The following is a guest post from Heidi L. George of The Chocolate Puma:

 

vegan chocolate, lulus chocolate, vegan raw chocolate, fair trade cacao, cacao

 

vegan chocolate, lulus chocolate, vegan raw chocolate, fair trade cacao, cacao

 

If you are familiar with any of my other articles on Breaking Muscle, then you know I am a fan of chocolate - specifically raw, organic, Ecuadorian cacao. I have cacao pods tattooed on my arm and also have earned the nickname "Chocolate Puma.” I am continuously on a quest to find the highest quality raw, vegan, and organic chocolate bars on the market.

 

vegan chocolate, lulus chocolate, vegan raw chocolate, fair trade cacao, cacaoWorking in the all natural food industry gives me an advantage in meeting many incredible creators of products who bring the highest intentions into their practice. I first met Lulu, the owner and creator of Lulu's Chocolate, a few years ago at a festival. She is a radiant woman and that clearly translates into her chocolates. Her products were one of the few on the market (along with Chocolatl) that were sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar. That is what caught my attention the most, because when I eat a chocolate bar, I want to be able to taste the raw, bitterness of the cacao beans with a hint of sweetness.

 

Lulu’s Chocolates are all handcrafted in small batches at their headquarters in Sedona, Arizona. They source only the highest quality Ecuadorian cacao beans that are grown and harvested by small family Fair Trade farmers. All of their bars are certified organic, raw, vegan, low-glycemic, minimally processed, and paleo friendly. Lulu’s Chocolate offers seven varieties of bars, Maca Buttercups, Love Truffles, and a luscious chocolate body butter that is edible.

 

I was stoked when Lulu personally sent me a flavor of each bar for this review. I have outlined my three favorite bars below:

 

Aztec Crunch

 

This is my favorite bar because I love the extra crunch from the cacao nibs that are layered on top. There are only five ingredients in this bar. If you are not familiar with the taste of cacao, I would suggest this bar as your first choice to try because it is only 75% cacao. It offers the simplistic and true flavor of the cacao bean that is sweetly complimented with a hint of vanilla bean to smooth out the taste and texture.

 

Chocolate Maca Chunk

 

Maca has gained in popularity over the past few years. The description alone makes me want to eat this bar. It says, “Maca Love Bar embraces Aztec Crunch to treat your taste buds to a new dimension. Side effects may include moaning aloud in delight and the inability to stop smiling.” This bar has 5600mg of maca that will support your system anytime of day. Since maca is an adaptogen, I often eat this bar later in the day for a snack that will lift my energy and mood to get through the rest of the workday, workout, or power yoga session. I recommend sharing this bar with that “someone special” too!

 

Midnight Velvet

 

This is the newest addition to their line of bars. One Midnight Velvet bar packs a punch of 88% cacao and has only four ingredients. It is seductively smooth as it melts on your tongue and is pure Ecuadorian magic. The higher cacao content also increase the natural magnesium, which helps our metabolism by reducing the negative impact of stress on our bodies. It also aids in keeping our cortisol levels in check and digestive system working great.

 

The negative aspects of Lulu’s Chocolate are the price point, availability, and consumers potentially being unfamiliar with the true taste of cacao. Mainstream society does not fully understand the high quality ingredients and processing that goes into each of these bars. I was one of those consumers years ago when I tried my first raw chocolate bar. During that time, I was on the path to clean up my diet, which as a result would clear my pallet of artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and fake chocolate-like substances (M&Ms anyone?).

 

Once I started eating a more whole foods diet, I was able to appreciate the true flavor of cacao when made into a raw chocolate bar that is slightly sweetened. By eating products that give you the full flavor of cacao, your taste buds are completely satisfied with a small amount. While I can easily eat a Lulu’s Chocolate bar in a couple bites, it is recommended to eat half and let the satisfaction take over from the bliss chemical “anandamide.” This chemical natural occurs in the brain and is released when we are happy and also aids in the regulation of mood, memory, and appetite.

 

That being said, if you have never had raw cacao or high quality chocolate, I suggest you start slowly with bars that are around 75% cacao content before diving into a raw chocolate bar. Once you are ready, pick up a Lulu’s Chocolate bar or order some online and have a tasting with friends and family. Not only will you all be blissed-out after your first bite, but it is always sweeter to share in the medicinal powers of chocolate with others.

 

You can purchase Lulu’s Chocolate throughout the United States and Canada. Whole Foods Market and local organic grocery stores are the biggest suppliers. You can also order directly from their website. They are currently having a special deal where you get a FREE bar with any order of $19 or more.

 

Lulu's Chocolate is available for $3.33/bar or $36/dozen at LulusChocolate.com.

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