The Benefits of Eating Chocolate

Posted by Suzy Turner at 3:53 PM 0 comments
Photo credit: MarcelGermain via photopin cc
You've probably head people say that too much chocolate is not good for you. Well, that's probably true in a number of cases; however, that doesn't mean that you must completely cut chocolate out of your diet. What are some of the ways in which it's good for you? Read on to find out how!

Love Those Endorphins
If you know what endorphins are, then you are privy to some of the powers of chocolate. Basically, endorphins are chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy, and chocolate can help to release them. You might think that feeling of happiness when you drink chocolate is all in your mind. Well, technically, it is. Your brain is thanking you for making it feel happy and pleased!

Relieving Stress
Speaking of which, those endorphins can certainly let you relieve some stress since you are feeling quite happy. However, chocolate has another effect in terms of stress relief too. Instead of just having a chemical reaction, chocolate can just make you feel good. Sometimes, people will crave chocolate for a variety of reasons. It might be that delicious taste mixed in with that heavenly smell. Regardless of why you are eating it, you should know that it can help to satisfy that craving. Sometimes, even just a little bit of chocolate will do the trick!

For The Heart
It's quite possible you've heard people say that wine is good for the heart. Fortunately, chocolate goes well with wine, and it can be good for the heart as well. This statement is generally true of only dark chocolate. Therefore, you'll need to put those other pieces of chocolate away if you're experiencing issues with your heart or have a history of heart problems. Once again, it's important to remember to not get carried away with it. Having a little bit of dark chocolate every few days or so is just fine, but it's not okay to sit a pound in a sitting each and every night.

Make an Appointment
Ultimately, you can't take medical advice unless it is specifically suited to you. You might have certain conditions that really need to be discussed with your doctor before you decide to up your intake of chocolate. On top of that, it's always wise to speak with your doctor before you start changing up your diet in any matter. These notes are particularly important if you are a person who suffers from diabetes. Tell your doctor that you have an interest in the benefits that chocolate can bring to you, and then you can see what he or she has to say,

Pamela Sanchez writes about health. Her recent work is about the Top 10 iPhone Apps for Healthcare Professionals.


Raw Carob Ganache Tart

Posted by Suzy Turner at 1:00 AM 1 comments
Doesn't look too appetizing but it is.... honestly!
I made this recipe the other day and although at first I thought it was just too bizarre, I've now decided I LOVE it! It's incredibly tasty and... it's a healthy dessert!

300 grs almonds
200 grs dates
Pinch sea salt

3 medium sized avocados
200 grs raw carob powder (alternatively, you can use raw cocoa)
150 grs coconut oil (I didn't have this so I used lactose free butter)
2 vanilla pods (seeds only)
300 grs honey

For the base I actually used the leftovers from my almond milk mixed with the dates...but  it was a bit soft and squishy. If I'd had a dehydrator I would have dried it out a bit first. If you're using regular almonds, just pop them with the dates into a food mixer with the salt and mix until it becomes dough-like. Press into the bottom of a quiche dish, cover with cling film and put into the freezer until you're ready for it.

For the filling, simply put all the ingredients into a food mixer and mix until it becomes a lush smooth thick goo (!). Pour onto the base and put into the fridge for a few hours and then serve. It's particularly good with a few sliced strawberries on top. Mmmmmm.

Tip: I got myself into a right mess with the filling as it's quite a sticky gooey consistency, so make sure you're wearing an apron (perhaps I'm just a messy cook)!


My thoughts on the Raw Food detox

Posted by Suzy Turner at 11:35 AM 0 comments
photo credit: the Italian voice via photo pin cc
Well, it's been a few days and I'm feeling a lot better! I finished my raw detox after four days but I've continued to include raw food in my diet. In fact, my husband and I have been so impressed by what we've read about raw foods, as well as by the recipes we've tried, that we plan to eat as much raw foods as possible in the future.
Generally, over the past few days, I've been having fruit smoothies for breakfast, a raw food lunch and then a vegetarian option for dinner plus lots and lots water. Snacks consist of fruit, nuts, olives and the occasional rice cake (or corn cake).
 I must admit, I'm starting to feel pretty good... although it has taken a while! The detox really did knock me for six. I had little to no sleep for five or six days and continuous aches and pains in my lower back and legs for even longer. In fact, my lower back is still giving me jip but I think much of that is due to the lack of sleep from last week. Unfortunately, my chiropractor is away at the moment so I have to wait another couple of weeks before treatment. In the meantime though, I'm carrying on with my hula hoop and fitness ball to help ease the tension.
So all in all, I feel like the detox has done me the world of good. I'm still off coffee, anything with added sugar, alcohol and dairy (when possible) and my taste buds seem to have changed. I'm loving it! I've even made a Carob Ganache Torte made with avocados! Totally bizarre, I know... but it's really, really good. I'll post the recipe tomorrow. See you then :)


Raw food experiment: Day Four

Posted by Suzy Turner at 10:45 AM 0 comments
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net 
I'm not going to to beat around the bush and tell you that everything's peachy because I'd be lying... seriously lying. I hurt like hell and I've not slept in two days. I mean.... jeeze, you'd think I was addicted to something serious to get this kind of response. I thought I was healthy, but this proves quite the opposite.
As proven by my lovely husband who likes to point out, 'well, you have been eating a lot of dark chocolate lately, and you've been eating a few sweets. Oh and you've been having coffee... and cake whenever we go out.' Okay, so maybe he does have a point.
Two nights ago, I was so uncomfortable that I tossed and turned all night long. I managed to get a total of two hours sleep. It was horrible. Yesterday, nothing I did felt right, I would sit down and be comfortable for a maximum of ten minutes and then the aches and pains would just totally overwhelm me. Last night was even worse. I tried sleeping in bed, but it was impossible. I gave up at 2am and came downstairs, put on the TV and walked around the room every 15 minutes. I did this pretty much all night.
Finally at 4am, after adding some lemon juice to my drinking water, the aches subsided to allow me to sleep for two hours. Success! But then I woke up with the aches back again. Bummer!
After a quick look online to try and find some way of relieving the pain, I ran a bath this morning. It was bliss while I soaked but lo and behold, ten minutes later, I felt the same. But I refuse to give up. I know that this is doing me the world of good and I'm absolutely determined to succeed.
Why so much pain? Apparently it's quite common on a raw food detox:
Although I've read a lot of this kind of thing over the past few days, I found this at www.farmerskitchen.com...

Aches and pains – if you have some old injuries from the past or an illness, they will probably flair up now. While fasting, your body is working at its very best healing level. It searches your insides for any dead or damaged tissue, and goes straight to work removing those damaged cells. This can cause some serious aches and pains as it can stimulate the nerves in the surrounding area. You can also experience stiffness as your muscles become tight and sore with all the toxicity going on in there....
The positives in all this is that it is a normal part of the detox process, it will get better, and it is a sign that the body is healing itself.


Raw food experiment: Day two

Posted by Suzy Turner at 2:18 PM 0 comments
So its Day Two of my Raw Food experiment and I have to say that I went to bed last night with major bloating and today I have a banging headache! Naturally I was expecting something like this because basically I'm detoxing, right? So I'm not going to let it get me down. I'm holding my chin up and waiting for all the bad stuff to pass. I know it will.
Yummy homemade almond milk
Yesterday I put a cupful of almonds to soak in water overnight so I could make almond milk for my smoothie this morning. Success! It was great! I used a fabulous recipe from The Tasty Alternative (click here to check it out) although I completely forgot to put vanilla in it.... DOH. But it was still good. My banana and strawberry smoothie was so creamy. YAY!
Lunch consisted of the same as yesterday (the same thing I'd had for lunch and dinner... I was getting a bit bored of it!), only stuck in a blender with an extra tomato and hey presto.... instant lunchtime smoothie! Surprisingly, it was really tasty. I still haven't decided what to have for dinner this evening... but it will probably include avocado. Because I hadn't planned to start eating raw, my fridge isn't quite stocked with enough grub. I really need to get out to the local market and stock up on goodies!

How to clean up your whole life using raw food by Karen Knowler

Posted by Suzy Turner at 8:00 AM 0 comments
After posting yesterday, I figured the best way to explain a little about how great raw food can be, would be to post an awesome article written by expert Karen Knowler...
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Transitioning to a raw food lifestyle will lead to a transformation, not just in your physical body but in your emotions and even in your spiritual life. You will look different, feel different and even think differently – you simply won’t believe how much better your life can become on every level!
That’s borne out by experience. I and many others are living proof of what’s possible. So why, at the start of their journey, do some people feel so awful that they’re tempted to give up?
Well, as you put more raw foods – the “good stuff” – into your body, it has to compete with the “not-so-good stuff” that’s already there, and you will feel the shift. Your entire physical make-up is being upgraded and replaced with superior building materials. You’re displacing the old stuff with the new and it will show itself as it leaves.
Headaches, lightheadedness, diarrhoea and skin outbreaks can all be symptoms of a shift that, though uncomfortable in the short term, will reap untold benefits very soon.
Some people assume that these symptoms are down to the food they’re eating. Well, of course that’s right, but it’s also very WRONG.
It’s what you’ve eaten (and taken in through other sources like toxic toiletries and medicines) in the pastthat is the contributor. It has to come out at some point!
Imagine a pond. This pond is a metaphor for your body.
On the surface, it looks pretty clear. Look below the surface though, and there’s a fair amount of dirt, slime and junk floating around. Dip your arm in the water and swirl it around a little. You begin to see a very thick underlying layer of dirt right the way down to the bottom. Eugh! Not so inviting now for that swim you had in mind, is it?
Now imagine a massive downpour of torrential rain. As rain upon rain falls down, at quite a pace and intensity, the pond starts to change.
The top layer begins to dance around a bit. You see splashes and ripples as the rain hits the surface. Then, as it gets heavier, the movement goes a little deeper. The pond begins to look both cleaner AND dirtier. How could this be? Quite simply, the top layer is replaced with the cleaner water that is the rain, and at the same time the dirtier layer just below the surface is rising up.
As this continues, the pond begins to look absolutely filthy! However, slowly but surely, as the amount of fresh, clean rain that’s fallen starts to exceed the amount of old, dirty water remaining, the whole look of the pond starts to transform.
This process continues until none of the old water remains and the water looks crystal clear and very swimmable!
This is what happens in our body when we start to replace our old “cooked body” with fresh, clean, pure ingredients. We begin to look and feel better – but yes, until a certain point this may be alternated with periods of not looking or feeling as good as we did. Stuff that has been lingering beneath the surface for weeks, months or even years, is coming up to be washed away.
Continue long enough and your body will become so clean and clear that you won’t be afraid to look deep into it and see everything that’s there. You’ll feel clean and confident that your body not only looks good butsmells good (your breath gets fresher and the scent of your skin becomes naturally sweeter), feels good (skin gets softer and hair silkier) and even tastes good (I’ll leave that one to your imagination!).
“Cleaning out your pond” can be uncomfortable at times, but what would you prefer – a murky, muddy mess just below the surface, or a bright, sparkling, clean and clear pool to swim in? I know my answer. The life I lead now and the way I look, think and feel in myself are incomparable to the way I was when I started eating this way. I really wouldn’t change any part of my journey, and I can promise you that, once your “pond” is clean, you’ll feel transformed too.
Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now atwww.TheRawFoodCoach.com.


Raw food and me

Posted by Suzy Turner at 2:14 PM 0 comments
Last night I had an epiphany. Okay, perhaps that's a strong word but I do kind of feel like I got a message. Sounds crazy I know, but I was watching a cookery programme on TV when this woman made a chocolate mousse using nothing but raw ingredients... and when I say raw, I mean NOTHING in it was cooked. It was gluten free, dairy free, soy free.... the whole shebang and it looked absolutely delicious. It turns out that this woman is a Raw Foodist. The idea was totally intriguing to me so I headed over to my laptop and started googling what it was all about. It reminded me of a woman I once interviewed for a magazine who had completely changed her health and life doing the exact same thing. She'd cured herself of various ailments from eating nothing cooked.
Now I know it sounds a bit insane, but after having read up on all this stuff, I'm totally fascinated, so much so that I'm giving it a go myself. I've told my husband I'll do a trial for a couple of weeks and see what happens. And I'm totally excited about it.
This morning, I woke up still excited about the prospect so my usual strawberry and banana smoothie was made using water instead of lactose-free milk. It was a bit bland, tasted more like strawberry juice than a smoothie but it was okay. I can live with that. And besides, I've since read up on how to make my own almond milk which I could add to it if I fancied. (The almonds are currently soaking in water!)

This lunchtime I had great fun trawling the sites for recipes using the fresh ingredients from my fridge. I ended up making a tomato soup which was actually rather yummy, followed by the most delicious aubergine and avocado salad (click here for the recipe). As there was quite a lot left over, I'll be having it for dinner too.
I can't wait to continue on my quest for delicious recipes... but primarily, I can't wait to start feeling better! More about my raw food diet soon!

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