explore Whole Foods for one of many organic fair trade chocolate bar brands. I've noticed when I practiced eating chocolate in a more mindful way, I stopped having guilt or a horrible sugar rush. So enjoy your healthiest chocolate most days, and have the other delicios chocolate only a few (or less) days. Now be happy that you can have your chocolate and eat it too!
With love and chocolate,