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BULK UP & GET FITIf you’re interested in bulking up this year, do it with Chocolate! And no we don’t mean with our bestselling Hot Chocolate Refill Bags (though that is a tactic!), but with the really good dark stuff. A recent study shows that people who consumed dark chocolate on a regular, weekly basis lost more weight than those who didn’t, even with both groups participating in the same equal levels of daily calorie intake and exercise. Why you ask? Because chocolate increases capillaries and blood flow, all which revs up your energy levels and metabolism. Besides being utterly delicious and addicting, chocolate is bountiful with health benefits; increasing blood flow to your brain, boosting memory, lowering blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, even injecting you with an antidepressant feelings, the effects of chocolate on the body is positive. However, it being so delicious, be mindful to consume in moderation, and remember, the darker the better.
DON’T JUST INHALE IT, TASTE IT
You might have not realized but there’s two ways to experience chocolate; by the nose and by the mouth. To get a better sense of the chocolate, start with breaking off a couple of small pieces, one piece per bite. Firstly, look at the chocolate; is it matte or shiny and what shade of brown is it. When you break it off your small pieces, observe if it breaks off (better quality) or if it’s more flexible. After noting the physicality of the chocolate, place it in your mouth and chew rapidly to speed up the release of the flavoring components and then allow it to melt on your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and allow yourself to feel what your feeling. These small bites will allow you to explore the chocolate’s acidity while your breathing will try to describe the scents; try to be specific in your capture. How does the chocolate feel in your mouth? Is it crunchy and brittle or is it creamy and fresh? After doing this process twice, perhaps three times, you can finally begin to describe chocolate accurately. Now, rinse your palate with a tall glass of water or bread. Pause. Then Repeat. For more on this process click here.
GO NUTSWhether you like to chomp on almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, or pistachios, nuts are a great healthy snack. Aside from keeping your heart healthy, their mono- and polyunsaturated fats (the good kind of fat) can help decrease risk to heart disease, cancers, and even diabetes. Pair a handful of these beneficial snacks with dark chocolate and you’ve got a winning combo! We recommend starting with our Cacao Market 70% Nicaragua Trinitario Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bar.
INDULGE IN A CHOCOLATE MAKEOVERSave money on those facials this year by getting “chocolate wasted.” Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, chocolate has a ton of health benefits that nourish the body. Considering that we’re currently in winter, dark chocolate is rich in iron, calcium, and other various vitamins that repair dry skin. Instead of an afternoon soda, opt for a hot cup of cocoa and moisturize your skin. Make a DIY chocolate body scrub and let your healthy glow shine on! If you’re looking to add a little luster to your locks make a homemade hair mask out of dark chocolate. Course, with all this chocolate consumption, you might also discover stronger and healthier hair, as dark chocolate is full of renewal growth cells.
GET FRUITYWhen you think of healthy snacking you might consider fruity - but pair that with something chocolatey and that boring snack has been transformed into a dynamic power source. While the variations of chocolate are many and flavor notes vary, test you chocolate pairing to ensure flavors are maximized to their fullest extent. For instance, while white Chocolate is rich and creamy, it pairs nicely with acidic fruits like citrus (oranges) and tang (berries) dark chocolate is known to be more bitter, allowing it to neutralize sweeter fruits like bananas and other citruses. And for those with varying amounts of sweetness and acidity there’s Milk Chocolate. Looking to mix and match your favorite fruits, here’s a list of which fruits go best with what chocolate.
BRAVE THE SUGARLESSIt might sound like an oxymoron but Sugarless Chocolate does exist. In fact it’s a booming product category and lots of chocolate companies are hopping on board to satisfy the sugarless community. Representing the best of cacao, our Cacao Market 70% Maya Ecuador Bar is crafted from the highest quality of single origin cacao beans and as the label states - no sugar or artificial sweeteners added. If it’s a little to bitter for you, try nibbling on smaller pieces of fruit like dates or apricots to balance the sweetness.