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A new study finds that people who eat chocolate several times a week are actually leaner than people who don’t eat chocolate regularly.

This article below by Allison Aubrey is excellent, and not just because it justifies my daily indulgence in theobromine, the primary alkaloid in cocoa and chocolate.  Personally, I find chocolate to be great for stress and curbing the appetite for unhealthy foods.  I used to love chocolate chip cookies, but now I cut out the dough and just enjoy the pure chocolate.

The study didn’t state which type of chocolate is best, but I would recommend picking one that tastes best to you so you will stick with it.  Five years ago I would have only the extreme dark chocolate with 88% cocoa, but now I enjoy the smooth milk chocolate from Endangered Species containing 48% cocoa.  These are the little squares I keep in my clinics for patients. I love promoting Endangered Species Chocolate because not only is it the best organic chocolate in my opinion, but they also support and invest in the communities and habitats which grow their cocoa.

I would love to hear your experiences with health and chocolate.

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Researchers say some compounds in cocoa may help us fend off fat.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty ImagesResearchers say some compounds in cocoa may help us fend off fat.

A new study finds that people who eat chocolate several times a week are actually leaner than people who don’t eat chocolate regularly.

Really, we asked? Last time we checked chocolate was loaded with fat and sugar. But this new research, along with some prior studies, suggests chocolate may favorably influence metabolism.

To test this theory, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, asked about 1,000 people, ages 20 to 85, a simple question: “How many times a week do you consume chocolate?” The participants then completed food frequency questionnaires to estimate their caloric intakes of a whole range of foods including chocolate. They also had weight and height measurement taken to calculate their body mass index, or BMI. Read full article


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Healthy Detox with Brussel Sprouts

Growing up I never liked Brussels sprouts. They always smelled so horrible I never bothered trying them. About 5 months ago I decided to give them a try and found several ways to enjoy them without that sulfur smell.

One of my favorite ways is to cut them up and steam for about five minutes, then toss in olive oil and garlic and top with sheep feta and Manchego cheese.  Ideally you should cut them into quarters and let them sit a few minutes before steaming to help release the healthy nutrients.  Brussels sprouts are detoxifying and have cardiovascular health benefits.

A vegan option is to leave off the cheese and use my favorite multipurpose Asian sauce:  2 T soy sauce-(I like San J organic reduced sodium Tamari best), 1 clove garlic, 1 T grated ginger, 2 T sesame oil. Adding a dollop of fresh ground peanut butter will make it heartier if you get hungry fast. Note that if you are using peanut butter, stick with sesame or peanut oil as olive oil will make the peanut butter clumpy and dry.

You can also make up your own chili sesame oil by combining toasted sesame oil with dried ground chili peppers. Don’t buy the chilis already ground; the flavor has all but left by the time you get them home.  I recommend buying them dried whole from either a Mexican or Asian grocery and grinding them in coffee grinder. This will bring out the best flavor. I poured about a tablespoon of chilies into a 8-ounce bottle and filled it with toasted sesame oil. If you decide to grow and dry your own peppers please be sure they are really really dry or they will become moldy in your oil-I have learned this the hard way.

This aromatic oil mixture only needs about 10 minutes to flavor but the longer you leave it the richer it becomes.  Some of the chili oils available in stores are made from soybean oil or other yucky oils of which I’m not terribly fond.  This is why I decided to make my own.  Enjoy!


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For weight loss, BMI is bogus

In my entire life I have only met 2 people who said "I’m too thin and trying to gain weight".  Have you ever stepped on a scale on a day when you felt OK, then looked down and had your mood ruined by a number?   In my experience using the BMI (body mass index) and weighing your self compulsively every day only serve to increase your stress and lower self-esteem which ends up becoming a form of self-terrorism. 

While there are trends to loose weight in the summer, during holidays and for special events, it’s much healthier for your body and your psyche to shoot for a healthy balance of exercise and nutrition overall.

Some of my patients have asked about acupuncture for weight loss.  Acupuncture alone will not automatically shed pounds, but rather helps to support your weight loss effort by minimizing cravings while increasing energy and metabolism in the body.

Check out Keith Devlin’s NPR article for the top 10 reasons why BMI is bogus.


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Bone Soup: Healing Broth

Fall has arrived and so has the cold and flu season. Several cultures have a version of this soup to take care of their families.  Here is a highly nutritious classic Chinese medicine recipe for bone soup.  The vinegar helps release the minerals and nutrition from the bones.  This broth is also helpful for people recovering from bone and skeletal injuries. Feel free to enjoy this anytime and use it as a base for any soup or gravy.

 

Bone Soup 

4 quarts of water

Bones from fish, chicken or beef

2 tablespoons of vinegar (this releases the minerals from the bones)

Slowly simmer broth for 3-6 hours until bones appear rubbery.  Strain and discard bones.

You may also add onions and/or ginger to the stock and remove before serving.  My favorite is to add fresh scallions and ginger just before serving.

This broth can be made in batches and frozen for later use.