Photo by Whitney Bembenick, R&D manager, Endangered Species Chocolate
January is one of my favorite months. As we welcome a new year, the “newness” that it brings bubbles over into many aspects of our lives. In my home, as in many others, when the holiday decorations come down, the entire house gets a full, deep clean and purge. Clothes that haven’t been worn are donated, office drawers are organized, and all of the laundry gets cleaned AND folded. Even Mother Nature gives us a sense of “newness”. Looking out my windows here at the Endangered Species office this morning, there is a refreshing blanket of crisp white snow stretching out into the vast fields of Indiana.
With all of this newness, comes ambition to revitalize ourselves with healthy eating and living. Did you know that 2 out of 3 of us make a resolution for change at the start of a new year, but only 8% of us actually follow through? And with no surprise, of those that resolve for change, most resolve to lose weight. In those first few weeks of January, it is with great pomp a circumstance that we dump the tins of cookies and bars into the trash to be replaced with fresh fruits and vegetables. We reach for the water bottle instead of the coffee cup and we turn our noses at the candy aisle. Then, the inevitable happens. It’s someone’s birthday in the office and the array of sweet treats re-emerge. After a few weeks of resisting temptation, you decide to have just a small piece, you’ve earned it…and…burp!…a full slice of cake later you’ve not only got a queasy stomach but you feel awful for breaking your new “diet”. Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, because I have tip for you that will save you from the office birthday party cake catastrophe. It may seem a bit counter intuitive at first…..but here it goes…..
Eat. Dark. Chocolate.
Now, because I work for a chocolate company, you are thinking, “yeah right, chick,” but please, keep reading, and you may change your mind.
First, let me share with you a few facts about cocoa. Cocoa naturally contains antioxidants called flavanols. These compounds act as a defense mechanism to fight off the free radicals our bodies produce from doing daily activities like simply breathing! That means that when we consume a food that contains these flavanols (like chocolate), we are helping our bodies fight against cell damage that research has proven can lead to things like cancer and heart disease. But that’s not all! Multiple research studies have shown the direct link between consuming chocolate and improved mental health, clarity and alertness. This is credited to cocoa’s ability to aid the body in producing compounds which help us feel good, as well as the natural stimulants which are found in chocolate like caffeine and theobromine. The darker and less “adulterated” the chocolate the better, as these varieties offer the largest dose of antioxidants in comparison to their sweeter counterparts.
So…proven by research, chocolate is good for the body and soul. Do I have your attention now? Back to that New Year’s resolution tip I mentioned before. What if, instead of focusing on what you want to limit yourself on, you focus on what you want to indulge in more? Because of all the healthy reasons listed above, we know that dark chocolate is a great option when the mood for indulgence strikes us. By giving ourselves that small treat, we are sustaining a more positive mood and fighting off the “bad guys” at the same time. So when the office party strikes, you’ll feel less inclined to reward yourself, because you’ve already been rewarded with a sweet square of your favorite Endangered Species chocolate bar. Which reminds me, it’s time for my daily dose of indulgence J
One last thing…with all this “newness”, Endangered Species has something new to share as well! Keep an eye out for my post next month where I’ll talk about my love affair with chocolate and our brand new filled chocolate bar line.
R&D Manager, Endangered Species Chocolate
October is Non-GMO Month – a great time to mull over myths and truths about genetically modified organisms so you can make an informed choice…for your health and the health of the planet. What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment? Over 80% of all GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of herbicides has increased 15x since GMOs were introduced – herbicides that persist in the environment and harm wildlife. There are also GMO crops that produce a Bt toxin insecticide which may harm non-target insect populations such as butterflies and beneficial pest predators. The long-term inpact of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these engineered organisms cannot be recalled.
We believer Mother Nature knows best. That’s why we source Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients for our chocolate. Look for in-store displays during October and celebrate your right to make an informed choice about the foods you eat.
-Sources: Non-GMO Project | Learn More , GMO Myths and Truths, and Non-GMO Project Communications Toolkit
Look for our Non-GMO Project Verified Natural Chocolate Halloween Treats on store shelves in October!
And find Endangered Species Chocolate in store displays throughout Non-GMO Month
Recently, chocolate has gone from sinner to savior as an onslaught of chocolate-centric research reveals that there are benefits to scored with each sweet bite. But not all chocolates are created equal. Different chocolates contain different amounts of the magic ingredient, flavanols (aka antioxidants that gobble up destructive molecules). As a general rule, the more bitter (the chocolate) the better (for our bodies). Here’s how the sweet stuff stacks up…
With fewer flavanols than dark, milk chocolate isn’t a top choice if your indulgence goal is to reap healthful antioxidants. You can pump up the health factor by selecting milk chocolate that has a high cocoa content (aim for 40+%) and fruit or nut inclusions to boost the good-for-you ingredients.
Try: Endangered Species Milk Chocolate with Cherries ($2.99 for 3oz). This bar boasts a 48% cocoa content and the cherries add an extra little dose of antioxidants.
Sigh. Sorry. This confection doesn’t contain any cacao at all! But chocolate is really all about pleasure, right? So smile and indulge (in moderation, of course).
Try: Divine White Chocolate with Strawberries. The strawberries, dried at the peak of ripeness, will add a dose of antioxidants to your sweet treat.
The good news – you should probably be eating dark chocolate on a regular basis because this stuff is pretty darn good for you! The bad news? It only takes a little bit of dark chocolate per day to reap the benefits, so indulge in moderation. Since my official title is Chocolate Goddess, not Chocolate M.D., leap to these links to get solid info on how dark chocolate can protect you from UV damage, boost your cardiovascular health, and even lower your blood pressure.
Try: Endangered Species Chocolate 88% Dark Chocolate. ($2.99 for 3oz). It’s our highest cocoa content chocolate bar…remember, the bitter the better!
March is national Nutrition Month; a great opportunity to assess your diet and get reacquainted with sound eating habits. So as you prep your plate with leafy greens and bright red fruits. don’t forget to add a touch of brown – chocolate brown, that is! We all have a need for something sweet and dark chocolate is a healthful way to indulge that desire. Scientific research shows that dark chocolate in small amounts can promote heart health, help cells resist damage from free radicals, and even help you better cope with stress.
Want to reap the maximum benefits from chocolate? Keep these 3 things in mind when selecting chocolate:
1. Aim for chocolate that has a 70% cocoa content or higher.
2. Make sure the first ingredient listed is chocolate liquor or cocoa (not sugar).
3. Choose natural and organic chocolate for a healthier planet and healthier you!
Cocoa contents of our dark chocolate at Endangered Species Chocolate range from 70-88%, chocolate liquor is the first ingredient listed on the nutritonal panel, and we offer natural and certified organic chocolate selections. Healthful never tasted so good!
What’s your preferred cocoa content?