Chocolate! Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well one thing is for sure, I certainly do! The thing is though, it is usually full of refined sugar, cheap vegetable oils and not a whole lot of goodness, so it it hard to justify eating it if you are trying to eat clean. The other thing is that it is impossible to get off the blood sugar roller coaster ride when we constantly snack on sugary foods. And yes poor quality chocolate is one of them…
You may or may not have heard about blood sugar balancing. It is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do to improve our health. Every time we eat, the energy from the food we eat is converted into blood glucose so it can be transported into the cells for energy. The blood glucose levels are tightly regulated by various hormones as too much glucose in the blood as well as too little can be dangerous. Insulin is the hormone released from the pancreas to help transport the converted energy (glucose) from the food we ate, into the cells. This is all perfectly normal and as it should be. Once we start to run out of energy our blood sugar will drop and a hormonal signalling system kicks in to tell us it is time to eat again. However, the rapid increase in blood sugar levels will depend on the type of food we eat. Anything that is packaged as nature intended, with fibres intact, food with a high fat content or food with a high protein content will only rise the blood sugar levels moderately.
Carbohydrate foods have the highest impact on blood sugar levels as the body will have to work harder to convert fat and protein into sources of energy. But it is not as simple as that. The type of Carbohydrates plays a huge role. The quickest forms of sugar are highly refined sources of carbohydrates where the chemical structure of the molecules come in the form that is the preferred form for the body to use. This is glucose and fructose. When we drink things like soft drinks or eat sugary sweets, the blood sugar rises rapidly and any excess energy which is not used up, will be very cleverly converted to fat. The other thing is that these refined products, (think white pasta, white rice and cakes, biscuits made with white flour) is both stripped of nutrition and fibre which makes it extremely easy to over consume quantities as they don’t make us feel full either.
The following problem is that the rapid rise in blood glucose is usually triggered by a drop below optimal levels, which will trigger hunger. And then we tend to go looking for more sweet things… So the cycle continues. Getting off the blood sugar roller coaster is not easy for several reasons. But I will leave that topic for another post.
Our tastebuds tends to get hooked on the flavour and anything less sweet is not as as rewarding. With this recipes, which is an adapted version of the lovely Liz Nolan’s recipes, you can kind of have the cakes and eat it too. The brownies are packed with seeds, sweetened with honey and full of intense flavour from the dark chocolate and the raw cacao. Be sure to use local raw honey, if you can. These little raw bites are easy to make. They are packed with seeds so the fat and the protein from the seeds will lower the rate your blood sugar will rise, not setting you off on the blood sugar roller coaster. Of course the seeds and the raw cacao will give you a nutrition boost too. And I promise they will also satisfy your sweet tooth. So all in all, pretty guilt free 🙂 As long as you don’t have them all in one go, of course…
Raw Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Makes about 20 small squares
100g sesame seeds – Can be substituted for milled linseeds
200g ground almonds
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp tahini – Can be substituted for any other nut butter such as cashew, almond or hazelnut butter
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 heaped tbsp raw honey
150g melted dark chocolate min 70% cocoa solid
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Grind the sesame seeds in a coffee grinder until fine and mix with the ground almonds in a bowl. Stir in the cacao powder, dessicated coconut, cinnamon and chia seeds.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and then add the tahini and coconut oil and the honey. Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the dry mixture and mix well. Spoon into a lightly oiled baking tray or dish and press down till smooth.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours until firm then cut into small squares and store in an airtight box in the fridge.