Dark Chocolate

A few weeks ago I was asked to blog about Dark Chocolate. So here I go.

When compared to milk and white chocolate, dark chocolate has a lot less fat.  On top of that the more cocoa you look for in dark chocolate (60% or more) the more flavanols it contains.  Flavanols are plant based phytonutrients that provide your  body with antioxidants.  Dark chocolate helps reduce LDL cholesterol (aka the unwanted cholesterol), it helps to lower blood pressure, is rich in vitamins and minerals (Vitamin K, Calcium, magnesium, and Iron), and it also contains phenylethylamine (PEA), an organic compound that is associated to triggering the release of endorphins and serotonin in your brain (the happy chemicals).

Of course, this is all within moderation.  Too much Dark chocolate is not good either because it is high in caffeine.  It also contains tyramyne, a chemical that has been linked to causing migraines so if you are prone to migraines I suggest to stay away (you should always consult with your Physician).  Dark chocolate also contains oxalates which can cause a rise in urine oxalate excretion that may lead to kidney stone formation.  Also, refrain from enjoying your dark chocolate with Milk, as it bind the antioxidants and keeps them from doing their job inside the body.

Kick your Sweet Cravings to the Curb

First, I would like to apologize for being MIA this past week between presentations, papers, client appointments and birthday madness I neglected to post last week.

This week however, I would like to start off with a blog about curbing your sweet tooth.  Why do we crave sugar in the first place? There are 2 main reasons.  First, sugars are carbohydrates.  Carbs trigger the release of our brains happy chemical, serotonin.  Second, because the taste of sugar actually gives your body a natural high by releasing endorphins.

Now, I have 5 Basic Tricks for curbing that sweet tooth.

1.  Usually, when we are craving sugar, or anything for that matter, it is because there is an imbalance in our diet.  To make things simple, I have attached a cravings chart that tells you you’re craving, what you’re missing, and what you should eat.

2. Instead of going for that chocolate bar or gummy worms, go for fruit.  Yes, fruits have sugars, but they are natural sugars that our bodies are able to better process.

3. Live a little, but not a lot.  Everything in moderation is ok.  If you have a good week, 2 weeks or even a month 1 bad day won’t kill you. When you do give in, try to combine the unhealthy sweet with a healthy one.  For example, a fruit with some nutella.

4.  Have a support system.  Making a LIFESTYLE change (healthy is not a diet, diets are temporary) can be difficult.  It gets a lot easier when you have an accountability partner or group.

5. Don’t skip breakfast.  When you skip breakfast you allow your body to drop in blood sugar levels that make you crave something sweet later on in the day.cravings chart