Food in the News Light, Ideas, Recipes

February is National Heart Health Month – Eating DARK Chocolate

The Sweet Science Behind Dark ChocolateWhat Eating Dark Chocolate Can Do for You 

by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN

Dark chocolate — with a high content of nonfat cocoa solids — is the new guilt-free super food! The scientific evidence is stacking up linking daily consumption of deep, dark chocolate with Chocolatephenomenal health benefits, especially on your heart and blood vessels.Studies show that people who eat generous amounts of superbly-heart-healthy and flavonoid-rich cocoa rarely develop high blood pressure and have a very low death rate from heart disease.
Eating dark chocolate is key to heart health because it is loaded with powerful plant antioxidants called flavonoids.That is why is it included as a bonus in a plan I developed to reverse heart disease, and/or to build good heart health to hopefully avoid heart troubles. My full program is detailed in Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease. The eight key food groups that form the core of my plan are extra virgin olive oil, leafy greens, figs and other fruits, salmon and other seafood, lentils and other legumes, walnuts and flaxseeds, oatmeal and other whole grains, and red wine. 

Eating your daily sweet treat will make a significant contribution to the antioxidant potential of your diet, as dark chocolate has a higher antioxidant quality/quantity than most heavy hitters — red wine, black tea, and green tea. Consumption of the dark, flavonoid-rich type of chocolate can improve your blood vessel health by increasing your endothelium’s production of that crucial blood vessel relaxation chemical nitric oxide, rendering your dysfunctional endothelium (the damaged inner arterial layer that instigates and promotes heart disease progression) healthier and more functional. In fact, research shows that consuming a small daily dark chocolate treat reduces inflammation and promotes more relaxed and dilated blood vessels, especially if you’re diabetic.

To sum it up, consuming just one or two squares (up to one ounce) of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa) every day can help:· Boost your blood antioxidant level 

· Lower your blood pressure

· Make your dysfunction endothelium more functional

· Fight inflammation

Here are a few ideas to eat chocolate daily — for you and your heart.

· Try a nightly cup of steaming, decadent homemade hot chocolate. Put 2 heaping spoonfuls of dark chocolate natural unsweetened cocoa powder into a mug, add a touch of sweetener (you might consider a sugar substitute), and mix together with soy milk and microwave. Top with fat-free whipped topping and you have a delicious, chocolaty, super-heart-healthy sweet treat.

· Remember, to satisfy your chocolate craving and fortify your heart disease defense strategy simultaneously, think real cocoa. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the highest concentration of flavanols compared to other chocolate products (followed by unsweetened baking chocolate), plus is low in sugar, fat and calories, so favor this chocolate choice over solid bars when possible. And don’t forget that milk chocolate and chocolate syrup rank lowest on the antioxidant scale, so avoid choosing them for your heart-healthy chocolate splurge.

· Look for dark chocolate products derived from single-origin countries or areas. Note that Madagascar and Java cacao beans have been shown to contain double the flavanols compared to beans from other areas.

· If you prefer a small piece of chocolate, purchase one of the new high-flavonoid chocolate bars (not milk chocolate or Dutch processed) — at least 70 percent cocoa, and limit yourself to one to two small pieces a day. Be sure to check the ingredients list and choose a bar where the first ingredient is cocoa solids or chocolate (not sugar) such as Lindt® Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar.

·Add a couple of tablespoons of dark cocoa powder to your banana and soy milk smoothie — a luscious addition to a heart-healthy drink.

Isn’t this the best nutrition news to come along in decades? Try my  Quick, Healthy (and sinfully satisfying) Dark Hot Chocolate (see above) and my Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts (see below).So this Valentine’s Day or any day, enjoy your chocolate…just make sure it is dark chocolate in the appropriate quantity only. It isn’t so hard when you remember that a healthy heart is the best treat of all. 


Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, is a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert. She is the author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack and Cholesterol Down. Learn more at
Dr. Janet’s Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies with WalnutsServes 16 — A dark, moist chocolaty treat.
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed 

3/4 cup packed Splenda ® Brown Sugar Blend

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1 tablespoon espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place black beans in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, oats, cocoa powder, olive oil, espresso powder, flax seed, vanilla, and salt. With an electric mixer blend the ingredients until the black beans are mushed up and the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape batter into the prepared pan, top with walnuts, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the middle of the brownies is firm. Let cool before slicing into 16 pieces.


Calories: 140

Fat: 6 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, 1 g ALA)

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Cholesterol: 1 mg

Sodium: 89 mg

Carbohydrate: 16 g

Dietary Fiber: 2 g

Sugars: <1 g

Protein: 3 g

Excerpted with permission from Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill ©2/2011.


Shared by permission


Black History Month Celebration – Collard Greens

There is seldom a soul food dinner that is considered complete without collard greens.  The nutritional value of collards is the best reason to serve them as often as possible, not just on special occasions.  Read the chart below for details of the nutritional value and a recipe for Cream of Collard Green Soup.

Nutritional Value of Collard Greens: Boiled, drained, no salt

Cream of Collard Green Soup 

Servings: 6


1 Packet Wiley’s Greens Seasoning
4  Cups Chicken Stock (Fat Free or Light products work well)
2  Large Potatoes
1  Pound fresh Collards (finely diced leaves)

Peel potatoes completely and dice into small cubes. Boil potatoes until done in 2 cups of chicken stock (approximately 10 – 15 minutes). Let cool.

Wash collard leaves thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towel and chop into fine pieces. Cook collards (medium heat) in 2 remaining cups of chicken stock until tender (approximately 15 minutes). Add packet of Uncle Wiley’s Greens Seasoning to this mixture. Stir occasionally.

Puree the potato mixture in food processor or blender. Mixture will have a creamy and thick texture. Add mixture to simmering collards. Stir well and serve while hot.

From: Uncle Wiley’s

Black History Month, Food in the News Light, Ideas

Soul Food Advisor – FREE E-Book

I found an e-book that I recommend that you download.   
Cassandra Harrell is a Soul Food Advisor and She has
a free e-book that you can grab. Below I have listed theTable of Contents so you can see the value of this information.

I love the ideas she shares about eating more healthily when we prepare soul food.

Click to access freeebook2.pdf

How to Be Your Own Best Cook
Created by Cassandra Harrell
2009 all rights reserved
Table of Contents
Introduction 3
History of Soul Food and Southern Cooking 4
Popular Soul Foods 5
How to Prepare Fresh Greens 7
How to Add Herbs and Spices to Your Cooking 10
“A Dash of This” and “A Pinch of That” 12
Tips on Baking Perfect Desserts 13
Tips for Putting Together a Party Menu 15
Popular Southern & Soul Food Appetizers 17
The Skinny Side of Southern Cooking 19
Low Fat Cooking Guide 21
Super Soul Food and Why They’re Good For You 22
Soul Food Lovers’ Newsletter 24
Soul Food Lovers’ Cookbook 26
Book Reviews and Customer Comments 27
Grocery Shopping on a Budget 29
Thank You 31
About the Author 32
Resources 33

Food in the News Light, Ideas, Recipes

Win a FREE Book – The Raw Truth

I have read this book and I want to share it with someone else so I am giving a new copy away. I want someone who wants to get serious about your health to get this book. I will mail it to you, Postage Paid!!

The Raw Truth by Jordan Rubin 

The Raw Truth by Jordan Rubin. Transform your health with the power of Raw Nutrients! This is Jordan’s first new book in 3 years. It includes:

  • 16 educational and inspirational chapters detailing how to Eat, Supplement and Live RAW.
  • Dozens of RAW Recipes plus where to go to find hundreds more
  • 16 RAW Protocols specific to Age/Gender, and those looking to address specific needs Weight Loss, Immune Support, Hormone Health, Fitness/Muscle Building, Healthy Inflammation and many more
  • RAW Resources How to find RAW foods and body care products in health food stores

This is not a diet it is a way of living a healthy life!

To get into the drawing Simply comment on this post and join my RSS. Use the BIG ORANGE BUTTON to make sure you are informed whenever I post something new.

Deadline: Feb 28, 2011   Winner will be notified March 1, 2011 via email.

Black History Month

Slave Narrative: Talk about the Food

Maybe you have never read a Slave Narrative.   

I hope you stop and take the time to read the actual words of a slave being interviewed in between 1936 and 1938.  Reading their words makes the experience just that much more real!  Read to remember, so that we never allow this to happen ever again!

I chose this narrative, because of the mention of various foods: potatoes, chickens, eggs, shucks, milk, corn, tea, brown sugar, sorghum molasses, peas, and greens.


Interviewer: Pernella M. Anderson
Person interviewed: Rachel Hankins
El Dorado, Arkansas
Age: 88

“I was born in Alabama. My old mistress and master told me that I was born in 1850. Get that good—1850! That makes me about 88 but I can’t member the day and month. I was a girl about twelve or fourteen years old when the old darkies was set free. My old mistress and master did not call us niggers; they called us darkies. I can’t recollect much about slavery and I can recollect lots too at times. My mind goes and comes. I tell you children you all is living a white life nowdays. When I was coming up I was sold to a family in Alabama by the name of Columbus. They was poor people and they did not own but a few slaves and it was a large family of them and that made us have to work hard. We lived down in the field in a long house. We ladies and girls lived in a log cabin together. Our cabin had a stove room made on the back and it was made of clay and grass with a hearth made in it and we cooked on the hearth. We got our food from old mistress’s and master’s house. We raised plenty of grub such as peas, greens, potatoes. But our potatoes wasn’t like the potatoes is now. They was white and when you eat them they would choke you, especially if they was cold. And sorghum molasses was the only kind there was. I don’t know where all these different kinds of molasses come from.

“They issued our grub out to us to cook. They had cows and we got milk sometimes but no butter. They had chickens and eggs but we did not.  We raised cotton, sold part and kept enough to make our clothes out of. Raised corn. And there wasn’t no grist mills then so we had a pounding rock to pound the corn on and we pound and pound until we got the corn fine enough to make meal, then we separated the husk from the meal and parched the husk real brown and we used it for coffee. We used brown sugar from sorghum molasses. We spun all our thread and wove it into cloth with a hand loom. The reason we called that cloth home-spun is because it was spun at home. Splitting rails and making rail fences was all the go. Wasn’t no wire fences. Nothing but rail fences. Bushing and clearing was our winter jobs. You see how rough my hands is? Lord have mercy! child, I have worked in my life.

“Master Columbus would call us niggers up on Sunday evening and read the Bible to us and tell us how to do and he taught us one song to sing and it was this ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning’ and he’d have us to sing it every Sunday evening and he told us that that song meant to do good and let each other see our good. When it rained we did not have meeting but when it was dry we always had meeting.

“I never went to school a day in my life. I learned to count money after I was grown and married.

“My feet never saw a shoe until I was fourteen. I went barefooted in ice and snow. They was tough. I did not feel the cold. I never had a cold when I was young. If we had ep-p-zu-dit we used different things to make tea out of, such as shucks, cow chips, hog hoofs, cow hoofs. Ep-p-zu-dit then is what people call flu now.

“When war broke out I was a girl just so big. All I can recollect is seeing the soldiers march and I recollect them having on blue and gray jackets.  Some would ride and some would walk and when they all got lined up that was a pretty sight. They would keep step with the music. The Southern soldiers’ song was ‘Look Away Down in Dixie’ and the Northern soldiers’ song was ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy.’ So one day after coming in from the field old master called his slaves and told us we was free and told us we could go or stay. If we stayed he would pay us to work. We did not have nothing to go on so we stayed and he paid us. Every 19th of June he would let us clean off a place and fix a platform and have dancing and eating out there in the field. The 19th of June 1865 is the day we thought we was freed but they tell me now that we was freed in January 1865 but we did not know it until June 19, 1865. Never got a beating the whole time I was a slave.

“I came to north Arkansas forty years ago and I been in Union County a short while. My name is Rachel Hankins.”