Tag Archives: Antioxidant

It Was A Shock…It was a Chocolat

That’s right. This post is about chocolate. How fun is that?!

I’m all about health, but I’m all about chocolate, too!

But I should specify – I love quality chocolate. I don’t like weird filler ingredients. I don’t like soy lecithin and emulsifiers. I don’t like artificial this, that, or the other thing. Oh, you know this about me by now. No need to repeat myself. 😉

So that means I like pricey, fancypants chocolate, but we all have our guilty pleasures, right? Craft chocolate is totally having a moment right now, just like beer and coffee. And I am all for taking advantage of it!

What do I look for in my chocolate? Only two ingredients and a whole lotta taste.

Ingredients: cacao and sugar.

Okay, you know I don’t think sugar is so great, but this is my one exception because dark chocolate – when 70% or higher – has antioxidants and deliciousness, and helps to curb hunger. And just a little bit goes a long way. We gotta treat ourselves sometimes, you know? We’re not nuns, here.

Alright, here we go. My favorite gourmet chocolate finds (click on the link to buy):

1. Dandelion – Venezuela and Colombia (both 70%)
Columbia has notes of caramel. Venezuela has notes of cinnamon and fruit. I love caramel, cinnamon, and fruit!

2. Rogue Chocolatier – 70% Rio Caribe
Notes of coffee, blood orange, nuts. Yum, yum, and yum.

3. Askinosie – I love the 77% from Davao, Philippines
This one contains a 3rd ingredient – cocoa butter. I can make exceptions.

4. Mast Brothers – 72% with cacao nibs (which is technically a 3rd ingredient, but doesn’t really count because they’re pure, unsweetened cacao pieces)

5. Ritual – 75% from Costa Rica
I’m not joking when I tell you this tastes like blackberry jam. Sometimes I can’t taste the notes they list on things, but I can tell you, there was no mistakin’ the blackberry in this. (It reminded me of the Friends episode with Joey and the jam.)

The grocery store selection can be good, too, but they typically have more than just two ingredients.

Here’s what I look for:
*soy-free
*organic
*gmo-free
*high cocoa content

I know I’m not going to get all of these from every chocolate bar, but there are a few that come very close. And here they are:

1. Dagoba – 74% Chocodrops
This one does contain soy but it’s organic and gmo-free soy. They make bars, too, but I like the drops because you can just pop a few…or a handful…you know how it is…

2. Fearless – 70% Organic, Direct Trade
They have a few different flavors. All are good, but this is made with raw cacao and tastes a little different. It’s super healthy because preparing it at a low temperature preserves the antioxidant content, but the taste might not be for everybody.

3. Alter Eco – Gmo-free. Organic. Vegan. Soy and gluten-free. Fair trade.
I especially like the quinoa flavor even though the chocolate isn’t as dark.

4. Snake and Butterfly – Fair trade, organic, and milk, soy, and gluten-free.
They have some interesting flavors, like bacon toffee. Never tried that one, though…

Things to keep in mind when it comes to chocolate:

  • Chocolate processed WITH alkali is not as healthy because the alkali strips out most of the antioxidants and flavonoids
  • The higher the cocoa content, the lower the content of sugar (and other stuff if you’re eating chocolate that has more than just cacao and sugar), and that’s a good thing. We want higher cocoa content. So that 85% dark chocolate bar? It has more cocoa and less sugar than that 47% bar. And more antioxidants.
  • For the most antioxidants, eat raw cacao (this is where chocolate comes from but when we heat it at high temps and add in sugar, etc., it loses it’s nutritional punch). It’s delicious in smoothies, chia pudding, oatmeal, in a mix with walnuts and goji berries, in greek yogurt…the possibilities are endless. In fact, raw cacao is a superfood – and it’s the food with the highest antioxidant content on the planet. Yes, you read that correctly. Raw cacao has more antioxidants than blueberries – by a lot. And when eaten with berries, the antioxidant effect multiplies. Pretty amazing, right?  Chocolate is awesome.
  • 1 oz is the recommended daily dose (about the size of a dental floss container) because as we all know, chocolate has fat and sugar and most of us are getting plenty of those from other sources, too. 😉
  • Organic and raw is always a better choice when it comes to chocolate
  • Don’t choose a chocolate…or anything, really…with a long list of ingredients

So there you have it. Go grab my grocery faves or indulge in one of my high-end finds. Either way, it’ll be tasty!

p.s. Oh, husband…if you made it to the bottom of this post…feel free to shop those first 5 links, should you need to find a treat for me in the near future… 😉

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Filed under Chocolate, Gluten-free, GMO-free, Health, Organic, Product Review, Products, Raw, Sugar, Superfoods, Vegan

Red, White and Blue

Happy 4th of July!

Let’s get patriotic with our food! Yup, we’re talking about red, white, and blue foods today.

RED

Raspberries are one of my favorite foods! They’re one of the lowest sugar fruits (which means they’re low-glycemic), very high in fiber, and also low in calories. Plus, they’re loaded with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and antimicrobial and anticarcinogenic compounds. You get serious bang for your caloric buck here. I recommend buying them organic and frozen because they are cheaper, delicious when they get melty, and don’t get as moldy as quickly as the fresh ones do.

A red food you should really watch out for is the papaya. Most papayas, sadly, are genetically modified (GMO alert!). I love this fruit, which is, like the raspberry, a low-sugar fruit, but now I’m very cautious about eating it. Make sure you know the origins of your papaya before you dive in.

As I’m scaling back on my papaya consumption, I’m turning things up a notch with red beets. This is one red food that I’m just now starting to appreciate. Beets have antioxidant, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory properties. And by increasing your intake of sweet vegetables, like beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes, you decrease your sweet cravings. For some of us, that’s a much-needed trick!

WHITE

White vegetables get overlooked, in my opinion, because everyone is so busy talking about greens. Well, greens are great, don’t get me wrong, but so are whites!

Here’s what the white veggies can do…

  • daikon radishes – detoxification, low in calories, and helps with fat and starch digestion
  • onions – antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, increases bone density, and lowers blood cholesterol
  • mushrooms – antioxidants and immune-boosting
  • cauliflower – good for digestion and detoxification, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory

Make sure to get lots of colorful fruits and veggies into your meals…and colorless ones, too!!

BLUE

Okay, this one is a little tricky. Blue foods are actually kind of purple. Purple mountain majesties? Okay, still patriotic. 😉

I think everyone knows by now that blueberries are packed with antioxidants, so all I’m going to say is that they top the dirty dozen list for produce with the most pesticide residue, and you should make sure to buy them, and all other berries, organic when possible. They can be pricey, so it’s a good option to buy them frozen. They last longer and are still packed with nutrients because they’re frozen right after they’re picked. It’s a win-win.

Anthocyanin, the pigment in blue/purple foods like blueberrieseggplants, figs, blackberries, plums, and grapes, gives us antioxidants, anti-aging properties, and benefits eye and heart health.

So, the bottom line is that the more colors you have on your plate, the better. By getting different types of foods into your diet, you’re getting a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and health benefits. So let’s get healthy and patriotic, people!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Question of the Day:
What’s the best place you’ve ever watched fireworks?

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Filed under Diet, Fruit, GMO, Health, Low-glycemic, Organic, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

What I’m Loving Right Now

Quite a bit! That’s the short answer. But I can’t write a blogpost with a short answer because that would just be silly.

Now, I should tell you that I am very happy these days. Very busy. But very happy. I recognize that I have so much to be grateful for. So I’m loving quite a bit at the moment.

In addition to having lots of wonderful people in my life and lots of wonderful things going on, I have some foods that are really hitting the spot. Yes, that’s right. I’m giving a shout out to the foods I’m loving right now.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Goji berries

These little fruits are really getting to the point of being addictive for me. And that is, of course, when I know I need to scale back. They’re like little chewy candies and it’s the chew, more than anything, that keeps me coming back for more. Admittedly, they’re not for everyone, but I recommend them for more than just their chew. This Himalayan superfood is loaded with vitamins A and C, a good dose of protein, fiber, iron, and amino acids.

I will confess, our relationship started off pretty rocky. I didn’t see the love affair coming. It was about 7 years ago when I first tried a goji at work, and then the phone rang, and the goji lodged itself in my throat, and I choked my way through the entire call. Horrified, I vowed never to eat goji berries again. Until a couple weeks ago. Someone recommended them to me and I decided to give them one more go. Now, my second bag of them is nearly gone. Buy online, at Whole Foods, or your local health foods store. And eat carefully. 😉

2. Maranatha Organic Peanut Butter

You probably saw this jar making an appearance in yesterday’s post. It’s such an integral part of my day that it’s starring in it’s second post…in two days! This is good stuff, people. Nut cravings are a sign that you’re in need of fun and with all the work I’ve been doing lately, I believe it. But if this satisfies my need for fun and then I can get back to work, that sounds pretty good to me!

3. Yogi DeTox Tea 


On the front of the box, it says this tea supports liver and kidney function. Okay…so? Well, the liver and kidneys help get the junk out of our bodies. And this tea helps them do that better…all the while tasting amazing. It’s spicy, it’s sweet, it’s complex. Gonna go make a cup now! Buy online, at Whole Foods, or your local health foods store.

4. Baby carrots

This is just the easiest snack in the world. I buy the organic peeled baby carrots, leave them on a shelf in my fridge, and grab a couple every time I get a little hunger. So refreshing. So sweet. A perfect little snack for warm days.

So there you have it. My favorite foods right now. That being said, it’s important to remember that health isn’t just about food. It’s also about the people and the things that make your life incredible.

Give some thought to who and what those are. Take a moment to be grateful. And feel free to share below!

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Filed under Organic, Snacks, Superfoods