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Candy

On The Hunt For Chocolate

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On The Hunt For Chocolate

With Easter just around the corner, you are probably preparing to buy some candy! While we all know that candy isn’t the best nutritional choice for our health, I know that people will still buy and consume no matter what! However, we can make conscious choices when doing so.

A fun tidbit (or maybe appalling?!) is that $2.1 Billion is spent on Easter candy and 120 million pounds of Easter candy is bought annually! Yikes! Is it any wonder why we’re so sick? Perhaps this statistic will empower you to make different-or at least better educated- choices this Easter season.

Another concern of chocolate candy has to do with slave/child labor and human trafficking. This ethical issue should prompt all of us to examine our choices carefully. Not only are these children exposed to harsh working environments and violence but harmful synthetic pesticides as well. Do you really want to support this? I know I don’t!

The third issue is that of synthetic pesticides. Chocolate is one of the top crops that uses the most pesticides. This means that people are consuming glyphosate (a “probable carcinogen” as well as an endocrine disrupter to name two health problems) to go along with their bite of chocolate. Yummy (not!). This is why it is so important to purchase organic chocolate.

Remember, we vote with our dollars! Instead of supporting and consuming unethical companies this Easter season, choose from the following brands. Not only will your health benefit from quality chocolate but you will be making a difference for our earth and the lives of those who harvested the cacao for you.

Five Chocolate Brands To Support

If you are wondering what “well, chocolate can I buy?!”, never fear! I like (quality) chocolate, too! Over the years I’ve curated my own ‘Sarah Stanley Approved’ brand list that of course includes chocolate. (You can breathe a sigh of relief.) These particular brands care about the health of the earth, people and farmers. These brands are also small companies and anytime you can support a small business versus a giant corporation, do so! Buying products that align with your values is one step to taking action to the popular quote “making the world a better place”. Making conscious choices when buying anything- not just chocolate- is how you and I can practice conscious, connected living in an authentic, practical, sustainable way.

P.S. Be sure let me know your favorite chocolates from the carefully curated list below!

Heavenly Organics

If you like Peppermint Patties, then you will like this company! Their Mint Chocolate Honey Patties! Made with only three ingredients they are simple and delicious. They have five other flavors: Dark Chocolate, Almond, Peanut, Almond and Pomegranate. Organic, dairy-free, soy-free, Slave Free and Fair for Life, these chocolates are an excellent choice.  

Alter Eco

Another one of my favorite brands is Alter Eco! Their tagline is “nourishing Foodie, Farmer and Field”. Their chocolate truffles are so good, perhaps even better than the taste is that the wrappers are completely compostable! You can be a good steward of the earth and enjoy a rich, creamy, velvety chocolate at the same time! Win-win! They also make chocolate bars. While not all of their chocolates are dairy-free, they are organic, Fair Trade, Fair for Life, Slave Free and GMO free.

Equal Exchange

I really like this company and their chocolates! Most of their chocolate bars are dairy-free (read labels before buying) and of course all the requirements for purchasing an ethical chocolate: organic, Fair Trade and the company is based on the co-op model. Equal Exchange really values treating their farmers well and that’s something I’ll gladly support anyday.

Eating Evolved

If you haven’t heard of this company and you are on a Keto “diet”, then you will be pleasantly surprised! Eating Evolved has a product called Keto Cups. In addition to these they also make other chocolate cups (think Reese’s) that are gluten, dairy, soy and nut free. They are organic, slave free and worthy of your dollars!  

Honey Mama’s Bar

If you haven’t had one of these chocolates, you are really missing out! First of all, they are typically found in the refrigerated section of the store. So if you are looking for them in the shelf stable aisle, don’t be alarmed! You can trace the ingredients back to each farmer which is just fantastic! They source their organic cacao from a co-op in Peru that doesn’t use water, protecting this precious resource. The Lavender Red Rose is one of my personal favorites. You’ll have to let me know your personal favorite!  

Will you join me in having an ethical Easter this year and every year? When we make conscious choices we are making a statement of what we value in life. Health is more than “eating healthy”, it is being connected to all the many choices we make on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

Sources:

https://www.statisticbrain.com/easter-statistics/

http://www.foodispower.org/slavery-chocolate/

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Your Easter Candy Guide

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Your Easter Candy Guide

What’s in your Easter basket?

Holidays- Halloween, Valentine’s Day and of course Easter- are synonymous with candy and that means consuming chemicals, toxins and of course ungodly amounts of sugar. There is nothing wrong with having a sweet treat (yay!), but what is wrong is the ingredients IN those Big Food candies. Here are three reasons why most candy & chocolate on the supermarket shelves should not be bought, eaten, given and additionally a guide of what candy and chocolates that you can enjoy every now and then!

 

1) Ingredients 

It’s probably not a surprise that the ingredients in candy are not good for the human body. Made with GMOs, artificial dyes, flavorings, preservatives, hydrogenated oils- what makes up the candy you are eating is more like eating a sweet treat of death! Artificial dyes alone are a known carcinogen (cancer) and have also been linked to tumors and hyperactivity. GMO ingredients have been linked to infertility and reproductive problems, cancer, leukemia, allergies, alters our DNA, immune problems, fast aging- the list is quite appalling and long. GMO ingredients are in 80% of processed food-like products. Another reason to eat real food!

 

2) Unethical 

Many don’t stop to think “how was this made?” when they pick up a bag of Cadbury Eggs or Hershey Kisses. But sadly the majority of the products on commercial supermarket shelves are made with unethical labor and also unethical sourcing of ingredients. Cocoa (chocolate) and coffee are the two most popular crops that are produced with less than desirable ethics. Sustainability is very important and the sustainability of small farms in developing countries is a justice issue that concerns you. Hershey’s is one company that has frequented the news headlines with their use of child labor in harsh conditions. Additionally, Big Food companies routinely participate in land grabs, driving out small farmers, their communities and their way of making a living. So that bag of candy you buy is either keeping people trapped in poverty and unfair conditions or giving them a fair living. it is imperative that chocolate (and coffee) are bought with the fair trade label. Like Fair Trade states “every purchase matters”. Consumers can change the world through what they buy. Our purchases say much about us. What people buy reflects how they live and view life. How can you change what you buy to make a positive, sustainable statement?

3) Sugar

No doubt you know that sugar is addictive and the research that goes along with that. Sugar has also been said to be more addictive than cocaine! The health risks of consuming sugar (artificial sweeteners included) range from obesity (which will then cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease), weight gain, headaches and mood disorders. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is not a GMO ingredient but has been linked to a host of health problems. It’s a cheap filler and is many, many Big Food candy and chocolate products. It’s okay to have a sweet treat on occasion but for optimal health, make sugar a rare part of your nutrition.

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If you are thinking “but you just took away my favorite candy!” do not fear! We’ve created a special Ethical Easter Candy Guide just for you (all the links are below). And here are some additional ideas for your Easter baskets:

Gardening:organic seeds, indoor garden kit, shovel, veggie crayons

Cooking: kid size cooking utensils, apron, kids cookbook, herbs

Play+fitness: kites, jump rope, organic cotton socks, pedometer, yoga mat

Easter Candy Guide links: (click to enlarge)

Seed and Bean 

UNREAL

OCHO

Newman's Own Organics

Surf Sweets

Justin's

SunRidge Farms

Torie & Howard

Alter Eco

Have a wonderful Easter and may you experience His love and grace!

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How To Have a Healthy Valentine's Day

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How To Have a Healthy Valentine's Day

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Once a month I get the honor of being a guest on Everyday Health #HealthTalk on Twitter. Today we chatted about how to have a healthy Valentine's Day. Here's the recap (and a few bonus thoughts that just wouldn't fit in 140:))! Eating on Valentine's Day

photo (80)
photo (80)
  • Don’t let a holiday ruin your healthy eating plan! Use it for a chance to cook with real food.
  • Splurging doesn’t mean consuming harmful ingredients like coloring dyes, HFCS, BHT. Choose to eat real ingredients from real food!
  • Having a sweet treat is fine, it’s what kind of sweet treat it is. A cookie made w/ real organic ingredients (organic whole wheat flour, raw honey, Celtic sea salt, grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, cacao nibs) is very different than an oreo that is made in an industrial plant with harmful ingredients that cause diseases.
  • Healthy Valentine’s date ideas: acroyoga, cooking class, cook a made-from-scratch red theme meal (red beets, kidney beans, strawberries, rhubarb, red apples, pomegranate, raspberries, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, red fingerling potatoes).*Make sure they are organic!
  • Make an aphrodisiac food meal at home! Avocado, banana, almonds, raw honey, basil, arugula, figs, and cacao are all aphrodisiacs.

Which chocolate is healthier- dark or white?

  • Answer: Dark chocolate is healthier! It contains antioxidants (helps remove free radicals in body) and flavonoids (for a healthy heart).
  • White chocolate isn’t actually chocolate. It’s just cocoa butter, milk, sugar. No health benefits in that!
  • Cocoa butter is used as an ingredient in chocolate, but straight cocoa butter is not chocolate.
  • When buying chocolate be sure to look for the fair trade and organic logos. Chocolate is routinely produced by slave labor.
  • When buying chocolate be sure to read the label ingredients. Should not contain cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin/soy lecithin, vanilla, milk fat, artificial flavors.
  • Some brands we recommend are Ritual Chocolate, Righteously Raw, Alter Eco.

Do you know the difference between cacao and cocoa?

  • Cacao is not just a different spelling of cocoa! The two are vastly different.
  • Cacao is raw and contains the essential nutrients whereas cocoa is processed, stripping away all the good stuff.
  • Raw cacao contains iron, magnesium,polyphenols, flavonols, antioxidants, theobromine and omega fatty acids. Three cheers for raw cacao!
  • You can bake with cacao just like cocoa. You may need to adjust the sweetener as cacao is more bitter than cocoa.
  • You can get raw cacao and cacao nibs from Navitas Naturals

If you are single, do you plan any fun, healthy activities with your friends? If married, do you stay in or go out?

  • Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be single awareness day! Invite some other single friends for dinner, meet up at local cold-pressed juice shop.
  • Instead of candy hearts, have conversations with your friends! Invite over to your home for board/card games. Serve red veggies and fruits. Pomegranate Mocktails, anyone?
  • Going out to eat is out, cooking at home is in! Try some new recipes at home. Buy a cookbook and cook recipes from it together.

What are 3 of your heart-healthy, sweat-producing, favorite fitness activities?

  • February is heart month, so why not get active this Valentine’s Day? A healthy heart is a happy heart!
  • Snowshoe, run, rock climb, deep water run, yoga, Pilates, ride a bike, walk...there are plenty of ways to move your body!
  • There are new fitness spaces opening up all the time- many offer a free first class or a special discount for new members. Take advantage of them!

Recipes!

We love to create new recipes! Here are some of our favorites:

Chocolate Bliss Bites

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Popcorn

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Almond Cacao Truffles

Cover photo credit: epSos.de

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