When it comes to information about healthy food choices, there are many myths, inaccuracies and false statements floating around out there.
One I hear all the time is: “Dark chocolate is good for you.”
Well, here’s the thing about that…
Depending on which dark chocolate product you’re looking at, it may contain a superfood ingredient called cacao that has notable health benefits.
But it may also have a load of sugar, hydrogenated oil and other health-zapping ingredients in the mix. Or, it may not have any cacao at all. Instead, it may be full of cocoa to provide its chocolatey flavor.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CACAO AND COCOA?
Cacao (pronounced “ca-cow”) consists simply of pure, raw cacao beans. It delivers all the wonderful vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, essential fatty acids and other beneficial phytonutrients that are naturally grown in the cacao beans.
It is classified as a powerful superfood that promotes heart health, weight loss, healthy skin, better digestion, improved immune function and a more positive mood. Plus, eating cacao is a natural way to get an energy boost.
You can get cacao in the form of “nibs” (pictured below), which are small pieces of raw cacao beans that add a nice crunch and chocolatey flare to smoothies, oatmeal, cookies and other baked goods, etc.
You can also get cacao in powder form (pictured below) making it really easy to mix into recipes for brownies, chocolate, fudge, cookies, oatmeal, etc.
Cocoa, on the other hand, is processed cacao that has been roasted at a high temperature. This processing strips the cacao of its healthful properties.
On top of that, cocoa is often combined with sugar, artificial flavoring and unhealthy fat like hydrogenated oil.
BUYING COMMERCIAL CHOCOLATE VS. MAKING YOUR OWN
Most health-focused stores like Whole Foods have a decent stock of dark chocolate products made with cacao for sale. Unfortunately, during the manufacturing process of many of these products, cocoa butter is often mixed with other vegetable oils to make the chocolate go further.
Many brands also contain high levels of sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and they add soy lecithin as an emulsifier to make the ingredients blend better for a creamier consistency. The end result is something far from a “healthy” chocolate.
You can find raw chocolate bars in some stores, but you will pay a hefty price for them.
The good news is you can preserve your finances and your health by making your own pure and delicious chocolate. And, it’s super easy with just three simple ingredients: raw cacao powder, coconut oil and pure maple syrup.
One of the many wonderful things about this delicious DIY recipe is that it makes a small batch, so you can’t go on a crazed chocolate bender and totally overeat!
If you need to make more chocolate for a large group, however, just multiply the recipe above for the amount of chocolate you need.
WOW YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY BY LOOKING LIKE A MASTER CHOCOLATIER!
Non-stick silicone chocolate molds will make you look like a chocolate-making pro!
There are loads of options available HERE on amazon. For example:
Cheers to enjoying a cacao-filled diet and “real food” chocolate that’s healthy and delicious!
With love and gratitude,
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