Tag Archives: Food

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

Close Encounters for the Second Time

You know how I love my trips to Whole Foods, and last night’s little jaunt ended up being another fun health coach moment.

Remember the last one?

This time it was all about nutritional yeast!

Okay, some of you are probably thinking, “What the what?” We’re getting to that.

So a couple of guys found me grabbing at the kale krunchies and had to ask what they were all about.

“They must be good the way you’re stocking up,” one of them said. Then he read the ingredient list of Quite Cheezy and asked, “Now what about nutritional yeast? Is that good for you? What about yeast problems?”

“Nutritional yeast is the best part!” I screamed. Okay, maybe I didn’t scream, but I was VERY animated.

Here’s what I told him:
Nutritional yeast does not cause Candida (yeast overgrowth) because it is not an active yeast, so no concerns there. What contributes to yeast overgrowth is sugar.

Nutritional yeast is super healthy because it’s loaded with B vitamins, and B12 is the one vitamin that vegetarians and vegans can’t get from any food because it comes from animal products.

Nutritional yeast is also a great source of protein and folic acid. Each tablespoon has only 20 calories plus 1g of fiber and 2g of protein, so it’s a low-cal add-on that packs a hefty nutritional punch.

Now, for why it’s the best part…

It makes food cheesy! I’m not kidding. It doesn’t have any salt, dairy, sugar, gluten, egg, animal derivatives, wheat, corn, starch, soy or any artificial flavorings, colors, or preservatives. And it’s non-gmo. But somehow, miraculously, it tastes like parmesan cheese. I’m not sure why or how but it does and it sure jazzes up many a meal for me. I put it on popcorn, eggs, veggies, and Lydia’s kale krunchies.

So, since I got that question out in the world last night, and since up until a few days ago, two very health-conscious friends of mine who eat very little meat had never heard of it, I figured I’d bring all the rest of you up to speed, as well.

The two main brands are Bragg and Red Star and you can find them at Whole Foods, health stores, or online.

I’m no vegan but I don’t eat a ton of animal products. I’m all for a plant-based diet, but it needs to be done the right way, and getting all your vitamins, especially that B12 is very important. So there you have it.

I can’t wait for my next Whole Foods encounter!

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Filed under GMO-free, Health, Products, Snacks, Vegan

Food Finds, Part 2

We’re back with Part 2 of my new food finds! In case you missed Part 1, you can read it here.

And without further ado…

KOMBUCHA
You know I love water, but now I’m also loving Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha, specifically the Multi-Green flavor.

Kombucha is so healthy for you – the cultures in this effervescent drink work as a probiotic, helping your digestive system do what it needs to do. It works the way yogurt does, adding healthy bacteria to your gut, but without dairy.

Multi-Green is surprisingly sweet (sounds like it would be vegetabley, right? yeah, not so much.) with only 4 grams of sugar in the entire bottle, but with spirulina, blue green algae, and chlorella, which are three superfoods that are amazing for you. I sip it throughout the day (keeping it in the fridge, of course) so that I get a little hit of sweetness and healthy bacteria after I eat.

If you’re not digging the greens, that’s okay – Citrus and Original flavors are great, too. But Multi-Green is packing some serious nutritional punch.

POPCORN

My pick for popcorn these days is the Whole Foods 365 brand of organic, reduced fat, low-sodium popcorn. They use gmo-free corn, which is really important. And this popcorn passed the husband test, which means it tastes good and isn’t cardboardy.

BREAD

And for those of you in Southern California, I want to share with you my new favorite bread and bagel option. Silver Hills Bakery makes some awesome stuff – super healthy and oh so tasty. I’m officially head over heels for the Squirrelly bread and bagels because it tastes delicious and has the cutest name. Plus, the husband likes them.

Pick up these products at Whole Foods, Jimbo’s, Sprouts, Erewhon, or your local health food store.

Now go forth and find a fun, new healthy food this weekend!

Question of the Day:
Anyone ever have anything crazy happen on Friday the 13th?

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Filed under GMO-free, Health, Organic, Product Review, Products, Raw, Snacks, Superfoods, Water

Week of Pictures – Day 2

I think we can all relate to this!

Today’s picture is a reminder to keep your blood sugar stable.

Don’t go for long periods without eating – when you get to a state of super hunger you become tired, irritable, and more likely to reach for unhealthy foods.

And don’t choose foods that cause spikes in blood sugar, either. That causes your body to respond with bursts of insulin to bring your blood sugar back down, which then makes you want to jack it up again for a quick boost of energy…and that means the wrong foods.

What foods cause spikes? You guessed it. Sugar.

Choose foods with fiber, protein, and healthy fats so you don’t Jekyll and Hyde your friends and family.

We’ve all been on the giving end of this. And the receiving end, too. And it ain’t pretty. Am I right?

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Filed under Health, picture, Sugar

Week of Pictures – Day 1, Part 2

I hope you all enjoyed today’s earlier post.

In case you were thinking that the chances of cows going terrorist are slim to none, here’s an additional reason for why we should avoid fast food.

No joke, this “food” was purchased on April 22, 2010, and the picture was taken on April 22, 2012.

Perhaps you’ve seen experiments like this before. Perhaps not.

Consider this a reminder that our bodies run on real food.

Show yourself some love and give it the fuel it needs.

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Filed under Fast Food, picture