chocolate recipe!

Ahh for the love of chocolate! I guess nearly everyone has a soft spot for the dark delight that comes from the Cacao bean! And achocs long as it is dark chocolate, the high flavonoids are bio-available and have powerful anti-oxidant effects. Unfortunately, like coffee, chocolate is poorly traded and many growers are subjected to modern day slavery.  So please buy with care: buy fairly traded whenever you can.

This recipe was inspired after a chocolate making class with Ben who is madly passionate about chocolate. The tweak I’ve made has been to add Coconut Oil for the fat burning effects of its medium chain fatty acids. Meanwhile honey as a sweetener is great, especially the healing effects on allergies of raw honey. Maple Syrup also provides a great substitute due to its mitochondrial anti-oxidant effects, which makes it excellent for exercise. And I like to play with adding adaptogens such as Schisandra – great for before or after a workout!

Whilst you play, consider adding some soy lecithin and milk thistle extract to protect your liver. Soy lecithin is used in chocolate as an emulsifier, however it also makes milk thistle more bioavailable. Hmmm … why haven’t chocolate producers cottoned on to the healing potential of this? Maybe time for me to produce and sell chocolate?

Ingredients:

½ Cup Coconut Oil – preferably organic and fairly traded

½ Cup raw Cacao – please choose a fairly traded product

1 Tablespoon honey – preferably raw and runny

Pinch of salt

Method:

Melt Coconut Oil over a very low heat. Then add the the Cacao and salt and stir until smooth. wpid-wp-1426553220757.jpegThen add in the honey, trying to keep the heat low in order to preserve the delicate enzymes in it.

Pour into a chocolate mold and pop into the freezer for 20 minutes or so. When it is set, pop the chocolate out of the mold.wpid-wp-1426550064748.jpeg

Remember that coconut oil melts at a lower temperature than cacao butter and at room temperature coconut chocolate tends to be gooey! So keep it cool and preferably in the fridge!

Benefits of chocolate

  • Chocolate is high in anti-oxidant flavonoids that  help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide. The flavonoids also help to reduce LDL cholesterol [1]. Flavonoids also help prevent lipid peroxidization in the blood stream and also prevent arterial blood clots (by making blood platelets less sticky) [2]. Catechins and polyphenols in chocolate have the same anti-oxidant and anti-platelet clumping effects [2].
  • Chocolate also contains the stimulants theobromine, caffeine, tyramine and phenylethylamine that provide a mental and physical lift. Amino acid Tryptophan in chocolate is used to lessens anxiety by producing the neurotransmitter serotonin as well as endorphins, the body’s natural opiates, reduce sensitivity to pain. The high-fat content of chocolate also triggers the brain’s production of natural opiates. [2]
  • Bioactive compounds such as Anandamide acts like a cannabinoid to promote relaxation by binding to and stimulating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) receptors in the brain, producing a “high.” [2] Anandamide is derived from the Sanskrit word “ananda,” which means peaceful bliss [3]
  • Chocolate is the richest known source of theobromine, a close chemical relative of caffeine which belongs to the anti-asthma chemical group known as xanthine alkaloids. Theobromine also promotes mood enhancement. Other mood enhancing effects are produced by phenethylamine, which triggers the release of pleasurable endorphins released in  the brain when people become infatuated or fall in love.  Phenethylamine also potentates dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with sexual arousal and pleasure [3]

Useful sites and sources of information

[1] http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongnutrition/p/chocolate.htm

[2] http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=8326 – An excellent and well researched posting about chocolate with many useful links

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/chocolates-startling-heal_b_825978.html

The Chocolate Lovers’ Page: a guide to chocolate on the web – http://chocolocate.com/

A useful link that illustrates how milk chocolate lacks the powerful nutrient benefits of plant flavonoids: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/chocolate.aspx

A great company who produce raw, organic cacao and a brief introduction to the nutrient power in chocolate: http://livesuperfoods.com/live-superfoods-raw-cacao-powder.html

Other useful Link: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-healthy-chocolate

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