Chocolate. It really deserves its own sentence. Who doesn’t love chocolate, really? I don’t know many that aren’t tempted by its rich flavor, and instant euphoric gratification. I’ve always had a love for chocolate, but in more recent years, my taste buds have changed. I used to be a sucker for the milk chocolate, full of white refined sugar and completely stripped of most of its natural nutrients during the refining process. I’d burn through a milk chocolate bar in no time and be left with wanting more. And I HATED dark chocolate in fact. I didn’t think it was sweet enough. Too bitter, it was normally only my last resort if there weren’t any other options left. Again, my taste buds were numbed from all the refined sugars, so tasting something with LESS sugar, always seemed to be quite the turn-off.
As I started to shift the way I ate and cut out refined sugars more and more, milk chocolate became too sweet and a turn-off and all of a sudden dark chocolate began to appeal to me. It didn’t seem to be as bitter anymore, and I found I took more time to appreciate its flavor. Not only was I taking more time to experience the flavor, but I was also now becoming present to the fact that, for the first time in my life I wasn’t wanting to scarf down the whole bar at once! Progress!
Here I want to highlight and clarify some differences between the REAL raw cacao based chocolate and cocoa-based chocolate.
The real RAW chocolate or cacao goes far back in time to Aztec civilization. It has a wide array of nutritional components which is always music to my ears. Some of the ones in the highest amount include:
- Raw cacao contains magnesium, which helps to support relaxation in the body including relaxation of the muscles, enhance brain power and it can even improve our alkalinity. Our body is always working hard to maintain a balanced pH which is slightly alkaline, so the cacao can help keep that balance.
- Raw cacao also includes medicinal compounds that mildly stimulate the nervous system.
- Cacao is one of the few foods that contains a substance produced naturally in our brains that gives us the same feeling as excitement, sexual arousal and euphoria. Do you notice how once you bite into that delicious piece of chocolate that you instantly get a feeling of bliss?! It is almost orgasmic for chocolate lovers.
- It also helps to support a positive attitude and feelings of joy. And who doesn’t want more of that in their lives?!
When it comes to a lot of chocolate we see nowadays, most of it contains cocoa. Cocoa is the more refined version of chocolate. The more refined any food is, the more it is stripped of its nutritional contents including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes.
I am always fascinated and excited to share the nutritional and health benefits of foods! Especially the ones that seem like an “indulgence” or that some may feel guilty about consuming. Good quality dark raw chocolate made with cacao is packed full of feel-good nutrition.
This has also been one of my motivations for creating Amber Approved recipes and sharing them through workshops and of course, my first cookbook. I want to be able to show people first hand that it’s easy to make changes and use things like raw cacao instead of cocoa powder to make delicious sweet treats and desserts and still get a ton of nutrition out of it. When people can either make the recipe for themselves, or taste it at one of my classes, they are then able to realize it’s easy to make changes and use natural sweeteners. Educating the public on the benefits of these amazing foods including cacao, as well as demonstrating how to use them in recipes, empowers people to go out and make the changes for themselves. This is why I love teaching classes.
My next Love Chocolate class will be Thursday March 20th at Mount Royal Health Center and as of now it is 80% sold out. To register now, click the link below! If you can’t make this date, fear not, there will be many more classes to come.
So the next time you’re craving chocolate, reach for the raw cacao!
Amber Romaniuk is out to change the world, one restaurant at a time, one home-cooked meal at a time. She is a Holistic Nutritionist, owner of Nourish This Life & Amber Approved Inc., public speaker, teacher and author of *Amber Approved: Gluten, Sugar, & Dairy-Free*. With a passion for healthy eating choices, Amber finds it fulfilling to combine her training and her own experience of food addiction to support others trying to make massive life transformations and escape vicious cycles that refined foods and psychological voids can create.
Interested in writing a guest blog for Gluten Free Calgary? Please contact us for information about this opportunity!