I have a new addiction. It’s only one week old, but I have the feeling it will stay with me for a long while. It’s chocolate making. Recently I ordered a big box full with raw ingredients for baking, cooking and chocolate making. Amongst the things I ordered were dried mango’s & banana’s, nuts, buckwheat, smoked paprika powder, other powders and so on. You can see them lined up in our kitchen below.

It looks a bit overwhelming, doesn’t it? It’s really inspiring actually. I’ve already baked a few things with the ingredients, including a danish grain and seed bread aka the life-changing-bread. But the thing that I’m most happy with, are definitely the homemade chocolate bars that I can fill with whatever ingredient I want. They only takes a few minutes to make.

I use cacao butter as a base, to which I add raw cacao powder and some kind of sweeter. I most often use honey and today I even used a bit of the honeycomb, that we bought last Sunday on the christmas market. Very yummy. These three ingredients can already make a perfect dark chocolate. I like to add some crispy things to the mix though. You can think of popped millet or roasted buckwheat, & any kind of nut.  If you want to make it more special you can also add some dried fruits or fruit skin-grind on top,or alternatively some spicy herbs.

You just add these ingredients into the warmed up mixture and place it on a paper sheet to cool down. You can place it in the refrigerator as well, if you want to eat them more quickly. When the mix is sturdy and cold enough, you can break the bar into smaller pieces and give it to people as a gift or enjoy them yourself with a cup of coffee or tea. That’s what I mostly do.

What I also like about this method, is that I only make a few bites per serving, and therefore I am never tempted to eat a whole bar of chocolate at once. What I also like about this method is that the chocolate isn’t too sweet and that I still can handle dark chocolate. I haven’t been a huge fan of store bought dark chocolate. I found out that that’s because dark chocolate generally has huge amounts of sugar in it to compensate the darkness. It doesn’t bring out the best of both I think that way. Now that I make my own chocolate I can still make it dark, but less sweet, which brings out the taste in a more powerful way. Me thinks.

chocolate nut cookie ingredients

You might be wondering why I’m eating like a bird (as we call it at home), with these huge amounts nuts, seeds and grains? There are a few reasons for this. I’ve been trying to add a few plant based fats (like Omega 3’s) and other important stuff in my vegetarian diet. I’ve been trying to do this for a while now as I feel I’m missing out on some things here in France. Things that are added to some ready-to-go-food in the Netherlands, like bread.

Next to that I’ve been diagnosed (by accident) with a auto immune illness little over a month ago (hooray for the French healthcare system!). My body apparently is attacking my thyroid, which makes my thyroid work less optimally – more slowly – till it stops working in the end. One day. They don’t know when it will stop. But maybe it won’t. They don’t know how long this has been happening in my body as well. It’s a familiar thing. So it’s not written in your DNA, but they can see that it often happens through out generations in specific families. Also in mine apparently. And like other auto immune illnesses it expresses itself at moments of drastic change, shock or stress. This specific auto immune illness (and more thyroid problems) happen more often to women than men.

Ever since I’ve been diagnosed with this, I’ve been trying to find out what kind of implications this has for the rest of my life. What kind of big implications it has. Like many/all other auto immune illnesses, it’s a chronic disease, with a lifelong medicinal intake. These won’t cure or slow down the process though. They will only compensate the lack of hormones or processes in your body. I’ve been on these pills for a month now and I can already feel changes. The most dramatic is that I’ve lost 5kg in the last 40 days for example, without exercise or diet. I also feel less hungry and much more energetic. I feel better and I understand a few things that have been happening physically. Which is important as well for your mental wellbeing.

But as said, these pills won’t cure me, and that’s ok. It’s already great that they have medicine to make you feel better. The only thing with having an auto immune illness – and specifically the one I have – is, that it implies a higher chance of getting another auto immune illnesses. Illnesses that are more invasive in your lifestyle for example. And that’s not a great thing to look forward to. That’s why I want to change a few things in my/our lifestyle now, so that I’m not forced to change things on the long run. Again, you can’t fully – or at all – prevent these things from happening, but living a more balanced life can at least help deal with it more easily.

And if that implies that I have to eat chocolate like a bird, well so be it! It doesn’t stop me from making the best out of it. Gha! You can expect more tasty & bird-approved recipes on my blog in the future.