We’re not talking about your average candy bar. You need DARK CHOCOLATE!
They used to think the molecules in cocoa powder were too big to be absorbed, but three cocoa powders tested in a model digestive tract showed that the pro-biotics metabolize the chocolate into easily absorbed anti-inflammatory compounds that multiple studies have shown significantly reduce the risk of disorders such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, along with related problems like hypertension, elevated fasting glucose and triglycerides, high cholesterol, and abdominal obesity.
For the gut bacteria, look to naturally fermented foods.
To metabolize the chocolate, you need a good supply of beneficial bacteria in your gut. The culturing process used in naturally fermented foods produces beneficial microbes that will set up housekeeping in your intestinal tract and work hard on your behalf the way God intended. We “first worlders” are often deficient in these good gut buddies, because of antibiotics, chemicals and poor eating habits. But we can easily restore not just gut health, but also overall health simply by ingesting naturally fermented foods on a regular basis. And guess what? They’re delicious AND easy to make! Plus, they produce the feel-good-in-your-brain neurotransmitter, serotonin, AND help rid your body of a wide variety of toxins, including heavy metals.
I mean really … what’s not to like?!
You can make kefir, kombucha and fermented veggies at home. You can also buy kefir and kombucha if you want, but it is far cheaper to make them. Other yummy and healthful fermented foods you can buy (but not make at home) include miso and tempeh. Kimchee is a natural ferment that we buy (dunno if you can make it at home) and I think there are brands of naturally fermented pickles too. You might need to hit the specialty aisles or health food stores to find these. Look in the refrigerator cases, not on the shelves. And check the labels to be sure they are naturally fermented and contain LIVE cultures. If it’s the real stuff, they’ll brag about it on the label.
Fermenting at home is SAFE
In the United States, according to the USDA, there’s never been a single case of food poisoning reported from fermented vegetables. Fermenting vegetables are actually safer than raw vegetables, because the fermenting process destroys bad bacteria, like E. coli that has been known to contaminate fresh veg. It is also safer (and healthier) than canning, since the fermenting process kills off bad bacteria, while canning kills off all bacteria, except sometimes the really hardy bad actor that causes botulism poisoning.
How to get started
I’ve been into this for a whole two weeks now and I can’t believe how much better I feel or how much I LOVE these new foods! I’ve been getting most of my information and all of my fermenting supplies@ http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/. If you’re just interested in learning a little bit without spending any money, go to Cultured Food Life, scroll down a bit and fill in the blank where it says “Free e-Book.” Or email me and I’ll send it to you. If you’re interested in learning more and seeing how kefir, kombucha and vegetables are cultured, buy Donna’s DVD, The Trilogy, at her Store. It is well worth the price.
Dark chocolate to avoid
I found a blog that ranked dark chocolate brands for healthy eating. The WORST ones were put on the list because the chocolate was processed with alkali (destroys the part of the dark chocolate you want) and/or had a lot of added sugar. These brands included: Dove Dark Chocolate, Hershey’s Special Dark, Dark Chocolate M&M’s, Milky Way Midnight, Nestle Dark Hot Chocolate, Cadbury Bournville, and Brookside Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate or Blueberries. See the rest of the good and bad list @ http://healthyeater.com/dark-chocolate-best-and-worst. Here at Casa Hyphen, we favor the Green & Black’s. It’s SO delicious!