National Chocolate Week is Here!

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By: Vivien Veil

Of all the culinary national days and weeks of the year, this is the finest!  Well, at least for the humble chocoholic.  An enchanting seven days for those chocolate addicts, the week is organised in a bid to celebrate one of the country’s favourite super sweets.

Whether you enjoy curling up in front of a fireplace with your favourite chocolate dessert, or you have a chocolate bar whenever your sweet tooth strikes, the chances are you regularly spoil yourself.

Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, especially during times of stress or when times are rough.  However, instead of indulging yourself with the common “bad” chocolate snack you find at your local grocery store, why not try healthier chocolate like dark chocolate (70% or more).

Dark chocolate has less sugar and is packed with beneficial minerals, such as potassium, zinc, selenium, iron, and magnesium.  I bet you didn’t know chocolate cravings are a sign of magnesium deficiency.  So, if you’re fantasising about chocolate regularly, your body is most likely telling you to feed it magnesium-rich foods.  “I’m not magnesium deficient, Vivien, I just absolutely LOVE chocolate,” says Bob.  Well, Bob, did you know up to 80% of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and that it’s maybe because they’re deficient?

Anyway, enough about that.  Now it’s time for me to introduce to you a tasty treat that will have you throwing your Snickers bar in the bin.

Try this guilt-free chocolate recipe for one of your chocolate celebration days this week.  Best of all, you won’t eating nasty ingredients and you’ll be satisfying your sweet tooth in one go.

Bon Appétit!


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“Piece of Cake”  Chocolate Mousse

This dessert is quick to make and guess what? There’s no baking, and it tastes divine!

Serves 5-6

  • 2 ripe avocados, stones removed
  • 5 ripe bananas (with lots of black spots), peeled
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 5 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 6 teaspoons of raw cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Drizzle of maple syrup or honey
  • Any nut of your choice, chopped for garnishing
  1. Place the avocado flesh into your food processor.  Then, add all of the ingredients above to the food processor and blend into a smooth mixture.
  2. Divide the mixture and place in small glasses or ramekins.  Sprinkle some chopped nuts of your choice, and you’re ready to enjoy a healthy delicious treat.  Place in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Recipe adapted from Ella Woodward's book "Deliciously Ella" 

Avocado Health Benefits

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Photo Credit: Thiana Anderson

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m a massive health foodie and a staunch believer in eating superfoods.  You may have heard others use the term “superfood” before when mentioning foods like kale, goji berries, acai, maca, lucuma, or raw cacao.  

But for those who haven’t heard of this term before – superfoods are basically foods that contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.   Well, did you know that the humble avocado is a beloved superfood?  Yes, that means you can eat loads more guacamole and never feel guilty again.

You can add avocados to just about anything.  I’ve been known to eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even as a quick snack.  I love adding an avocado to my banana smoothie because it makes it creamier. I know it sounds weird, but it actually tastes delicious.

As you can tell, avocados are one of my top favourite foods to eat.  I love them so much that I wanted to share with you the benefits of eating ripe avocados.

Ripe Avocados Taste Better

f7b5237ad1ad72bf916009f5a43864b3What do you do if you don’t have any ripe avocados?  You can place them in a brown paper bag.  This keeps the ethylene gas avocados produce from getting out.  This method will ripen an avocado in about 3-6 days.  The skin colour of the avocado will darken and that’s when you know it’s ready.
 

3-6 days too much?

 
If you’re impatient like me, add a banana or apple to the brown paper bag. This produces MORE ethylene gas and speeds up the ripening process.  This method takes about 1-3 days to ripen.
Now for what you’ve been waiting for...

Health Benefits of Avocados:

  • Prevents hair loss and promotes growth because of its high vitamin B and E content.
  • Prevents cancer by neutralising and restricting the growth of precancerous cells. Scientists from Ohio State University found that the phytochemicals from avocados kill the precancerous cells by raising the amount of active oxygen in the cells.
  • Avocados are not fattening!  Good fats like avocados are valuable to your diet and brain.
  • Want lovely glowing skin? Eat avocados! It’s monounsaturated fats give your complexion a healthy boost making your skin youthful looking.
  • Great for your heart. The folate in avocados lessen your chance of getting heart disease and strokes.
  • Want cataracts? I hope you said no. Eat avocados and its carotenoid lutein will kick cataracts and other age-related eye diseases in the butt!
  • Lowers cholesterol because of its beta-sitosterol, a compound shown to lower cholesterol levels.