I grew up eating milk chocolate and hating dark chocolate. I couldn’t stand the bitterness of dark chocolate. Now I love dark chocolate and hate milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is a brilliant combination of subtle bitter and sweet that really lets the chocolate flavor shine through. It’s just a lovely, melt-in-your-mouth, silky piece of goodness.
My husband and I were given a sheet of paper about how to prevent postpartum depression at one of the birth classes we took while I was pregnant. I retyped the list, printed it out on bright yellow card stock, and put it on the refrigerator. My favorite item on the list was to consume one ounce of at least 72% dark chocolate daily. Fast forward to nearly 14 months postpartum, my husband and I still eat dark chocolate (almost) every day.
Just what makes dark chocolate so magical? It helps boost your endorphins and serotonin levels in the brain making for a great natural, yummy mood booster. You may already know that cocoa contains antioxidants, but that’s not all. Cocoa has anti-inflammatory properties which is good news for your heart, among other things. In short, chocolate is not just good for the soul, it’s good for the body and mind as well. Just be mindful not to overindulge.
Trader Joe’s offers up a 3-pack of 1.65-ounce 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate bars for under $2. I pick up a pack of these each week while grocery shopping. My husband and I split one of these bars every day which gives us both just under the 1 ounce recommendation. When we are looking to indulge a little bit, we go straight for Theo chocolate. If you live in Seattle you most likely have come across this delicious chocolate company. We usually go for the Sea Salt, Salted Almond, or the Fig, Fennel & Almond.
Unsweetened cocoa powder is also a great alternative to eating chocolate in bar form. It’s less processed and doesn’t have added sugar. I love adding some to a smoothie with almond butter, banana, strawberries, and milk (or any non-dairy milk).
Chocolate and self-care go hand in hand. Make sure to add some to your next grocery list!