The holiday season is officially here! We’re just past Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Christmas is right around the corner, and the New Year is in sight. Emotionally this might be one of the best times of the year. There’s an abundance of quality time with family and loved ones, the workload is lower as the nation collectively loses productivity, we get to reflect on the past year and all the amazing milestones we’ve hit, and there’s an air of hopefulness as we think about all that we want to accomplish in the coming year.
Unfortunately, while this time of the year typically nourishes the soul, it can be pretty brutal on our bodies; be it from lots of travel, falling out of our exercise routine, and of course the ever present sweet tooth. Temptations are everywhere and since it feels much better to “be bad” with others than it does to be alone, we’re all quick to deviate from our paths together.
But fear not friends…if you have a some extensive travel coming up, check out our green smoothie guide HERE. If you feel like your exercise routine has gotten stagnate, read our blog post on how to best plan for your fitness goals HERE.
Chocolate seems to be the ever-present spirit of the holidays. Which means it’s very easy to over-consume the wrong stuff and potentially derail a year's worth of hard work. OR, you can let the right kind of chocolate fuel you to be your healthiest you.
It is pretty common knowledge that exercise is one of the only interventions that not only increases our good cholesterol (HDL) but actually decreases our bad cholesterol (LDL) as well. Guess what else has the power to do that...cocoa powder! As little as one tablespoon of Dutch cocoa powder can increase blood flow (including in the coronary arteries) within hours of consumption. You read that right. I just told you to drink a glass of Chocolate “Milk” to help lower your blood pressure! So the next time that kitchen counter argument gets your blood boiling use my go-to recipe below to defuse the situation with some healthy chocolate.
Dark chocolate is an absolutely incredible source of antioxidants. The powerful flavonoid phytonutrients can help combat the effects of aging, boost your immune system, and even help burn calories through the thermal effect of feeding. However, when combined with dairy (read: milk chocolate), the antioxidant power and rate of absorption is greatly reduced.
While dark chocolate bars are fantastic and ingrained as a staple in our lives, it’s important to be aware of the extra calories and the sugar content. Eliminating sugar amplifies the positive effect of cocoa, which is why we so highly recommend cocoa powder. But nothing quite replaces a good chunk of dark chocolate. So just remember, moderation is key!
These are a few of our “can’t live without” dark chocolate brands:
- Theo Chocolate - Salted Almond
- Equal Exchange - Very Dark
- PASCHA - 70% Cacao with Coffee
- Cocomel - Chocolate Covered Vanilla
Sean’s Homemade Chocolate Milk
- 1 heaping tablespoons of Dutch cocoa powder
- 10 ounces of ice cold coconut milk
- 1 handful of walnuts
- 1 teaspoon of ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon of date sugar* (to taste)
- banana (optional)
- peanut butter (optional)
Just throw everything in a blender and presto! A delicious treat that is 100% guilt-free.
*Date sugar is made from whole ground dates so it has fiber to go with the sweetness. One of the healthiest and tastiest ways to sweeten foods/drinks.
To deliciously good health,