Let’s Talk Choc!

Pic for Blog- Let's Talk ChocIt’s the 16th hour of Day 26. 14 Days remaining. Life lacks meaning and joy and is instead a cold harsh expedition. This is the log of my days without the one thing that I lose all willpower when it comes to its magnificent and monumental presence. This is a log of my days without…chocolate.

Wait! Before you double check the website url, this is still a fitness blog site. You did not accidentally click a journal of a food addict. This is me admitting to you that as someone who tries to maintain a healthy diet, has its faults when it comes to sweets, especially chocolate. I chose to give up chocolate until Easter and let me tell you it’s been a long 26 days so far. With that being said, I am going to use this experience to talk about chocolate and how to curb chocolate cravings by making tasty and healthy alternatives!

  • Cocoa nibs: Cocoa nibs are also referred to as “nature’s chocolate chips”. They are peeled and crumbled from whole cocoa beans and obtain a rich and yet pure chocolate flavor. They have plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. If you want to make a clean desert or just want to satisfy your sweet tooth try sprinkling these on yogurt, mix them with trail mix, or just eat them out of the bag like I do!
  • Carob: This alternative contrasts from regular processed and sugary chocolate and has less chemicals. The cocoa bean naturally has a bitter flavor that is deluded with sugar, more so for milk chocolate than for dark chocolate. In addition to all of the sugar added to chocolate is complimented with oils, milk or cream. All of these added ingredients result in the product being hard to digest. Carob is a favorable alternative because it originally does not have a bitter flavor or grainy texture so it does not need sweetening or smoothers (oils and milk products).
  • Date Bars: Dates are naturally sweet and rich tasting, therefore they pair with the bitter taste of raw cocoa nicely. This recipe for Chocolate-Coffee Date Bars uses dates as the sweetener to overpower the bitter raw cocoa instead of sugar. This treat includes baking chocolate (100% cocoa) almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, dates, raw cocoa or unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and teaspoon of expresso powder.

Although giving up a guilty pleasure such as chocolate can be difficult, I am always up for a way to apply creativity to my diet and these a few ways that you can too. A lot of us may think that finding a tasty alternative for chocolate is impossible, but you may be surprised as to all of the clean desserts that are possible. One of my favorite recipe sites My Clean Treats has plenty of recipes for delicious healthy desserts. Get creative and try whipping up a sweet concoction that’ll prove that you can have your cake (or date chocolate bar) and eat it too!

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero

Single or Taken, Make this Valentine’s Day Fun!

Pic for Blog- Single or TakenWho says Valentine’s Day has to be a day of binge eating chocolate and candy? You work hard all year around, so why make this day an exception? Whether you are in a relationship or flying solo this holiday, there are so many activities to get you up and moving. You can’t have fun unless you’re in a relationship on Valentine’s Day? Nonsense! Here are some activities that anyone can do. Not only do you better yourself through physical activity, but also you don’t have to have the holiday guilt from all the sweets. Take the high road this Valentine’s Day and do something awesome!

The “Be Mine 5k” is a race that takes place on February 14th in Janesville, WI. Not only does this race include a medal, but you also receive a sweatshirt that can say, “Might Be Looking, Too Late, It’s Complicated, and I Hate Valentine’s Day”. This gives a fun twist to the holiday that is normally only celebratory for people in relationships. You also receive a one free drink ticket to Hhffrrrgghh’s Inn Restaurant and Bar if you are of age! For more information on how to sign up, check out their website!

If the price tag is a little bit too steep for you, you may be more interested in another Valentine’s Day race such as Valentine’s 5k in Madison, WI. Although this race doesn’t include all of the perks, you’ll still have a great time running it as well as helping support the UW Madison Running Club.

If 5ks are not your thing, perhaps skiing is more up your alley.

You can ski a 2-mile trail at Lake Kegonsa State Park in Stoughton, WI. Being that it is Valentine’s Day, the trail will be lit by candles the whole way. What a peaceful way to spend your night, whether it is with your loved one or with friends. After the ski there will be a cozy bonfire and refreshments. The event goes from 6pm-9pm. For more information, please visit the State park website.

On February 21st There will be a snowshoe or hike through Devil’s Lake State park with a warm bonfire and refreshments to follow the hike. Although this is the weekend after Valentine’s Day, it could make a great back up plan in you were busy on the actual day. If you do not have any snowshoes to wear, they have some to borrow!  This is an outdoor activity that doesn’t require training such as a race, but is still getting you up and moving! For more information on this hike, visit the Devil’s Lake Park website.

Well there you have it!  Wonderful and healthy winter activities you can do this Valentine’s Day. If you couldn’t think of anything fun and exciting to do this year, I hope these activities may be just what you need.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren