Can chocolate be a part of the True Paleo regime?
Without a doubt.
If you choose a dark, raw chocolate, preferably fair trade and organic, you can create the perfectly decadent treat for that special occasion without having to resort to adulterated versions (faux paleo) of cakes, cookies, muffins and other sweets.
Real chocolate (dark- at least 85%) has health benefits, according to a study done at the Cleveland Clinic, including their content of:
- Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage.
- Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke.
- Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
When shopping for chocolate, be diligent about reading the label to make sure your choice does not contain the following non Paleo ingredients:
- Soy lecithin (an emulsifier)
- Butter, cream or whey (remember, there is no such thing as Paleo friendly dairy, even grass-fed)
- Refined sugars
- Gluten or grains of any kind
Personally, I’m a fan of 99% or 100%- the darkest one can get without any sweetness.
Decadent and delightful, one small square usually weighs out at about 70 calories and with a glass of fine red wine or melted over some raw, sprouted walnuts, you’re in for a treat so rich, you’ll only want that one bite or two!
Some of my favorite brands which offer varieties that fit the Paleoista guidelines include:
- Taza Stone Ground
- Righteously Raw
- Fearless Organic Raw
All of which I’ve found at large stores like Whole Foods, as well as smaller manufacturers that might not be on your radar (yet) like:
- Raw Chocolate Love
- HU Kitchen’s Chocolate Bars
- Mast Brothers
Be sure to double check the ingredients, though, as some flavors or varieties may indeed contain foods we’d want to avoid.