Indulge Yourself - Calorie Free!
Chocolate and Valentine's Day go way back. In fact, chocolate goes so far back, it's role in romance, health, and medicine was firmly established before the concept of Valentine's Day was a twinkle in the eye of a saint. Although European knowledge of chocolate only began with Spanish contact in the 1500s, the use of the cacao plant by the Olmec, Aztec, and Mayan peoples dates back as far as 3000 years! "The drink of the Gods," traditionally prepared as a drink used in spiritual ceremony, also aided in treatment of illnesses and disorders ranging from asthma to wasting diseases, fatigue, virility, headaches and stomachaches, even increasing odds for conception and improved lactation in nursing mothers. Explorers observed and recorded the uses of chocolate by the indigenous peoples, bringing their knowledge back to Europe. The use of chocolate as a successful medicinal treatment established cacao as a valuable resource and thus began its entry into the world of commercialism.
Centuries later, people all over the world enjoy this feel-good treat.
It's no mind trick, and science can tell us why. Chocolate (the pure, dark cacao – NOT the milk chocolate candies bars we find in stores) is brimming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Pure cacao has more antioxidants than green tea or blueberries! Antioxidants offer protection from free radicals in the atmosphere that can be absorbed through the skin and they have also been shown to have cancer-prevention properties. High levels of flavanols have been shown to increase circulation which can reduce inflammation and possibly blood pressure. In fact, flavonoids have also been shown in some studies to reduce the body's sensitivity to insulin, improve cognitive function, and support digestive health.
Fatty acids help skin retain moisture, reducing wrinkles and breakouts, as well as leaving it feeling soft and smooth. Minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese, and iron are also support skin health, fight visual signs of aging, and offer some protection from UV damage. Just remember, the purer, the better, so look for chocolate that is AT LEAST 70% cacao without all the added sugars and flavors. (Almonds are ok.)
This Valentine's Day take some time to indulge yourself with one of the world's oldest, sweetest not-so-secret treat with these easy, DIY Chocolate Spa products you can make at home.
Note: We strongly incourage you to source sustainable and fair trade chocolate products and double points if it's vegan too.
1. Chocolate Sugar Body Scrub – This one is super easy, and you probably have everything right in your kitchen!
You Will Need
1 cup white sugar (other options include natural, brown, or coconut sugar)
½ cup coconut oil, room temperature (olive oil or almond oil are options, as well as a mix)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 airtight jar – preferably glass
What You Have to Do
In a medium bowl add all ingredients and mix with a spoon until fully combined.
Place gently (do not pack it down) in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and use weekly or every few days on body in the shower.
Rub gently onto skin with warm water and rinse. Try not to eat it!
2. Dark Chocolate Facial Mask – We borrowed this from Stylecraze.com. Check out 15 easy mask recipes for all kinds of specialized masks, including acne!
You Will Need
2 bars dark chocolate (use the ones with at least 70% cocoa)
⅔ cup milk (choice of dairy alternative)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
What You Have to Do
Melt the chocolate bar in a bowl.
Add the salt, sugar, and milk to it and mix well.
Allow it to cool and then apply to your face and neck.
Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off.
3. And who doesn't love a good bath bomb? Check out the link below for quick and easy Chocolate Bath Bombs. You know you have always wanted to soak yourself in chocolate – here's your chance!
If you want to know more about the benefits of chocolate or want to indulge in a vegan chocolate spa without the DIY, check out the links below for information and ideas.