Before I get to today’s post, you should know I have been having a long discussion with Bip, my bipolar dragon. She has been acting up lately and I am getting frustrated. We have come to an agreement that seems to be more acceptable to me. I will exercise more and feed her better chocolate. In exchange Bip will be better behaved and let me sleep at night.
Now for the chocolate ….
I am a 4th generation chocoholic with a penchant for dark German and Swiss chocolates. It is an addiction that I have no desire to get rid of.
What I Have Learned About Chocolate and Calories
It is what you put the chocolate in or on that has the calories.
Now just think about this for a minute. What do we eat our chocolate with? I like mine with additives like cake, frosting, nugget, cream filling, nuts, caramel, cookies, ice cream, and other such goodies.
Where are most of the calories? In the additives.
Conclusion: Just eat the chocolate.
Dark Chocolate is Good For You.
Scientific studies have shown that dark chocolate has many health benefits. It is good for your heart, brain, eyes, and emotional stamina. Why? Probably because it is more chocolate than additives. There is less sugar and milk solids also. I like the 70%or more cocoa bars myself. One or two squares eaten slowly will really satisfy that craving.
Why Does Good Chocolate Melt Faster?
Because there are fewer bad things in it.
Cheap chocolate has too many extras in it. Sugar (often the first ingredient), lactose, soy lecithin (emulsifiers), and other artificial things that impact the flavor and benefits of chocolate. This may make the chocolate lighter and sweeter, but it also makes it less satisfying and less healthy.
Most high-quality chocolates use very little if any of these ingredients. They have a higher cocoa (first ingredient) and coco butter (emulsifier) content. They use butter and cream with a higher fat content that is less processed and healthier. By using more natural and healthier ingredients, good chocolate tends to melt faster. They also taste better and are better for you.
Frozen Chocolate Lasts Longer
For those of us who have favorite candy bars like Snickers, Milky Way, Hershey’s, etc. the freezer is your best friend. I like to buy the miniatures and bite size chocolates and then put them in the freezer.
When you are seized by those overwhelming cravings you can take one or two chocolates out of the freezer. The only rule is that you cannot bite or chew it. You must let it melt in your mouth of its own accord. Because it is frozen it can last up to 20 minutes giving you the pleasure without a lot of guilt.
When I was a young mother with small children my chocolate stash kept disappearing. After some in detective work I discovered that Husband was eating it and not replacing it.
Not having my chocolate stash caused some problems:
- When I had a craving, there was nothing to eat so I ate things I shouldn’t.
- When I needed an emotional pick-me-up, I was cranky instead.
- I would prowl the house late at night unable to sleep.
- I was angry at Husband.
After some serious thought I devised a plan.
I chose a frozen vegetable that I knew my family would not eat, brussel sprouts. I bought a big bag. I cooked it up and served it for dinner. After all the whining, groaning, and gagging I agreed not to make it anymore. I then told everyone that I liked it, so I would snack on it after they went to bed.
After they went to bed I dumped all brussel sprouts into the trash and took out the trash to remove all evidence. I washed and dried the bag. I then filled it with all my favorite chocolates and put it back in the freezer.
Every once in a while, I’d pull out the bag and ask my family if they wanted brussel sprouts for dinner. After the screams of fear, I would shrug my shoulders and put it back in the freezer.
My chocolates stayed safe and undiscovered for several years.
The Cocoa Bean is Part of a Food Group
The Cocoa bean is not a vegetable, a fruit, or a legume. It is a seed like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. It falls under Nuts, Seeds and Legumes in the CDC’s food pyramid.
Since it can be classified within a specific food group it should be part of our daily food intake.
The Power of the Cocoa Bean
This wonderful seed should be considered a Super Food. Consider the following benefits:
- Cocoa has a high concentration of antioxidants such as polyphenols, catechins and epicatechins. Antioxidants are the tiny warriors that protect our cells from damaging diseases and aging.
- The cocoa bean is a good source of Magnesium as well. Magnesium is good for the heart, improves blood flow, enhances brain function, helps prevent constipation, and even relieves menstrual cramps.
- Cocoa contains enough Chromium to replenish those deficient in this important trace mineral.
- Manganese is yet another trace mineral found abundant in cacao. Manganese works hard helping Iron oxygenate the blood and assists with the formation of hemoglobin.
- Cocoa is an excellent source of Zinc, as well, which plays an important role in keeping our immune system strong, liver functioning well, along with a healthy pancreas, and skin. Zinc takes part in many enzymatic reactions throughout the entire body.
- Cocoa beans contain “feel good” compounds can that trigger a euphoric feeling when eaten improving mood greatly
Okay, so it is obvious that I will find any reason why I should eat chocolate. But then I am an addict after all.