Saturday, February 20, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Options

Sometimes you get things you aren't expecting here in The Chocolate Cult.  Fouts Family Chocolate seemed like a small chocolatier, and as you know I love to give those publicity here, especially when their chocolates rival or outshine mass-produced candy.  What they sent me were several Xocai products, as you can see in this photo.  Healthy chocolates are big business, but they are mostly sold through small family businesses, I've discovered, so Fouts fits in well.  I'm not opposed to testing claims about healthy chocolate, breakfast or workout bars, and dietary aids; it is just rare that we get those to do as Sacraments, but given that we are supposed to be eating The Sacred Substance in Moderation and with a Purpose, this could work for us in The Chocolate Cult.

The offering came in a lovely purple drawstring bag along with three flyers about health, chocolate and Xocai products.  As I always caution you, Sisters & Brothers, never forget to double check any medical claims with your doctor, or at least with medical sources that aren't trying to sell you anything.  Inside the reusable bag there were six different products.  All of these are supposed to replace meals or  help curb appetite, so instead of using them only on Saturday, your Chocolate Priestess used them during the week as directed to see if they affected her eating habits.

First, in place of breakfast I tried the Xocai Protein Bar — I exercise after breakfast, so I thought that would be a good test.  One bar has 140 calories with 2.4 g saturated fat, 175 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 7g  sugars, 10 g protein, 25% Vitamins A & C, 9% iron and 7% calcium.  This oblong bar is 3.75 inches long and 1.25 inches wide, with a height of just over half an inch.  When I open the label I immediately smell fruit — a very strong fruit scent that hides the chocolate until I bring it close to my nose and take a deep whiff of it.  Looking at the ingredients label I do see cocoa, but I primarily notice that this is an amazingly processed food with lots of "special mixtures" and "blends."  I see blueberry, grape, plum, and acai on there, so that must be the fruit fragrance I continue to smell long after opening the wrapper.  The label also reveals a lot of soy, so be aware of that if you have such an allergy.  A bite of this bar reveals a dry but brownie-like texture with a strong cocoa and fruit flavor.  This cannot compete with brownies in taste or texture, but then it's not supposed to, so how does this compare to other protein bars we've reviewed here on The Chocolate Cult?  It has a stronger cocoa flavor and is less crunchy, so it is easier to chew.  The fruit aftertaste is really strong, however, and eventually overwhelms the cocoa.  In terms of cocoa and bars I'd have for breakfast, this isn't the worst, but I'm not really pleased either.

Four of the samples are small pieces of chocolate that you are supposed to let melt in your mouth and then drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal.   So I'll try these before two lunches and two dinners.  The first is the Xocai Nugget, which has 70 calories 3 g saturated fat, 10 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugars and 1 g protein.  It is also worth 2 Weight Watchers points, if you are keeping track of that.  It is wrapped in gold foil and measures just over an inch by just under an inch, with a height of 0.75 inches.  You can see it in the photo to the left.  This has a dark, shiny color and a strong chocolaty scent when I unwrap it.  Per instructions, I place it in my mouth and let it melt; it is a mouthful!  A very intense cocoa flavor slowly fills my mouth, and a nice buzz builds up as I let this melt over the course of the four minutes it takes.  Then I drink a glass of water as instructed and wait 30 minutes to have lunch.  Does it make me feel less hungry?  Of course, because of the 70 calories and the tummyful of water.  Beyond that, this was a nice little piece of chocolate, but I can't say it curbed my appetite more than something else with the same number of calories might have.

Next I tried the Xocai X Power Square, which, while small at only 1 inch square, has 100 calories with 5 g saturated fat, 9 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugars, and 2 g protein.  The amount of saturated fat is very worrisome to me, because I try to limit the amount of that type of fat in my diet to less than 30 g a day.  It smells very dark, and it has a diagonal line pattern on top — you can see that the piece had broken in transport in the photo.  It has a very dark flavor as well and is a bit grainy as I let it melt in my mouth; I don't like it as much as the Nugget.  Because of the thinness of this square it only takes a minute to melt.  I have a glass of water and then wait at least a half hour before dinner.

The next morning for breakfast I try the "X Power Cookie," which you see to the left.  This measures 2.75 × 3.5 × 0.5 inches, though as you can see it's a bit irregularly shaped, so the shape may vary slightly from cookie to cookie.  It has a very cocoay and sweet scent when I open the foil wrapper.  One cookie has 220 calories, 1 g saturated fat, 104 mg sodium, 7 g fiber (which I like a lot), 20 g sugars, 3 g protein, 5% calcium and 9% iron.  Cocoa and cocoa butter are part of the fourth ingredient on the label.  For allergies you should be aware that this has both wheat and soy.  The cookie is soft and slightly chewy.  The first flavors are cocoa and sugars; I think I detect the tanginess of brown sugar.  Then the fruit flavors kick in and leave a strangely bitter aftertaste.  Now I discovered you can avoid part of this aftertaste by drinking something quickly, but it is disappointing given the appearance, nutritional values and initial tastes.  So far this is my favorite product from Fouts Family Chocolate, however.

The "Xocai Omega Square" I have before lunch.  This 1.25 × 1.75 × 0.5 inch piece has 64 calories, 2.3 g saturated fat, 8.3 mg sodium, 1.3 g fiber, 2.7 g sugars, and 1 g protein, with 402 mg flavonoids.  Dark chocolate is the very first ingredient listed for this square, and orange and blueberry are also listed; I can smell them along with the cocoa.  Inside are little bits of what the label identifies as orange peel. The tang of the orange mixes well with the bitter chocolate as well as providing a nice crunch.  The intensity of the cocoa must be high, because I feel a buzz beginning as I continue to enjoy this.  Yes, I am enjoying this, and this sample easily replaces the previous as my favorite so far.

Finally I save the "XoBiotic" square until the next morning, since that is when I normally take probiotic supplements.  This 1.75 × 1.25 × 0.25 inch rectangle isn't really a square, is it?  One piece also isn't a serving; that is 3 pieces, so let me do some math for you, Sisters & Brothers.  This one piece has 57 calories, 2.34 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, and less than a gram of protein.  The nutritional information also says this has flavonoids and probiotics in it.  The piece is very dark in color and has a strong dark cocoa scent.  It tastes very dark, though it does not feel dry and has an almost baking chocolate flavor, very bitter and intense.  This does provide a serious cocoa rush before I even finish it, intensified by letting it melt in my mouth for one bite.

When you visit the website, you have to click on the little "shop" bar, which is actually a bit difficult to find — look in the lower right hand side of the page.   The prices are nothing like what I imagined they would be when I think in terms of price per serving (well under 50¢ for the smaller chocolates) but it does seem as if you have to purchase in large quantities.  I hope in the future Fouts Family Chocolate will redo the website and make it more user friendly.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

8 comments:

Brenda said...

www.FoutsFamilyChocolate.com.
This site might work better.
For the next three months you can get you Chocolate at my cost. Call me and I will tell you how.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I made the link changes, Brenda, but it still changes it to the other address when I click on it in the web viewer... odd but hopefully folks can find you.

Anonymous said...

This product has helped my family a lot. My father has been on blood pressure medicine for the last 30 years. He only added Healthy Chocolate to his diet and is now totally off his medications. He also had heart surgery 5 years ago and now has got a clean bill of health from his doctors.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks for the testimony but it would have more value for readers if you signed it instead of being anonymous.

Jenny said...

You are what you eat. If you fuel your body with superfoods like what you've presented here, that are rich in nutrients and good fats, your body will be better able to ward off infection and perform the way in which it was intended in a delicious way! I love chocolates! Thanks for sharing.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks for the comment, Jenny. I hope you consider joining us so you can keep adding your knowledge to ours.

For me, the key is moderation and purposefulness in regards to all things. A journey I am still on and cannot claim to have mastered yet. But I think a good priestess leads through her own struggles and successes and I try to share them with you all.

Healthy Chocolate Rules!! said...

Hi just wanted to let you know that the X Power Square is listed as 100 calories, but please keep in mind that this is representative of a FULL DAY's serving (3 Squares, weighing in at 6grams each!) Just thought I would let you know as I use Xocai's chocolate and love it! :)

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I have to go by the information on the products I was sent, Healthy Chocolate Rules!!, but thanks for checking us out. I hope you keep reading.

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