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FIRETREE CHOCOLATE: Why dark chocolate is a plant-powered superfood

By Clint Grove

Last edited on 1st January 2021

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In this podcast episode of Lifeshot (you can play it in the box above) I speak to Martyn O’Dare from Firetree Chocolate

This is an episode for pretty much 9 out of 10 of us, as many of us like or eat chocolate. For those who are trying to do Keto or Paleo and even if you are just trying to quit sugar, we have a segment in this podcast that talks about eating 100% chocolate, and it’s a lot better and enjoyable than you may think. 

A UK study by research group Mintel revealed 91% of all women admit to eating chocolate – with the men not far behind at more than 87%.

According to in an article, 8 Facts About Chocolate which country eats the most chocolate? If you guessed Switzerland, you would be right. According to The National Confectioners Association, Switzerland tops the charts with 22 pounds of chocolate eaten per person each year. That is 10KG’s per year. If you think that the average chocolate bar is 100grams then that’s 100 bars of chocolate per person per year! 


What’s good about dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants (it has more antioxidants than green tea or red wine). These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. Yes dark chocolate is truly a plant-powered superfood.

Chocolate contains two feel-good chemicals: tryptophan, which helps increase serotonin production (a hormone that activates arousal and virility), and phenylethylamine, which, coincidentally, the brain releases upon falling in love. Increased amounts of serotonin from endorphin secretions in your brain will make you feel good, and anything that makes you feel good is going to put you in the right mood. But in order to get the benefits, you have to eat chocolate higher cocoa content.

When should I eat chocolate?

I like to eat chocolate in the afternoons, to give me a bit of pick up as the day drags on, and also I might have a piece with my coffee, I like the flavour combo, but this rarely happens as I usually only have one coffee a day and I have it in the morning about an hour after I wake up.

You don’t need a whole lot of dark chocolate either, the great thing is that your sweet craving or your sweet tooth will be satisfied really quickly with a good quality chunk of dark chocolate. I sometimes eat some nuts with it at the same time and that fills me up as a good snack. If you are flagging near the end of the day give this a try and let me know how it goes for you. Be conscious of how your body and mind feel after doing it. 

One of the best ways to control your eating is to become really mindful of your bodies reaction to whatever you have just eaten and not just only immediately afterwards but check in with yourself about an hour later and feel your body and mood. Really feel what it is telling you afterwards and take notes on whether it is good or bad. 


Chocolate can be bad for you

Chocolate is good for you, but chocolate can also be bad for you. That sounds like a proper contradiction. When I say chocolate can be bad I mean the stuff that is abundant in the big grocery stores, Nestle, Cadburys or Mars. That stuff will harm your health, why? Because of the sugar content. Excess sugar in your diet is not good, and especially if you eat protein and sugar together, that is a bad combo. 

If you are like a lot of people who have tried dark chocolate and have turned your nose up at it I want to ask you to try just one more time. But this time find dark chocolate that is good quality. Dark chocolate from the big name brands is usually not so good. 

However, I have found that the CO-OP of all places does a really good dark chocolate, and it only costs £2 a bar. Lindt is ok, I don’t think though that you should base all dark chocolate on your experience of eating Lindt or even Green & Blacks. Rather I want you to try a local Peterborough brand FIRETREE CHOCOLATE, and honestly, I am not doing this for monetary gain, I really just want to spread the love, because keeping this hidden gems a secret is just not right! 

Recently I had a box sent to me of the entire range of Firetree chocolate, a local UK producer of fine chocolate. In the box was a 100% chocolate bar, and you guessed it, there is nothing but cacao in it, and you know what, I was pleasantly surprised. It had a very smooth taste to it. I challenge you to try it and please do let me know what you think. You can get 10% off of a Firetree order by using the code LIEFSHOT10 (ends 31 Oct 2020)


Where does chocolate come from?

Theobroma cacao also called the chocolate tree, cacao tree and the cocoa tree, is a small evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae, native to the deep tropical regions of Mesoamerica. Its seeds, cocoa beans, are used to make chocolate liquor, cocoa solids, cocoa butter and chocolate.[3] The largest producer of cocoa beans in 2018 was Ivory Coast, with 37% of the world total, the second-largest producer is Ghana. (link to source here)


Currency system

Cacao beans constituted both a ritual beverage and a major currency system in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations. At one point, the Aztec empire received a yearly tribute of 980 loads of cacao, in addition to other goods. Each load represented exactly 8,000 beans. The beans had buying power. The use of cacao beans as a currency is also known to have spawned counterfeiters during the Aztec empire


Solomon Islands

One of my favourite chocolates from Firetree is the Solomon islands ones. They have two of them, I love the 75% one. 

Let’s talk about Chocolate from volcanic lands. Firetree source some of their beans from the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Philipines, all pretty close to each other geographically. 

The Solomon Islands are northeast of Australia, just next to Papua New Guinea.

There are 16 dominant volcanoes on the islands. 

Despite the danger posed by these volcanoes, areas with high volcanic activity also have some of the world’s most fertile farmlands due to release of plant nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus.

Cocoa is the Solomon Islands biggest agricultural export earner generating the country around USD $15 million annually. There are approximately 20-25,000 smallholder farmers and their households involved in the production and more than 50% of producers and processors are women.


Useful links: https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/chocolate-good-for-health2.htm

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