Mother’s Day 2017: Give the Gift Of Fudge!!

Hello everyone,

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful, selfless, hard-working mothers out there! Show your mother how much you love and appreciate her with the gift of rich, gooey chocolate fudge. And it’s a sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan/paleo-friendly treat full of heathy anti-inflammatory fats, proteins and anti-oxidants!! See Recipe Below!!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Fudge – Makes 12 Slices

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Ingredients:

1 Cup Raw Walnuts

1/2 Cup Raw Almonds (Activated if possible)

1/2 Cup Raw, Organic Cacao Powder

1 1/2 Cups Medjool Dates, Pitted

1/4 Cup Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Chia Seeds 

1/4 Cup Mayver’s Orginial Super Spread (4 nuts, Chia seeds and Sesame Seeds) or Almond Butter

1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

**Optional decoration: Goji berries, nuts, extra cacao dusting, coconut flakes or cranberries.

Method:

Step 1: Add walnuts and almonds to a food processor and blend until finely ground. Add cacao, salt, and cinnamon, blend.

Step 2: Add pitted dates, nut, butter, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Blend until all ingredients are well combined

Step 3: Line square dish with baking paper and spread the batter down into slice tin. Pat this down firmly.

Freeze until ready to eat, usually around 2 hours, and cut into slices when cold. Eat immediately.

Some Background Information on Cacao:

One of the most wildly popular trees on the planet is the cacao, the plant species from which cocoa – and chocolate – is derived. While some might think cacao and cocoa are one in the same, they’re not, exactly. Cacao is the tree, while cocoa is the product made from it (not to be confused with coca, an evergreen shrub from which cocaine is concocted). Edible parts of cacao pods and the beans inside them can be processed to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter, or chocolate after being dried and fermented.

Because cocoa beans were prized for their medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties, they were traded just like currency among ancient South American civilizations. Rumor has it Casanova was fond of them.

The earliest known evidence that cacao was processed for ingestion goes back as far as 1,400 B.C.E., gathered from discoveries of its residue on pottery excavated in Honduras, possibly to ferment the pulp for making an adult beverage. Sweetened forms came about when the Europeans landed in the New World and tasted cacao in liquid form. Although they hated it at first, someone discovered that adding honey made it downright palatable. By the 17th century, this form of chocolate was all the rage in Europe, and subsequently, the world. It still is.

Health Benefits of Cacao

There’s been a lot of discussion about free radicals and antioxidants, but some are unsure of what these terms mean in regard to our health. Exposure to the sun, cigarette smoke, pollution, and toxic chemicals, such as chemical weed killers, and unhealthy foods can all release free radical activity in the body, however they also can be produced by factors like stress, damaging healthy tissue. Antioxidants in the foods you eat reverse that process, helping to combat disease by zapping harmful free radicals.

That’s where cacao comes in. Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of your average dark chocolate- more than 20 times than that of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present. The precise blend of all these elements combined serve to kick in naturally occurring phytochemicals that have incredible benefits throughout the body, such as lowered LDL cholesterol, improved heart function, and reduced cancer risk.

Phenethylamine, or PEA, is one of them. Large doses of this compound are said to be released into the brain when we’re attracted to someone, but natural pain- and stress-relieving chemicals known as neurotransmitters stimulate the secretion of endorphins to help us stay alert and focused.

Studies have shown that chocolate affects your emotions and mood by raising serotonin levels, which explains why chocolate is often craved when gloominess looms. Also to the rescue is a neurotransmitter called theobromine, a mild stimulant sometimes used as a treatment for depression. It releases the compound anandamide, which produces uniquely euphoric feelings of relaxation and contentment.

For those who think chocolate must be bad for you (it has to be if it tastes so good, right?), rest assured: there’s only one gram of sugar in a half-cup serving of raw cacao. It’s what’s done with it that makes the difference. Unfortunately, high heat from processing and refining to produce different types of cocoa or chocolate damages the cocoa bean’s micronutrients, along with the health benefits.

Not only that, but additions like High-fructose Corn Syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated oils limit the amount of actual cocoa, and dairy products actually block the absorption of antioxidants, so if it’s nutritive benefits you’re looking for, your average chocolate bar isn’t likely to supply much.

Cacao Fun Facts

The Aztecs gave cacao the name “yollotl eztli,” meaning “heart blood.” They may have understood even then the heart-benefiting aspects of eating what is now known to be a boost for the cardiovascular system.

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Summary

I say cocoa, you say cacao, but there is a slight difference: Cacao is the tree; what’s made from it is cocoa. This moderately addictive plant-derived substance contains such amazingly powerful nutrients. Raw cacao powder has more than 300 phytochemicals and nearly four times the antioxidant power of regular dark chocolate, and contains protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, and sulfur. These properties can be destroyed by high heat, so it’s important to know just what type of processes your cocoa powder and baking chocolate have undergone.

Cacao can improve heart health, cholesterol, stress levels, and inflammation, to list just a few physical advantages. Fringe benefits cacao releases into the brain include anandamide, endorphins, phenylethylamine, and serotonin, all sparking descriptives like “blissful” and “euphoric.” All this satisfying goodness comes from a frothy mug of hot cocoa or a creamy bar of unadulterated chocolate. It’s no wonder the Spanish called it “black gold.”

Healthiest Regards, And a Happy Mother’s Day

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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