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All About The Chocolate…or Energy Truffles, Rather.

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Officially t-minus 7 days until the most romantic holiday of the year.  Along with flowers, everyone knows, Valentine’s Day = Chocolate…even National Geographic.

An estimated 47 percent of U.S. consumers will exchange Valentine’s Day candy, according to the retail federation survey—adding up to a sweet billion dollars in sales, the National Confectioners Association says.

About 75 percent of that billion is from sales of chocolate, which has been associated with romance at least since Mexico’s 15th- and 16th-century Aztec Empire, according to Susan Fussell, a spokesperson with the association.

As a healthy living blogger, I used to think that clean eating meant absolutely no indulgences.  For the record, I was very wrong.   Unless you’re allergic or inhuman, I think it’s safe to say that EVERY girl loves chocolate…especially on this festive holiday 😉  So, you want to know my choices?  Some are healthier than others, but all-in-all, they can each be part of a balanced, healthy diet.

My favorite forms of chocolate in no particular order:

1 – Doctor’s CarbRite Diet Protein Bars.  The chocolate varieties, of course. 

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Each bar has somewhere from 190-200 calories, 20-21g of whey/soy protein, and a total of 3-5g of fat.  The best flavors, in my humble opinion, are Cookie Dough, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Mint, and Chocolate Coconut!  I usually order them from iherb.com or buy them at Wegman’s.

2 – New Tree Belgian Biscuit Chocolate Bar

It’s 65% cocoa, Dark Chocolate encrusted with little golden flax seeds to give you 3x the fiber, -30% sugar, and is a great source of Omega-3’s.  Huge, HUGE fan.  The nutrition facts aren’t bad either!  It’s 170 calories per serving with 3g protein and 6g fiberBuy it here.  I used to be able to find them at Target, but I think they stopped selling them.  Boooo.

3 – No Sugar Added Dutch Chocolate Turkey Hill Ice Cream

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The boy & I just ate this last night.  It is so delicious.  Creamy, milky, and you’d never know there’s no sugar added.  Sweetened with Splenda, it’s got great stats, too.  70 calories per 1/2 C. serving, 3g protein, and 6g of dietary fibermmmm.

4 – Adora Calcium Discs

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Just ONE disk at 30 calories, provides you with 62% of your DV Vitamin D, 50% of your DV Calcium, & 10% DV Magnesium.  These are great if you have issues with portion control, because they’re individually wrapped little pieces.  They come in milk or dark chocolate.  Typically, I’m a dark chocolate kinda girl, but I think I prefer the milk chocolate version of these.  You can buy these online, but they also have them at Wegman’s!

5 – Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

I think I’d enjoy some of the other Chocolove varieties as well, but this one in particular was a hit.  The 55% cocoa content was a great salty/sweet combo with the almonds & sea salt. 

6 – Sjaak’s Individual Organic Fair Trade Vegan Almond Butter Bites

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Organic Dark Chocolate (organic cocoa butter, organic sugar, organic cocoa paste, organic vanilla, organic soya lecithin) organic almonds, organic powdered sugar, organic almond oil, sea salt.  Do you see those ingredients? Holy yum.  Best part?  They’re only 65¢ a piece and you can order them here.

7 – Coco-Zen Truffles-To-Go

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Each tin contains 8 bite-sized truffle cups.  All of their chocolates are made from organic & Fair Trade Certified ingredients.  You can see on their website that they come in a several varieties, but this trio would be my pick:

Chocolate Chai Spice
-Chocolate Latte
-Peanut Butter

$8.00 isn’t bad either, for these little specialty treats!  If you order by 9pm tonight & choose priority mail shipping, you can still get them by 2/6 for the big day!

I saved the BEST for last.  Yes, they’re the most expensive, but they are absolutely fabulous…hand-made, too!

8 – Energy Truffles

Energy Truffles

Our truffles are made from a unique combination of nuts, seeds and superfoods. Energy Truffles were inspired by ancient civilizations that used these foods for thousands of years due to their tremendous dietary value and healing power. These unique truffles are a delicious way to introduce amazing, nutrient dense foods into our diets.

Superfoods contain natural concentrated levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, good fats and oils, essential amino and fatty acids and other nutrients. Thus, Superfoods help us to embrace our wellbeing, providing health benefits far beyond their recognized nutritional value.

Our product is vegan, gluten free and made with 100% organic or wild crafted ingredients. We are a family owned business located in Southern California and greatly appreciate your support.

 Carla, from the company, kindly sent me one of these indescribably delectable box of 9 different truffles – one mint, one orange, one cayanne pepper, one cinnamon, one salted fudge, one peanut butter, one berry, one vanilla and one coconut truffle.

What did I think?  Phenomonal.  Check out the fabulous ingredients:

Chocolate Coating Our Chocolate coating comes from an amazing company on the island of Grenada called the Grenada Chocolate Company. Please visit this link for more information.
raw organic walnuts Walnuts contain high levels of antioxidants and are an excellent source of manganese, copper, and omega 3’s. They are also high in magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, calcium and selenium. Walnuts contain excellent levels of vitamin B6, thiamin (B1), pantothenic acid, very good levels of vitamin E, niacin (b3) and riboflavin (b2).
raw organic almonds Almonds are incredibly rich in minerals like Manganese, Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc, Potassium and Selenium. Almonds are a powerhouse of Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Niacin and Folate. Good amounts of Vitamin B6 and Pantothenic Acid are also found.
raw organic pecans Pecans are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of antioxidants. They are rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity, including polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. Pecans are also an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gama tocopherol.
raw organic brazil nuts Brazil nuts are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like palmitoleic acid and oleic acid. They also contain exceptionally high levels of selenium.  They also contain very good levels of other minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc.
raw organic hazelnuts Hazelnuts contain magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, calcium and selenium. They also contain vitamin K in the form of phylloquinone, ascorbic acid, folates, thiamin, alpha-tocopherol and niacin. Furthermore, hazelnuts contain the amino and fatty acids leucine, arginine, aspartic acid, alanine and glutamic acid.
raw organic cashews Cashews are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals. They are very rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Cashews are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1).
raw organic chia seeds For such a little seed, Chia is a powerhouse in nutrition. Chia seeds contain 8 essential amino acids. They are high in vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, B17, C, D, E, K, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA. Minerals found in Chia are boron, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, strontium, sulphur, zinc, amylose and electrolytes. Chia has a very good ratio of omega-3 oil to omega-6 oil; with 20-30% protein, 35% oil, 25% fiber.
raw organic pumpkin seeds Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They are also a good source of other minerals including zinc, iron and copper. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and vitamin K.
raw organic hemp seeds Hemp is a high protein seed containing all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce. Hemp is nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid. Also, contains vitamin E , trace minerals and is an excellent source of fiber. A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3. Hemp is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.
raw organic cacao powder To the Aztecs, the cacao bean was the food of the gods. Cacao is extremely high in antioxidants (oligomeric procynanidins, resveratrol and the polyphenols) as well as magnesium. Cacao also contains high levels of potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, vitamin C and omega 6 fatty acids.
raw organic cacao nibs Out of all the whole foods that contain antioxidants, raw chocolate is the highest in the world.
raw organic buckwheat groats Buckwheat Groats (a seed) contain vitamin E, several B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium and potassium. These groats also have some of the trace minerals selenium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese. They’re full of good-for-you phytochemicals and have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Because they are in the raw state, they have the highest nutritional value of all forms of groats. They are digested very slowly, which reduces the glycemic load and makes them quite filling.
raw organic dates Dates are valuable as medicine for their tonic effect. Being easily digested, they are very useful for supplying energy and repairing waste. Dates are a laxative food and are highly beneficial in the treatment of constipation by stimulating sluggish bowels.
raw organic coconut oil Coconut oil includes antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that stem from the existence of capric, caprylic and lauric acids. Coconut oil improves calcium and magnesium absorption in the body, which in turn is greatly beneficial to dental an bone health.
raw organic coconut Shredded coconut contains a rich amount of vitamins and minerals, iron, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6. It also contains folate and pantothenic acid. Other trace minerals include manganese, copper, potassium, selenium and zinc.
raw organic agave One of the most favorable aspects of agave is its glycemic profile. Its sweetness comes primarily from a complex form of fructose called inulin. The carbohydrate in agave nectar has a low glycemic index, which provides sweetness without the unpleasant “sugar rush”.
raw organic golden Berries Goldenberries contain many nutrients like vitamin P (bioflavinoids-anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, antihistamine and anti-viral properties), pectin, phosphorous, protein and vitamins A, C, B1, B2, and B6.
raw organic goji Berries Goji berries are stuffed full of many beneficial properties. A few known benefits are that this berry is very high in antioxidants, full of essential minerals and amino acids, some of which the body is unable to produce on its own. It also contains 4 unique polysaccharides.
raw organic mulberries Mulberries are an excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K and iron. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red grapes and red wine, has been heavily publicized for its positive health benefits.
raw organic acai Acai is a rich source of anthocyanins and other phenolics and phyto-nutrients. Acai berries are amongst the most nutritious foods of the Amazon, rich in B vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Acai also contains oleic acid (omega-9). Potassium is the mineral most abundant in this berry. Acai is also rich in copper, and unusually high in manganese. Only a small portion supplies far more than the body needs of this ultra-trace mineral.
raw organic camu camu Camu-Camu contain nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin C, niacin, phosphorous, leucine, serine, iron, flavanols, riboflavin, valene, thiamin and amino acids. Camu-camu is highest known source of Vitamin C on the planet, more than 50 times the Vitamin C found in oranges.
raw organic macadamia nuts The fat contained in macadamia nuts is monounsaturated fat and one of the healthier and more beneficial forms of fat. They are high in selenium (a natural antioxidant), they are a great source of fiber, rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
organic peanut butter Peanuts are a legume, not a nut. Peanut butter has a high level of monosaturated fats and resveratrol. Peanut butter (and peanuts) provide protein, vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, arginine, and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid.
pink himalayan salt Himalayan salt is millions of years old. It is a pure form of salt, untouched by many of the toxins and pollutants that pervade other forms of salt. Known in the Himalayas as “white gold,” Himalayan Crystal Salt contains the same 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body.

Here’s a bit about my favorites.  Yes, that’s plural.  You can’t tell me you actually expected some decisiveness on my part when you give me a BOX full of nine different truffles, did you?

Salted Fudge – need I say more?

 

This guy will literally melt in your mouth.  The creamy, fudgy middle is totally indulgent.  I’ve come to the conclusion that sweets are BEST accompanied by salt.  Plus, did you know that sea salt contains more than 100 minerals?!

Ingredients: *Dates, *Macadamia Nuts, *Agave, *Cacao Powder, Sea Salt, Organic Vanilla Extract. Chocolate Coating: Organic Cacao Beans, Organic Cane Sugar, Fresh Organic Cacao Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Beans.

* denotes raw and organic

Coconut Chocolate – puts an Almond Joy to shame

Coconut & chocolate are one of those power duos.  You know, like peanut butter & jelly…Coconut contains a rich amount of vitamins and minerals, iron, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6.  It also contains folate and pantothenic acid. Other trace minerals include manganese, copper, potassium, selenium and zinc.

Ingredients: *Almonds, *Coconut Oil, *Shredded Coconut, *Dates, *Brazilian Nuts, *Agave, *Cacao Powder, *Pumpkin Seeds, *Hemp Seeds, *Chia Seeds. Chocolate Coating: Organic Cacao Beans, Organic Cane Sugar, Fresh Organic Cacao Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Beans.

There aren’t any nutrition facts for these truffles, but honestly, I’m not worried.  They’re made of all healthy, wholesome ingredients, so there’s nothing to be scared of.  Sure, they’re a TREAT, so don’t go ahead and eat the whole box at once, but logically, Carla said each would have probably about 180 calories.  I’d venture to bet that there’s a little bit less, depending on the variety. 

You can order some Energy Truffles through the websiteSome Whole Foods Stores carry them, too. 

So there you have it.  My picks for Valentine’s Day 2012 chocolates.

Indulge & enjoyIn moderation, of course 😉 

 XOXO.

Chocolate Cures Everything.

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Here’s the deal.  You’ll have to forgive me for the lack of consistency in my postings…  With the beginning of basketball season, comes the beginning of an increasingly insane schedule…there’s another catch that I can’t tell you about quite yet…but stay tuned for an exciting adventure taking place in my life right now.

Tuesdays & Wednesdays are especially grueling.  Thankfully, my supervisor at work allowed me to work a 7am-3pm shift, making it possible for me to attend my 3:30-5:30 practice.  Waking up at 5am isn’t terrible…it was only tough, because I then have Anatomy & Phisiology class on Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:45pm. 

We started with a skeletal lab, had that test, and are now moving on to the muscular lab.  Meanwhile, outside of class, we’re supposed to be teaching ourselves 5 chapters of the book.  Thank God it’s an interesting class.  It’s just a TON of info to remember.

Packing up my lunches & dinners both can be quite the task, but I’ve learned a thing or two from Elise when it comes to packing for round-the-clock, healthy eats.  The only difference is, I’m usually having to refuel after workouts like these…

I firmly believe that chocolate can help me settle my frazzled self, when times come that my schedule gets nuts…so, here we go…my favorite products to kick a chocolate craving.

No Sugar Added Fudgsicles

It’s starting to get too cold to enjoy these, but whenever I’m craving ice cream, these hit the spot.  They’re super creamy and perfectly portioned.  Just 40 calories in one!

Doctor’s CarbRite SugarFree Milk Chocolate Bar

I actually LOVED this bar.  I found it at Wegman’s recently and at just 32 calories per square, who’s going to argue?  I like to use them anyway I would Adora Calcium discs.  Likeeee smashing some peanut flour paste mix in between.

Muscle Milk Light Chocolate Shake

This shake is perfect for a sweets fix on the move.  I keep them in my trunk, aka, large refrigerator, for emergency chocolate cravings…they especially come in handy after long practices boasting 20g of muscle building protein.

Deep Chocolate Vitatops

I haven’t ordered these bad boys in awhile, mainly because I used to only do it when I saw specials for free shipping and big bundle packages from Hungry Girl.  They are delicious though…especially warmed in the microwave, so the chocolate chips get all melty…it’s like a warm brownie straight from the oven.

Diet Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate Packets

I typically hate anything with “diet” in the title…the ingredients list isn’t fabulous for these guys either, but they’re convenient and portable.  They flavor plain greek yogurt wonderfully, or are great for shaking up in a reuseable bottle with unsweet vanilla almond milk. 

Cookie Dough Luna Protein Bars

Again, these bars are portable and great for a before bed treat.  After a long night of class and basketball, cookie dough covered in chocolate sounds pretty amazing, no?  Plus, 12g of protein which helps my tired muscles heal up and 180 calories for me to lessen the deficit.

How do I plan on making it through the next three months with an A&P lab, working full-time, playing college basketball, taking a computer business class, and maintaining a social life with the boyfriend?  By eating chocolate…lots, and lots of chocolate. (:

PS- Please, VOTE FOR MY BLUEBERRY PANCAKES in the BETTER BREAKFAST challenge on Janetha’s blog!

What’s your favorite guilt-free chocolate product?

XO.

Q.Bel

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Yes, this post is about CANDY 🙂  All-natural Q. Bel chocolate has officially won me over.  Every freckled foodie needs a healthy indulgence sometimes, and what better way to indulge than the all-natural way, right?! 🙂

• No Artificial Colors •
• No Artificial Flavors •
• No Preservatives •
• No High Fructose Corn Syrup •
• No Hydrogenated Oils •

Q. Bel has created the ultimate chocolate lovers dream.  Chocolate wafer bars and rolls in dark and milk chocolate are perfectly light and crispy.  They make for the perfect after dinner treat. 

There are three varieties of each: Crunchy Crispy Milk Chocolate, Crunchy Crispy Dark Chocolate, and Peanut Butter!

To be totally honest, I was surprised to find that each package of 2 wafer rolls contains (depending on the flavor) just 120-130 calories, 6-7g of fat (2-4 saturated), and 1-3g of protein!  Not bad for a dessert, huh!?

The nutritionals for the wafer bars weren’t quite as good as the wafer rolls, but they were still far better than a snickers bar! 🙂  Each package had 170-190 calories, 11-13g of fat (7g saturated), and 2-4g of protein!

I LOVED knowing I could eat a natural chocolate product without overexpending my calorie bank 🙂  I’ve got to say, the dark chocolate was my favorite.  It just melts in your mouth!  The delectable cream filling is enough to obsess over in itself.  It’s very rich, but not overpowering and the crunch of the wafer is so fun!

The peanut butter was really smooth as well!  The velvety texture and sweet peanut butter will melt in your mouth!  It reminded me of a health version of Reece’s sticks!  Perfection!

I was also curious how they came up with the name Q.Bel…I came to find that this is the sweetest aspect of all!  The Q stands for Quality ingredients, and the Bel, is a tribute to the creator’s wife, Isabel!!  He says that she “taught me so much about good, wholesome and healthy food among other things”…how sweet?! 

Thanks so much, John for sharing with me the goodness of Q.Bel!  I’m addicted! 🙂