Thursday, October 1, 2015



 Magic Mountain, Shirley Martin's latest release - with a heroine as sweet as Chocolate!!!

Chocolate!  Who doesn't like this sweet dessert?  Maybe there are a few who don't care for it, but I think most of us enjoy this sweet. Many of us prefer milk chocolate to the dark kind, but it's the dark kind that has all the nutrition because it has a greater percentage of cocoa.

First, a bit of historical background. Cocoa has been cultivated by many cultures for at least three thousand years in Mesoamerica. Evidence of a chocolate beverage goes back to 1900 B.C. The majority of Mesoamericans drank a chocolate beverage, including the Mayan and Aztecs. The word "chocolate" most likely comes from a Nahuatl word, xocolatl. Nauatl was the language of the Aztecs. Xocolatl means "bitter water."

In Europe, chocolate became a favorite drink of the nobility after the discovery of the Americas.

Although cocoa originated in the Americas, today west Africa, especially the Ivory Coast, supplies almost two-thirds of cocoa.

Now, what about the healing powers of chocolate? Mecical researchers around the world continually find new health promoting ingredients in dark chocolate. As health benefits are concerned, it's generally meant chocolate of at least 60% cocoa. Cocoa contains polyphenols, naturally occuring compounds that act as a powerful disease-fighting enzyme that protects your body.

Nutritionists say that it's the antioxidants in dark chocolate that are the key ingredients to its healthful reputation. Dark chocolate on a per weight basis has the hightest combination of flavonoids of any food. Flavonoids may lead to a lower risk of heart disease.

Chocolate contains seratonin, a substance that can lift your spirits. It alsos helps release endorphins, a natural pain killer in your body. Dark chocolate contains vitamins and minerals, too. It's plentiful in magnesium.  It may also help prevent high blood pressure.

In my research book, "The Healing Powers of Chocolate" the author, Cal Orey, stresses the importanace of chocolate as part of a Mediterranean diet. This means fish or poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts. It goes without saying that moderation is important, too.

According to the Americna Institute of Cancer Research, chocolate may help lower the risk of developing some cancers. With all of these health benefits, who can resist dark chocolate?

Here are more health benefits from dark chocolate, but of course, none of them sustitute for a visit to a doctor if symptoms persist.

Chocolate may help relieve aches and pains, not to mention allergies, anxiety, and arthritis. Too, it may help relieve back pain and helps your brain stay in focus.

Wine and chocolate go well together, so if you have a piece of dark chocolate wht a glass of red wine,, you're getting a double dose of health benefits.

Chocolate is considered to be an aphrodiasic. No wonder chocolate candy sells so well on Valentines Day.

I can't leave this subject without a chocolate recipe. The above mentioned book also has plenty of recipes.

'Le Chocolat' French toast

3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons Hershey's cocoa
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
8 to 10 pieces of thickly-sliced bread
powdered sugar (optional)
pancake syrup (optional)

1. Beat eggs, milk, sugar,cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon in medium bowl until smooth.
2. Heat griddle over medium low heat. Grease gruddle with margarine, if necessary
3.Dip bread in egg mixture and place on griddle. Cook about four minutes on each side. Serve immediately with powdered sugar or pancake syrup.

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