There’s something about chocolate….
In 2001, the USA totalled about $13.1 Billion in chocolate sales, while in 2011 the UK’s chocolate sales added up to £4 Billion. (Considering the US population is almost 319 million, and the UK’s is 64 million, we seem to like the stuff just as much….) Chocolate companies currently use 40% of the world’s almonds and 20% of the peanuts, and in 2013 Belgium even issued limited edition chocolate stamps. So, there must be a reason we love it so much….
The smell of chocolate increases theta brainwaves, which triggers sensations of relaxation. Theta brainwaves are used during hypnosis and REM sleep, and also show up when we’re in a state of deep meditation. (Anyone interested in a chocolate and meditation class?…….)
Eating chocolate increases levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter – made by the human body – that encourages feelings of happiness and wellbeing, and low levels of serotonin often contribute to symptoms of depression. This chemical hormone is thought to affect our social behaviour, mood, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire & function…. just a few reasons as to why we need a little chocolate now and then….
Because of our often stressed-out state of living, anxiety levels are increased, and the body naturally calls for a boost in serotonin levels. If we really listened to the body, we’d provide it with what it needs straight away…. Because life happens however, we get busy, and what we really need isn’t always available. Sometimes this state of ‘busy-ness’ leads to us choosing less-then-helpful options to boost our mood and energy levels, and soon after the initial satisfaction, we’re on the hunt for something else to change the way we feel….
It’s often processed foods – especially processed chocolate bars – which we opt for when needing something sweet, comforting and mood enhancing. The trouble with these snacks is that they contain all sorts of ingredients that flood our bodies with artificial chemicals, saturated fats, processed sugars, and animal products.
When that craving for chocolate comes around, it would be pretty amazing to know that when you indulge, you’re serving your body with all-natural vitamins, minerals and healthy fats which maintain balanced mood and energy levels for a longer period of time. Not only that, but you can add whatever optional extras you like to create your unique chocolate treat!
Makes 3 large raw chocolate bites (multiply the recipe to make more to share with everyone….)
2 tbsp solid virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp honey / maple syrup / agave nectar / brown rice syrup, or any other natural liquid sweetener.
Pinch of pink Himalayan mountain salt / good quality sea salt (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
The flavour is closer to that of dark chocolate than milk or white. If you really need a sweeter taste, try adding another spoon of vanilla or liquid sweetener, or some natural organic coconut sugar.
- Crushed cashew nuts
- Crystallised ginger
(added separately to each chocolate)
Other options that work well:
- Any other crushed nuts
- Edible lavender
- Crushed chilli flakes
- Banana chips
- Any other dried fruit
- Bee pollen
- Spoon coconut oil into a pan and melt over a very low heat (be sure not to boil or burn the oil!)
- When melted, add in the cacao powder and vanilla extract, and stir well.
- Take mixture off the heat and pour an even amount into 3 different muffin cases. I used silicone cases since they’re re-usable and sturdy, but rigid paper ones work well too.
- Add in a small handful of optional extras to each case. I chose a handful of cashews for one, crystallised ginger for another, and raisins for the last.
- Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours or over night to set.
- Keep these in the freezer until you want to eat them, and they’ll be perfectly firm yet creamy and completely able to satisfy those chocolate cravings while remaining totally healthy!
Eat for energy, love, life and longevity, and full health becomes a natural state of being….