Tag Archives: chocolate

A cleanse with a conscience

Day 2: we are 1/5 of the way there! So far, so good. How are you all doing????  Please share any insights and/or challenges you are noticing.

Last night I received a text from my dear friend Mary saying that she was excited to join in with us for the cleanse. In addition, she suggested tying our consciousness cleanse to a spiritual cause. In her words, ‘the money saved on wine for the week could be donated to Mercy Corps for the Phillipines or Syria’.

I love it! For some of us, it will be the wine or happy hour we are giving up, for others it will be chocolate or lattes or whatever is your favorite indulgence. I know many of us have been wondering just how to help all of the unfortunate people in various parts of the world.  Just this past weekend in our own nation we were faced with the devastation caused by the tornadoes in the midwest.

Each of us is touched by different things that we see and hear and I do think Mary’s idea is a terrific one. As we become more conscious about our own consumption of food and beverages, we do become more thoughtful about all of the choices we make each day.  Sometimes we are left feeling so helpless in how we can reach out to others, so if this idea resonates with you, I encourage you to add up how much you are saving during these 10 days(it can be as little as $10 but even that goes a long way when many give in unison) and donate to a cause that means something to you.

A toast to a cleanse that has local and global impact! Thank you Mary for sharing this idea with us(Mary and I have walked together for years, by the way and ideas do fly!).

Mary on one of our morning walks with RIley and Ringo

Mary on one of our morning walks with RIley and Ringo

Kyle walking with RIley (and Mary and Ringo)

Kyle walking with RIley (and Mary and Ringo)

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Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Women's Health & Happiness, Women's Work/Life Balance

Day 8: I can see the finish line(almost)

It’s hard to believe that this is already day 8 of our consciousness cleanse. At times(especially on day 4, for me) , the time dragged a bit but overall, the last 8 days have gone by quickly . Many of you have made it to this point without sugar, caffeine, alcohol  and ‘whites’. Others have made it for 5 or 6 days , only to take a quick break and get right back on it. Some of you have chosen not to completely eliminate caffeine, as the potential side effects of caffeine withdrawal are too much to take on right now. Candace has chosen to gradually eliminate caffeine, as she mentioned, so that she could ease into her Master Cleanse this week.  All she will be drinking is maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne so she took her time detoxing first so that she wouldn’t suffer from those dreadful headaches.

Now that the rest of us are almost done, remember to finish strong the next 2 days. Try to eat organically grown fruits and veggies, choose organic, hormone and antibiotic free dairy, meats, eggs, etc and continue to drink several cups of ‘detox’ tea daily as well as the golden elixir(or a version of it with lemon, honey, and herbs). Hopefully your energy level will have improved overall and your sleep will be more restful.

When Thursday morning comes, re-do your measurements(weight, waist, hips, thighs, etc); try on your ‘skinny pants ‘ and see if they fit just a little bit better(maybe less belly fat? perfect as this equals a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease!). Go back to the questions that I asked you before you started: about your mood, your energy level, your sleep, etc and answer them again and see what has changed and what might not have. Be sure to share some of these observations with us and we will do the same.

Most importantly, think about how you are going to ‘break the cleanse‘. Will you jump right back into old eating patterns, perhaps by downing a sweetened latte , maybe some crusty French bread at dinner, happy hour with friends, a piece of chocolate for snack or dessert? Better yet, think of new ways to satisfy and nourish your body and try to carry forward some of the things you have learned.  It is fine to go back to enjoying some of the things we have eliminated but do it in moderation! Don’t immediately undo all the wonderful benefits you worked so hard for during these 10 days.

THINK before you drink or eat something! You want a nice full-bodied glass of wine one evening? Lovely but try to keep it to one or 2 glasses. That chocolate you have missed? Have a small piece of the darkest, organic and highest quality of chocolate you can find and ENJOY it! And don’t forget to have more days than not where you continue to eliminate the four groups we have.  You have made some amazing changes in how and what you consume during these 10 days. Feel proud of yourself and know that you CAN make small changes in many aspects of your life and realize huge rewards and benefits. You are moving closer everyday to health and balanced living and we are right here beside you on our journey as well.

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Filed under Kyle Bell McAvoy, Whole Eating, Women's Health & Happiness

Eat more chocolate and weigh less????

A recent study published at the University of CA at San Diego noted that people who ate chocolate 5 times a week had a BMI(body mass index) that was one point lower than individuals who did not regularly consume chocolate. A one point change in BMI is actually significant: for someone who stands 5’7″, that represents a 5 pound weight difference.
This was an observational study that looked at 1018 healthy individuals aged 20-85 and included both men and women. This cohort ate a nutritious, balanced diet and exercised regularly. The study gathered its data via a questionnaire which asked the participants “How many times/week do you eat chocolate?”(no distinction was made as to the particular type of chocolate consumed). In general it was noted that the individuals who ate chocolate actually consumed more calories than the group who did not.

So many different choices of chocolate to choose from: here is just one section of an aisle at the Whole Foods Market In Austin, TX



So what is going on here??? Several theories have emerged to explain why this occurred. First, chocolate contains compounds called polyphenols. The ones that are in chocolate in particular can inhibit pancreatic lipase, which is an enzyme that is responsible for digesting fat. This action has been observed in test tubes and in mice only so far and showed that after consumption, chocolate exits the body before its calories can be absorbed. This explains one possible mechanism of action. Another explanation is that chocolate contains compounds that actually increase the energy that cells produce, resulting in an increase in metabolic rate.
An additional health benefit of eating chocolate is that is contains anti-oxidants called flavenoids. These flavenoids are anti-inflammatory, lower blood pressure, improve vascular functioning, affect metabolism and increase insulin sensitivity.
Of course, chocolate consumption should not be unlimited, as there is clearly a point where some of these health benefits will be negated by consuming too many calories and in some cases, too much sugar. Recommendations for optimal health are to eat one ounce of dark chocolate a day or add cocoa powder to a beverage.
Of note, this study was NOT funded by the chocolate industry, but rather by the NIH(National Institute of Health), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the UCSD Clinical Research Center. And although this particular study didn’t differentiate between the types of chocolate consumed, dark chocolate contains higher levels of anti-oxidants and it is always healthier to choose organically produced chocolate. I have to admit I still love a high quality milk chocolate(Lindt is my personal favorite) but I have grown to appreciate rich, full-bodied and dense dark chocolates.

An example of a delicious rich organic dark chocolate

So enjoy some chocolate, in moderation of course, and feel just a little less guilty when you do. And please share some of YOUR personal favorite brands, as well as any wonderful chocolate recipes.
Bon appétit!

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Filed under Kyle Bell McAvoy, Women's Health & Happiness