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Diet chocolate

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Picture, if you will, a world without chocolate.

It’s not something any of us want to do! And why would we, when there are so many reasons why we crave it in the first place?! Scientists have linked chocolate to increased serotonin levels (our pleasure producing neurotransmitter) and stress relief. Not only that, but women are apparently programmed to crave it, especially during “that time of the month”. We don’t stand a chance in the fight to cut it out of our lives! And studies say we shouldn’t (fight that is)! By telling ourselves we can’t have it, we only start wanting it more! Most of us want the things we can’t or don’t have… People with straight hair want curly, while those with curly want straight. White people tan to make their skin darker, people with dark skin use creams to make their skin lighter. Blondes dye their hair to go brunette, brunettes use peroxide to go blonde… It’s never ending!

Why should we cut it out anyway? After all, isn’t it healthy? Yes! Yes, it is! I’m not talking about the chocolate bars you find at the tills in Pick ‘n Pay, the Inside Stories and the Bar Ones and the like. No, I’m talking about the real deal. The genuine article. The real McCoy. Chocolate in it’s closest to pure form. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) is actually quite good for you!

In an American study that measures the ORAC value (or anti-oxidant capacity) of foods, dark chocolate scores 5 times higher than blueberries! This means that chocolate is better at reducing free-radical damage and thus slowing the effects of aging, and age related illnesses and reducing blood pressure! What’s more is that 75% of the fats found in cocoa butter (the main source of fat in chocolate) are actually thought to lower cholesterol!

Am I suggesting that you eat a chocolate bar everyday? No. Sorry. There are still things in chocolate that are not good for you, like sugar and caffeine. All I’m saying is that one or two blocks of good quality dark chocolate every now and then, is not the end of the world and might actually be good for you. Not only are you not denying yourself chocolate (reducing the “want what you can’t have” craving) but you’re also providing your body with good anti-oxidants and fats. Just remember, the darker the chocolate, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less space there is for the undesirables (like sugar, and the other fats).

If you really want to be good, and cut out the sugar, I suggest looking in the sugar replacement section of your local grocery store. Here you’ll find a multitude of things from 8cal per serving jelly, to sugar free chocolate and chocolate mousse. Just remember that artificial sweeteners can be bad for you for a whole different reason… But that’s a different story for a different day. Just don’t think that because it doesn’t have sugar in, it can’t be bad for you.

Bottom line: enjoy chocolate in moderation… But we knew that 🙂

Happy moving and munching!

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17 Day Diet: 1st week down!

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1 week, 4kg’s down!!! Let me just say that again… 1 week, 4kg’s down!

It’s getting much easier I must say! Apart from the fact that I’m incredibly sore from the workouts (a good feeling actually), I feel great! I’ve got more energy, I don’t get hungry during the day, I don’t crave things like sweets and chocolates anymore and best of all, I’m starting to feel the change! Honestly, this is probably partly to do with the supplement that I have been taking lately. I started it on Saturday and I’ve noticed that I’m not as hungry during the day. I’m going home with lunch that I haven’t finished rather than going home and looking for something to eat!

What has been a great help is I’m actually enjoying the food, simple as it may be.

I have a fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, followed by another fruit and yoghurt as a snack (bout 2 – 3 hours later). I’ve found that a nice yoghurt to use is Parmalat’s Fabulite. This is a yoghurt that is fruit flavoured but is fat free and has no added sugar.

Lunch usually consists of a salad with copious amounts of free veggies and either tuna (a nice tuna to get is the one in brine with lemon and black pepper added, alternatively, mix in some fat free cottage cheese) or grilled chicken. Recently I introduced a bit of cous cous (half a cup) on a Tuesday and Thursday, just because they are 14 hour days, so I’d like something a bit more substantial.

Supper options include grilled fish and veggies, chicken stirfry, steamed chicken pockets, prawn stirfry (when Woolies has a prawn special :P) or even fillet steak and veggies to name a few.  I usually buy the pre-packed stirfry veggies, just because I don’t have time to julienne veggies during the week, but it’s probably better to do your own. I’m not going to stick to something if it’s going to be too much like hard work, especially during the week (as much as I love cooking)! There’s a trick to buying ready prepared though, you need to look for the ones that don’t have potatoes and butternut in (not allowed in the first cycle).

Keep an eye out. I promise to post lots of recipes this week! The first being a delicious chunky vegetable soup.

Happy moving and munching 🙂