There’s nothing like a decadent slice of chocolate cake or a nibble of a creamy chocolate bar to keep your sweet tooth satisfied.
But as your dentist will tell you, these treats often contain high levels of sweeteners that can cause cavities and high blood sugar.
However, if you choose wisely, you can enjoy nutrient-rich chocolate without any guilt or cost to your health. But first, here’s why you should quit conventional chocolate bars for good!
The Problem With Bars
While raw dark chocolate is considered a superfood, processed milk chocolate certainly isn’t.
First of all, it contains processed milk, which is full of bad fats, antibiotics and estrogen, which increases milk flow in dairy cows (1). Milk is also acidic and pro-inflammatory, meaning that high consumption can contribute to disease or worsen conditions like arthritis.
Additionally, sugar is the second ingredient in most chocolate bars, often accounting for 50g or more of its 100g weight (2). Additional sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup are also used in popular chocolate-based candy bars. This can lead to conditions like diabetes, heart disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
In contrast, dark chocolate improves heart health, lowers low-density lipoprotein and increases feelings of relaxation and happiness. It also contains antioxidants that protect your neurons, lessen allergic response and fight bacterial overgrowth in your intestines (3).
When making your own chocolate, it’s best to use cacao rather than cocoa because cacao is a raw product high in antioxidants and nutrients like magnesium. On the other hand, cocoa is heated and processed, which causes it to lose some antioxidants and nutrients. Cocoa powder also often contains added sugars, fats, flavoring and preservatives (4).
Vegan Chocolate Pistachio Bark
This raw treat will have you skipping the candy aisle and heading straight home!
- ½ cup of coconut oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ¼ chopped pistachios
- ½ cup favorite mixed fruit/nuts (try cranberries, coconut, and mango )
- Melt coconut by leaving it out in sunlight for an hour or so.
- Mix it with maple syrup in a medium bowl until well incorporated.
- Sift cacao into the mixture and stir thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture onto a parchment-line baking sheet or fill halfway into shaped silicone molds for fun bite-sized chocolates.
- Sprinkle the chocolate with fruits and nuts of your choice.
- Place in freezer for 30 minutes to set.
- Enjoy and store in covered container in your fridge.