dessert

How to Select The Chocolate that Makes You Happy!

Happy, Happy, Happy + Energy = Chocolate. A dessert. An antidepressant. A favorite indulgence. Eating cacao makes you happy! It contains phenylethylamine which is responsible for our state of mood and pleasure and the same feelings you get when you are in love. It also acts as a stimulant and can improve mental alertness.

A bit of History

Our word chocolate comes from the Spanish version of the Aztec Nahuatl word chocolatl, which in turn derives from a word xococ, meaning bitter. Literally chocolate means bitter water.

It all started in 1500 BC-500 BC in the ancient Olmec civilisation in Mesoamerican and continued on through the time of the Maya and Aztecs before making its trek across to the Old World in the 16th century.

Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful
Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful

Did you know? Chocolate was much more than just a piece of indulgence. Below are some of the traditional  usages of Chocolate in the Aztecs culture:

  1. The Aztecs associated the cacao bean with the goddess Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility.
  2. Aztecs also used them as a kind of sacred currency with which the captive peoples of their empire could pay tribute.
  3. The Aztecs believed that chocolate was a powerful aphrodisiac, able to arouse the sexual passions.

The Cacao Tree

According to HeritageDaily, the tree produces fruits approximately the size and shape of an American football! Actual cacao beans are found inside the fruit of the tree in fleshy, oval-shaped pods. The beans are harvested, fermented, and dried.

Each pod contains an average of 40 seeds (or beans), which are what is used to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter and chocolate.

Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful
Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful

Difference Between Cacao and Coca

  • CACAO

According to Obsev, the cacao bean is the source of both cacao and cocoa powders.
It is to the raw form of chocolate. The cacao bean is what any type of chocolate (cocoa powder) is initially made of.

Cacao contains an abundance of antioxidants, because it’s raw and pure.

It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, magnesium, essential fatty acids, iron, copper, zinc, sulfur, and calcium.

NOTE: Raw cacao is a stimulant so it is advised not to consume it after about 2-3pm as to not interfere with a good night’s sleep!

  • COCOA

In short, cocoa is what you and I eat. What comes out of the processed and roasted steps of cacao! Cocoa exists because 100% cacao has a rich, chocolate flavour but is also very bitter (The taste of cacao can actually vary depending on the variety of plant, soil, temperate, sunlight and rain that is received during the growing process).
You have to know that once roasted and processed (turning cacao to cocoa), the beans lose much of their nutritional benefits. In your grocery shop, you can find chocolate in different formats. I share som

How to use it

Cacao powder can be added to smoothies, to make chocolate desserts or to make a yummy hot chocolate.

Cacao butter can be used in conjunction with cacao powder and natural sweetener to make your own chocolate (see some recipes below). It is also great to add to bliss balls or nut bases to hold them together and can be used in the place of coconut oil. It will add a lovely velvety, chocolate flavour. Cacao butter is edible but it is also used in skin care products.

Cocoa Butter | OrganicIsBeautiful
Cocoa Butter | OrganicIsBeautiful

Cacao nibs add a lovely crunch to muffins, ice-cream or as a topping on your favourite dessert. They are also great to add to your favourite granola mix for breakfast or on top of a smoothie.
OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

Lime, Lemon & Lemongrass

Lemon, Morning shake

We all know lemons (scientifically known as Citrus limon) as the fruit that evokes images of sunshine,  and sweet homemade lemonade stands.

Old school - Lemonade stand (Image Credit: blog krrg)
Old school – Lemonade stand (Image Credit: blog krrg)

It’s been 6 months now that I have incorporated lemon into my morning routine.

Lemons in your a.m. routine.
Lemons in your a.m. routine.

I am pleased to report I am thoroughly converted, and here is why. On the way, I got to gain more energy for longer days and I am quicker to smile in the a.m. !

Packed with antioxidants and other health benefits, a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon revitalizes the body and mind. I always make sure to drink a few glasses of water in the morning, but a few days a week (usually before heading to work), I add some fresh lemon juice for the taste and Vitamin C.

What I do?

I simply squeeze half of organic fresh lemon into a glass of lukewarm water (avoid using bottled lemon juice) and, optionally, when I feel like it, I would add some honey to make my drink a little bit sweeter.

 Drink this warm lemon water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else.

Why you will love it too?

Lemons by themselves are very versatile tools, a good option for cleaning, beauty, cooking and much more.

Not only do they smell and taste great, but they have natural antibacterial properties making them perfect for killing germs. Lemons are extremely rich in nutrients: they contain a lot of vitamins (vitamin C, B-complex vitamins) and a few key minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium). Lemons even contain more potassium than grapes or apples.

Consume lemons daily to boost up you metabolism. Like any other foods, moderation apply to get the best of it!

What about the peels?

Citrus peels are antibacterial and antimicrobial, making them incredible for homemade cleaners. Lemon peels contain about 5 to 10 times more vitamins than lemon juice!

TIPS: Dried peels make a nice addition to your basic cup of black tea!

What if you do not have lemon at home?

Lime = excellent substitute

Cut lime on wooden plate (Photo credit: Getty images).
Cut lime on wooden plate (Photo credit: Getty images).

As good of lemons

The first fruit that comes to mind in terms of medicinal uses is the reliable lime. They can be used in basically the same manner as lemons. Limes are green, small, and generally more acidic than lemons.

Not just good for cocktails

Limes are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Basically, vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals it comes in contact with. The fruit is less in calories, carrying just 20 calories per 100 g, the value being one of the lowest for the citrus fruits group.

High in Vitamins C !

Vital to the function of a strong immune system, a little extra vitamin C gotten from lime may be useful in conditions like colds, flu, and recurrent ear infections. Further, they carry a healthy amount of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

Limes & lemons (Image credit: Gourmet Sleuth)
Limes & lemons (Image credit: Gourmet Sleuth)

Lemongrass, Body balance

As the name implies, lemongrass smells just like lemons, but it is milder, sweeter, and far less sour.

The genus has about 55 species, most of which are native to South Asia, South­east Asia and Austra­lia. In India it is known as ‘choomana poolu’ and is also referred to as ‘Indian Verbena’ or ‘Indian Melissa oil’ and used in Ayurveda medicine to help bring down fevers and treat infectious illnesses.

Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful

The East Indian Lemongrass (Citronelle des Indes) is the most commonly available in small local markets. Multi purpose lemongrass, it is used for cooking as well as a base for essential oil.

It is known that lemongrass  grows best in warm, humid climates: areas with 24-. 30” of rainfall per year, lemongrass planted during the rainy season, and is ready for cutting about six to eight months afterwards.

Citronella plantation in India (Image credit: Nedfi)
Citronella plantation in India (Image credit: Nedfi)

Food lover? You will love it!

Lemongrass is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, and is gaining more and more popularity as a culinary herb in USA as well. Here in Malaysia it is widely used to add flavor or marinate chicken or pork dishes. It is absolutely delicious! I love it, I usually find it in Tom Yum soup along with galangal, lime leaves and fish sauce.

TIPS: Storing lemon grass by freezing is the best way to preserve its garden fresh flavor, it can be preserved from six months up to one year!
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful

I ♥ Lemongrass Essential oil

I usually take with me essential oil extracted from lemongrass when I am off traveling in tropical areas, I use it as an excellent natural mosquito repellent. The oil is also used for making other non-food related products like candles, perfumes, soap, insecticide, disinfectant, household cleaner and deodorant.

What about you? How do you use limes, lemon or lemongrass to complement your daily routine?OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

Lemongrass

Scroll to Top