This week, I had a love affair. Opps. I forgot to mention that it was with Chocolate! Yes. That divine dark sweetness that turns my world upside down. I thought of ways to express my love to it, I thought about Odes, love songs, sweet nothings.. but thought that writing about it would allow myself to admit that I have a guilty addiction to chocolate. Some weeks, like this one it borders near on obsession.
I cant count the number of times my girlfriends and I have shared our guilty admissions to the addiction of chocolate, especially during the hormonal and stressful times of our life, there are some who have an awful amount of blame on themselves when it comes to chocolate. However, I have news for you… There is nothing to feel bad about when indulging in chocolate. Its incredibly healthy for our hearts and our minds. So indeed we crave it for good reasons.
Interestingly enough eating chocolate around our menstruation time provides the magnesium we need for our uteruses to relax, and ease the cramping. It adds iron back into our bodies which we loose much of during our menses and the stress cravings we feel, are benefited by chocolates rich supply of antioxidants and mood elevating endorphins, which buffer stress.
Let me share a bit more about what chocolate can do for your health.
- It reduces blood pressure, improves cholesterol rations, and certain studies have shown that is can reduce the overall risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 76 %!!!
- it improves our brain function and mood
- improves stress response
- improves immunity
- reduce inflammation
- supports healthy blood sugar levels
- provide a concentrated source of antioxidants (8 times more than red wine, 3 times that in green tea) in your diet
- provide minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium
So, with all this in mind don’t feel like its okay to eat a few snickers bars a day. There are are some things to understand about chocolate.
First, in terms of the heath benefits- The darker the better. The less cocoa content the chocolate bar contains (which will tell you by the % marked on the label), the less of the antioxidant polyphenols, minerals and fiber it will contain.
Secondly, its important that the product is as unprocessed as possible. That way the more antioxidant power it will have.
All in all the research I have found it seems that a 100g serving of 70% or higher dark chocolate, or 3 tbl (about 25g) cocoa powder are what you want when it comes to optimum health benefits and disease prevention. As well as a diet that is already rich in whole foods and plants i.e. don’t think you can live on chocolate!
Think of it, as the added nutritious sweet goodness you give yourself on a daily basis.
I think its also important to bring up the fact that a lot of chocolate comes from exotic places far off that most of the people involved in the making of it, mainly children have very little rights, and are exploited in the process of producing it. The environmental impact is also important to consider as the land is often destroyed for the same reason. We don’t want to be eating human suffering and environmental degradation just to support our health . There is quite a bit of information on this, and I urge you do do your research on this when buying chocolate. Find out where it comes from- and try to by Fair trade/ shade gown and organically cultivated so that everyone benefits.
For more information on this I recommend this film: http://documentaryheaven.com/the-dark-side-of-chocolate/
So, on a happier note: Please indulge and do not feel guilty. I know I wont.
This weekend Im planning on continuing the love affair by making this:
CHOCOLATE ROSE GANACHE
what better could the benefit of roses be with the added addition of chocolate?
To make the rose powder simply take a coffee grinder ( clean it well) and powder the herbs to a fine silky substance. This will later be added to the chocolate ganache.
Ganache consists of two ingredients: Dark Chocolate/ semi- sweet and heavy cream. Oh Yum.
9 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup of heavy cream.
Bring the cream to a boil, then remove and pour over the bowl of chopped chocolate.
Let it stand covered for a moment to soften up the chocolate, then whisk until it is smooth, Now stir in about 2 tbls of the rose powder. For the best results pour into a jar of some kind and let it cool overnight at room temperature.
Im going to have this on hand for the quick fix to a chocolate dessert, hot chocolate, or for those moments that im feeling particularly sinful, when I just have to have a spoonful.