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Thursday
Feb072013

The BEST Chocolate for PCOS by Becky Miller, HHC

The BEST Chocolate For PCOS

Posted on February 7, 2013

We’ve all heard by now that dark chocolate has health benefits. Maybe you’ve even heard that if its at least 70% dark, you can indulge. Boy have I got some amazing and interesting news for you. News that will debunk myths and enlighten your knowledge about chocolate with facts coming from none other than, ‘The Chocolate Girl,’ Vanessa Barg. Before I get too excited about the chocolate I want to share a bit about Vanessa and the origin of Gnosis. It was my deep honor to have had the privilege to interview Vanessa. It’s worth the read. I promise.

Meet Vanessa

Vanessa and I started out in a similar place at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition.  She graduated in 2006 as a holistic health coach and began making chocolate as a gift to her coaching clients. In the process of finding what it was to love and care for herself, she found giving was healing for her. She came up against doubt and rejection but she was doing something she knew was right in her gut.

What Is Gnosis?

The name, Gnosis was chosen by Vanessa because of it’s deep, beautiful meaning. Gnosis is Greek for knowledge of the heart and, specifically, knowledge that is learned through difficulties. To Vanessa, Gnosis is about being self-aware and getting in touch with our inner selves. She is passionate about empowering individuals to look within and realize that we often have more to give than what we’re offering the world and to therefore leap. Beautiful. The vision of Gnosis is to be an internationally recognized name that carries a profound message of health, well-being and awareness of environmental and societal conditions. More on that later.

Let’s Talk Chocolate

When I first discovered Gnosis Chocolate I was happy to hear that all of their chocolates were allergen free. That’s right, all of their products are certified organic, raw, vegan, kosher and are free of gluten, soy and dairy. This is good for women with PCOS who can often times find themselves avoiding gluten, dairy and soy. Here’s the rest of the exciting information I learned about chocolate and Gnosis from Vanessa.

Does all of your chocolate contain at least 70% cacao?

“The majority of my bars do contain high quality cacao at minimum levels of 70% cacao. Chocolate percentages are just like calorie counting to me. Our society really wants to work with numbers. Numbers and the body don’t always work. When people see 70% on chocolate labels, it is merely referring to the weight. In most chocolate, 70% is cacao solids and the other percentages are sweeteners. I’ve tried to avoid using numbers in an effort to have people read more about quality instead of quantity. Basically, you can have chocolate labeled 70% dark chocolate that has fewer antioxidants than 60% dark chocolate. It really comes down to the quality of the cacao, essentially, the sourcing and where you’re getting your cacao. Our sources provide us with the highest quality cacao. The percentages do help to indicate how sweet the chocolate is. For example, a bar that contains 90% cacao is very dark chocolate and often times bitter and chalky to the palette. Gnosis dark chocolate is not roasted, it’s raw, so my 90% ‘Deeply Dark’ bar actually tastes good and provides amazing health benefits. ”

Can you speak about why you don’t use soy lecithin?

From my extensive research, I have not found any good or healthy reasons to use soy lecithin. My chocolates are made 100% by hand and I have no need for an emulsifier, which is typically needed in chocolates produced with big equipment. Further, I wouldn’t use it because we need bio diversity in our foods. We have enough sugar, soy and corn in our typical American diet. We need more herbs and super foods. I don’t want to contribute to over consumption of certain foods. I only put ingredients in chocolate that serves a function.”

Could you give me your personal insight on the use of Agave?

“When agave came under fire and because I use agave in some of my chocolate I knew I would have to do the research myself. I visited the source of my agave in Guadalajara and I found a process that you can do in your own kitchen. I identified a source that was wonderful and I wrote about my findings my article, ‘Agave Report.I can stand behind the source of my agave nectar. I worked there for a few days to ensure quality control. Agave, in my opinion, is like anything else, to be enjoyed in moderation. So, I haven’t steered away from using Agave, but I’m now pointed towards using coconut palm sugar because of its historical health benefits.

Tell me more about coconut palm sugar.

“It is our primary sweetener here at Gnosis and has roots that go back over 5,000 years. It is very minimally processed, high in B vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. It even has a little bit of protein. It is a low glycemic index food that won’t spike your insulin levels or leave you feeling tired or hungrier after consuming it. It is the most sustainable sweetener in the world according to the UN Food & Agriculture Organization, meaning that it won’t damage the tree and can further be used for other products once the palm is removed, so farmers have flexibility in what they’re producing. Also, the water needed to farm it is minimal. We source our coconut palm sugar from Big Tree Farms in Bali. Coconut palm sugar is also a better ingredient for chocolate because it doesn’t contain water. We actually improved the chocolate quality in moving to coconut palm sugar. (Learn more about coconut palm sugar)”

Why is Gnosis chocolate a good choice for women with PCOS?

“For many reasons, actually. All of my chocolate is made with loving intentions and it’s on the ingredient list of every chocolate bar. In love, our goal is not to simply turn a profit, but to create a shift in the global market place to products that are sustainable for our planet and health. Every ingredient has a purpose and that provides our customers with a different kind of nourishing experiencing, comparable to soul food! 

In addition, women crave chocolate around their menstrual cycles. Whether they know it or not, they’re really craving magnesium. Intuitively our bodies want to relax the muscles that are going to cramp, which is what magnesium does. So, I’ve loaded a few of my chocolate bars with magnesium rich ingredients. I can literally eat a few squares and feel relief within hours. This is just beautiful to me.

My chocolate is also raw and not conventional. This means that Gnosis chocolate has never been heated above 118 ° F, which protects the nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and fats to make it much more recognizable to the body and is therefore better digested. Raw chocolate elicits the same positive neural response that we get when we’re doing something we love. So, in the process of eating chocolate, you’re becoming happier while you’re healing.

Chocolate is food not candy. Cacao is a sacred food, consumed since 1100 BC. It was destroyed by the addition of sugar and dairy. Chocolate in its natural state is a bean and it’s a medicine. When it is in its raw form, it acts as an amazing carrier for nutrients because cacao is a vasodilator, which means that it literally opens up veins to deliver the wonderful herbs that I’ve packed in. Plus, when you eat chocolate you want to treat yourself, the last thing you want to do is guilt yourself. So we can feel good about what we’re enjoying. Also, the antioxidant level of cacao is higher than anything in the world.” 

So, tell me about the greater vision or projects of Gnosis on a world impact level.

We are not a company separate from what we give. We give away over 10% of proceeds and we have since the beginning. We sponsor a lot of events with chocolate. I’m most passionate about our project in Grenada. They have a high rate of unemployment, which in turn trickles down to child prostitution. Parents aren’t working so they abandon their children. The people are wise and have a history of cacao farming. A hurricane knocked out the cacao crops and so they’ve been importing and not growing cacao. The people want to work. When I visited Grenada I worked on a farm for a few days with a friend. When kids graduate or are kicked out of homes they don’t have training. Reach Grenada works in orphanages with at-risk children. We don’t just focus on physical needs, but tools like yoga, deep breathing and strength giving activities. Through this project the community’s elders are teaching kids to grow cacao. I believe that spreading local, organic agriculture is the best economic booster. This venture needed to be grounded in their roots.” Read about Vanessa’s other projects through Gnosis. Inspiring aspirations of quality and integrity are evident here. 

(My Favorite Part)

Would you consider formulating a chocolate bar just for women with PCOS?

“YES! I will do it. It’s my favorite thing to do. I’m excited to offer this to the PCOS world. In the meantime, try my ‘Goddess Bar’. “

The Bottom Line

Did you hear that ladies? A chocolate bar especially for us! I’m beyond thrilled to work with Vanessa to make this THE best chocolate for women with PCOS. Stay connected with CROWN for details on the bar and how to get yours soon.

I don’t know about you, but I just got schooled in the world of raw chocolate. As if Vanessa’s beautiful soul, her giving back, restoring and the vision of Gnosis weren’t enough, we are now aware that chocolate, yes, IS actually good for us. In fact we should think of chocolate as food, not candy. Hallelujah!

My eyes have been opened to the many aspects of the life of a chocolatier and I am grateful that Vanessa did not succumb to the doubt and rejection that we all feel at times. 

As a PCOS Health Coach, I still have my reservations about Agave, but not to worry, Gnosis offers plenty of other delicious bars that are sweetened with coconut palm sugar. Did you catch that coconut palm sugar is loaded with B vitamins? If you’re unaware, women with PCOS are typically deficient in B vitamins. This is exacerbated by the use of Metformin, which further depletes our B vitamins.

I am not receiving any form of payment or reward for speaking about Gnosis Chocolate. I just think it’s great stuff. I’ve taken the pleasure of dissecting the ingredients in each of Gnosis’s bars and here is a list of bars that could be a fit for women with PCOS. I think you’ll see why when you look at the ingredients. Give them a whirl and let us know which chocolates are your favorite and why. Do enjoy!

 

To use Gnosis Chocolate in conjunction with a complete plan to beat your PCOS, Becky Miller is offering free initial consultations. Also, check out CROWN Coaching Programs where women are making lasting changes and learning to manage their PCOS, naturally. 
Saturday
Jan122013

GUEST BLOGGER: Kimberly Hammond 

 

Hello, All! I hope this finds you all ecstatically happy, healthy, well and ready to take on another year. Time sure does fly when you're fabulous, right?! ; )

SO. Back in August, my dear, sweet, no-motor-skill-havin' baby giant (my pup, Levi) accidentally (question mark) ran into my leg breaking my fibula and severely spraining my ankle. I was off the grid for a solid week and in lots of pain. This time, however, spawned a major revamping of an already considerably "healthy" diet. I wanted to get as many nutritional soldiers into my bod as I possibly could to help with the healing process, so I dusted off my brand new juicer (who was sadly thrown into retirement before it was even put to work) and gave it an honorable job title. CEO and President of Patchin'-This-Girl-Back-Together. I didn't need to see its resume, call for references or any of that jazz. I knew, without a doubt, that it'd do the job and do it awesomely (yes, that is a word).

I juiced like a champ, workin' that juicer overtime. I even tapped my Vitamix to be Vice Prez. Juicing then pouring the juice and blending it together with kale, frozen 'nana, RAW protein powder (Vanilla), frozen E3Live cubes, etc. I was workin' half days back at my full time job the following week, rockin' the crutches, then back to full days the week after that. Needless to say, my juicer and my Vitamix both earned themselves permanent positions in my company, whose mission changed from patchin' me back up to keepin' me on the up n' up. I heart these two.

The Epiphany

We live in the Land of Junkitarianism and are *barely* surviving off (the) S.A.D. (Standard American Diet). There is one thing that (the) S.A.D. does well and one thing only. Making and keeping people SAD…Sick And Deficient. Juicing and blending are two sure-fire ways to counteract the effects of this; getting everything your body needs and craves into one single glass and including the one major thing lacking in most Americans’ diets, enzymes.

You see- when the heavens opened up, the angels sang, harps played and the trumpets sounded, you were born into this world with a certain number of enzymes. A bank account of enzymes, if you will. All living cells contain these little guys. Enzymes help prevent disease, keep us young and vibrant, and have a major say in our energy levels. These bad boys run our entire show and are responsible for every bodily process and function. There are 3 types of enzymes:

• Metabolic – the Construction Workers. They structure, repair and remodel every cell and tissue.
• Digestive – the Break Dancers. These quick-steppin’ guys break down protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
• Food – the Firestarters. These hot tamales start the digestion of food and are found in raw, uncooked foods.

Most foods are cooked, pasteurized, chemically laden and highly processed. If your diet mainly consists of these types of foods, you're not getting the food enzymes you need to digest and absorb what you are taking in (though, considering what most diets consist of these days, that’s not such a bad thing). When this happens, the body compensates by using the enzymes already in your bank account. If your body is constantly making withdrawals from your enzyme bank and not making any deposits, what do you think happens? Your account goes bust and your body doesn’t get what it needs to function, repair and do its groove thang. This results in disease. A weakened immune system. Incomplete digestion. Malnourishment. Unhappy bodies that don’t function well. And certain unpleasant side effects. Ick.

Avoid the ick. There are many juicers and Vitamix's looking for jobs and are up for hire (I even discovered another handy little tool called a "Nutribullet" that I use when in a rush or on travel. It's like a mini Vitamix!). The ones on my current payroll are:

Juicer- Omega VRT350HD Vertical Silver Juicer

Vitamix- Vitamix 5200

Nutribullet- as itself


Log onto www.nextag.com to see where you can find the best price if you're interested. I heart my guys. They've made a huge difference in my life and I know they will for you, too.

Got questions? I'd love to hear from ya'! You can reach me at: kimberly@healthy-chick.com

 

Happy Sippin'!

 

XO,

Kimberly Hammond 

www.healthy-chick.com 

 

Sips n' Nibs Juicery and Kitchen
Author: The Un-Diet Diet, coming soon!