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CHOCOLATE HAS ALWAYS BEEN GOOD FOR YOU
There seems to be resurgence in interest in the nutritional value of chocolate and cocoa. In fact, chocolate has many interesting benefits as a food and is rich in magnesium and bioflavonoids, as well as precursors to important neurotransmitters. However, high sugar content and the wide use of second-rate chocolate have detracted from some of these benefits. Marketers have seized on the recent buzz about chocolate, and have promoted chocolate bars with healthy “standardized” cocoa. (“Standardized” is becoming the watchword for the medical industrial complex also) Nonetheless, these offerings are still too high in sugar and overpriced. It is easy to make a dark chocolate cookie that will maximize the benefits of chocolate, without breaking the bank or adding unnecessary calories. Thanks to all of you at the office who have sacrificed to test our cookie recipe and made suggestions.
If you receive an error message using the links for chocolate and cocoa below, just click on Baker's catalog and those links in the recipe will then work. I suspect some issue with "cookies" at the shopping cart.
Makes about 20-25 cookies.
1 cup extreme dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
2 tablespoons black cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of butter
4 teaspoons high-quality vanilla extract. I like Penzey’s Double strength, and Watkin's is fine also.
2 cups of almond flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup of maple syrup, or
1/2 cup to 1 cup of dried cane juice or jaggery. You can adjust to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the chocolate chips and the butter in a microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (or double boiler) until melted when stirred together. Stir and blend in the maple syrup if this is what you are using.
Mix the almond flour, (sugar if you are not using maple syrup), salt and baking powder together. Beat the two eggs and add along with the vanilla and mix. Blend in the chocolate mixture. Adjust the final consistency with water, or almond flour. The batter should be thick but moist, similar to the asphalt mixture used to patch roads. Grease (with butter or peanut oil or macadamia oil) a cookie sheet, and use a tablespoon to drop portions of the batter on each sheet, at least an inch apart. Make the portions about 1˝ to 2 inch spheres.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cookies will crack on top. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 - 15 minutes. These cookies are good for a day without packaging but keep best in a tight container.
Notes:Almond flour is high in magnesium and protein, and is an ideal substitute for wheat flour except that you have to bake these cookies twice as long as flour cookies. Because the cookie is black, don’t look for it to “brown” in the oven. The black cocoa is interesting, but I don’t know what makes it black. I suspect it is the roasting process. You could just as easily use all Dutch process cocoa. Last year was tough on the almond growers, and supplies are down. Search the web, or you can try Lucy's Kitchen shop
For a softer cookie, substitute two tablespoons of cream cheese for the two tablespoons of butter. Vegans, you’re on your own. I understand a potato starch product can be used instead of egg. You might try macadamia nut oil or coconut oil also, both good choices for essential fatty acid content. These cookies have been tested on humans. They should be kept out of the reach of children and dogs.
SYNTHETIC PROGESTINS MAY INCREASE RISK
A recent French study of 54,548 women aged 40 to 66 suggests that synthetic progestins increase the risk of breast cancer. Progestins are chemical which are different from the natural progesterone molecule, which can be created synthetically. Synthetic estrogen is bioidentical to human estrogen. The dangers of animal estrogens (Premarin) in humans have been well documented. When women taking estrogen and progestin as hormone replacement were compared with estrogen alone and estrogen and natural progesterone, the relative risks for breast cancer were 1.4, 1.1 and 0.9, suggesting that the safest combination is synthetic estrogen and natural progesterone. (Fornier A., et. al. Int J Cancer 2005;114:448-454)
ACUPUNCTURE & MALE INFERTILITY
In a small Brazilian study, 19 male patients with sperm abnormalities (sperm count, motility and morphology) were randomly assigned to receive true (treatment group) or sham (control group) acupuncture and moxibustion treatment. The treatment group were needled at Qichong ST-30, Taixi KID-3, Zusanli ST-36, Hegu L.I.- 4, Sanyinjiao SP-6, Gongsun SP-4, Taichong LIV-3 and Neiguan P-6 (with deqi), and received moxibustion (until the skin was reddened) at Shenshu BL-23, Zhishi BL-52, Sanjiaoshu BL-22, Mingmen DU-4, Ciliao BL-32, Qihai REN-6, Guanyuan REN-4, Zhongji REN-3, Pishu BL-20, Weishu BL-21, Shimen REN-5, Taiyuan LU-9, Feishu BL-13, Gaohuangshu BL-43, Xinshu BL-15 and Zigong (MCA-18). Treatment was given twice a week for 10 weeks. The control group received needling and moxibustion at non-points. At the end of treatment, patients in the treatment group showed a significant improvement in sperm morphology ( i.e. normally formed sperm). There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of seminal fluid volume, sperm count or motility. (Asian J Androl 2003 Dec; 5: 345-348).
ACUPUNCTURE & CANCER PAIN
90 patients with cancer pain that was unrelieved by medication were randomly assigned to receive a. two courses of auricular acupuncture at points detected using a point detector, b. auricular acupuncture at points where there was no signal from the detector (placebo points), or c. auricular press seeds at placebo points. At two months after the start of the study, the patients in group a. showed a 36% reduction in pain scores, with only 2% change shown in the placebo groups. (J Clin Oncol. Nov 15 2003: 4120-4126).
ACUPUNCTURE & SPINAL CORD INJURY
In a Taiwanese trial, 100 acute traumatic spinal cord injury patients were randomly assigned to acupuncture plus rehabilitation therapy, or control (rehabilitation only) groups. The acupuncture group received stimulation to Houxi SI-3 and Shenmai BL-62 bilaterally via adhesive surface electrodes, without needles. Treatment was given as early as possible – in the emergency room or soon after spinal surgery - daily, 5 days a week until discharge from hospital. Additionally ear press needles were placed in 4 auricular points related to the spinal cord. The acupuncture group showed significantly greater improvements in neurological status, including sensory and motor function, than the control group at discharge and at 1-year follow-up. There were also significant improvements in functional scores (self-care ability, sphincter control, mobility, locomotion, communication and social cognition). Am J Phys Rehabil 2003; 82: 21-7).
ACUPUNCTURE FOR CHRONIC HEADACHE
Acupuncture has demonstrated a clear long-term benefit for patients suffering from chronic headaches. 401 patients were randomly assigned to receive either individualized acupuncture treatment (12 treatments over 3 months), or normal care from their general practitioner (control). At 12 months after the onset of treatment, headache scores in the acupuncture group fell by 34% (compared to 16% in the control group), with 22 fewer days of headache a year. They took 15% less medication, made 25% fewer doctor visits, and took 15% fewer days off work. The acupuncture group also showed statistically significant improvements in quality of life, as measured by the SF-36 health status questionnaire, specifically in physical role functioning, energy and change in overall health. The greatest improvements were found in patients with migraine. In another paper by the same research team, it was found that the cost-effectiveness of giving acupuncture compared favorably with other health service interventions. The authors note that “each week 10% of general practitioners in England either refer patients to acupuncture or practice it themselves, and headache is one of the most commonly treated conditions” and conclude that “Acupuncture in addition to standard care results in persisting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine, compared with controls. Expansion of NHS acupuncture services for headache should be considered.” (BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmj.38029.421863, 15 March 2004) .
ACUPUNCTURE & BREECH PRESENTATION
A study carried out in Croatia compared the outcome of 34 pregnant women with breech presentation treated by manual needling of Zhiyin BL-67 (with deqi), and 33 similar women not treated by acupuncture as a control. Acupuncture was given from 34 weeks, each session lasting 30 minutes, 2 sessions a week. The rate of successful conversion to vertex presentation (verified by ultrasonography) was 76.4% in the acupuncture group, and 45.4% in the control group. A mean of 6 acupuncture treatments was needed, and acupuncture was discontinued on successful outcome, or after 38 weeks if unsuccessful. (Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy Vol. 18, No. 6, 2003).
In a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial, 130 healthy 40-70-year-olds were given either extract of Cordyceps mushroom (Dong Chong Xia Cao) or placebo for 12 weeks. The study employed sports physiology methods, measuring exercise capacity, endurance performance, and exercise related metabolic alterations before, in the middle of, and after the study. In the cordyceps group, peak volume of oxygen consumption increased to 5.5% (compared to 2.2% in the control group), the time taken to reach peak volume increased by 4.1% (compared to 0%), and the time taken to walk one mile reduced by 29 seconds (compared to a slight increase in the control group). The cordyceps group also showed greater improvements in exercise work output and respiratory exchange ratio, and greater decreases in body weight (0.78%) and diastolic blood pressure (3.2%). (American Physiological Society annual scientific conference, 2004). In its wild form, Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps Sinensis) is both a fungus and the carcass of the rare Tibetan caterpillar from which it grows and is extremely expensive. Nowadays cheaper commercial cordyceps is grown on soybeans or other mediums. In terms of Chinese medicine, it is sweet and warm and enters the Lung and Kidney channels. Its actions are to strengthen the Kidneys and tonify yang (for the treatment of impotence, and weak and sore lower back and legs) and to tonify Kidney yang, nourish Lung yin, transform phlegm and stop bleeding for the treatment of chronic cough, deficiency wheezing and consumptive cough with blood-streaked sputum. It is considered a very safe substance that can be taken over a prolonged period.