CACAO FOR HEALING

My whole life I have loved chocolate and always found ways to enjoy it. I craved it. When I embarked on my chocolate-making journey a few years ago, my first reason for doing so was because I simply wanted to make healthy chocolate that tasted amazing. Through that process of learning how to make chocolate, I also connected to cacao (the main ingredient that makes up chocolate) on a much deeper level than I ever had before. Cacao is a plant that was referred to as 'Food of the Gods' by the Aztecs hundreds of years ago. Both Aztecs and Mayans treated cacao as a sacred food that was shared in ritual and ceremony in a beverage form. By working with cacao and sourcing the highest quality I know, I really learned the power of cacao and how it wasn't just a food that made this sweet treat I enjoyed often. It shifted my perspective on life, healing, and spirituality. There was so much depth and wisdom in cacao that I began to treat it differently. 

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LESS IS MORE: THE POWER OF NON-DOING

I sat in his perfect garden, blooming all the colors of early September in the East Bay. This place always brings me to a calm - charms and mantras in hidden spaces between various shades of green. We've come to name it the Buddha garden, and that's where my mentor and I usually meet when I'm seeking guidance - other times just for tea and then guidance I don't even know I'm seeking. (Read more inspiration on livealot.org)

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CHOCOLATE & FIG LAYERED BARS

These bars have a crunchy bottom, gooey middle, and chocolatey top. I truly smiled as I watched my close loved ones indulge in them since they're full of life-enhancing ingredients. The star ingredient in these bars are figs. Figs are an extremely sexy food, have you taken the time to look into a a fresh fig? Beauty! I'm amazed by them every time. (Visit livealot.org for more vegan chocolate dessert recipes)

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CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES FOR STRESS RELIEF

Stress relief, chocolate chip cookies, and medicinal mushrooms - There's something about baking that I'm finding quite nourishing, it's quite a stress-reducing activity. Last week, I talked about my top ways to manage stress. Today, I'm adding more nutritional facts about foods (specifically medicinal mushrooms) that also support stress management. 

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5 HOLISTIC WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS

This year has shown me how I can no longer continue this pattern of self-criticism and self-pressure if I want to truly live the healthy and happy lifestyle I promote.Why is it important to manage our stress? Well, when stress levels remain high all the time, it can lead to chronic health issues such as weight gain (even if you're eating healthy and exercising), diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, Candida, insomnia/sleep issues, IBS, cancer, and increased risk for heart attacks. Not to mention more 'minor' symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, acne, low sex drive, and simply feeling sucked like the life is sucked out of us.

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CHOCOLATE-DIPPED MANGO WEDGES

We're crazy for mangoes at the moment. They're super delicious this season. Totally not local but such a treat.Besides their amazing taste, mangoes have TONS of health benefits. Their high levels of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C make them great for digestion, lowering cholesterol, nourishing the skin, and boosting the immune system. Yes, please. These chocolate-dipped mango wedges are fun snacks for a gathering, and super simple to make. Happy Summer, friends! 

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6 WAYS TO START THE DAY FEELING ENERGIZED

It's no secret that starting the day on a good note is the way to go. How we start the day is like setting the tone for how we want to feel and go about our day, whether consciously or unconsciously.  Wake up and check email, we'll likely start off stressed. That feeling could drag out throughout the rest of the day. Wake up and check in with ourself, then we'll likely be more connected, calm, and inspired to move about the day by leading with our heart. 

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HAS YOUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATE BEEN FOOLING YOU ALL ALONG?

COCOA or CACAO, that’s the question. When we embarked on this journey we had one simple mission in mind - To give people a chocolate bar that doesn't only taste good, but that is also good for you. Free from sugar and inflammatory ingredients.

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