Weight Loss Tip #8- Chocolate, or More Specifically… Raw Cacao

WHAT?!?   Chocolate …a weight loss tip?!  Considering Valentine’s Day is next week, I need to make it perfectly clear!  Not all chocolate is going to help you lose weight.  In fact, my guess is that NONE of the chocolate you are familiar with is going to put you any closer  to your weight loss goals!  The key to losing weight with chocolate is knowing WHICH kind of chocolate is going to push you over the edge in helping you lose those pounds.

Raw Cacao

Raw Cacao is  the natural fruit of the cacao bean, and is the original source of all natural chocolate. Raw Cacao is also called a Super Food because of its high nutrient and anti-oxidant content.  This is where the majority of the chocolate we grew up with, and consume today, comes from.  The cacao fruit itself is high in nutrients and benefits the human body is many ways, as you will see once you read on.  But over a period time, the roasting of the bean, and many unnatural ingredients including sugar, fat, and artificial coloring, preservatives and chemicals, have been added to give us the “taste” Americans love today.   Did you know that the cacao fruit is not sweet at all, but has a savory, yet satisfying flavor?  The taste of raw cacao is a pleasant, bitter flavor, not sweet at all, and is certainly not the same as the roasted bean that Hershey’s chocolate is made from.  But the deep, rich, silky flavor not only delights but satisfies your taste buds.

Benefits of Raw Cacao

  1. High in anti-oxidants (contains 40 times more anti-oxidants than blueberries) which destroy free radicals, prevent disease, and reduce inflammation.  Inflammation is the number one reason for weight issues and disease.
  2. Cardiovascular benefits – decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and plaque formation and improves circulation, lowering risk of heart disease
  3. Fights cancer -Flavanoid antioxidants such as those found in cacao might interfere with the development of cancer, as suggested by the Linus Pauling Institute.  Certain    compounds in raw cacao might prevent cancer or improve the outcome when the disease is already present.
  4. Highest plant source of iron
  5. High in magnesium  which is key to muscle and nerve function, as well as bone health
  6. Enhances mood,  and works as an anti-depressant; and raises serotonin levels – that feel-good hormone.   It also contains a neurotransmitter called theobromine, a mild stimulant (acting in place of caffeine), that is sometimes used as a treatment for depression, and cacao releases a compound, anandamide, which produces euphoric feelings of relaxation and contentment
  7. WEIGHT LOSS – Yes, you can lose weight with raw cacao, when used appropriately, and it is important that you consume cacao in moderation, as it is high in fat and calories.   It is also high in magnesium which helps control appetite.  Raw cacao is higher in nutrients and contains no sugar, negative calories, preservatives, and chemicals.  It is 100% natural.   Dark chocolate (85 % or more) is best, and consuming raw cacao is better.  High in fiber, raw cacao nibs fill you up, giving you natural energy, and, because of its high fat content, will hold you over longer till the next meal.

Types of Raw Cacao

You can buy raw cacao in many forms today, as it has become more and more popular.   You can even now purchase many of these at your local grocery store in the Health Food sections.

  1. Raw cacaopowder  (use in smoothies, baking, desserts, coffee, hot cocoa, and more ).  Try using cacao powder in this rich and satisfying Hot Cocoa Recipe :  http://veronicashealthyliving.com/blog/hot-cocoa-with-a-kick/
  2. Raw cacaonibs – nibs have a chocolaty taste, sometimes hints of fruit and of nutty flavor, and are not quite as sweet as the chocolate you find at your local store. (use in smoothies, desserts, in place of chocolate chips, granola, on top of ice cream..and just as a snack!)
  3. raw cacaobean – this is the whole bean, used to make your own chips or nibs, in recipes
  4. cacaopaste – (smoothies, desserts, recipes, etc.)
  5. I am sure there is a form of raw cacao that I am missing here…if you have found a different type of raw cacao not mentioned here, please let me know, so I can add it to my list.

Ways to Enjoy Raw Cacao

Cacao nibs have a definitely different, more bitter taste for those of you who are used to eating milk chocolate.  It is an acquired taste, but be careful….it can be quite addictive, and incredibly delicious when added to homemade smoothies, trail mixes , sauces and baking.  When my children discovered raw cacao nibs, I had to hide them…just like it was the sugary kind!  If they consumed too much, their bodies reacted like they had had caffeine.  Imagine hiding something healthy from your children!

Savory dishes definitely benefit from the addition of cacao and nibs.  Here are a few ways to include this super food into your daily menu:.

  • Smoothies – add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder to your fruit smoothies, and make your mouth happy!  It goes especially well with cherries and raspberries.  I also enjoy making a mocha smoothie  (banana, greens, raw cacao, instant coffee, ground coffee beans, or cold coffee in place of the milk) coconut milk, protein powder, and stevia)
  • Add cocoa nibs to a salad – Flavors mingle well with bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and citrus fruit.  Include it in a salad dressing for a ‘secret’ ingredient.
  • Add it to your breakfast bowls (oatmeal, quinoa, chia pudding, muesli, granola, train mixes)  The ideas are endless, and it pairs especially well with coconut.
  • Include it in sauces to make it your “special” sauce –   I always add a tablespoon of cacao powder to my chili.  It is also delicious in moles, pastas, and soups. Try adding it to your next pot of chili, mole sauce or pasta sauce. You’re sure to impress!
  • Desserts – Of course using raw cacao in desserts brings endless ideas.  If using raw cacao in baked goods, you lose some of the nutrients through the heating process, but know that you are still getting more nutrition and none of the added sugars, oils, and chemicals.

Try this recipe for homemade Raw Cacao and Date Bites:  https://veronicashealthyliving.com/raw-cacao-and-date-nut-bites/

How do you use chocolate for weight loss?

Eat it raw!   Or eat it as dark chocolate, 85% or higher.

Be creative, and enjoy your chocolate without guilt!   Aim for 2 -4 tablespoons a day.  Remember it is high in fat, so eat in moderation, and the theobromine has caffeine-like qualities and could interrupt sleep.