I chuckled for a few and went about my shopping.
You know, kids can be so spoiled, and to be honest, I was no different than any other child. ?I was spoiled rotten, and that’s nothing but the truth. But as these thoughts rushed my mind, I realized that I still wanted a piece of candy.
What’s the harm in one piece?
To Ignore or Listen
That’s the logic we all have, we all know we shouldn’t be eating too much candy, and besides, it’s far too easy for one piece to turn into 2, 3, 4, and 5.
But the real question that I often ask myself is, “how do I satisfy my sweet tooth? ?Should I just ignore it?”
At some point, you have to give into it because as I said before, it’s annoying to tell yourself “no,” we only have so much willpower to give to a particular situation.
I think I’ve figured it out though, or at least I’ve found a way to add something sweet to my diet that’s half way acceptable. Have you ever had dark chocolate?
Everyone loves chocolate, but now it’s time to figure out a way to fit it into our health and fitness plan.
My last post was about cheat meals, eating clean all week and rewarding yourself with something good, but I want to take it a step further and add this to your menu.
You see, we’ve all grown up eating milk chocolate, in fact, it’s part of the American diet, you can find dozens of candy bars at any grocery store or convenient store across America. ?The Snickers Bar, Hersey Kisses, Twix, Reeses Buttercup, you name it, and it’s there.
But as you know, these popular candy bars are made with milk chocolate. ?And with my health theory, anytime I stop eating something unhealthy, I want to replace it with something else that can “get the job done.” ?In essence, I’m always looking for a healthier alternative.
Dark chocolate is from the cocoa bean. ?Now, what makes dark chocolate different from milk chocolate is a slight variation in a particular step in the process of the cocoa bean.
But first, the cocoa bean it’self is rich in a plant nutrient called flavonoids. These flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help the plants to repair its self from damage.
The amazing part about that is when we eat plants rich in these flavonoids; these same antioxidant qualities apply to us, they provide us with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. ?Have you heard that red wine is good for heart health? Well, the same concept here, red wine is rich with these flavonoids as well.
But back to chocolate, it’s all about the cocoa bean, and it’s nutrients. ?As I was saying earlier, the way the cocoa bean is processed has a major effect on retaining the nutrients in the cocoa bean.
I’m not sure if you’ve had dark chocolate before, but it has a very distinct taste. When you eat it, you know it’s chocolate.
Chocolate manufacturers send the cocoa bean through a?list of various steps to make a chocolate bar. ?When the cocoa bean is sent through a stage called Alkalization or “Dutching”, this raises the pH level of the cocoa nibs or chocolate liquor, and among other things also reduces the bitterness and improves the taste. ?It is this step where the flavonoids are lost or reduced–zapping away any of the benefits that you would receive otherwise.
Also, another difference between dark chocolate and milk chocolate is the obvious addition of milk and sugar.
So the key here is if you’re trying to add dark chocolate as a healthy alternative, make sure it’s made with at least 70% cocoa.
But Why Should I Care?
So you have an alternative, but, “why should you choose dark chocolate over milk, or better yet why should you care?”
Do you want to know what kind of benefits you’re signing up for?
Well here are just a few.
- ?Dark Chocolate reduces your risk of heart disease. ?It increases levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol,?and decreases levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.
- Dark Chocolate can improve your blood pressure.
- Dark Chocolate improves your brain function. ?Dark chocolate, as well as other fruits and vegetables, are high in these plant nutrients. ?They improve your brain function over time. ?These nutrients are why most diets recommend you to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
It’s The Little Things
With this whole health thing, it’s not the big things that you do. ?But it’s the small steps that you take to slowing improve your life. ?Back in my college days playing baseball, Coach would always get on us about paying attention to the details.
At the time, it didn’t mean too much to me, but now I see in life, it’s not the major things that help us to make changes in our lives. It’s the small details that bring us the goodies that we’re looking for.