Chocolate love in a healthy loaf

By Mercedes Kay Gold, CNP, CPT

Chocolate is love, bordering on a worldwide obsession, tracing back to Mesoamerica to at least 1900 BCE. The cacao seeds were thought to be a gift from the god of wisdom. Originally served as a bitter drink, believed to be an aphrodisiac, chocolate found its way to Europe in the mid 1500s. It was an immediate hit over night, and today Canadian households spend an average of $88 annually on chocolate bars. Not all chocolate is created equally. To be a super food, nutritionists will agree the food must flood the body with an array of vitamins, minerals and all-star antioxidants. Chocolate tastes phenomenal, plus promotes overall wellness. There’s no reason to kick the food of the gods to the curb.

Dark chocolate specifically contains antioxidants, and the most beneficial body-boosting flavanol in this fabulous functional food is called epicatechin. Chocolate is plant-based protection against cell damage, fighting inflammation throughout the body. Dark chocolate is delicious decadence, but also heaps of health benefits.

The catch to cashing in on boatloads of benefits rests in the cacao content. Chocolate must have at least a 70 per cent content, minimally processed and of course no scary chemicals, color, artificial sweeteners, and corn syrup.

Chocolate is linked to heart health, lowering blood pressure and improving lipid profiles.

Flavanols reduce oxidative stress throughout the body. Fighting free radicals is the name of the game, helping limit inflammation and deter illness.

Chocolate is happiness to so many, but there’s also real science behind its marvellous mood-enhancing ability. A survey of over 13,000 adults in the U.S. found chocolate may be linked to lower symptoms of clinical depression. Chocolate over prescriptions is plant-based power! Cocoa contains tryptophan, an amino acid which is converted in the body to serotonin, often referred to as the happy hormone.  

Chocolate is delicious and often seen as a treat, but great news for chocolate crazed addicts. In a weight-loss study with participants following a low-carbohydrate diet, those given 42 grams of 81 per cent cacao chocolate daily lost weight faster than the control group. Yipee!

Chocolate is linked to improved brain function and athletic performance.

Chocolate is stupendous solo or palette pleasing in dreamy desserts, and of course it’s holistic happiness. Cacao powder is magical in muffins, chilis and raw energy balls. Cacao nibs are awesome additions in protein shakes, pancakes, smoothie bowls or as a stand-in for a java jolt. Cacao combined with coconut milk and medicinal mushrooms is a magical elixir with a laundry list of reasons to drink. There are more and more support studies showing its positive effects on cancer and cognitive benefits in aging.

Chocolate cravings are often cited by those with a magnesium or iron deficiency.

Chocolate is comforting, satisfies a sweet tooth without guilt and can be part of a healthy menu plan.

Outrageously Orange and Chocolate Crazed Love in a Loaf

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free but feel free to use dairy and eggs. They work, too.


  • 2 tbsp ground flax mixed with 9 tbsp water or 2 eggs
  • 2 cups oat flour, or finely ground oats
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure orange extract plus ½ tsp for the icing
  • ¼ cup plant-based yogurt (dairy or any plant-based alternative)
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (dairy or any plant-based alternative)  
  • 50 grams or ½ large dark chocolate bar of choice
  • 1 tsp cold-pressed coconut oil (butter)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the ground flax with the water and let it stand at least 5 minutes.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Combine all the wet ingredients.
  5. Pour the wet into the dry and gently stir.
  6. Transfer the ingredients to a parchment-lined 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes. The loaf should bounce back when touched or a toothpick should come out clean after inserted and removed.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly.
  8. Place dark chocolate, ½ tsp pure orange extract and 1 tsp of coconut oil in the microwave to melt. Start with 30 seconds. Stir.
  9. Pour over the loaf and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate.

Mercedes Kay Gold is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Holistic Nutritionist who loves helping others live their best life when not spending time with her children and grandson, Theodore. She can be reached at mercedeskaygoldfitness@gmail.com 

Photo credit: © shunkwilerphoto via Canva.com

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