Antidote Blog

HEALTHY IS TRENDY! HOW DO YOU FIND TRULY NUTRITIOUS CHOCOLATE?

By Red Thalhammer

HEALTHY IS TRENDY! HOW DO YOU FIND TRULY NUTRITIOUS CHOCOLATE?

Healthy food products are trending in all categories, from prepackaged meals and snacks to desserts and of course, chocolate. Even mass-market brands are shifting their priories to accommodate the growing demand for transparency and healthier eating options. But searching out the trustworthy brands can become a dedication project. When you don’t have the time to read every label, how do you know which chocolate bars are truly nutritious and which are simply using healthy associations to sell product? 

Sugar is a spice – not a condiment.

When gaging nutritional value, sugar content is a big clarifying factor. Since the industrial revolution, we have misunderstood the use of sugar. Before those days, enjoying a cube to sweeten your tea was a special treat. Now it is used as a condiment when it should really be treated as a spice. High sugar percentages are lurking everywhere, in beverages, nutrition bars, juices, cereals, granolas, yogurt, even breads! 

Now a lot of chocolate companies have jumped on the healthy trend wagon, offering healing chocolate and lower sugar options that include the use of alternative sweeteners such as coconut sugar. While it’s true that these sugars can have more nutrition – they are STILL sugar. It’s quite tempting to believe they are healthier and therefore ok to eat. You are the judge and you vote with your money on what’s the real thing.

Due to it’s natural flavor, chocolate can take quite a bit of sugar without the taster noticing it. The stronger and bitter (often cheaper) the beans, the more sugar is needed to balance it out. A 60% dark chocolate bar contains approximately 40% sugar. That is a lot if you think about it. This basic rule of percentages is a good way to quickly identify dark chocolates with higher nutritional value. Also note when chocolate lists sugar as first ingredient, this means that sugar is the highest percentage of all ingredients in the bar. It is also good to be aware that mass-market brands stretch the cacao content (or the printed cacao %) by adding lots of cocoa butter. If real cacao butter is used, it’s a good pure vegetable fat but it still lacks much of the potent nutrients we get from the whole cacao beans.

The true cost!

We stole this line from "The True Cost," a documentary film about the damaging effects of fast fashion production in developing countries, which we recommend you to see. It’s the same with food. What is the true cost of consuming mass-produced sugar laden products that rob us of energy and create health hazards? With fashion, it goes back to destroying the health of communities in the producing countries due to harsh chemicals used in cotton fields and dies to name one issue. 

In this sense, chocolate and other items containing lots of sugar should be much more expensive and healthy products should look like a steal next to them. However, when purchasing Antidote, you can be sure that everyone is paid fairly and the proceeds along the value chain goes to real people and independent companies.

 For healthiest results, choose dark chocolates with cacao percentage over 75% from producers that advocate nutrition and quality ingredients over financial gain. Antidote was established before the rise of healthy eating trends and our mission has remained the same for eight years! To create delicious quality chocolate that is also good for you to boost mood, satiate hunger and give you energy anytime you need it, without the sugar loads. If you cannot find Antidote in your neighborhood, please let us know and as with everything in life, enjoy!

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REFRESHING SUMMER RECIPES with ... guess what?

By Grace Garwood

REFRESHING SUMMER RECIPES with ... guess what?

Roll up your sleeves and meet us in the kitchen! Summer is in full swing and lots of simple seasonal recipes are begging for a serious chocolate upgrade. Break out an Antidote bar any time of day to savor a few squares or invigorate simple dishes with chocolate ripples, chops and drizzles.

Before you prep your bars, set them out at room temperature for at least fifteen minutes to let the warmth unlock softer texture and deeper flavor. Then pair with light bites, melt into creamy dips or add texture and flavor to salads, wraps, rubs and desserts. Let these pairing ideas inspire you! 

With Fruits & Frozen Treats

  • Dip sliced bananas in rose salt + lemon Antidote and freeze for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy as is or blend into a delicious smoothie or shake.
  • Dip strawberries in lavender + red salt Antidote and chill for 5-10 minutes. Drizzle with honey for an added flavor boost!
  • Add chopped cacao nib 84% Antidote to yogurt parfait with fresh peaches and granola. Experiment with different flavors and fruit combinations!
  • Drizzle rose salt + lemon Antidote over blueberry or raspberry sorbet. 
  • Scoop up creamy frozen yogurt with pieces of strawberry + hibiscus milk chocolate Antidote.

For Light Bites & Salads: 

  • Top slices of crusty baguette with butter and cacao nib 84% Antidote. 
  • Spruce up spinach, feta & strawberry salad with coarsely chopped mango + juniper berry Antidote.
  • Sprinkle finely chopped almond+fennel Antidote over sliced tomato and cucumber with basil & oregano. 
  • Make chocolate vinaigrette! Whisk vinegar, oil and honey into cacao nib 84% Antidote. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over fresh avocado slices, simple garden salads or bruschetta on lightly toasted baguette.

 On the Grill: 

  • Grate banana + cayenne Antidote and add to rubs for chicken, ribs or pork to add a spicy kick. Or melt into barbecue sauce recipes and dip meats before or after grilling.

With Breads & Cheeses

Like chocolate, the flavor and aroma of fine cheeses are enhanced when set out at room temperature for at least an hour. If you are paring a variety of combinations, use fresh bread and not too cold water to cleanse your palate. 

Thanks to our friends at French Cheese Board for the pairing suggestions.

  • Lavender + red salt Antidote pairs beautifully with smooth buttery triple cream cows milk cheeses like Pierre Robert.
  • Pair rose salt + lemon Antidote with a creamy goat’s milk cheese like Valencay. This tangy citrusy cheese with vegetable ash brings out the subtle floral lemony notes in the chocolate.
  • For a lightly sweet and savory experience, pair ginger Antidote with a cow’s milk cheese like Mimolette. The protein crystals in this distinctly orange cheese compliment the texture of the ginger and create a truly unique mouth feel. 
  • Pair almond + fennel Antidote with an aged goat cheese like Bond d’Anton. The creamy nuttiness of this cheese brings out the woodsy, piney nuttiness of the chocolate.

Happy tasting!

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INTO THE WILD FROM 0° TO 48° LATITUDE

By Red Thalhammer

INTO THE WILD FROM 0° TO 48° LATITUDE

As the weather warms this season, we pause to celebrate all the seeds we sow to nurture a healthy growth. 

Ecuador, Manabi -0.30°  -79.83°

At the heart of Antidote is cacao, precisely because the many nutrients and antioxidants in it are a natural antidote to stress, emotional blues and other human ailments. Theobroma cacao, a most precious tropical evergreen tree, is grown for the edible seeds nestled within its cacao pods. When I travel to Ecuador to oversee and coordinate production, I evaluate these seeds – more commonly known as “beans” – by taste, color and shape before making roasting tests. I also visit the cacao farms we work with and spend some time with patrons and people there. There is a variety of cacao trees, some over 100 years old, with pod colors from red to green and brownish. Each color presents a different flavor profile. The protocol and production for each of our chocolate percentages is different and geared towards leveraging the natural notes of the beans we select with a lower heat process to protect their power. As a side note, the name “Theobroma cacao” translates as “cacao, the food of the gods” in Greek, which is why our eight flavor fusion bars are named after Greek goddesses. The attributes of these deities are matched with the powers of our ingredients and pairings.

Brooklyn, NY  40.73°  -73.95°

In the Big Apple, the seeds we plant are of a different nature, namely with our customers and wholesale partners. In time, many have come to rely on our Antidote to the hectic pace of a New York minute—a nourishing treat that calms stress, eases tension and satiates hunger at any time of day (or night!). 

Upper Austria  48.34°   14.17°

When I go back to visit my family in Austria, I’m looking at trees again – not cacao trees but many other varieties – with my father in our forest. He is a healthy 85 years old and loves to give me an in-depth overview of the age, type and health of the trees. There is no way out! In the last few weeks, he replanted 900 maples, 75 oaks, 200 spruces, 370 Douglas firs and 40 firs to counteract the necessary eroding from a beetle disease that affected the forest. That is a total of 1545 new trees he has planted (with an NYPD cap on his head). I’m thankful he has sown these seeds for the enjoyment of many generations to come.

To put that in relation to the seeds we're planting in 2018, I’m playing with flavor pairings for three new chocolate bar recipes! In the bigger picture, hopefully the thousands of bars we produce throughout this year reach those who need an Antidote and their emotional afflictions are transformed into ease and happiness, one piece at a time.

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CHOCOLATE FOR BEAUTY – AN INDULGENCE FOR YOUR HAIR, SKIN, AND NAILS!

By Red Thalhammer

CHOCOLATE FOR BEAUTY – AN INDULGENCE FOR YOUR HAIR, SKIN, AND NAILS!

 Our hair, skin, and nails act as a barometer for overall health, because their condition is a direct reflection of our internal well-being. Here’s how the ingredients in cacao benefit us on the inside while making us look great on the outside: 

Polyphenols for radiant, glowing skin

Polyphenols, and specifically flavanols, found in cacao have a positive impact on cardiovascular health by protecting cells from free radicals that can damage cell membranes, proteins, and DNA. Healthy cardiovascular cells mean healthy blood vessels that can better pump blood and deliver oxygen. In order to maintain a healthy head of hair, our scalp needs a steady supply of blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to nourish our hair follicles and thus keep them alive and growing hair.  

Glowing, young-looking skin needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to maintain strong interactions with underlying connective tissue to keep it from sagging and wrinkling.  Optimal blood flow also encourages healthy turnover of dead skin cells to keep the top layer looking young and fresh. Flavanols also act like a natural, internal sunscreen, protecting skin cells from sun damage.    

Good blood flow is also essential to keep our nail beds healthy and allows nails to grow strong, free from splits, ridges, brittleness, or fungal infections.   

Magnesium for vibrant hair and nails

Cacao is one of the richest food sources of magnesium. After potassium, magnesium is the second most abundant cation (molecule with a positive charge) in the body.  

Magnesium is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and reducing inflammation in blood vessels, both of which facilitate the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to our scalp for healthy, vibrant hair and to nail beds for healthy nails.  

One of the first places that sluggish digestion shows up is in the skin in the form of breakouts.  Magnesium draws water into the lower GI tract to help regulate bowel function and regularly eliminate toxins and waste. 

Iron and Zinc for full, lustrous hair and beautiful nails

Cacao is a good source of iron and zinc, both of which are essential for healthy hair and preventing hair loss.  In addition, when iron is low, nails will take on a spoon shape, and they can develop white spots from zinc deficiency. 

Who would have thought that chocolate could be so good and so good for you? In moderation, a good quality chocolate with a high cacao content can feel like an indulgence while also making you feel good about your hair, skin, and nails.

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Linda DiBella, PhD. is a functional nutrition consultant who successful detoxification programs help her clients lose weight and optimize their health. She can be found on Facebook or via email at info@getreal4health.com.

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NEED A REASON TO GIVE ANTIDOTE THIS SEASON?

By Red Thalhammer

NEED A REASON TO GIVE ANTIDOTE THIS SEASON?

 Do you still have names on your holiday gift list? Not to fear! Antidote is here. We have something for every personality and all tastes, plus these seven reasons why Antidote makes the perfect holiday gift: 

1. It’s a delicious, nutritious treat with very little sugar – now that is hard to find.

 2. It’s energizing. After all that shopping and all those holiday parties, who couldn’t use a little pep in their step?

3. It’s beautiful. The splendor of each bar—from the nutrients and flavor inside, to the pretty packaging outside—says, “I care for you.”

4. It’s a wonderful antidote to holiday stress of all kinds. 

5. It’s personal. Each of our bars features a patron with a unique vibe and story, so choose one that’s the best match for the recipient you have in mind. 

  • Goddess Kakia’s zest for life is the Antidote to passivity.Goddess Hybris’ bold temperament is the Antidote to fear and timidity.
  • Goddess Kakia’s zest for life is the Antidote to passivity.
  • Goddess Hybris’ bold temperament is the Antidote to fear and timidity.
  • Goddess Artemis’ strengths is the Antidote to weak moments.
  • Goddess Aletheias’ divine truth is the Antidote to lies and delusion.
  • Goddess Hebe’s youthful spirit is the Antidote to the mundane.
  • Goddess Hestia’s heat is the Antidote to the cold vagaries of the outside world.
  • Goddess Panakeia’s healing potions are the Antidote to anything that strikes your heart or soul.
  • Goddess Gaia’s nurturing spirit and natural harmony is the Antidote to stress and anxiety.
  • Aztec God Tonacatehcutli’s warmth is the Antidote to dead ends and vicious cycles.
  • Aztec God Xochipilli’s passion is the Antidote to a broken heart.
  • Explorer’s daydreams are the Antidote to lost playfulness.
  • Magician’s endless wonderland is the Antidote to the passing of time.

6. It’s love. Cacao beans contain caffeine and theobromine, which stimulate blood flow in the brain, decrease fatigue, increase cardiac activity—and elevate serotonin levels. You might recognize serotonin as that warm fuzzy feeling when you are in love!

7. It’s free to send. You won’t have to pay for shipping for any order over $40. What’s not to love about that? Code: LOVE

Gift-note BONUS! Tell us what you want to say to the recipient, and we’ll include it in a note with the package. 

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ANTIDOTE’S FLAVOR PAIRINGS: HARMONY IN CHOCOLATE

By Red Thalhammer

ANTIDOTE’S FLAVOR PAIRINGS: HARMONY IN CHOCOLATE

“Crafting flavors is like creating art or composing music. The process needs drama, high points and low points, and a bit of tension woven throughout. When that all comes together, you have a symphony made of chocolate.” –Red

What makes our flavors so special? 

The right ingredients, in the right amounts, prepared the right way.

We love unusual flavors! Several of our favorite ingredients, such as lavender, red salt, fennel and juniper, had never been seen in chocolate before we began using them. We take great pride in coming up with concoctions that are not just different, but delicious. However, we also realize that not everything works with chocolate.  Some ingredients are simply too mild for dark blends, for example strawberry, coconut and chamomile. Others, such as salts or juniper, might sound delicious on paper but need just the right dose to please the palate. Some fruit flavors, such as banana, mango, ginger and lemon, need specific preparation to be used at all.

We take all of this into account when crafting our flavor pairings and work tirelessly until they are perfect. Once we design the flavor, each slow-roasted cacao bars is loaded with rich Arriba Nacional beans from Ecuador and chunks of fruits and spices designed specifically for each batch. Using real ingredients creates a rich, pure aroma with a complexity and wholeness that cannot be achieved with essential oils and other flavorings. The fruits are custom prepared, also in Ecuador, either entirely without sugar or with a little panela, an unrefined whole cane sugar with a caramel taste. 

A touch of texture on top

Aside from the flavor, real bits of fruit, seeds, flowers, salts and spices literally burst from each of our bars, providing a delightful sensation for your tongue. Who doesn’t like a little chunk in their chocolate? We certainly do!

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SLOW ROASTED REPLACING RAW + ROASTED

By Red Thalhammer

SLOW ROASTED REPLACING RAW + ROASTED

 In 2010 we launched our very first flavor fusion bars featuring the unique combination of raw and roasted cacao, marrying the antioxidant and nutrient boost of raw cacao with the complex aromas of roasted beans. 7 years later, our recipe has evolved, but our mission remains the same: to provide an Antidote to your emotional ailments while delivering MORE flavor, MORE texture, and MORE nutrients.

Welcome to Flavor Town 2.0! Our new slow roasted Antidote bars are loaded with the same exquisite Arriba Nacional cacao and real chunks of fruits, nuts and salts, to suit your every flavor mood. However, the slow roasting process is gentle on our beans, which protects their integrity and maximizes their antioxidant and nutritional potency. The result is a wonderful sensuous aroma and a delightful treat for our serious chocolate lovers.

Working with raw cacao is a complex process of temperature controlled fermentation and proprietary tree-to-bar treatment that we value and will continue to use for our 100% bars. The slow roasting gives us more room and diversity to work with different farms on our flavor fusion bars. The 77% and 84% bars feature extraordinary cacao from Manabi, noted for its fruity and floral aroma. The resulting deeper cacao flavor creates a dramatic stage for all our exquisite flavor pairings to dance on. We are delighted for you to experience our new bars and hear your comments!

Our refined packaging showcases a gloss coat over the logo for subtle visual distinction, so keep an eye out or order from our online store. All orders and flavors will ship from the “slow roasted” batch. Experience the enhanced flavor square by square. Feel the difference.

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DELICIOUS VERSATILITY 24 X 7

By Red Thalhammer

DELICIOUS VERSATILITY 24 X 7

 In the world of chocolate we hear a great deal about award-winning chocolate, a little about award-winning effects, and even less about the combination of both. It is possible to have a chocolate that tastes decadent and also has powerful nutrients backing it up. Antidote is a fun & delicious, yet functional food that will satiate you for pleasure, stress, or hunger, at any time of the day.

Need love?

Cacao beans contain caffeine and theobromine which stimulate blood flow in the brain, decrease fatigue, and increase cardiac activity after consuming. The result is elevated serotonin activity. You might recognize serotonin as that warm fuzzy feeling when you are in love!

Stressed?

Cacao beans contain polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that reduces the levels of two stress hormones in your body: cortisol and catecholamines. Studies have shown that daily dark chocolate consumption normalizes stress-related differences in energy metabolism and gut microbial activities. So, less stress and better digestion!

Hungry?

Dark Chocolate is perfect to nourish and curb hunger. The trademark flavor of the cacao bean - a pleasant bitterness - has a very important purpose. A slightly bitter flavor on the tastebuds can decrease food cravings in the brain for up to 4 hours. Levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for increasing appetite, are significantly lower after eating a square of dark chocolate!

On a diet?

Apart from curbing food cravings, dark chocolate can work as an excellent long term appetite suppressant and metabolic stimulant. The stearic acid and soluble dietary fibers in cacao beans help slow digestion to help you feel fuller longer, and caffeine increases the metabolic rate which in turn increases fat burn in the body.

As a treat?

Why do we crave chocolate? Apart from the feel-good benefits delivered from the 100+ identified compounds in the cacao bean, it is a sensory delight! The complex aroma, the burst of flavor, the creamy texture - is not easily forgotten. The gratifying feeling and deep and complex flavor notes of chocolate stay with your tastebuds long after.

Seeking pleasure?

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is a famed aphrodisiac. But, why? The amino acid arginine in cacao helps make nitric oxide that also relaxes blood vessels for better flow and important for a strong libido! Then, there’s the phenylethylamine content. PEA is a stimulant and mood-elevator that’s also released by the brain when you’re in love. The stimulation caused by the PEA produces dopamine - the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of reward & satisfaction.

Feeling down?

It’s no wonder you reach for chocolate! Cacao beans contain the bliss molecule anandamide that work like an antidepressant. This neurotransmitter, only found elsewhere in marijuana, activates pleasure receptors in the brain. It also contains Tryptophan...an amino acid that’s a powerhouse at creating serotonin, which produces feelings of relaxation and well-being. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid in humans - meaning it cannot be produced by the body and must be provided by the diet!

Need focus?

Besides being an excellent reward for a job well done, chocolate contains a mild amount of caffeine. This psychoactive substance creates temporary alertness and decreases drowsiness. Also present are xanthines - stimulants which occur naturally in the brain and, like caffeine, increase wakefulness. The high levels of flavanols in dark chocolate also create feelings similar to those of a mild analgesic (or painkiller). Some recent studies have shown that daily consumption of dark chocolate can even prevent age-related cognitive decline!

For radiant skin, hair and nails!

The sulfur in cacao is important for detoxification by the liver and for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Flavonoids protect against UV damage, and increase blood flow to the skin, improving its appearance.

*Cacao is also the number one source of magnesium.  (Magnesium deficiencies can contribute to ADD, cancer, menstrual cramps, constipation, depression, osteoporosis, migraines, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.) Cacao is also a good source of vitamins A, C, E, as well as the minerals copper, calcium, and manganese.

For a healthy heart?

Both theobromine and high levels of *magnesium found in cacao help to relax blood vessels for better blood flow. Flavanols found in cacao are believed to reduce LDL oxidation, improve blood flow and reduce inflammation. 

These are only some of the multitude of benefits that the cacao bean has to offer. Notice we said cacao bean and not chocolate bar! Not all chocolate is created equal, and unfortunately any chocolate bar from the supermarket isle won’t provide all these health benefits. To reap the benefits that the natural cacao bean has to offer, Antidote is made with low sugar and high cacao content that is specially processed from start to finish to maintain more of these crucial nutrients and antioxidants. And so, this Antidote is wonderful multifunctional.

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