by diana on February 2, 2010

in Raw & Vegetarian Recipes

It is hard to believe it is already February!

I live on the west coast on Vancouver Island and we have been blessed this winter with some fantastic weather!

I am declaring February to be CHOCOLATE FOR THE HEART MONTH!
Of course we always associate February with the heart and chocolate – because of Valentine’s Day.

Besides Christmas – this is a time of year when chocolate is bought and consumed in very large quantities. For us chocolate lovers it is heaven!

Since I have gone raw I am very happy that I have found some “healthy” chocolate to consume. I have always like “good” chocolate and not the cheap stuff but now I can make my own chocolate that is not only great tasting but good for you. This is a dream!

Raw Cacao is from the cacao bean which is where all chocolate comes from.

The bag that is showing above is the cacao powder – like cocoa powder. Except cocoa powder is roasted, the cacao powder is not roasted.

Cacao contains antioxidant flavanoids. David Wolfe (raw food expert) claims that raw cacao has a higher antioxidant value than red wine, green tea and blueberries! That is pretty powerful.

Cacao is also full of essential minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulphur, potassium, magnesium and contains protein, beta-carotene, linoleic acid, lipase and lysine.

Raw cacao contains very small amounts of caffeine and theobromine. When cacao is roasted these amounts increase so raw cacao has less than the roasted cocoa.

I make my healthy chocolate treats with raw cacao, nuts, dates, vanilla and I often add in a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg (because I love those spices).

As you can see these are gluten, dairy and sugar free. I love sweetening these treats with dates, they are what makes everything stick together and they have a wonderful flavour.

I soak my nuts first because nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that make them hard to digest. Soaking them, releases the beneficial enzymes and they become easier to digest.

When making any recipes with nuts and/or seeds you should always use the raw, unsalted ones.

Using nuts in these truffles is much healthier than using any kind of processed or refined flours that really contain NO nutrients at all. Nuts are full of nutrients. Check these ingredients out:

Walnuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid and omega 3 fatty acids. Studies show eating walnuts can reduce LDL cholesterol and help with diabetes.

Almonds are high in protein, zinc and calcium. Great source of vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Helps reduce bad cholesterol.

Brazil Nuts are high in selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant. Also high in zinc, copper, iron and magnesium.

Cashews are a good source of protein an fiber. Good source of potassium, B vitamins, foliate, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and copper.

Pecans are a source of zinc, vitamin E, vitamin A and have been proven to increase the results of a diet designed to lower cholesterol.

Hazel Nuts again are good for lowering cholesterol. They contain protein, fiber, iron, vitamin C and B vitamins.

The above nuts are ones I tend to use in my chocolate truffles. I don’t use all at once, usually combine 2 types of nuts. They are fine just using 1 type also.

Dates: Contain fiber, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, mangnesium as well as vitamins. Give extra energy after consuming and are good for eye health.
So as you can see, these chocolate treats are definitely healthier than eating some of the cheap chocolate you buy that contains tons of sugar, milk products, various waxes and of course preservatives.

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