Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate fondue anyone?

Valentine's Day is right around the corner! I've never really been into this holiday, no matter if I was single or in a relationship. But I've decided that this Valentine's Day, I am going to treat myself to some fresh flowers and perhaps some organic dark chocolate. And I will reflect on how I've been making really good decisions for myself lately. I've been loving and treating myself with respect and kindness more than ever.

How will you nourish yourself? And once you've taken care of you, how can you share your love with someone you appreciate?

Today I have a vegan chocolate fondue recipe for you that you can make anytime, and use to dip fresh juicy fruits or anything else you'd like. Most fondues have flour and cream, making them heavy and difficult to digest. Although this one still has a bit of sugar, the antioxidants from the chocolate and fruit will outweigh any negative effects :-)

Say Yes to Chocolate

Everyone associates chocolate with Valentine's Day. And if you're trying to be healthier or lose weight, I can see why you might be depriving yourself of the cocoa-goodness.
But today I want to give you a reason to not be afraid to add some more cacao products into your life.

The Aztecs used chocolate as an aprodisiac, and they were definitely onto something. Recent studies suggest that chocolate (particularly organic dark chocolate) will provide you with the following health benefits:

-lower blood pressure
-migraines reduced or eliminated
-lowered risk of heart disease
-decrease risk of stroke
-improved blood flow/circulation
-lower cholesterol
-better drive for love making= more love making= happier relationships and better body image
-more happy feelings (chocolate contains serotonin stimulates endorphin production)

These powerful effects come from the flavonoids and antioxidants in chocolate. The flavonoids are what make the pure cocoa bitter, so manufacturers will refine and process the chocolate to reduce the bitterness, thus reducing the flavonoids. So the less cacao in your chocolate, the less healthy benefits.

Avoid milk chocolate, and chocolate with caramel. The milk and added sugars will eliminate the flavonoid and antioxidants from being absorbed into your body. You'll be left with the fat and sugar. Yuck.

The purest and best way to go is to add unsweetened pure cocoa powder to your baking, cooking, oatmeal, etc. Second best would be bittersweet and semisweet chocolate. And if you're buying a chocolate bar, try for at least 75% cacao, and organic if you can. Organic means no pesticides were sprayed onto the cacao plants, and therefore will not go into you!

And if you're not into chocolate, you can still get flavonoids from onions, citrus fruits, green tea, and red wine!

Vegan Chocolate Fondue

12 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup almond or coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine ingredients in a pot on the stove, place on LOW heat.
Watch carefully to avoid burning, and stir as the chocolate melts.
Serve in a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm. Fondue will harden at room temperature.
Serve with bite sized fruit.
Strawberries, bananas, and pineapple work and taste best!