Why Chocolate Is A HEALTH Food + Our Favorite Recipes

Yes! This week is all about it, including the health benefits of good-quality dark chocolate! This, plus all the feels as summer wrapped up and the boys headed back to school, in this week’s newsletter!

Our Real Life

Every summer I’m like “don’t let perceptions of your body ruin your life.” That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with those feels. In fact, if usually means I just had to tackle them myself. When I hurt my back, I was horizontal for nearly 2 years as I rested to heal, and then gained a bunch of weight as my body adjusted from being an athlete and the associated depression. I’m finally out of that fog, feeling better & like myself again. But this was a day where, when as I stared at the dock, I had all those “you can’t” and “you shouldn’t” voices in my head. We all have the days where we don’t see ourselves in our best light. You know the best way to conquer them? Do the bravest thing you can think of! You bet I jumped off this 20′ dock. And I was scared. And standing around in my suit. And all the things jiggled as I flailed in the air. And my kids didn’t care about any of that, because their mom was awesome and brave and having fun with them. This is the best lesson I’ve learned in life; my kids have made me a better, happier person.

Speaking of the kids… I choked back tears on the first day of school this week. It was a week earlier than usual, and felt just too soon. I let go of another summer together, one less year of getting them under my roof. I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye or start the routine the school year kicks off. And it has been exhausting for sure since we are in a new school district with different schools for all the boys – it was crazy chaos, but they all got there on time every day this week! I knew there would be change with the move, but I never expected the boys to adapt so well. They always teach us something about ourselves; I’m so proud of the little men they’re becoming – even if WAY too fast.

This month is my 1 year anniversary with Beautycounter and I’m so proud to not only celebrate this accomplishment, but to see what a positive impact these products are having (I love hearing people’s success stories with how their bodies are healing with these non-toxic products)! And, best of all it honors the boys’ request for us to not take time away from family or disrupting our home life with online work! Once or twice a month we work together as a family, and spend time together, stuffing envelopes, hand writing notes, and talking about why we do this and the difference this mission is making in the world. In August we raised $2,780.78 for charity – plus my employer matched a portion (how awesome?!), bringing my total raised to $3,580.78!

Unlike the stress book writing was causing our family, I was told by my 7yo that he “loves doing this work with me because stamping and stuffing envelopes is fun” and he’s “proud of [himself] for doing a good job” which of course melted my heart.

Beautycounter’s Labor Day Sale is a free Face Oil (one of our most popular products!) for free (a $68 value!) with any purchase over $150. Now through Monday – this is a great way to try a high ticket item for FREE, especially if you missed August’s specials or have Band of Beauty credit to use!

What are the oils and what do they do?

No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil – great for people will dull or aging skin
Revitalizes your complexion with a boost of antioxidant-rich Vitamin C to brighten and help even skin tone. Key Ingredient: Vitamin C helps awaken your complexion and lightens dark spots.

No. 2 Plumping Facial Oil – think collagen in a bottle
Immediate and lasting hydration to help firm skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines. Key Ingredient: Jasmine Oil boost hydration with a subtle floral scent.

No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil – perfect for people with combination or acne-prone skin
Restores balance and helps to moisturize dry areas, soothe, and leave skin glowing. Key Ingredient: Ylang Ylang moisturizes skin and has a delicate herbal scent.

Wondering how to use them? This blog post goes over 7 Unexpected Ways to use Facial Oils.

All of these oils are made without gluten-containing ingredients and are animal-cruelty-free and vegan, too!

Paleo Pro-Tip

Did you know chocolate can be considered a health food?

Good quality dark chocolate (we strive for anything higher than 73%) contains magnesium and other vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants that make is a great sweet treat – especially when you’re feeling stressed. The darker the better! We also try to use fair trade cacao, which ensure that the cacao was harvested humanely without worker exploitation!

Here are 6 reasons we consider dark chocolate a healthful treat:


It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals, like Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese as well as potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates. When you’re stressed your body uses nutrients differently, if you crave chocolate – it may be because you need the nutrients in it!


The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) measurement of unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest scoring foods ever tested! Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others – some studies show even more antioxidant-rich than even blueberries or Acai!

The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a gas. One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.

It has been shown to increase HDL and lower total LDL (“bad” cholesterol). It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation damage from reactions with free radicals, while increasing HDL, and improving insulin sensitivity – another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.5. DARK CHOCOLATE REDUCES SUN DAMAGE
OK this one’s a stretch for me, but the bioactive compounds in dark chocolate are great for your skin because the flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.6. COCOA & COCOA BUTTER IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION
High-flavanol cocoa improves blood flow to the brain. Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in people with mental impairment. Where high-sugar foods have been shown to negatively affect those with neurological or brain conditions (like dimmension), dark chocolate is low in sugar and the cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason cocoa can improve brain function.

*Adapted from Healthline where all sources can be found

Our Favorite Ways to Eat Chocolate!

Alter Eco Blackout and Hu Crunchy Banana are a couple great bars to try!

Chocolate Muffin and Cake Mix by Simple Mills makes baking a special occasion cake or weekend muffins so easy- even our boys can use these mixes all by themselves!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites from Hail Merry are a family-favorite snack (we love all their awesome flavors). Lightly sweetened and with good quality ingredients, these macaroon bites make a perfect lunch box treat, afternoon pick-me-up, or after school snack.

Dark Chocolate Almond Bars from Primal Kitchen are a great protein bar to keep in your purse or gym bag. These chewy bars are loaded with collagen and nuts and seeds!

Bittersweet Chocolate Chips from Equal Exchange are our favorite because they are super clean (dairy-free and soy-free) and very dark (so lower in sugar than some other brands!) and the only chips we can find that are FAIR TRADE. Plus yummy – which is always an important factor!


{Fruit-Sweetened} Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies

a newsletter exclusive recipe, from Real Life Paleo

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted
3/4 cup palm shortening, ghee, lard, or butter, plus more for greasing the pan
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbs coconut flour
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped

1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Set aside to soak for 2 hours.
2. After the cashews have soaked for 2 hours, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with palm shortening.
3. Pour the soaked cashews into a colander and rinse them; drain well. Place the cashews and dates in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
4. Add the palm shortening, eggs, and vanilla to the processor and pulse until smooth and blended.
5. Add the flours, baking soda, and salt to the processor and pulse until just combined.
6. Empty out the dough into a mixing bowl and fold in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
7. Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand.
8. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are slightly brown but still soft in the center. Let sit on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack; they will firm up as they cool. Store at room temperature for a couple of days, or refrigerate to keep longer. They freeze well too, if you want to bake them in advance!

Fill with ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches for an extra special treat!

Our Favorite Chocolate-Filled Recipes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chili

Superfood Chocolate Pudding

Salted Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Hot Chocolate Fallen Souffles

Creamy Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons

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