Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cacao - Superfood and Treat

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." - Charles M. Schulz"

Cacao (chocolate) is one of the most delicious and versatile superfoods around. This amazing seed/bean is packed with antioxidants, Magnesium, Iron, Chromium, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin C, Zinc, Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Phenylethlamine, Anadamide, Tryptopan, Seratonin, Fiber, and Methylxantines. It's no wonder it's so beneficial for things like PMS, mild depression, and keeping the heart healthy…and it tastes good!

Ah, but don't mistake the chocolate bars you find at the grocery store check-out with the health-enhancing version of cacao. Over-processing cacao strips the bean of its benefits. Those bars are loaded with sugar, junky ingredients and dare I say not enough cacao in them to warrant the name chocolate bar.

No fear! You still can enjoy your chocolate and get those wonderful health benefits. Here's how:

The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial cacao it contains. Know your percentages. The number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in the chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that contains 75% to 85 % cacao.

Choose raw - or as unprocessed as possible. Most grocery stores with a health food section carry raw cacao powder, raw cacao nibs, and most definitely dark chocolate bars.

Years ago, my cousin, the nurse, said that a little chocolate every day was good for the body - she was right.

These recipes take little effort, are awesome for you and taste great! Enjoy!

Chef Karolina's Raw Chocolate Truffles

1 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
½ cup maple syrup
Water to mix
Roll in ingredients for coating:  shredded coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate nibs, raw sugar, or cacao powder.

Mix cashews in a food processor until it forms a powder, adding enough water to create a thick paste.
Add maple syrup to cashews and pulse to process.
Add cacao
powder. Pulse to process.
Refrigerate for four hours or overnight for best results.
Form teaspoon sized balls of dough. Coat ball in your chosen roll in ingredients.
Store in refrigerator.

ML's Raw Maca Chocolate Energy Bites (I love these!)

½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
3 Tbsp maca powder
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
¼ cup raw cacao nibs
1 tsp cinnamon
A dash of ground cardamon
¾ cup Medjool pitted dates
1 Tbsp coconut oil (can use Avocado oil)
Water for mixing

Add nuts to a food processor. Blend until fine.
Add remaining ingredients and mix until mixture is sticky. Add enough water to help make the blend stick.
Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and shape into golf ball size balls.
Store in a container in the refrigerator.

How can we make this world a better place? One happy and healthy person at a time!

Mariluz Kersey is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the author of ideas on healthier eating…and living book series.

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Mariluz Kersey Wellness, Health Coach Group, IIN,  2018 All Rights Reserved.