Soooooo, chocolate. It really needs no introduction – am I right?! If you’re reading this post you probably love chocolate like I do…and like most people with a pulse do. Ive had to give up chocolate twice in my life: once when I was breastfeeding my little guy, who had bad reflux and was clearly allergic to something I was consuming, so I eliminated all possible culprits (thankfully it was dairy, not chocolate that he was allergic to); and once when I had to eliminate “moldy” foods due to systemic mold toxicity. It was not easy, and it was not pleasant, life without chocolate. Some of you may be thinking “you own a health and fitness studio – why are you always encouraging us to eat chocolate?”. Well, because I am a firm believer that, as the Eating Evolved slogan so cleverly puts it, chocolate is food, not candy. When it’s the right kind of chocolate that is. Here’s why:
Health Benefits of Chocolate
- Packed with anti-oxidants and is free radical fighting
- Can improve heart health
- Promotes healthy cholesterol levels
- May help fight cancer
- Can reduce inflammation
- Can boost cognitive functioning
- Can help lower blood pressure
- Contains numerous vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, selenium, etc
Isn’t that amazing? But here’s the thing: we’re not talking about the chocolate that you used to get trick-or-treating as a kid: you know, the Snickers and Butterfinger bars…those are not considered “food” and you will not see the above benefits from eating 6 candy bars a day. We’re talking about pure, dark chocolate, the darker the better. Here is what you want to look for – and avoid – when choosing a healthy chocolate:
- 70% or higher cacao content (we typically don’t use anything lower than 85%)
- organic or fair trade
- minimally processed
- no additives or soy
- preferably no refined sugar (maple or coconut sugar preferred)
We buy Eating Evolved chocolate because it meets all of our criteria and is delicious! While we don’t use it as a meal replacement, we do eat quite a bit of it, and like knowing that we’re nurturing our bodies and our health. We also love to make treats with it from time to time, like my Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups!
Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups
- 1 dark chocolate bar (we use 85%, but you could use darker or lighter, or a combination of the two!)
- 1T coconut oil
- 1/4c coconut butter or nut butter (we like almond butter)
- Line mini-muffin tin with 12 mini-muffin liners. Alternatively you can buy mini muffin liners that do not need to be used in a tin, you would just place them on a baking sheet.
- Melt chocolate and coconut oil in double boiled over low-medium heat.
- Spoon about a teaspoon of chocolate into each muffin liner. Steps 3-5 should be done rather quickly to avoid the chocolate drying and becoming less manageable (and pretty)!
- Spoon a dollop (a teaspoon or so) of coconut butter or nut butter on top of the chocolate.
- Spoon another teaspoon or so of chocolate on top of the butter. If needed, continue to add a little more chocolate to each cup to cover the butter, and until all of the chocolate is used.
- Freeze for 20 min.