Chocolate lovers guide to green chocolate

chocolate fair trade organicKeep your chocolate pure, fair trade and organic: a guide to eating chocolate the green way.

Chocolate is alternately portrayed as a sinful delight – damaging to your health and your waistline – or as a food with health benefits. So which is it? According to the Mayo Clinic website, a trusted health authority in the United States: “flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function”

So there is something positive in the treat we love. But before we can answer the question, “Is chocolate friend or delicious foe?” we have to ask ourselves which chocolate we’re talking about. To do so, let’s take a short historical look.

Chocolate was first enjoyed as a drink by Mayan and Aztec cultures thousands of years ago, but the beverage they revered as magical was bitter pure chocolate. The Europeans adopted it, added a little honey or cane sugar, and it became a hit.

By 1868, Cadbury found a way to process it into a solid bar. Without many additives, it likely had many of the nutritious qualities that those ancient civilizations valued. However today’s Cadbury Dairy Milk has a lot of added ingredients:

Milk Chocolate (sugar; milk; eggs; chocolate; cocoa butter)

Lactose; soy lecithin;

PGPR, emulsifier; natural and artificial flavor.

What are these extra ingredients?

PGPR (Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate) is an emulsifier and a cheap replacement for cocoa butter.

Soy lecithin, like any other soy product, is probably made from genetically modified soy.

Natural and artificial flavor – this could be anything. Unhealthy ingredients hide anonymously under these labels.

So while chocolate itself may have health giving properties, there are three problems with many of the products found in the marketplace today.

1. The percentage of chocolate may be quite low (nowhere near what the Mayans and Aztec were drinking).

2. Some of the additives may be harmful to your health.

3. Much of the chocolate on the market contains so much sugar that it negates whatever benefit you gain from the chocolate itself.

In Israel, for instance, the chocolate market has improved dramatically over the last twenty years. It’s now easy to find chocolate with 70 percent or 85% cocoa in supermarkets. Some brand contain no soy lecithin or other questionable ingredients. I would recommend these for health-conscious people.

Think fair trade and organic too

In addition, many top quality chocolate shops now line the streets of main cities in Israel, and I imagine the same is true in other Middle East cities which likely both imports and give home to small chocolatiers. Ask them about their ingredients or follow your taste buds: The best tasting chocolate is made with the purest ingredients.

Other brands of chocolate are available in health food stores. Many have the advantage of being organic and some of them labeled fair trade. Child slavery and other abuses are ongoing problems in the chocolate trade and should be taken into consideration when making your purchase. The only way to identify chocolate that does not involve child slavery is to either buy one specifically labeled as such, or one that is on the Fairtrade International list.

Check out these other posts on fair trade:
Fair Trade Sweets on Valentines Day
Feasting on Fair Trade This Ramadan
The Little Fair Trade Shop Shows Masdar its Big Heart

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6 thoughts on “Chocolate lovers guide to green chocolate”

  1. Ruth Almon says:

    Reminds me of when I was a little girl and broke into my mother’s totally unsweetened baking chocolate. I got a nasty surprise.

    I don’t know if you’re ever going to love pure raw chocolate, but our taste buds generally aren’t used to chocolate without a lot of sugar. If 70% tastes good, try buying 80% next time, and then 85% and work your way up.

  2. Great article! Check out FEARLESS CHOCOLATE– we’re soy-, gluten-, and dairy-free, which means no lecithin or extra additives. If you like eating healthy and live a green lifestyle, you’ll love what we’re doing over here.

    http://www.fearlesschocolate.com

    NOM NOM NOM

  3. Zaufishan says:

    Phoar, all those preservatives, bleukh. That’s why I go 70% cocoa with Green & Black’s organic chocolate. Best ingredients for cooking too, none of those poly-glycerols.

    1. I bought pure raw chocolate at a heath food store in December in Canada and it tasted terrible. Any recipes for making such a thing into something yummy?

  4. MiddleEastVoice says:

    Also keep in mind that there are still companies who even support ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS just for our chocolate products!
    See here more: http://www.marscandykills.com/

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