I love buying the 73% chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s! They are SO yummy, and I usually get into a conversation with the person at the check out stand about how good they are for you. Seriously, read the label sometime! 1 serving has 40% of your daily iron, 21% of your daily fiber, and 3 grams of protein! You won’t find this on the label, but very dark chocolate also has lots of antioxidants and neurotransmitters that make you feel happy!
There are 10 grams of sugars in one serving of 72% chocolate, which isn’t too bad when you realize that 1 cup of milk has 13 grams, and the sugar in chocolate is eaten with fat, which slows down its absorption into your blood stream. When sugar goes slowly into your blood stream it means you won’t have a huge sugar spike, which requires your pancreas to work really hard to make extra insulin. That’s good news for everyone, but especially diabetics, whose bodies either won’t produce insulin (Type 1 Diabetes), or whose bodies need extra insulin in order for it to be effective (Type 2 Diabetes)!
Speaking of the fat in chocolate, don’t let that scare you away! Most of the fat in there is monounsaturated, and supports a healthy brain and immune system. There is some stearic acid in chocolate, as well, which is a long chain saturated fatty acid. Studies have shown that stearic acid doesn’t elevate your cholesterol levels as much as some other saturated fats, but it should be eaten in moderation.
So, if you are interested in eating chocolate…you know, just because it’s healthy…wink, wink…, here’s the bottom line. Eat it in moderation, and make sure to eat very dark chocolate. 72% is the magic number for me…anything darker is disgusting, and anything less dark has too much sugar. Sometimes I’ll use 63% chocolate chips in my baking, because they’re the darkest chips I could find…well the darkest that aren’t insanely expensive. They’re expensive, but not insanely. Eating chocolate in moderation means stick to one serving per day.
Ready for a little fun with it now? I’d like to share a couple of my favorite ways to serve dark chocolate: dark chocolate fondue and dark chocolate covered strawberries. When you eat chocolate with fruit it not only tastes really good, but you also get the nutritional benefits of the fruit! It’s a win/win.
Before we get to the recipes for the dark chocolate fondue and covered strawberries, I want to invite you to join with others who are making healthy changes. I’d love to walk alongside you in your journey towards wholeness and health! Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!” Freedom from food addictions is part of having a truly full life.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
- 1-2 Cups Fresh Strawberries
- 1 Cup Very Dark Chocolate Chunks
- Freeze Dried Fruit (optional)
- Raw Hemp Hearts (optional)
- Raw Cacao Nibs (optional)
Leave the stems on the strawberries, wash them, and set them out on a clean rag to dry. I like to use my meat mallet to break up the bars into chunks. Place the chocolate in a bag or between pieces of parchment paper, and whack away!
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. If you use the microwave, run it for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between. If you cook it for longer segments it may burn around the edges of the bowl.
Make sure that your strawberries are completely dry before dipping them. Water will cause the chocolate to seize (it gets crumbly and weird). Dip each strawberry, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with bits of freeze-dried fruit (you can also use the meat mallet to break them up into sprinkle sized pieces) and other toppings if desired.
Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator long enough to allow the chocolate to harden. Enjoy!