We’ve all been there. We wake up at 6am to make it to spinning. We eat a salad for lunch – dressing on the side. We even manage to skip dessert after dinner. And then 11 o’clock rolls around. Somehow, all our willpower goes out the window and we’re soon staring at an empty Häagen-Dazs container. The reality is that – at least in my case – in a battle with the sweet tooth, the sweet tooth always wins. So how can we satisfy our sweet cravings and stay healthy?
While it may come as a complete shock, chocolate, when made properly, is actually a powerful health food. This is what Marina, founder and chocolatier of Guiltless Chocolates, explained to me as I indulged in her tantalizing treats. An expert nutritionist, Marina became intrigued with cacao after having discovered its numerous health benefits in one of her courses. After experimenting with the ingredient in a truffle recipe, it was “love at first bite”. Before long, Marina’s life became consumed by cacao. “I began crafting up all kinds of decadent creations, and literally eating, sleeping, and breathing cacao. I made them for friends and family and everyone who tried them urged me to sell them. I never thought about that – a nutritionist as a chocolatier!?”
As Marina’s education progressed, so did her understanding of the power of cocoa. The sacred history, the healing properties, the numerous health benefits. “Cacao is one of the rare, indigenous, and ancient healing foods, that is part of holistic health,” explains Marina. “It is part of Amazonian herbalism, which has documented its use for thousands of years!” The problem, according to Marina, is that conventional university nutrition programs don’t teach this, and the general public is completely unaware.
So why does chocolate have such a bad reputation? Marina explains that the standard chocolate you buy at the grocery store has lost its “magic” – the integrity of the cacao. When cacao is heated, the nutritious properties are lost. Exacerbating the problem are the harmful sugars and chemicals that are added. In its raw form, cacao is “a wealth of health” – high in magnesium (a common deficiency in North America), Chromium, Iron, Zinc, Serotonin, Fiber, Vitamin C, and Omega 6.
Marina was on a mission to share her passion for cacao with the world. Guiltless Chocolates was born. The chocolates are made from raw, vegan, ingredients, and without any sugar. The ingredients are also 100% organic and sometimes wild “from the deepest oceans, to the highest mountains, to the lush rainforests and the mystical Amazon, mostly from south America which is dear to my heart, however, I do throw in some herbs from china, India, and other special locations on request.”
The truffles come in a range of flavors, from mint, to cayenne, to orange-coconut, each one handmade by Marina herself. The most popular flavor is the melt-in-your-mouth “Cafe D’Amour”, a “pick-me-up chocolate” made with ground coffee beans and infused with English toffee. (Tasting is believing!)
Marina’s inspiration? Willy Wonka, a chocolatier impassioned by his craft, incessantly joyful, enigmatic, who even sings to his chocolates. “I believe that everything is energy and so I infuse my energy into my product,” says Marina. This includes practices such as singing, dancing and other ritualistic techniques as Marina crafts her delectable creations. “This is magical chocolate after all!” She says it with a joking grin, but as I enjoy the exhilarating rush of her chocolates, for just a second, I wonder…
Guiltless Chocolates available at:
Website: Marina Love Movement
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