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Chocolate lovers take heart

The number one “I won’t give that up” when clients want healthier eating habits is chocolate. My lady clients tell me they would die without chocolate – especially around that ‘time of the month.’ A friend lost so much weight over a few months and her secret? “I allow myself one Trader Joe’s dib chocolate bar a day,” she told me. That lessened the feeling of deprivation – and dibs weigh in at only 130 calories (they are really cute, tiny chocolate bars). Eaten mindfully, it takes a while to eat it all. Very satisfying. 

Melted chocolate

Chocolate indulges. And makes cakes zing, cookies melt, pie (think Mississippi Mud Pie) decadent. S’mores are a campers delight. Drizzle melted chocolate over yogurt, dip strawberries and bananas into it. Chocolate rocks. Yet most chocolate desserts are fat- and sugar-filled disasters to our health.

Research. So of course, someone did a chocolate study. To see if it might possibly maybe just a teeny weeny bit be OK for us. What they came up with has 2 sides. Dark chocolate (65% or higher cacao content) was shown to lower blood pressure, reduce heart disease, and decrease insulin (meaning blood sugar is normalized). The challenges with studies are some were long, some short term, some used cocoa powder, others dark, milk or white chocolate. Most measured results against eating 100 grams of chocolate a day – that’s 500 or more calories in chocolate! Those calories had to be cut from more nutritious selections.

Bottom line: One way I satisfy chocolate cravings is pouring a pack of Cocoa Via (extracted flavanols from cocoa) into warmed soy milk. It’s a delicious, low calorie path to heart health. To satisfy your sweet tooth when it bares its fang, have a couple of nibbles of a really good, high quality dark chocolate (more flavonoids and polyphenols, heart-healthy antioxidants and less fat). Know that you may be doing your heart good in many ways.

Healthy eats on the cheap
Not your grandma’s blueberry pancakes!

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