Choc Blog

A Chocoholic’s Forays into Chocolate World

Chocolate and dogs

Dog

If you have a pet dog and you love chocolates, I am sure you have heard that chocolate is harmful for your dog. I heard about it too and had initially thought it was just some unproven myth. Then I thought it was because of all the sugar which could be bad for dogs.

Finally, I did some research and found out that the compounds within the chocolate is poisonous for dogs. In other words, it is like giving your dog poison if your feed your dog chocolate! Chocolates and dogs don’t mix.

It seems that chocolate contains theobromine. This compound is found in cocoa beans, cocoa bean hulls, cola and tea. A 4.5oz of milk chocolate has 240mg of theobromine while baking chocolate has up to 450mg of theobromine per ounce. Dark chocolate also contain more theobromine than milk chocolate.

So, how poisonous is theobromine? Well, it is lethal to dogs if the dosage exceeds 300 mg for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. This means, if your dog weighs 22 pounds, a mere 15g of baking chocolate could cause severe poisoning or it could even kill it. It is because dogs can’t metabolize theobromine so the compound remain in their bloodstream for up to 20 hours. The effects it gave the dog includes seizures, internal bleeding, heart attacks and possibly death.

If your dog inadvertently ate some chocolates, you will need to note if it brought about any toxic effects. The signs of poisoning are like humans, vomiting and diarrhea. However, if the dog had eaten a huge amount of chocolate, it could lead to cardiac arrhythmias and seizures. The only way to treat a dog suffering from chocolate poisoning is to bring it to the vet within the first two hours. Then the vet will induce vomiting so that it throws up the remaining chocolate.

Those of you who have been giving your dogs chocolate must feel guilty but if it does not affect your dog now, you are lucky so stop doing it! I know it is very difficult especially when faced with puppy dog expressions but you must be firm. All dogs love sweet stuffs and that includes chocolate! So, why not try an alternative such as carob the healthy chocolate substitute?

Also note that chocolate is not only poison for dogs but also for horses, parrots, small rodents and even cats. So, the next time you are thinking of sharing your chocolate, don’t even think about a single bite for your pet. It is not worth the heartache and suffering you will put your pet through!

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April 1, 2008 Posted by | Anything Else About Chocolate, Chocolate Discoveries, chocolate facts | , , , , | 3 Comments

Chocolate is good for you!

Chocolate heartsWell, I remember doing the research on chocolates for my website and found out quite a lot about its pros which more than outweigh its cons but the latest news about it really takes the cake!

Another study has confirmed that dark chocolate bars reduce cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure! This is thanks to the plant sterols and cocoa flavanols that dark chocolate bars contained.

The study was conducted by researchers from University of Illinois and Mars they have found that the daily consumption of dark chocolate bars improves blood pressure and regulates cholesterol levels. It seemed that the study was conducted on around 50 men and women with high cholesterol levels.

They get to eat flavanol-rich dark chocolate bars every day for a week, combined with a balanced, low fat diet…yummy…I don’t mind becoming one of them though! It seems that a healthy chocolate diet do help after all!

Anyway the result of this experiment showed that their bad cholesterol has decreased by 5.3% while their total cholesterol went down by 2%. Additionally, their blood pressure reduced by 5% after two months.

So, all those diet freaks intent on telling us chocolate lovers to stay away from chocolates, chew on this instead! Eating dark chocolates everyday  is actually good for you! Well, according to the study,anyway.

March 31, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocoholic, chocolate diet, Chocolate Discoveries, chocolate facts | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping fit!

measuretape.jpg

Recently, I started a new healthy lifestyle program and changed most of my meal plans. Thus, my delay in posting the Chocolate Diet Day 4 and Day 5. I had to re-adjust some things to be able to fit in the chocolate consumption.

However, it is not easy. You see, I am trying to lose weight here and have even taken up a losing weight challenge and joined a fit and healthy eating club for mothers. The club is known as Club Fit Yummy Mummy and it is not exactly a diet program but more of a lifestyle change for a healthier one.

If you’ve been a constant dieter like I am, you’d know the drill. Healthy choices means less sugar, less processed food, less unhealthy stuffs, more vegetables, more fruits, more healthy proteins and complex carbs. I have been choosing to eat this way for quite a while, the only exception being chocolates.

Though my own personalised Chocolate Diets worked in maintaining my weight, it didn’t help much if I wanted to lose a few more inches off every jiggly part of my body. So, I went around looking for a suitable program which I could adopt for life and not worry about gaining an inch even as I continue to indulge in my chocolates.

It may sound next to impossible to lose weight while still keeping my cravings for chocs satisfied but try I definitely will! So, I am off to my journey of discovery and hopefully I will have something positive to report soon.

March 27, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocoholic, chocolate diet | , , , | 2 Comments

My chocolate reviews

Japanese Chocolate

Remember the Japanese Chocolate I mentioned in the previous post?

Well, I enjoyed each and every wonderful morsel that I decided to do a review of the chocolates and put it up in my website. Did I mention how incredible it all tasted? Well, I’m going to say again that it was indeed lipsmackingly delicious!

So, if you are really curious and wants all the saliva-inducing details and my ratings for the chocolates, go on over to My Chocolate Reviews. You will find that I have reviewed other types of chocolate too. It is my goal to review as many type of chocolates as I could encounter so the site will definitely be updated regularly.

I know I have been irregular here and I have yet to post the rest of the Chocolate Diet meal and exercise plans but I am getting there. Have some patience and your patience will be rewarded. In the meantime, why not have a break, have a Kit Kat? ;-D

March 27, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocoholic, Chocolate Discoveries, chocolate reviews, Chocolate Types | , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy Healthy Non-bake Chocolate Brownie

This is a recipe I got from Tracy of FYM. I thought I’d share it with fellow choc lovers looking out for a healthy, natural and easy brownie recipe. Just remember the credit goes to Tracy!

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates
1/4 cup cacao powder or raw carob powder


Instructions

Place in food processor, and blend until well blended, should still be dry and chunky. (blend about 30 seconds)

Press into a small pan. Frost with frosting if you choose.

Refrigerate until you can insert a knife and it isn’t too sticky.

Cut into pieces. If you like, you can freeze these or keep them in the refrigerator.

Note: Cacao powder is the raw form of cocoa powder. If you want them to be all raw use raw cacao powder or raw carob powder. You can get these at health food stores. If you aren’t used to carob you might want to stick with cacao powder. If you don’t like that it is all raw then you can use organic cocoa powder.

Seems simple enough and you can make your own chocolate frosting to go with it if you want to. I am sure it tastes as good as the sinful version of brownie!

For more chocolate recipes and information on chocolate, remember to check out www.cocoa-chocolate.com

March 25, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocolate diet, Chocolate Discoveries | , , | 3 Comments

Japanese chocolate

Chocolate Swirl

When it comes to chocolate, we often talk about Belgian chocolate as the premium and best of all. Sure, those are really good quality chocolate but for the sake of variety, I like to try chocolates from as many countries as possible. I have tried Swiss chocolate, German chocolate, Italian chocolate and American chocolate.

You may think chocolate taste the same wherever it came from but I beg to differ. There are very distinctive different in taste and flavor in the chocolates that came from different countries and manufacturers. Perhaps it is the different processes they go through or perhaps, it is the ingredients they used.

So, recently I decided to give Japanese chocolate a try. I have always loved Japanese food and the occasional Japanese junk food so, why not give their chocolates a try? So, I picked up a few packets of Japanese chocolate for some chocolate tasting session and guess what? I absolutely loved it!

Their dark chocolate is absolutely heavenly; smooth, creamy, just the right amount of sweetness and yum, yum, rich and just slight tinge of bitterness. Definitely my kind of chocolate! Though a tad expensive as compared to other imported chocolates, it is well worth the price. Their milk chocolate is also similarly wonderful. There is even an easy melt kind called ‘Meltykiss’ which I particularly liked. Just pop it into your mouth and you will immediately get a burst of sweet, creamy chocolaty sensation melting on your tongue.

My only problem with Japanese chocolates is that the packaging is mainly in Japanese with only the name of the chocolate in English. Even the ingredients are in Japanese and a basic sticker loosely translating it in English was pasted above it. So, if you are the type who wants to know the detailed ingredients of the chocolates, either you have to learn up Japanese or you will have to make do with the loose translation.

I just hope one day they would come out with better packaging with an international appeal…but then, we are talking about Japanese stuff here, I doubt that they even cared about appealing to the international market when they have their very own self-sustaining market…

March 15, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, chocolate reviews, chocolate tastings, Chocolate Types | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Another easy non-bake chocolate dessert recipe

In my quest to look for low-fat and sort of healthy chocolate dessert (which is very far and few in between, if you ask me!), I found quite a few relatively easy and healthy way of creating our own healthy desserts…well, at least as healthy as it could possibly be.

Here is one of them:

Ingredients

Low-fat Creamy Chocolate Dessert

A cup of low-fat Ricotta cheese

A tablespoon of dark cocoa powder

Two tablespoons of chocolate sauce

A dash of vanilla essence

Instructions:

Just mix all the ingredients together until it is well combined. You can sprinkle some chocolate shavings on the dessert before serving.

It tastes almost like the real chocolate ice cream if served cold. I particularly liked this recipe as it is very easy and can be whipped up within minutes. No hassle and no cooking required!

February 24, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocoholic, chocolate diet, Chocolate Discoveries | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Diet 3

gymgirl.jpgThis is a continuation of my previous chocolate diet entry (chocolate diet 2). Here is the meal plan and exercise regime for Day 3.

Day 3

Morning:

Exercise – 10 minutes light stretching, 30 minutes brisk walk / treadmill

Breakfast

A banana

Two slices of wholemeal toast with less than a teaspoon of margerine

A glass of chocolate milk (low-fat milk with a teaspoon of chocolate sauce)

A glass of water

Morning tea break

Two Hershey kisses

A glass of low-fat, low-sugar, chocolate-flavored weight-control protein shake (you can get this at any pharmacy/ health store)

A glass of water

Lunch

A glass of water

Chicken salad with low-fat Italian dressing on the side

Celery and carrot sticks

Afternoon tea break

One Snickers bar

A glass of water

Evening

Two sets of sit-ups, two sets of crunches, two sets of side bends, 20 minutes on exercise bike (medium speed) – one set is 8 reps.

Drink as much water as you can manage

A chocolate-flavored low fat, low carbo energy bar

Dinner

A bowl of nutritious vegetable and chicken broth

(Recipe for broth: Place a pot of water to boil and add chicken meat, chopped carrots, green peas, chopped onions, tomatoes, celery and cabbage. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Add pepper and salt to taste. Can also add fresh mixed herbs for extra flavor.)

Two scoops of light chocolate ice cream

5 – 10 minutes of slow and light stretching before bed.

I will be posting Days 4 and 5 soon. Look out for it. Meanwhile, for those who have just stumbled upon this entry for the first time, this chocolate diet meal and exercise plan offers no guarantee of weight loss but offers a great solution to enjoying your daily chocolate without having to worry about gaining weight from it. I formulated it based on my own experience so you can give it a try and feel free to tell me all about your experience trying it out.

February 24, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocoholic, chocolate diet, Chocolate Discoveries | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Craving Chocolate Ice Cream

ice_cream.jpgAs a die-hard chocoholic, I think it would be wrong of me to miss out writing about chocolate ice cream. Yep, I do not only thrive on chocolates but also all other chocolate-flavored food especially ice cream, cakes and cookies. So, in this post, I would like to talk about chocolate ice cream and how to choose a really great one.

There are a lot of different types of ice cream out there from expensive designer ice cream to cheap, supermarket bought ice cream. We have the normal ice cream, the light (or low fat) ice cream, the premium ice cream, gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt and home made ice cream.

Now, lets talk about expensive designer ice cream and premium ice cream. These are often the best type of ice cream in terms of consistency, flavor and taste. Often, these are very rich and absolutely heavenly but also very fattening so avoid gulping down a whole quart of this kind of ice cream if you are on a diet. Of course, there are also the low-fat types of premium ice cream. Just do remember, it only stated there low-fat and not zero-fat and definitely not zero sugar. Do remember it is the sugar that makes us fat, not only the fat content.

So, what type of premium ice cream do I like? I simply love Haagen Daaz. There is no doubt about it. When it comes to flavors, it has a variety of different chocolate flavors. They have plain chocolate, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream, mayan chocolate, mocha chip, triple chocolate, vanilla chocolate chip, vanilla fudge brownie and white chocolate raspberry truffle. And its light ice cream range has these flavours: chocolate fudge brownie and cherry fudge truffle. They even have a chocolate flavored sorbet.  My favorite is the chocolate peanut butter, a combination of rich chocolate combined with creamy nutty peanut butter.

Another premium ice cream brand I simply love is the Cold Stone Creamery.  This ice cream place is not just any ice cream parlor where they serve up ice cream topped with cherries and cream. No, they take it to a whole different level where they mix and prepare each order using two spades on a frozen granite stone. If you have not tried their ice cream, you should definitely give it a try.  They have a whole range of ice cream and various garnishes such as nuts, chocolate sprinkles, Snickers, chocolate chips and fruits for your to choose. Let’s say you choose dark chocolate ice cream, peanut butter ice cream, chocolate chips, roasted almonds and Oreo cookies. They will use the spades to mix these ingredients, kinda like stir-frying except that it is on a frozen granite stone and not a frying pan. Then only they will serve it with all the ingredients wonderfully combined for a unique, lip-smacking taste! If you prefer to try their own specialty creations instead of choosing your own flavors, you could always try their signature creations. The one I particularly love is Chocolate Devotion (what else?) which contain chocolate ice cream, fudge, brownie and chocolate chips. I also love the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection which contains chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and fudge. What else can I say but pure perfection!!!

All this talk about ice cream has made me hungry. Since there isn’t any Cold Stone Creamery nearby, I guess I will just have to make do with the tiny little amount of leftover Haagen Daaz ice cream in the freezer.

February 23, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocoholic, Chocolate Discoveries, chocolate reviews | , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Diet 2

gymgirl.jpg So, you have been indulging in loads of chocolate recently and suddenly found that all your clothes had shrunk. Including the ones you bought a week ago! So, what do you do? A professional dietitian will tell you to dump any leftover chocolate in your house along with other sinfully fattening foods such as chips, candies, sweets, cakes, ice creams, etc. She will probably put you on a strict, low-calorie, low-fat, low-sugar, tasteless food diet which leaves you craving for more of those sinful stuff.

To a chocoholic, like me, dumping the rest of the sinful food is easy but when it comes to chocolate and chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream, I just could not bring myself to it. It is like throwing out my BFF (that’s Best Friend Forever). It is like throwing out my lifeline. It is like throwing out the reasons for living…I am sure you get the picture. 😉

So, what do I do when the scales are moving the wrong side of the spectrum? It is sadly true that I go on a diet too but nothing as restrictive and as boring as a normal diet. I go on my very own ‘custom-made to suit myself’ chocolate diet. And I combine that with exercise and an active lifestyle to get the pounds moving. Or simply to keep the pounds away.

The meal plan of my chocolate diet was mentioned in my first chocolate diet post and to keep from getting bored, I have since changed some of it and incorporated an easy exercise regime to burn off some of the unwanted calories. Here is my very own customized meal plan and fitness regime.

Disclaimer: This blog author shall not be held responsible for any additional addiction to chocolate or addiction to exercise (if ever that is possible!) as a result of this meal plan and exercise regime. These are merely her very own custom-made plans based on personal experience and readers are advised to follow it at their own peril! No weight loss is guaranteed but I absolutely guarantee that no chocolate will be left out!

Day 1

Morning:

A brisk 25 minute to 40 minutes walk / jog

Breakfast: Chocolate and banana shake (refer to this post for recipe), a glass of water

Morning tea break: One serving of fruits, a glass (or two )of water

Lunch: Wholemeal cheese and tomatoes sandwich (Recipe: Place cheese on bread, add chopped tomatoes and you have your sandwich!), a glass (or two) of water, small bowl of mixed salad.

Tea break: One bar of chocolate wafer, a glass (or two) of water, 5 roasted plain almonds and if still hungry, a banana.

Evening:

Hit the gym for a bout of 20 minutes to 40 minutes of resistance training. Do two sets of each exercise. This can be two sets of sit-ups, two-sets of lower body exercise and two sets of upper body exercise.

Replenish body moisture by drinking loads of water after gym.

After workout snack: A tall glass of fruity freeze (Recipe: Throw in green apples, peeled oranges, carrots and ice into a blender and blend it all together. If too sour, use ripe red apples instead).

Dinner:

Starter: Big plate of mixed salad, dressings on the side

Entree: Grilled / poached salmon / cod topped with mushroom or lemon sauce and served with stir-fried vegetables.

(Recipe for stir-fried vegetables: Cut broccoli into bite-size. Slice carrots thinly. Chop some garlic. In a pan, heat a spoon of olive oil. Stir-fry the garlic till fragrant and then add the carrots. Stir for a while and add the broccoli. Add soya sauce or salt to taste. Once the broccoli turn a bright green, it is cooked.)

Dessert: Two scoops of low-fat chocolate ice cream topped with a spoon of chocolate sauce and some roasted almond flakes.

At least another two glasses of water.

Day 2

Morning:

30 minutes to 1 hour of power yoga and floor exercises.

Breakfast:

Fruits, milk with chocolate sauce, a bowl of full grain muesli, a glass (or two) of water

Morning tea break: two glasses of water, 3 pc wholewheat crackers, 5 dark chocolate-covered almonds

Lunch: a glass (or two) of water, wholemeal egg sandwich, celery and carrot sticks

Afternoon tea break: 5 dark chocolate-covered raisins, a glass (or two) of water, one serving of fruits

Evening:

Pre-workout snack: a banana (preferably an hour before workout)

Workout: Go for a 30 minute jog or power walk. No cheating. Really sweat it out. Drink a glass (or more) of water.

Dinner :

Starter: Mixed salad, dressings on the side.

Entree: Roast chicken breast in brown sauce served with baked asparagus, carrots and tomatoes.

Dessert: A bar of 75g chocolate bar or four truffles.

Do remember to drink lots of water throughout as it is really good in cleansing your system. Do note that most of the meals do not have simple carbohydrates (except for the chocolates!), this is so that you can indulge in some chocolate at least twice a day!

I will come up with Days 3 to 5 soon. Just keep a lookout for future postings.

February 21, 2008 Posted by | all about chocolate, Anything Else About Chocolate, chocoholic, chocolate diet, Chocolate Discoveries | , , , , , , | 1 Comment