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Posts tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Love, Chocolate & Valentines

Excerpt for Valentine’s Day from Luscious Chocolate Smoothies: An irresistible collection of healthy cocoa delights.

Smoothies are one of the easiest and healthiest snacks (or entire meals) for any occasion, especially when you add chocolate and its added health benefits. You can blend up a batch in 10 minutes and have enough for days.


Love comes and loves goes, but chocolate is always around the corner.

Just like chocolate, some people are semisweet, some are bitter, others are just plain nutty.

A chocolate smoothie a day keeps the psychiatrist away.

Chocolate will never abandon you for another mate, doesn’t cheat, lie or leave its clothes on the floor.

Chocolate, like unconditional love, is an addiction that you don’t want to live without.


Cocoa powder and chocolate contain rich sources of polyphenol antioxidants, which are the same beneficial compounds found in fruits, vegetables and red wine that may reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

It is believed that damage done in the body by free oxygen radicals is linked to heart disease and other maladies connected with aging. There is some research that indicates that antioxidants in the blood stream help eliminate free radicals, thus reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

Dark chocolate contains more antioxidants, per 100 grams, then prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, kale, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, plums, alfalfa sprouts, oranges, red grapes, red bell pepper, cherries, onion, corn or eggplant.


The Latin Lover

4 oz melted bittersweet dark chocolate
2 cups soy milk
1 banana
12 oz silken style soft tofu
½ Tbsp flax seed oil
1 tsp cinnamon powder

1. Place ingredients in a blender and mix on medium for one minute.
2. Pour into tall cups and serve.

Yields: 5 cups. Per cup: calories 231; protein 7 g; total fat 12 g; saturated fat 5 g; carbohydrate 26 g; cholesterol 1 mg.

The Velvet Orchid

2 cups chocolate low-fat soy milk or dairy milk
½ banana, in chunks
1 12-oz package of soft silken tofu
1 cup frozen mango slices
2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix on high for two minutes.
2. Pour contents into tall glasses and serve.

Yields: 4 cups. Per cup: calories 218; protein 7 g; total fat 8 g; saturated fat 3 g; carbohydrate 34 g; cholesterol 0 mg.

The Naked Truth

2 cups plain low-fat soy milk
1 12-oz package soft silken tofu
¾ cup vanilla ice or soy cream
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup canned pineapple chunks, drained
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 Tbsp brandy

1. Place all ingredients, except brandy, in a blender and mix on high for about two minutes; add brandy and blend for 10 seconds more.
2. Pour into tumblers or wide-mouthed glasses.

Yields: 6 cups. Per cup: calories 406; protein 10 g; total fat 26 g; saturated fat 8 g; carbohydrate 32 g; cholesterol 8 mg.


Chocolate = Love & Health

Written for Valentine’s Day issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine.

It’s widely known that dark chocolate, in particular, is good for our emotional and physical health. Eating dark chocolate makes people happy, researchers have learned, because it contains phenylethylamine, the same nurturing hormone triggered by the brain when we fall in love. It’s no wonder that Madame du Barry and Giacomo Casanova both believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac. Further, according to the California Academy of Sciences, the theobromine in chocolate acts as a myocardial stimulant, dilator of coronary arteries and smooth muscle relaxant, all inducing good feelings.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine recently reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that subjects who consistently consumed dark chocolate showed a 40 percent lower risk of myocardial infarction and stroke than those who did not.

A study published in the European Heart Journal that tracked almost 20,000 people for 10 years found that people who ate about 7 grams of dark chocolate per day had lower blood pressure and 39 percent less risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack, compared to those who ate an average of 1.7 grams daily.

Scientists have learned that cocoa powder and chocolate contain rich sources of polyphenol antioxidants, the same beneficial compounds found in red wine and many fruits and vegetables that help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Professor Frank Ruschitzka, head of cardiology at University Hospital, in Zurich, Switzerland, comments: “Basic science has demonstrated quite convincingly that dark chocolate, particularly with a cocoa content of at least 70 percent, reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular and platelet [appropriate blood clotting] function.”

Chocolate lovers also will be glad to know that dark chocolate contains more antioxidants per 3.5 ounces than prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, plums, oranges, red grapes, red bell peppers, cherries, onions, corn or eggplant.

See more, including 4 recipes for Valentine’s Day at Natural Awakenings.

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