As a professional chocolate lover, one food trend that has been calling my name is Cacao.
Though I have been trying to cut down on carbohydrates for some time now, sweets have been the most challenging area for me. One small taste of sugar and suddenly I can’t seem to ignore my sweet tooth. As always the media and local food markets are overflowing with information about the latest diet craze. It’s hard to keep all of the conducting information straight, but this one seemed simple enough -maybe even a little too simple. Recent claims state cacao has many positive health benefits including being classified as an antioxidant and may even help regulate moods by increasing seratonin levels in the brain. The kicker is that the chocolate bars we ate as kids on Halloween have been processed beyond the point no return and we have lost the nutritional value that exists when it’s in its more natural state.
I decided to do a little self experimenting.
Being a serious chocolate nut, I laid a few ground rules so I wouldn’t be tempted to over indulge:
1. Only allowed to purchase dark chocolate. Any additional ingredients are okay, but no salt, no bacon, no caramel. Surprisingly this didn’t significantly limit my choices thanks to all of the gorgeous projects on the market.
2. 65% Cacao or higher only (cocoa doesn’t count).
3. You may keep the chocolate bar at your work desk only. No stuffing an extra few in your purse for snack-time later.
4. Consume no more than 2 of the modeled chocolate squares per day.
I found an awesome brand called Jelina Chocolatier at my local Roche Bros Super Market in Downtown Crossing in Boston, MA. It’s fair trade, high in cacao and comes in many gorgeous flavors. The packaging is super trendy and and the product tastes amazing! I was very surprised that the chocolate was smooth and not bitter like other dark chocolate I have tried. My favorite is the espresso flavor. You can actually feel the small bits of crunchy espresso beans inside the chocolate square. Plus I love that the ingredient list consists of 5 ingredients total, all of which I can pronounce. It would even make a great last minute gift for someone.
- To my own surprise I was able to stay committed for 30 days to my own ground rules.
- Of the products I found, cacao is often listed on the front of the package but rarely in the ingredients list.
- Consuming these products didn’t flare up my appetite and cravings for sugary treats but did up my status to an official dark chocolate/cacao lover.
- The dark chocolate products I tried were actually smooth and not nearly as bitter as I had predicted. Jelina was by far my favorite.
- There are so many varieties of chocolate available to consumers above and beyond the standard chocolate bar.
- Consuming chocolate in small manageable servings was pretty cost effective. I think I practically fell over when is first saw the price my grocery store was charging for ONE bar, but I came to understand that the serving size listed (1/2 the bar) was actually too much!
Though I didn’t notice any strong physical, mental or emotional changes after 30 calendar days of consumption, I feel that I found a great comfort food for days when the stress levels gets so high all your can do is scream from your cubicle “DOES ANYONE HAVE ANYTHING SWEET?!”