Today is World Chocolate Day! World Chocolate Day?!?! This is a perfect chance to share one of my favorite and meaningful ideas from ZooFit- sustainable healthy eating of our favorite foods.
Believe it or not, I am not going to preach that you can’t or shouldn’t have chocolate. Please. Give me some credit.
I mean, it’s World Chocolate Day! How can we not have chocolate?!
Instead, I’m going to share how we can promote a better future for the planet by having our chocolate, and eating it, too!
The Problem with Chocolate is Not About Chocolate
So many people think of chocolate as a forbidden comfort food. Something we “shouldn’t” eat but just can’t help ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chocolate in and of itself is not the problem. The problems with chocolate arise from processing it and mixing other ingredients that are either unhealthy for us, or present challenging issues for the environment.
Have you ever seen chocolate bars with percentage numbers on the packaging? These numbers indicate how “pure” the chocolate is. The lower the percentage, the more sugar, and other ingredients, are added to the product. It’s very difficult to find 100% chocolate bars nowadays. But you are doing pretty darn good if you find 85-90% chocolates. A happy medium for those with a sweet tooth is anything above 65%.
It’s mainly the sugar that presents the health issue with chocolate. Sugar is a highly inflammatory food. Inflammation is the root cause to many many illnesses, diseases and disorders, including diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Research shows that cancer and sugar are highly correlated. Cancer cells feed on sugars, so it’s not uncommon for cancer patients to be prescribed not just a low sugar diet, but a completely sugar-free diet.
The Good News About Chocolate
Sugar is what makes many chocolate products unhealthy. It’s not the cocoa. That is the healthiest part!
Cocoa, and thus chocolate, contains polyphenol, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that boasts many many health benefits, including improving your mood, alleviating depression symptoms, preventing age-related mental degradation, and improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels. (1)
So, that’s a reason in itself to celebrate World Chocolate Day
A Complex Issue
There is another slight problem with chocolate products, and that is the environmental impact.
There are a couple issues with sourcing cocoa. The cocoa, or cacao plant, thrives only in incredibly warm climates. In fact, it only grows in what we call the Cocoa Belt, the regions 20 degrees latitude north and south of the Equator. Therefore, cocoa does not grow well in the United States, or Europe (only Hawaii fits neatly in that Belt). So, chocolate must be imported. (2)
Most chocolate producers get their cocoa beans from South America or Africa. Ensuring the cocoa is sustainably sourced is essential. Organic farming isn’t actually enough. Some farms can practice organic farming, but essentially exploit their workers, making it close to a slave trade. When searching for a good chocolate, look for Fair Trade, as well as organic. Most do a good job, and you can find sustainability labels on chocolate products everywhere.
Some of my favorites (in absolutely no particular order, and this is not an exclusive list by any stretch of the imagination):
Making a Difference On World Chocolate Day
So for World Chocolate Day, you can certainly have your (chocolate) cake and eat it, too! Our choices make a difference in our lives, and the health of the planet. Taking a little extra time to ensure pleasing your palate and taste buds doesn’t leave you feeling guilty at all. Chocolate isn’t a forbidden fruit, it’s a celebration for the pleasure of what’s good in this world.
As a wise sage once said: “Take care of this earth, it’s the only planet with chocolate.
Keto-Vegan Chocolate Mousse
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and quartered
- ¼ cup milk alternative
- ¼ cup pure cocoa
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup MCT or melted coconut oil
- ½ cup cherries or berries, divided
- Place avocado, milk, cocoa, oil, and vanilla in a blender or processor. Puree until smooth.
- Divide into 2 bowls and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour
- Sprinkle ¼ cup berries or cherries over each bowl, mix if desired, and enjoy!
* If cocoa is still too bitter, or you aren’t used to dark unsweetened chocolate, you can use a keto sweetener like monk fruit or stevia to add to blender while mixing, before chilling.
Want More Chocolate?
Want more chocolatey goodness and support ZooFit in all our endeavors? Join the ZooFit Tribe on Patreon and get a bonus Keto-Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe demo. Plus you have access to tons of extra bonus material– from weekly messages for a healthy you and a healthy earth to monthly workshops demonstrating how to make fitness, nutrition, and wellness habits fun, empowering, and impactful.