SAN DIEGO, February 10, 2015 — Observed on February 14 each year, Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide as a special day for expressing romantic love.
Greeting cards, flowers and chocolates are popular Valentine’s Day tokens of love which are freely given from the heart without expectation of reciprocation.
Poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran may have described the spirit of selfless Valentine’s Day giving in his words,
“Love gives naught but itself and takes
naught but from itself.”
However selfless true love may be, there is no doubt that a gift of chocolate ranks among the top as a prized gift to receive on Valentine’s Day!
It is estimated that approximately 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold in the U.S. throughout Valentine’s week, which accounts for approximately 5% of total annual sales, according to CNNfreedomprojects.blog.
They further estimate that the annual revenues generated by Valentine’s Day sales are approximately $345 million.
Approximately 20.19% of all chocolate consumed worldwide is by the United States, based on 2008/2009 estimates.
Americans are thought to be highly romantic in nature, and their high consumption of chocolate might prove that point!
However, there may also be a physiological basis for the American love of chocolate.
Chocolate is prized as an aphrodisiac, which upon consumption, causes an elevation of feel-good endorphins in the brain–creating emotions similar to those experienced when falling in love.
Chocolate is filled with antioxidant flavanols, which may contribute to heart health by lowering blood pressure.
This coming Valentine’s Day, add a loving gesture to a romantic chocolate gift by making it from scratch.
The following Paleo Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters recipe published in PopSugar Celebrity is easy to make, heart healthy, gluten-free, vegan and accommodates a variety of dietary preferences.
Paleo Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters
1 cup plus 3 table spoons melted dark chocolate
dried cherries (optional)
1 1/2 cups whole almonds
Handful of coconut shavings
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Start melting dark chocolate pieces in a pan on low heat; it won’t take long to melt. If you want a sweet cherry taste, throw a handful of them into the pot once the chocolate has melted. (Note: The serving size is for melted chocolate, so if you measure out the pieces beforehand, allow more chips to be added than the recommended amount.)
- Place a teaspoon of melted chocolate on parchment paper; top with a small handful of almonds. Drizzle almonds with one tablespoon of melted chocolate. Repeat this process with remaining almonds and chocolate until your pan is used.
- Sprinkle coconut shavings over each individual piece.
- Transfer baking sheet to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to chill candies and remove them when firm.
- The approximately 32 pieces will be ready to enjoy right away!
For a nice Valentine’s Day touch, serve them on a decorative tray, or give them as a gift in a food-friendly decorator box or tin.
It is nice to know that they are only 41 calories each, while also being low in fat, carbohydrates and sugar.
Enjoy the spirit of Valentine’s Day with a loved one, or nudge the heart of someone special who just might become one!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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