It's OK to Love Chocolate
Halloween is almost here, which means giant boxes of ‘candy minis’ are everywhere, including our cupboards, bringing with them binge temptations, sugar-crashing and guilt. What do we dislike almost as much as the artificial ingredients, dyes and other BS in most commercial chocolate and candy? The dumb guilt that comes with it.
Today, we’re diving into how your love of chocolate can bring big health benefits, recipe ideas & some better for us trick-or-treat suggestions.
There are a lot of reasons to love chocolate, high quality dark chocolate that is. Here are a few:* Contains more calcium than cow's milk (for healthy bones & teeth)
* Natural mood elevator
* High in free radical fighting antioxidants (3 cheers for healthy cells!)
* Packed with magnesium (for brain & heart health)
Pro-Tip: Most commercial chocolate (we're looking at you Halloween candy) contains minimal amounts of cacao and are packed with high fructose corn syrup, dyes, chemicals and other things your body doesn’t want or need. Go for dark chocolate, more natural-ingredient containing snacks (suggestions below) and check labels for the percentage of cacao included.
Do you get hit with chocolate cravings? If yes, you’re not alone. According to John Hopkins Medicine, a huge percentage of us do. We love the approach taken in this article. Check it out for a deeper dive into the health benefits and suggestions on how to reframe your love-guilt relationship with chocolate.
You get a BIG dose of cacao health benefits, without the sugary badness,
in our Choco-Nutty blends.
Try the recipes below for a more delicious chocolate-fix with health benefits.
Kid & Adult Fave Chocolate Recipes
Homemade Chocolate Bites
- 1 cup finely chopped cocoa butter (packed)
- 3-5 Tbsp maple syrup (adjust to your preference)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder (cocoa also works)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt (to taste)
Toppings: finely chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans), sea salt
Equipment: you’ll need a double boiler or a saucepan that can have a glass bowl sit on top without sitting more than ½ deep into the saucepan.
Arrange 14 mini cupcake liners on a small baking sheet. Set aside.
Add 2 inches of water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Then set a medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl on top, making sure it's not touching the water (this creates a "double boiler").
To the mixing bowl, add finely chopped cocoa butter and let melt @ 2-3 minutes.
Once melted, add 3 TBSP maple syrup and use a whisk or wooden spoon to mix until fluid and thoroughly combined. Remove bowl and set on a flat surface. Turn off stove-top heat and set the saucepan aside.
Add cacao or cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt, and whisk to combine until there are no clumps.
Taste and add another 1 to 2 TBSP of maple syrup if desired (whisk again if added)
Carefully pour chocolate into 12-14 mini cupcake liners and top with a dash of sea salt and crushed nuts.
Transfer chocolate to the freezer or refrigerator to set - about 10 minutes for small, 20 minutes for larger liners.
Enjoy straight from the freezer, refrigerator, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Source inspiration: The Minimalist Baker
Here are a few more simple-ingredient, quick-prep, delicious recipes I’ve tried and loved (if you’ve got kiddos, both are perfect for little helpers).
Trick or Treat Ideas
Homemade candy isn’t likely your best bet for Halloween handouts. Here are some suggestions that kids and parents will love:
Laid Back Snacks (Tuscan Road Trip for the nutty-chocolate fans)
Have a fun, safe, and festive Halloween.
A couple of month's ago, we sent out a survey asking which area of health focus you'd like us to focus on next. One of your big asks was nutrition support for hormonal health and fluctuations. So, we started our deep dive and learned that, well, until recent decades, research around the impact hormones have on women's health has been minimal. Thankfully the conversation has finally started. And, you guessed it, we've started developing blends focusing on support for them.
Hormone changes in women affects half of our population, so it's a conversation for ALL of us. Understanding how hormones impact physical and mental health is a huge first step in their support and management. Today's news is focusing what is happening with hormones during PMS, perimenopause and menopause.
Have you asked yourself what the f*ck is going on with my body? If yes, you're definitely not alone. From the start of puberty women go through hormonal cycles constantly. As perimenopause starts (usually in the 40s), and progesterone and estrogen levels start to drop, this is the huge list of symptoms that can come with it:
* Weight gain (particularly mid-section & arms)
* Hot flashes
* Mood swings
* Increased anxiety
* Itchy skin
* Brain fog
* Muscle loss (due to a drop in estrogen)
* Sleeping challenges (particularly waking up in the night & not being able to fall back to sleep).
* Body odour
* Vaginal dryness
* Lower libido
* Bladder issues
* Heavier periods & shorter/longer cycles
* Changes in cholesterol levels
It's A LOT to deal with, and these symptoms will come and go, leaving women thinking 'am I crazy'?
We've found a podcast that takes us through the what & why of hormonal changes during PMS, Perimenopause and Menopause, as well as tips on managing and supporting your body through it all.
The Mel Robbin's Podcast:
PMS to Menopause: How to Hack You Hormones
Below is a summary of key health tips that can support hormonal balance.
Want to be notified when our new blends drop? email to get on the list (hint: free samples are going to be a thing).
What You Can Do
These health and lifestyle habits can help you manage the emotional and physical symptoms of hormone fluctuations.
* Eat a balanced diet that Includes healthy fats & healthy protein, lots of fibre, plants (veggies, fruits, legumes) and avoids refined sugars & processed foods. When perimenoause starts, increasing protein will help support maintaining muscle mass and bone density.
* Drink smart: lots of water, green tea, herbal teas (skip anything with sugar added or 'diet' that has artificial sweeteners. Drop the alcohol.
* Add Walking & Yoga sessions into your regular routine
* Strength train: aim for 3 x 30 minutes sessions per week to help keep muscle on
* Cardio: mix in two to three sessions per week, being mindful that it isn't causing a huge amount of stress on your body.
* Manage stress levels (to help keep cortisol down, which raises havoc on our hormones).
* Avoid over/under eating (determine what the right caloric level is for your body and activity level).
* Get your Omega-3s (omega-rich fish like salmon, hemp/chia/flax seeds & supplements)
* SLEEP (7 to 9 hours per night)
* Control your Sleep Environment: sleep in a cool room with no light (natural & electronic - use black out blinds or a sleep mask, charge your phone in the other room, cover up that alarm light).
* Eat foods rich in Phytoestrogens like soy and nuts
* Get into Boosters: ashwagandha, maca, lions mane, cordyceps, reishi and magnesium are some of our go-to boosters for hormone support (please email us for a list of blends that include them). Vitamin D and calcium are also key.
In perimenopause? Hormone replacement therapy is an option for some women. Talk to your Doctor about having your hormone panel (testing) done.
Please email us with any comments on what you liked, what we missed, and what you'd like us to dive further into.