GUEST POST: WRITTEN BY POLLY NOBLE
Would you believe me if I told you that chocolate was good for you? Well, it is! Honest! But there's a caveat; I'm referring to raw chocolate!
Cacao (or chocolate) which comes from the cacao bean, is the richest food source of magnesium, and is high in chromium, iron, calcium, potassium, sulphur, copper and zinc, and contains over 300 chemically identifiable compounds.
above: cacao bean
RAW CHOCOLATE VS. COOKED CHOCOLATE
The difference between raw chocolate and cooked chocolate is well, exactly that. Raw chocolate is created by cold-pressing the cacao bean separating the oil from the protein and fibre. The temperature is kept at 120 degrees fahrenheit and below in order to maintain the amazing enzyme and nutrient content. Gradually the pure liquid cacao butter is drained off and the remaining residue is then cold-ground, fine milled and sifted so that only the finest, most bio-available raw cacao particles are used in the final product.
Typical cooked chocolate however, is exposed to temperatures over 300 degree fahrenheit and added to genetically modified soy-lecithin, vanilla extract, refined sugar and processed dairy products. The milk used is likely to have come from stressed poorly-cared for cows pumped full of antibiotics and hormones in attempt to make them produce more at a faster rate. They may also have been fed grains that have been sprayed with fungicides, herbicides and pesticides of which residues make their way in to the milk and in to your cooked chocolate product. Hmmm nice. Anyone fancy a kit kat?
above: cacao nibs
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF RAW CHOCOLATE
You may have heard that chocolate can be mood boosting, owing to the chemical phenylethylamine (PEA), while the amino acid tryptophan is thought to enhance relaxation. Well, because cacao powder is concentrated, it gives you at least 33% more of the many vital nutrients cacao contains.
David Wolfe, one of the world's leading authorities on nutrition, compares it's properties to other antioxidant rich foods
"Cornell University food scientists say that cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea. With raw cacao powder, it would be 14 times more then red wine, and 21 times more than green tea"
So, bring on the raw chocolate I say!
RAW CHOCOLATE BROWNIE RECIPE
Foods are much healthier for you in their whole natural form. The more they are heated, have had things added to or taken away from them, the more alien they are to the body and are therefore harder to digest and end up affecting us negatively. (Have you ever experienced that all-foo-familiar sugar rush? Or feeling bloated/depressed/blurgh afterwards?)
So, here is a recipe for a Chocolate Brownie that you can eat safely in the knowledge that it's not making you fat (quite the opposite actually as coconut oil is known for it's ability to speed up the metabolism and help you LOSE weight), all the while getting a super duper antioxidant boost.
RAW CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Chocolate Brownie Base
+ 2 cups of walnuts
+ 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and cut in half
+ 1/2 cup cacao powder
+ pinch of Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
Chocolate Brownie Icing
+ 1/2 cup coconut butter/oil (melted)
+ 1/2 cup cacao powder
+ 2-3 tablespoons of agave nectar or maple syrup (I prefer agave as it is low GI)
+ Process the nuts in a food processor until they are ground down as finely as possible. Add the cacao powder and salt and wizz again.
+ With the machine turning, drop the dates in through the top of the chute one at a time (this insures they are evenly distributed through the whole mixture).
+ Transfer the mixture in to a cake case lined with cling film or plastic wrap (this will help with the removal of the finished product). Press the mixture down so it is firm and even on top. Set aside.
+ Depending on where you live, and where your coconut butter/oil is stored, it may be in liquid form or may well be a creamy buttery texture. This is because it has a very low melting point. If it is like butter, put half a cup of it in a bowl which is sitting on top of another larger bowl of hot water to allow it to melt (this is called double boiling). If you have a dehydrator you could also pop it in there instead.
+ When the mixture is completely melted, combine it in a food processor with the remaining ingredients until smooth.
+ Pour the icing over the brownie base and place in the fridge for an hour to set.
+ After this time it should be ready to cut in to pieces and devoured!
PS: I buy my cacao powder from Raw Living in the UK, as it is the best I have found.
+ If you would rather buy, than make, visit the below websites for some delicious treats!
www.therawchocolateshop.com (Booja Booja are AMAZINGLY decadent and great for a gift)
www.rawrchoc.com (the mint bar is my fave)
If you live in Australia, I recommend you try the Loving Earth and Conscious Chocolate brands. Loving Earth does a great raw cacao powder, along with lots of other awesome super foods and nutritious delights.
And if you want to try a raw chocolate bar you simply cannot go past the amazing, hand made, absolutely divine Conscious Chocolate range. I recommend goji berry + coconut.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Polly Noble is a Holistic Health Coach + author. Diagnosed with cancer twice before the age of 28, Polly was forced to take inventory of her diet and lifestyle which sparked within her a deep desire to begin her own health revolution in order to stay well. She is a big advocate of eating clean, whole foods, drinking green juice and practicing the art of extreme self care which she encourages others to do so that they can live a life they love. Her latest book out now is "The Cancer Journey - Positive Steps to Help Yourself Heal". Find out more at www.thecancerjourneybook.com.