Anyone walking through a retail store these days knows that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!
Red, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates line the aisles because clearly, it’s going to sell. About 58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased the week of Valentine’s Day (that includes the candy that 43% of Americans buy for themselves).
Exchanging chocolate has become one of the most popular ways to commemorate the day of love.
Legend has it that the Mayans were the first people to connect love and chocolate around 500 BC when they started brewing drinks made from cocoa beans as part of their wedding rituals.
Dark chocolate has incredible health benefits (when it isn’t combined with milk, sugars and fats, that is). From improved artery function and blood flow to antioxidants which help prevent disease, dark chocolate in the form of cocoa or cacao powder is a wonderful way to indulge without sacrificing your health.
This year, how about surprising your loved ones with a home-made chocolate treat that demonstrates your affection AND protects their hearts?
Here are a few of our favorites:
Vegan Chocolate Cake – sugar free option included
Chocolate Fundue (use as a dip or a frosting)
Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf (one of our favorites!)
Easy Vegan Chocolate Mousse (top with strawberries)
Chocolate Sauce – Drizzle over fruit or Red Velvet Sorbet (recipe below)
Red Velvet Sorbet: Combine in a food processor: 4 large, ripe frozen bananas (peeled first); 10-oz frozen raspberries; 2 TBS cacao (or cocoa) powder; 4-5 dates, chopped. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more dates if needed.
Enjoy these treats fully (but sparingly)! Proverbs 25:16(b) reminds us – eat too much chocolate and you’ll make yourself sick. (MSG)
(PS: February is Heart Health month. A whole food, plant-based, no-added-oil diet not only prevents heart disease, it’s the only diet capable of unblocking arteries and reversing even advanced stages of the disease. As Dr. Esselstyn says: heart disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never exist, and if it does exist, it need never progress. That’s great news – it means we have more control over our #1 killer than we may have ever imagined!)
Happy Valentine’s Day!