Apr 11, 2011

Chocolate: Understanding the Types

RAW Chocolate is not bad!
How it all begins...
The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor.
After fermentation, the beans are dried, then cleaned, and then roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form.

In its raw state, chocolate has more than 300 nutritional compounds and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food on the planet!  Our bodies need antioxidants to 'mop up' free radicals that can damage our cells. 

The cacao bean is also rich in magnesium (an energy mineral and vital electrolyte that keeps our heart beating well into old age.)  Unfortunately modern diets lack this vital mineral due to intensive farming draining the soil of essential nutrients.  It is also high in calcium and iron

And yes ladies, chocolate is a hormone balancer, that's why we crave and love it so much! It improves sleep, promotes lovely skin and protects the body from pollutants.  Raw chocolate actually has appetite-suppressant properties and often added to weight loss products to help control hunger! Simply enjoy a couple of Raw CHOC's or add half a teaspoon of raw chocolate powder to a teacup of tepid water 20 minutes before a meal for a delicious, natural way to reduce your appetite.

*Personally, I like to dip my bananas in the Raw Cacao Nibs (I bought the bags on Amazon.com for a fairly decent price).  Try implementing them with your daily vitamins for a month and see if you notice a difference like I have!

My friend is a Xocai distributer and after going to one of her parties, I did a bit of research on raw chocolate vs. this company.  I find that it will be cheaper for you to buy your own RAW chocolate and get the same amount of antioxidants and healthful benefits without hurting your wallet.  But if you care to take a look at the Xocai website, I listed it here.  It was delicious chocolate, but I think I'll stick with whole, raw foods!   http://www.mxicorp.com/

Here are the different types of chocolate, but RAW is always the BEST option!

Chocolate liquor is cocoa mass liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients (so it's unsweetened). The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.

**The rest of the chocolate types listed below get more and more processed--which means loss of nutrients and more extra ingredients added. It's best to get chocolate with close to 75% or higher cacao for antioxidant properties and nutrient value. 

Dark chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor (sometimes vanilla)
- Raw chocolate (raw cacao) is always dark and a minimum of 75% cacao.
- Bittersweet chocolate has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking.
- Semisweet chocolate is a dark chocolate with a low sugar content.

-Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, milk or milk powder, and vanilla

-White chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, milk or milk powder, and vanilla
Because there are no cocoa solids, many do not consider white chocolate as chocolate.

All that said, there are mass producers of chocolate that use cheap and poor quality ingredients and substitutes to give us stuff that tastes like chocolate (though we won't mention names: esp. that rhyme with Persheys). Such ingredients include vegetable oils and artificial vanilla. Not to mention they undergo different processes that definitely lose more nutritional value....so be careful when choosing your chocolates.

*note:  whitish spots on the dark chocolate is called chocolate bloom and is not an indication of chocolate gone bad. Instead, this is just an indication that sugar and/or fat has separated due to poor storage.

Chocolate Substitute:
Carob comes from the carob tree (Mediterranean). It is the pod that comes dried or roasted and has a slightly sweet taste, in powder or chip form, and is used as an ingredient in cakes and cookies. Carob is sometimes used as a substitute for chocolate (one reason is because, unlike chocolate, carob does not contain caffeine), and was used anciently as a sweetener, before sugar cane. Apparently it has also proven effective in relieving diarrhea in infants.

I just bought some carob chips in the bulk section of a local grocery store (these had added nonfat milk powder though, and I prefer dairy-free). Or try any nutrition store--look for the powder form too.

TIP: • 3 TB cocoa powder and 1 T oil, instead of baking chocolate

*info from wikipedia

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