I love superfoods.
Most people think they’re a fad, only exotic foods, or really don’t have any value. But that’s not true! Some superfoods are foods we think of as common while others may indeed come from an “exotic” place, like the jungles of Brazil. But let’s get some perspective – in those jungles of Brazil that same “exotic” food is common to the people who live there. Including superfoods in my recipes excites me for not only do I (and the members of my family) get to realize the health benefits, so do my clients who use my recipes. And, I get to teach people about foods they’ve never heard of and then they get to experience the results.
Let’s talk about two of my favorites, cacao (the raw stage of chocolate) and the acai berry. The one feeling I can consistently say when eating chocolate is “decadence,” frivolous and a lovely indulgence of the sweetest and healthiest kind. When you marry it with the acai berry, which has the most amazing antioxidants ever – well, all I can say is OMG! More about that later!
LET’S TALK ABOUT CACAO – THE REAL CHOCOLATE!
After all, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz.
Cacao, in its most natural form is a seed, and is one of the most delicious and healthiest of superfoods that exists. Everything chocolate comes from the seeds, called cocoa beans, which grow on cacao trees that flourish in tropical forests near the equator. While they need hot and rainy weather, they’re really delicate plants that have to live in the shade of other trees to shelter them from both wind and sun to protect their colorful fruits called pods. Inside the pods is a sweet juice and better little seeds. These seeds – the cacao or cocoa bean – are where “chocolate” is birthed.
Chocolate does not have sugar or dairy not unless you add it. If you want a delicious, high energy weight loss food; chocolate is your bean! And, if you didn’t know, cacao can help ease PMS symptoms, is good for metabolizing glucose, is heart healthy, and can help ease depression because it causes the release of endorphins. Endorphins are happy neuro-transmitters which can help reduce stress and cause feelings of euphoria!
Cacao is rich in polyphenols, which according to the latest studies by Dr. Maria Arribas of the Science and Technology Institute of Food and Nutrition in Spain, seems to play an important role in protecting against disease.
There are so many raw goodies you can make with cacao that are both delicious and healthy. You can buy cacao nibs, cacao powder and cacao butter and makes lots of wonderful recipes. One of the special qualities cacao has for is to hide the flavor of foods that don’t taste so great. For example, you can eat spirulina with cacao and never even taste it.Cacao helps serve as a delivery agent for many other super-foods like mushrooms, goji berries and spirulina.
What are the benefits of chocolate*
heart, brain, muscle cramping, elimination, alkaline, bone strength
balances blood sugar
immunity, liver, pancreas, skin
Omega-6 Fatty Acid
(healthy unless chocolate is cooked…then it is a trans-fat)
focus, alertness, appetite suppressant
endorphin (same as what is released after exercising)
stress defense (feel good)
NOW, WHAT ABOUT THE ACAI BERRY?
The acai berry is about an inch long and is a reddish-purple little fruit that comes from the acai palm tree native to rainforests in Central and South America. Some studies show that the pulp from this delicious little fruit is even richer in antioxidants than blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or other berries. They also contain fiber and heart-healthy fat. Many people feel there are health benefits that may help arthritis, weight loss, high cholesterol, and detoxification.
One big advantage of the acai berry is its anti-inflammatory effect. Since inflammation is linked to just about every disease out there, including heart disease and stroke, the benefits of the acai berry can’t be argued. And, according to a study from the National Institutes of Aging, the acai berry may help us not only lose unhealthy fat, but maintain a healthy weight.
The Marriage of Two Superfoods
Superfoods are fantastic by themselves. Combining them enhances their power. So what happens when you marry two superfoods like cacao and acai berry? Just wow and WOW! I created a smoothie that just may be my new favorite – decadence and healthy. What more can a girl ask for? (or a guy – my husband, who really doesn’t favor chocolate, loved this one too!) I just have to share with you!
*Note: According to studies, chocolate or the compounds within it do not have any known negative effects on kidney function. However, if you are prone to kidney stones or already have kidney disease you may have to limit your intake of cacao/chocolate due to the high content of potassium, oxalates, or other minerals. Please consult with your physician for guidance.
**This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat illness or disease.