Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chocolate is a Superfood! Top Tips for Choosing the Best

I. Love. Chocolate. I love chocolate! I always have, and I always will. I can easily pass by any dessert that does not include chocolate. That's one plus, I suppose, but put a box of Godiva's in front of me and I am all done. My weakness is indeed chocolate.

Or does it have to be a weakness? How can I use this to my benefit? There must be a way. I'm determined to find a way! One thing I have learned is there is good chocolate and there is bad chocolate. For example:

3 Muskateer Bar = BAD
Organic Dark Chocolate = GOOD  (cocoa content must be at least 70% to qualify)

My favorite dark chocolate bar

Chocolate itself comes from the cacao plant, and cacao is a SUPERFOOD. For real. In its most natural form cacao is a seed. All chocolate comes from a seed in the form of cocoa beans. Chocolate DOES NOT have sugar or dairy in it unless you ADD IT.  Therefore, chocolate in its raw form is healthy!  Yes - HEALTHY!!  It is all of the processing and addition of non-healthy ingredients that make it a junk food, not the raw source of the chocolate itself.

That means you want to look for chocolate that has been minimally processed and is at least 70% cocoa. The higher the cocoa content, the less sugar. For me I choose an 85% cocoa content for my nibbling and baking needs such as Green & Black's Organic. For smoothies and special dessert concoctions (like the vegan chocolate pudding featured at the end of this post), I choose chocolate in its healthiest and most natural form, cacao powder.

What is in Chocolate and What Gives it Superfood Status?

Here is a listing of just some of the benefits:

  • Magnesium – For heart, brain, muscle cramping, elimination, alkaline, bone strength
  • Iron - For blood
  • Chromium - For balancing blood sugar
  • Copper - For blood, immunity
  • Manganese - For blood
  • Vitamin C and Zinc - For immunity, liver, pancreas, skin
  • Phenylethlamine - For focus, alertness, appetite suppressant
  • Anandamide - For endorphin (same as what is released after exercising)
  • Tryptophan - For mood enhancement
  • Seratonin - A stress defense (feel good)
  • Fiber - For elimination
  • Methylxantines - For antibacterial, cardiovascular health

As mentioned, the best way to eat chocolate is in the raw, and there is a lot of delicious ways to use raw cacao. You can buy nibs, powder and cacao butter. One of the special qualities cacao has is its ability to hide the flavor of foods that don’t taste so great.  You can eat spirulina with cacao and never even taste it (bonus!).


I experiment with new real food desserts for me and my family often. Some are winners, some.....not so much. Here is one that should please your little chocolate aficionado. You don't have to announce that it is healthy, just simply swap out a non-healthy dessert for a healthy one and see what happens. Remember with kids you may have to do this THREE OR MORE TIMES before they will adjust to something new.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Vegan-Friendly)

Okay, I know how that sounds.  AVOCADO????  Really? In my Chocolate???!  YES.  Avocado is used as the base of the pudding and gives it its smooth consistency.. Avocado, in addition to cacao, is also considered a superfood! It contains:

  • 35% more potassium than a banana
  • More fiber than any other food so will get you feeling full quick
  • Oleic acid which improves the cardiovascular system
  • Folic acid to control homocysteine levels
  • Antioxidants
  • Lutein necessary to protect you from age-related eye degeneration
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

So this pudding is more than anyone could ask for. Superfood quality and so delicious even my six year old says, "yum, it tastes like chocolate frosting!".


- Flesh of one medium to large avocado
- 1/2 cup of raw 100% cacao powder (raw cacao powder, not to be confused with processed cocoa powder)  ***you can reduce this amount if you find it too chocolate-y for you. For me, no such thing.
- 1/4 cup of raw local honey (do not use processed honey or it compromises the quality of the pudding)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup almond milk

***all quantities can be adjusted to your taste preference

- Scoop the flesh of the avocado and place in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until creamy and smooth. You may have to open the lid and push down the mixture a few times. Make sure all ingredients are completely combined. The mixture should look like the picture on the right when complete.

All ingredients pre-mixed
Processed and smooth

- Scoop the mixture into cups.  This should yield approximately 3 portions

- Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Overnight is best
- Garnish with fresh mint or fresh fruit


Be well,


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