It’s all about chocolate: a healthy superfood

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Chocolate is called the food of gods for a reason. There's something seductive about the rich dark texture. Then, take a bite and the flavor comes alive in your mouth — a little sweet, a lot of kick — especially in great dark chocolate. At the heart of any luscious chocolate is cacao (ka-kow), the dried seeds of a South American evergreen tree.

Navitas Naturals is a company that brings organic superfoods to the market. Superfoods are foods that increase energy and enhance health. One of those superfood lines is Cacao, which is great news for a chocolate lover like me.

The organic raw sweet cacao nibs from Navitas are perfect for a snack. The partially ground cacao beans are rolled into raw cacao liquor and mixed with 100% organic sugar cane juice. In addition to being yummy, the sweet nibs — a product of Peru — are kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and raw. A 4-ounce bag sells for $6.99.

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Navitas Processed Cacao Nibs

Processed Cacao Nibs from Navitas. Photo courtesy Navitas Naturals

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A great way to cook with the chocolate from Navitas is with the cacao powder. The powder is extracted precisely to provide the best quality chocolate. The cacao powder is also certified organic, kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and raw. An 8-ounce bag is $9.99.

Chocolate isn't always just for eating. A great example is the Cacao Lip Balm from Navitas. The lip balm is made from pure, cold-pressed oil of the Cacao bean and makes your lips feel great. I keep a tube by my bed at night and another in my purse. It's perfect for the dry Arizona weather. The lovely aroma of chocolate and a hint of chocolate taste is an added bonus. The lip balm contains sunflower oil, beeswax, raw cacao butter, jojoba oil, rosemary extract, calendula, and Vitamin E. A tube of Cacao lip balm is $3.99.

Navitas Cacao Lip Balm

Cacao Lip Balm from Navitas. Photo courtesy Navitas Naturals.

There are several other products in the company's Cacao line. A full list is available online.

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In addition to the Cacao line, the company offers a wide range of other products, including goji, nori, acai, pomegranate, flax, hemp, coconut, and more. You can order Navitas Naturals online at www.navitasnaturals.com or at most natural food stores, including Whole Foods Market. A complete list of retailers is available online at http://www.navitasnaturals.com.

To make a great chocolate dipping sauce, place 1/3 cup Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder, 4 TBSP Navitas Naturals Coconut Oil, 1 tsp Vanilla extract, and 3-4 TBLS maple or agave syrup in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust amounts as necessary for desired sweetness and consistency. – Recipe from Katrin Volynsky, Live Pure Now.

Written by Susan Lanier-Graham

Founder and publisher Susan Lanier-Graham has traveled the world for the past twenty years, filling a passport or two along the way. She has wandered through the jungles of Thailand, explored the mysteries of the Great Pyramids, and shared the night with a leopard in Zambia. She sailed in the Mediterranean, sipped her way through Burgundy canals and Champagne caves. She followed Rembrandt’s footsteps through Amsterdam. Susan found her center on the red rocks of Sedona and soaked up an exquisite sunset over the Indian Ocean in Bali. Susan is always looking for wow moments around the world or across the street to share with adventure lovers everywhere. She has authored more than 75 books and hundreds of magazine articles. Susan is an award-winning travel writer and member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). She is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan's work still regularly appears in print and online. Susan is an award-winning travel writer, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan has worked as an ambassador for Travelocity and is currently a travel ambassador for Rocky Mountaineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online in a variety of publications. These include various AAA publications, Postcards for Travel Leaders, Alamo.com, Hotels.com, Fairmont.com, So Scottsdale, Uptown, Green Living AZ, Life Refined, Modern Luxury, Marriott.com, WHERE Arizona, WHERE Traveler Phoenix + Scottsdale, and more.

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15 Comments

  1. Susan Lanier-Graham

    I’ll begin with my love of chocolate. Growing up, I was not a candy person. I don’t like run-of-the-mill candy bars. I didn’t really discover my love of chocolate until I was older and tasted “real” chocolate. Once I discovered dark chocolate, especially good quality dark chocolate, I was lost. Now I have my stash drawer of really good chocolate. I love the mix of dark chocolate and salt. I’ve always said “the darker the better” and my daughter-in-law put me to the test this past Christmas. I love 72% dark, but she also gave me a bar of 86% cacao to see if I liked it. I have to say that it’s intense. I eat it in very small doses. I’d say she probably pushed the limits of my dark chocolate love affair on that one.

    My fave chocolate experience was again with my daughter-in-law. We shared a homemade chocolate molten cake (it sounds so common, but it was so NOT common) at Sushi Roku in Scottsdale. I think to this day it’s probably the best chocolate dessert either of us has ever enjoyed. I’m waiting to top that one.

  2. Penny

    I Love dark chocolate and have since I was a kid. It started with the Hersheys semi sweet candy bar minis and then the semi sweet chocolate chips. I have grown up and now am trying to be a raw foodie. I really like the cacao nibs and make sweets for my husband with them. I have also discovered cacao chips for baking. They are good to snack on too YUM!
    The smell of chocolate is so amazing too! Please pick me!

  3. Suzanne

    I love, love, love chocolate. Up until a year or so ago, my love was creamy milk chocolate, but now I have grown to love the bitter-sweet taste of quality dark chocolate. It awakens my senses and satisfies those cravings without guilt. Cacao nibs & raw cacao are the best! From chocolate cherry smoothies to my ooey gooey brownies… no other cocoa powder rivals the flavor. Raw cacao nibs are also a great energizing addition to trail mix.

  4. Stephanie

    Wow, chocolate lip balm, that’s almost as good as a kiss from my hubby and I want to try it. Recently, I ran out of nibs and I’m saving money up for raw food chef lessons so I haven’t bought more. I could really use a good chocolate fix. I have the coconut oil, the vanilla powder and agave, all I need is the chocolate to try your sauce. Would the palm sugar and water work too, or would the consistency be off? I even have frozen organic strawberries that I could thaw to use with banana slices. Maybe some pomegranate seeds with chocolate drizzle would be good, that’s really seasonal and I’ve never tried mixing them. I’ve been gluten and dairy free for about 5 years and I love the selection of stuff Navitas offers.

  5. Giovanna

    Once I ate raw cocao, I never looked back. No commercial chocolate compares to what you are able to create with raw cacao.
    And the energy it infuses into the body is just amazing, especially paired with maca. Nibs are tasty little treats that I would like to get my chocolately paws on. I only use Nativas raw cocao but the nibs would be heavenly. I especially like raw cocao in coconut butter and oil, sweetened with stevia and some nuts. Delish!

  6. EMC

    Ahhh cacao, how I love thee… let me count the ways… Or not. Not enough fingers and toes.

    Anyway… I like any and all forms of dark chocolate, I think. White chocolate, well, it’s not really chocolate, is it? And milk chocolate, that stuff is for wimps. Dark chocolate is where it’s at… fruity and smooth, with that nice crisp break… or gooey and melted in a muffin/cookie… with a pinch of sea salt… oooh yeah. I’ll take a bit of everything.

    Oh, and those sweetened cacao nibs? Mmmmmmm!

  7. Susan Lanier-Graham

    Isn’t it amazing how dark chocolate lovers are so passionate? And once you’ve found those nibs, there’s no going back. Stephanie – you asked about the palm sugar and water – I think it would be worth a try. The key seems to be working in the other ingredients a little at a time to get the right consistency. Playing with it just a little changes the taste and use for it. For me, strawberries and chocolate are the ultimate luxurious splurge – and it’s really pretty simple and not overly decadent. It just feels that way.

    I’m just discovering the beauty of cooking with products such as those Nativas puts out. I am finding a whole new world…

  8. Mary Charlene

    Love raw cacao…have it with my maca in the morning…

  9. Shelby

    Chocolate is the one thing that I have to have EVERY day. I always crave a few bites of something sweet after dinner, and only chocolate will do. My love began with Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips, but now I truly enjoy much darker chocolate. And, thanks to Navitas Naturals, I love cacao nibs the most! I put them in smoothies, in oatmeal, with nut butters, and sometimes just eat them right out of the bag. Chocolate love!!

  10. Susan Lanier-Graham

    Shelby – I hadn’t thought about smoothies. I’ll have to add some of the nibs to my next smoothie. In fact, I might have to try that this afternoon.

  11. Sarah

    I’m a chocolate person. When I was little I was into candy, but now I love chocolate and chocolate desserts. I need to try those nibs sometime. If I baked more, I’d try the cacao powder. Sounds good. 🙂

  12. Sally JPA

    I love chocolate so much I threw a chocolate-themed party where every course contained it. 🙂 The men enjoyed it well enough, but, not surprisingly, most of the women positively swooned.

  13. Pegster

    Thanks, Susan. I read this, and now I’m having my dark chocolate for breakfast! I love to mix it with So Delicious Coconut frozen treats-my non-dairy replacement for ice cream. Adding a banana and some peanut butter makes a super banana split breakfast. I find it useful to get my chocolate craving satisfied first thing in the morning so I can sleep at night. 😉

  14. Anne Johnson

    I remember how as a child we all looked forward to the huge tin of Quality Street (chocolates filled with nuts, caramel, fondants etc) that my nana would send from England. Everyone loved to dig through the tin of brightly colored foil wrapped treats, trying each one to find their favorite. One year my Uncle Carol was with us. After everyone had gone to bed he delved into the tin. He was so embarrassed by the pile of wrappers that he burned them in the fire, and then felt so guilty about destroying the evidence that he confessed the next morning! Everyone laughed; we all knew it was hard to stay out that tin.

    • Susan Lanier-Graham

      Oh, Anne. What a lovely chocolate memory. Thanks for sharing.

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