Call me crazy but I am not a fan of chocolate. I think it is insanely overrated. Unless it is from Ginger Elizabeth in Sacramento, or Woodhouse in St. Helena, then I can care less about it. I think it is too sweet, fattening, and I feel like a beast after I eat it. So you might be wondering why I am doing a post on cacao?
But cacao ain’t chocolate. It is a little different. And therin lies the rub. Cacao is the dried seeds of a South American evergreen tree. It is derived from Theobroma Cacao beans which means, “Food of the Gods”. It is used to make cocoa and chocolate.
These little gems have a slightly bitter taste that vaguely resembles chocolate.
Cacao nibs are made by removing the skin from the cacao seed and cracking it into small pieces. It is raw and in its natural form, it's unbelievable for your health.
According to the Livestrong website, “Raw cacao promotes the release of neurotransmitters, which promote a positive outlook and bodily rejuvenation, and release feel-good hormones. Raw cacao raises levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and acts as an anti-depressant that can help reduce symptoms of PMS. It also stimulates the secretion of endorphins, which produce a pleasurable sensation, and phenylethylamine which is a mild mood booster. It also releases anandamide which promotes elation and helps us feel good longer.”
True that!! A form of chocolate that promotes a positive outlook, releases happy thoughts, eases PMS symptoms, creates pleasurable sensations, and makes us feel good longer. Do you need any more reasons to put this in your belly?
If I haven’t sold you already, here are just a few more of fantastic benefits of the almighty NIB:
- Promotes cardiovascular health
- Helps improve circulation, regular heartbeat and blood pressure
- Helps the body repair itself and resist free-radical toxins
- Delivers one of the biggest kicks of antioxidants
- Provides a rich source of manganese that helps oxygenate the blood
- Contains a ton of sulfur, which builds strong hair and nails and promotes glowing skin
Although I would be happy eating these C-nibs all day, I try to limit them to my smoothies. My thought is why not load up on all of these endorphins in the morning?
Anne’s “Morning Delight” Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 handful of Kale or Spinach (optional but you better put it in!)
1 scoop of Amazing Grass Chocolate Amazing Meal (optional)
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of raw cacao nibs
1.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk (or any milk/milk sub you like) or until you are happy with the consistency
Truth be told, I actually had this delightful smoothie this morning. Let me tell you, I felt smiley, happy and relaxed yet energized. In a word -- satisfied. Plus, my workout couldn’t have been better. Yes, this must become a regular thing.
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