Amplifying the power in HER voice because today’s woman is #BeyondCapable

Amplifying the power in HER voice because today’s woman is #BeyondCapable
Featured

Setting a New Bar for Chocolate

Chocolate is often associated with negative health conditions but this is mostly because of how it is normally prepared for commercial consumption. Served the healthy way and its capacity as a solid source of nutrition can shine.

Years ago—while attending a talk about traditional medicine in the Philippines—my fellow reporters and I got served an item that has long been a source of health in our country: chocolate.

More specifically, “tsokolate:” a hot drink made by dissolving molded tablets of grounded cacao beans.  It’s a staple in New Year’s Eve celebrations for many homes in the Philippines. Kitchens all over the country would make and ladle them into mugs accompanying those still up in the hours around midnight.  For many, it’s a warm, rich comfort highlighted by a typically cool evening. But in the talk I went to, we’ve been told that there’s more to this than that.

For years now, experts have been discussing how chocolate may be good for you. Of course, the operative word here is “may” because many of us know what chocolate can do. Even when we were kids, many of us were told that this food item is associated with a number of health conditions: from dental problems, to obesity and heart disease. And, this is mostly because of the way it is usually served—processed with an unhealthy amount of sugar and other questionable ingredients to make it a “treat” for the tongue.

But chocolate is more than that. And when we say that it is a versatile item, we mean that if can be bad for you, it can also be good for you. Bereft of its normal commercial processing, experts believe that it can actually be a good source of nutrition.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, chocolate—the dark variant specifically—is rich in antioxidants that can reduce the risk of blood clots, lower blood pressure, and improve overall circulation. Additionally, chocolate—often blamed for high blood sugar—can actually be good for diabetics when served right.

In a report written by the National Library of Medicine, it is stated that sugar-free dark chocolate might provide the health benefits mentioned above “without compromising blood glucose control in people with diabetes.” Meanwhile, a report by Endocrine Abstracts (as shared by Abbott) states that “daily consumption of dark chocolate is associated with positive effects on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar — two key factors in developing diabetes.”

In the depths of the internet, there is a popular quote about chocolate that has reached many timelines. “Chocolate comes from cocoa which is a tree,” it states. “That makes it a plant. Chocolate is a salad.”

This was meant to be a joke; a deliberate misrepresentation of the subject to justify its consumption. But while it may be a stretch to consider chocolate a “salad,” the truth of the matter is, many plant based consumables are versatile in a sense that they can be good or bad for you. What spells the difference is how such items are served. Chocolate—which comes from a tree—is no different.

And throughout the years, a number of people have tried to prepare it the healthy way.

HEALTHY HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE

There are people who opt for homecooked meals because they can be cheaper than the ones prepared by someone else. But there are also those who choose this because it can be—in theory—healthier.

People who make their own food have more control over the quality of their ingredients. They also get to oversee how those ingredients are used to prepare a meal.

In the subject of chocolate, homemade can also be healthier—especially if one uses this recipe by Wendy Hodge of Wendy’s Way to Health.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil or coconut butter
  • ⅓ cup raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup rice malt syrup, honey or pure maple syrup
  • A chocolate mold, an ice cube tray or a silicone min muffin
  • A small saucepan

Optional fillings include these:

  • Chopped nuts
  • Dried berries/fruit
  • Shredded or desiccated coconut
  • Sea Salt

Here are the steps:

  • Using your saucepan, gently warm the coconut oil or coconut butter and rice malt syrup over low heat. You can also do this using small bowl in the microwave.
  • Stir the mixture for a minute or two.
  • Take it out of the heat and then mix in the cacao powder and stir until all the ingredients are mixed together properly.
  • Pour the mixture into the tray or mold until they’re almost full. Then, sprinkle in your desired toppings into the mix and freeze them for about three to four hours.
  • Enjoy your healthier version of chocolate.

HOT CHOCOLATE THAT WARMS YOUR HEART WHILE BEING GOOD FOR IT

Of all the ways to prepare chocolate in a healthy way, dissolving it into water may be the easiest. But something that is good for your body doesn’t have to taste bland. At least, that’s what Erin Clarke of Well Plated by Erin suggests.

On her website, she speaks of her love for hot chocolate. She shares how it used to be a Christmas staple in her home as a child and how it kept her warm during her studies in France. She admits in it, however, that the ones that she is partial too can be quite heavy. Hence, her modifications.

“Some nights you need a more wholesome healthy hot chocolate recipe,” she wrote. And this is how it goes.

First, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
  • 2 ½ teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup plus additional to taste
  • Tiny pinch of kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Shaved dark chocolate or chocolate chips for serving

Once the ingredients are ready, the preparation is so simple, they no longer need to be bulleted. You just heat the milk until it is just simmering, then you mix in the cocoa powder, maple syrup and the salt to taste. After that, add in the chocolate chips and vanilla. You then whisk it until the chocolate is melted and combined. Taste it and add more maple syrup if you want it sweeter.

HAVE YOUR CHOCOLATE CAKE AND EAT IT TOO

Audrey Hepburn once said that “…a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people.” And what covers “a lot” can be good or bad considering the nature of the dish. After all, a slice of a regular chocolate cake can be worth around 200 calories and it can be quite decadent.

But this doesn’t have to be this way. Emma Fontanella of Emma’s Goodies believes there is a way to reduce this to around 90 calories per slice; take out the frosting in her recipe and you will have 50. Talking about “a lot,” that is “a lot” of calories cut off.

Its ingredients are meant as follows:

  • 80 grams of room temperature skim milk
  • 180 grams of room temperature unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 60 grams of oats
  • 100 grams of Truvia sugar or other sugar substitutes
  • 1 room temperature egg
  • 50 grams of cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon of baking soda – vanilla

A skinny ganache can go with this recipe and to make it, you’ll need these:

  • 70 grams of chocolate
  • 45 grams of milk
  • 20 grams of yogurt
  • an optional sweetener

When you have your ingredients ready, here’s how you make it:

  • Bring the the milk, vanilla and yogurt together then whisk.
  • Heat this mixture in a microwave for 45 seconds.
  • Add the cocoa.
  • Add the sugar substitute and mix. Mixing it for about 30 seconds can ensure that the sugar substitute blends well.
  • Put in the egg and whisk again.
  • Grease the cake pan and put parchment paper on the bottom then pre-heat the oven.
  • Grind the oats and baking soda into fine flour then add them into the mixture and start whisking immediately. (Baking soda will activate as soon as it is mixed in so this is crucial.)
  • Pour this into the cake pan and bake it at 160-degree Celsius for 35 minutes.
  • You may check the cake using a toothpick: stick it in, pull it out and know that it’s ready if no batter comes out with it.
  • Allow it to set in the pan for about 10 minutes before taking it out.

If you do not wish to have frosting, the recipe ends here. But, if you’re in the mood for more, then keep going:

  • Mix the milk, yogurt and chosen sweetener.
  • Add the melted chocolate until they come together.
  • Cool this in the fridge for about 15 minutes
  • If the resulting mixture isn’t too runny, it’s ready to be put on the cake.

THE HEALTH IN THE HANDMADE

For years, chocolate has had a bad rep. It’s been blamed for dental problems, obesity, diabetes and a plethora of other conditions. Such presumptions are with merit though. Commercially available chocolate, after all, tend to be served with a number of unhealthy ingredients meant to indulge the taste buds and prolong its shelf life.

But chocolate isn’t the only victim of this. The same can be said of nature’s many provisions. Fruits, vegetables and various sources of protein possess health benefits as well but they can also be unhealthy depending on how they are prepared and consumed. And the worst of our methods have led to generations of ailments left and right.

But if we caused these problems, we can also give the solution. That, at least, is the point of all the people above who shared their own versions of chocolate.

Related Post

Featured
PWR Story
Money Talks