• topiramate generic http://foggiachat.altervista.o...kwd=586296 topiramate xr http://foggiachat.altervista.o...kwd=730007 propranolol trade name
  • venlafaxine bipolar can topiramate get you high buy valacyclovir ciprofloxacin ear drops metronidazole pregnancy
    http://innovezdanslesimplants....age=289827 cialis generique inde http://innovezdanslesimplants....age=118211 tadalafil faut il une ordonnance pharmacie en ligne andorre cialis acheter vardenafil cialis suisse viagra gratis italia viagra precio farmacia cialis pillen cialis 40 mg moins cher viagra apotek aller andare ici

    Archive for the ‘cocoa beans’ Category

    The Ultimate Chocolate Shopping Guide

    Last year’s “ultimate olive oil guide” was so well received that I thought it deserved a bigger and better sequel.

    While everyone else this year will be talking about the Mayan calendar, we’ll be over in this corner talking about something the Mayans ever-so-intelligently loved, worshipped, and cherished like gold: chocolate.

    My view of chocolate is undoubtedly passionate, yet objective. I don’t think of it as a magical elixir or a  — groan — “super” food. It is, however, very healthful.

    Sadly, a lot of chocolate out there — and I’m talking all sorts of price ranges here — is harmful to your health, the environment, and the well-being of farmers.

    I guarantee that after reading this post, you’ll never shop for chocolate the same way again.

    Continue Reading »

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Fats in Avocado

    hass avocado openIs the fat contained in avocado 100% good?

    How much fat is too much?

    — Coco (last name unknown)
    Via the blog

    Avocados are largely made up of healthy monounsaturated fats, hence its status as a nutritional darling.

    However, there is no such thing as a “perfect” fat.

    The “downside” to avoados, for example, is that they offer a fair share of omega-6 essential fatty acids and practically no omega-3 fatty acids.

    Although both omega-6 and omega-3 fats are essential (meaning we must get them from our diets), the typical US diet is too high in the omega-6 variety and too low in omega-3s.

    People — and diet books written mostly by quacks — love to characterize foods as “100% good” or “100% bad”, but nutrition is more complex than that.

    Avocados are an absolutely wonderful addition to the diet (the fact that they are high in omega-6 does not make them “bad”), but they should not be your only source of fat.

    Look to other sources for omega-3 fatty acids (flax, hemp, walnuts, fatty fish, brown kelp seaweed).

    Remember, too, that different fats offer a variety of different antioxidants and polyphenols.

    Olives and olive oil, for example, offer a high amount of monounsaturated fats along with exclusive components that have been found to benefit cardiovascular health.

    How much fat is too much?  Again, it depends on what kind of fats you are speaking about.  Here are some general guidelines:

    • The majority of your fat intake should come from monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids
    • Saturated fats are okay in smaller amounts (for healthier saturated fats, look to coconut and cacao).
    • Avoid trans fats at all costs

    Remember, too, that most foods are a combination of different fats.  Avocados and olive oil contain some saturated fats; similarly, bacon contains a fair share of monounsaturated fats.

    In general, you can safely have up to forty percent of your diet come from fats (remember the hierarchy, though!)

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Chocolate With Benefits

    6a00d83451b19169e20115701502e1970b-500wiHow much truth is there in the idea that chocolate can be a health food?

    If it’s true, does that mean I am getting some health benefits from any chocolate product?

    — Alice Costello
    (Location Withheld)

    To answer this question, it is important to differentiate between cocoa and chocolate.

    Cocoa refers to the seed from the cacao fruit.  Chocolate, meanwhile, is a term that describes a product that, among other ingredients, contains cocoa.

    In the vast majority of cases, chocolate is composed of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and other additional ingredients (i.e., almonds) or flavorings (i.e, vanilla).

    Many articles on this topic inaccurately mention the health benefits of chocolate.  In reality, the focus should be on cocoa.

    Cocoa contains a variety of flavonoids — a type of antioxidant — that have been found to have a protective effect on blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

    To get the most out of cocoa, buy pure unsweetened cocoa powder and include it in a recipe (such as this no-bake brownie bites recipe I posted back in February).

    Flavonoids are negatively affected by processing, which is why you get negligible amounts in popular milk chocolate products like M&Ms or Kit Kat bars.

    That said, some chocolate bars contain higher flavonoid levels than others.  Here are some guidelines to help you find them:

    • Look for “cocoa powder” on the ingredient list.  If you see “alkali-treated” or “Dutch processed” varieties of cocoa powder listed, you are looking at major flavonoid loss
    • Look for chocolate bars that are comprised of at least 75% cocoa
    • Ideally, look for chocolate bars that are milk-free (such as Endangered Species) or contain negligible amounts (such as Dagoba), since certain components in milk appear to limit the absorption of antioxidants from cacao.

    If you seek out cocoa flavonoids in chocolate bars rather than cocoa powder, be sure to keep an eye on calories.

    And, also, as wonderful as the flavonoids in cocoa are,  there are plenty of other foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds) that offer various other varieties that are just as beneficial.

    Remember, health is determined by the totality of your diet, not the inclusion of any one food.

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Cocoa

    I always buy Hershey’s Cocoa (natural unsweetened) in the 8 oz. container.

    When I asked my husband to get some more, he came home with a package that was more expensive looking and said on the front: Hershey’s Cocoa (100% cacao) and in a pretty section, red background, gold letters: “SPECIAL DARK [trademark symbol] A BLEND OF NATURAL AND DUTCHED COCOAS.”

    The ingredients list for the former product reads: cocoa (there is a U in a circle, no idea what that means).

    The new product list reads: cocoa, cocoa processed with alkali.

    They do include in the fine print on the side of the package the statement that “…HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa provides fewer antioxidants than HERSHEY’S Natural Unsweetened Cocoa.)

    What is going on?

    — Maria (last name withheld)
    (city withheld), AZ

    The first distinction that needs to be made here is between cocoa powder and chocolate; too many people get them confused!

    In order to make cocoa powder, cocoa beans are first fermented, roasted, and shelled.

    Inside that shell are cacao nibs, which undergo a heated grinding process to be converted into a liquid known as chocolate liquor (a misnomer, since it contains no alcohol.)

    Chocolate liquor is then divided into cocoa butter and cocoa solids via compression.

    The grinding of cocoa solids results in cocoa powder, which is naturally fat-free (as a result of being separated from cocoa butter) and sugar-free.

    This is all very different from chocolate — which, at its most basic, is a combination of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, milk, and sugar.

    Let’s now talk about the difference in the two products you mention.

    The standard 8-ounce container of cocoa you buy is pure cocoa powder.

    The special variety your husband bought is a mixture of the cocoa powder sold in the 8-ounce container and some Dutched cocoa (cocoa powder that is mixed with an alkali in order to remove some of its acidity and bitterness.)

    Since the processing of Dutch cocoa results in a loss of antioxidants and flavonoids, the fine print on the “Special Dark” product makes perfect sense.

    In order to get the most benefit from the antioxidants and flavonoids in cocoa powder, have it in its natural form.

    One suggestion? Make a smoothie with your milk of choice (dairy, soy, nut, etc.), one ripe medium banana, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder.

    Or plug in your food processor and try my no-bake “brownie” recipe!

    As for that U symbol — it simply means the product is certified kosher.

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: Cocoa Butter

    I recently went vegan.

    The other day I was reading chocolate bars’ ingredient labels and didn’t know if cocoa butter was an animal by-product or not.

    Can you help?

    — Laura Brenty
    Chicago, IL

    Sure!

    Cocoa butter is 100 percent vegan — it is a purely vegetable-based fat naturally found in cocoa beans.

    Vegan chocolate is very easy to come by — a lot of the big drugstores, like Walgreen’s, carry it!

    To make sure it is completely dairy-free, be on the lookout for milk solids and/or whey-based ingredients.

    By the way, one of my favorite brands of vegan chocolate — actually, one of my favorite brands of ALL chocolate — is Endangered Species (pictured alongside this post.)

    Share

    • Search By Topic

    • Connect to Small Bites

    • Subscribe to Small Bites

    • Archives

      • 2017 (1)
      • 2013 (1)
      • 2012 (28)
      • 2011 (90)
      • 2010 (299)
      • 2009 (581)
      • 2008 (639)
      • 2007 (355)