Nicole La Placa
Using raw cacao powder
Nicole La Placa | Highlands TodayQ: What is raw cacao powder and how do I use it? — Kim, Sebring
Published: December 31, 2012
Published: December 31, 2012
A: Chocolate, as most of us know it, is a processed, refined, calorie-filled version of the cacao bean. Processed chocolate, which is found in candy bars, cakes and cookies, has added ingredients such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial coloring,
The cacao bean is actually the seed of a nut which grows on a tree and is indigenous to South America. When in its raw, unprocessed form the cacao bean has a multitude of health benefits. Raw cacao is known to contain iron, calcium, fiber and high levels of magnesium.
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, raw cacao also contains essential fatty acids that raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
Cacao powder is made from pulverizing the bean into a powder form, which is then packaged and shipped to health food and grocery stores for consumers.
The cacao powder can be added to coffee, smoothies, yogurt, cereals or hot or cold nondairy beverages. It is an excellent way to incorporate the flavor of chocolate and the health benefits of cacao into your diet without the added preservatives and calories.
Q: I recently broke my leg and am unable to exercise for at least six weeks. Do you have any nutrition tips so I can avoid gaining weight during this time period? — Rose, Lake Placid
A: Lack of exercise can result in not only weight gain, but also inflammation and a decreased mood. Even if you are not able to exercise as you normally would, there are some exercises you can do while sitting.
Chair yoga, for example, is a great alternative to some of the standing and laying poses in traditional yoga classes. Chair yoga can be done anywhere you have a seat available. There are local chair yoga classes available, as well as online videos and DVDs that can be purchased.
Maintaining upper body strength is important, as well. There are many upper body exercises that you can do while seated, such as bicep curls, shoulder presses and triceps dips.
As with chair yoga, these can also be done from a seated position either at home or at the gym.
Exercising while you are recovering from your injury is essential to keeping your metabolism raised, which helps burn calories throughout the day as well as increasing endorphins.
Injuries and the stress associated with them create inflammation in the body, which is the root of all degenerative diseases. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, garlic, olive oil, walnuts and salmon into your diet will help reduce the inflammation.
Taking fish oil supplements or adding ground flaxseed to smoothies or soups will help reduce inflammation, as well. Portion control during your recovery will also help you from consuming added calories that may not be burned off as quickly due to your change in lifestyle.
Nicole La Placa is a certified health coach and lives in Highlands County. Send letters to LyricalNutrition@Ymail.com or visit www.LyricalNutrition.com