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Does it ever amuse you, how great our desire (as a society) is to legitimize all our vices?  For example, almost every week there’s a news headline that announces how wine, coffee or tea are so good for our health.  And we lap it up quite happily.

While Ayurveda views alcohol as a “super-sweet” something we can talk about another time, it does say that in balance the sweet taste can actually be a good thing.

Too much of a desire of the sweet taste may indicate a lack of love and other sources of sweetness in your life.  But in moderation, a little bit of sweet, along with the other tastes or rasa is encouraged as part of a healthy individual’s appetite.  In fact, without a little bit of sweet, we don’t feel completely satiated or full.

That makes sense to me and I have to say that I love just a little bit of the sweet taste after a meal.  It’s a simple signal to my stomach that we have reached the end of this culinary journey and that I should be sufficiently nourished for the next few hours.

One of my favourite desserts is one or two little pieces of dark chocolate.

Cocoa Camino's Extra Dark Chocolate

Cocoa Camino's Extra Dark Chocolate

There’s that legitimizing piece of research again.  As this CBC news story reported, a study published in the March 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked chocolate as one of the top flavonoid-rich foods associated with a protective effect, along with whole bran, red wine, grapefruit and strawberries.  Flavonoids are natural compounds found in the cocoa bean, with antioxidant properties – the same compounds that give berries, red wine and green tea their health benefits and they are thought to positively impact cardio vascular disease as well as blood pressure.  Chocolate eaters also reported a better sense of well-being and overall happiness, which may be due to the fact that eating chocolate apparently stimulates the production of serotonin, our well-being regulator.

Before you legitimize your secret cocoa cravings, keep in mind just these few helpful tips.

– Dark chocolate is the only way to go.  Sorry milk chocolate lovers, dark chocolate especially a bar with more than 70% cocoa content has the highest % of flavonoids.  Yes, mars bars etc. do not count here.

– Consume chocolate mindfully and in miniscule doses.  (Hint, chocolate is highly caloric).  Dark chocolate should fill you up pretty easily so this shouldn’t be difficult!

– Remember that you can probably get the same benefits from eating blueberries, oranges, apples and any high in anti-oxidant food.

– Treat chocolate like the special treat it really is.  Savour its sensuality.  This was after all food for the Gods.  The incas even traded in chocolate and valued cocoa beans more than Gold.

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– And lastly, when you do decide to go for chocolate, choose a bar that is fair-trade and organic.  One of my favourite chocolate bar is Canada’s Cocoa Camino especially their Extra Dark with 71% cocoa and a smooth, rich, creaminess that is hard to find in pure dark chocolate.  I also love the chili spice and matcha flavours.

Enjoy.  Thanks for reading.  Please post your comments!

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