I woke up one morning back in September ‘06 feeling like I was dying. In my gut I knew that I needed to divorce my husband — that I wasn’t living my life; I was living his, and this was killing me.

I didn’t know it then, but I literally was dying. I asked for the divorce, and one week later was diagnosed with melanoma (“the deadliest kind,” the doctors told me).  I chose not to go the Western route. It was the beginning of my journey of my heart and mind; a journey of what I came to call “green light/red light” – finding my way, by feeling my way. I knew I had to get reconnected with my body, or I — and it – weren’t going to make it. Who knew that six years later I’d have my own chocolate company? I hated chocolate most of my life.

Skipping many chapters to give you the short version: By following my “green lights,” I landed in Boulder, Colorado to discover what sang to me and aligned with what (and who) I truly wanted in my life. I had taught meditation, yoga, alternative approaches to health care. I had owned many businesses successfully. But none of these things were “green lights’” NOW.

Back in 2006, I had discovered cacao nibs. I really liked them. This began my chocolate exploration and research. I must have tried (and thrown out) every kind of healthy and/or raw chocolate that I could find. So, one day, when I had a hankering for a mint patty, the voice inside of me said ‘make it’…and I did. Before I knew it, friends started asking to buy them — not one or two but 20-30!  That was in April of 2009. Now, my line of chocolates (Life Opening Chocolates), are in more than 20 stores as well as online. They are carried by Whole Foods, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Alfalfas (in Boulder) and a smattering of other boutique stores. I playfully call myself the chocolate channeler, because the recipes come that way. What is most fulfilling for me is increasing joy in others’ lives, and wow, what’s a better medium than chocolate? Two men even proposed to me after eating my chocolates.

Funnily enough (yes it gets even funnier) we can have our cake (i.e.  chocolate) and eat it to. Seriously; doctors are now saying that we should eat chocolate every day because it dilates the arteries, helping prevent the buildup of plaque, therefore potentially staving off heart disease.  Chocolate is also low in caffeine, high in theobromine (a healthy stimulant), is a high source of magnesium (85% of us in US are deficient) and is good for the liver.

However, the greatest health benefits of cacao come from eating it in its natural state. What the world has known as chocolate is so far from the real thing. Move away from chocolate towards cacao. Eat dark (dark doesn’t just refer to a percentage; the cacao bean is dark; read what else has been added or done to the bean) and raw (not processed over 115 degrees – which protects the delicate nutrients; also raw means processed without hexane and alkali). All of my chocolates are dark (just the pure bean), made with all organic and raw ingredients, without dairy, soy, gluten or any extraneous ingredients (like waxes, emulsifiers or fillers).

So imagine this – we are now being told that we can lose weight and fall in love eating chocolate/cacao. Heck, for the 50+% of us that are single and/or divorced, we don’t even need a partner any more….we can just eat chocolate.

There’s a whole lot more I could share here.  A stranger recently walked by my demo table at Whole Foods and said ‘Wow you are so youthful!’  Another person, riding by me on a motorcycle, yelled out ‘Beautiful hair!’  No one had told me I looked great for years. My health is better now than it has been in decades. I attribute following my green lights — aligning with my self (body, heart and soul), as the key contributor to restoring my health. That, and of course, lots and lots of cacao.

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