Gluten-Free & Heart Healthy 2013: Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles – Gluten-Free + Vegan

by tastyyummies

Gluten-Free and Heart Healthy

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles - Gluten-Free + Vegan

February is National Heart Health Month, making it the perfect time to highlight some foods that promote heart health. I am so excited to be a part of this series with so many talented and creative bloggers. I will be honest when I say heart healthy focused recipes has never really been something I give much thought to. There are varying results of research for both sides of the “healthy” claims on just about any ingredient you can think of.  What I gathered from all of my reading of medical research documents, articles and lists, is there are many foods that contain elements beneficial to heart health, but like most things, moderation is still key. As with most things, less is usually more. So, please obviously keep this in mind with not just this recipe, but all foods making health claims. I personally fully subscribe to the belief that food can have a great impact on our health, no matter what ails us (or is threatening to ail us). However I am not so naive to think food can fully cure us of any one disease or ailment on it’s own. I do believe if we make conscious and healthy choices on a daily basis we are in much better control of our current and future health.

My opinion in general on food and eating is “everything in moderation”. I don’t believe in extreme diets one way or the other, I am not vegan, though I follow a nearly entirely vegan diet. I am dairy-free, but I will consume some goat’s milk/cheese on a rare occasion, as it doesn’t seem to affect me the way cow’s milk does. I am 100% gluten-free and I prefer a somewhat grain-free diet, but I won’t be running out and going paleo any time soon. I drink alcohol, but in moderation. I try to avoid ALL refined and processed foods, but I don’t beat myself up if I consume a little here or there. Refined sugars are a no no for me, but I won’t guilt or shame someone who takes the time to make a dessert for me at a party that is gluten-free and dairy-free, but also includes white sugar. These are all the things that work for me, I prefer to subscribe to the notion of everything in moderation.  The ingredients I am highlighting in this recipe, all have substantiated reports about why they are heart-healthy, but I obviously wouldn’t advise consuming any of them to excess, either. Since this could not only reverse any heart-healthy affects they could have, but they could also prove to be heart damaging.

What better way to enjoy things in moderation than with truffles. Adorable little bite-sized rich morsels of goodness. You only need 1 or 2 to be completely satisfied. With my day to share a recipe as part of our heart healthy series being Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but create a sinfully rich and sexy dessert that any chocolate addict would certainly fall in love with. I wanted to make your hearts happy in more ways than one!

I am not going to lay the health claims on too thick, but I wanted to make sure to give some quick highlights, plus some heart heath research results on the ingredients used in this recipe.

Red Wine: Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.  Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Resveratrol, a polyphenol, is one substance in red wine that might be a key ingredient that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces “bad” cholesterol and prevents blood clots.

Dark Chocolate: Like red wine, dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher contain resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Dark chocolate also has positive affects on lowering ”bad” cholesterol levels. Also like red wine, dark chocolate is rich in Flavonoids that help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. You only need about 1 to 1.5 ounces dark chocolate per day to see the heart healthy benefits.

Flavonoids, which can also be found in green and black teas, cherries, apples, red grapes and other deeply colored fruits and vegetables, have also been known to help with digestion, improve kidney, bowel function and sexual performance, and treat anemia and gout.

Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil: While coconut milk and oil are high in saturated fat, it is mostly in the form of medium-chain fatty acids, which are not metabolized the same as the long-chain fatty acids found in animal products and according to some research are not as bad for your health. In fact, people with diets high in coconut milk have lower cholesterol levels and lower rates of heart disease. In addition, some research suggests that properties in coconut milk and oil may actually reduce your risk of heart disease. improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.

Higher in calcium than regular milk and almond milk, coconut milk is also beneficial to the heart. Coconut milk contains lauric acid that helps to keep the arteries and heart clean and healthy. And although coconut milk contains saturated fats, the presence of lauric acid and other beneficial acids in coconut milk make it perfect against heart disease and atherosclerosis.

Additionally, coconut milk is a rich source of magnesium. Adequate magnesium in diet can help to maintain normal blood pressure and significantly decrease the risk of cardiovascular ailments such as heart attacks. 240 g of coconut milk has around 89 mg of magnesium.

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles - Gluten-Free + Vegan

Again, I do want to take a quick moment to reiterate that both chocolate and coconut can be high in saturated fat and calories, so as mentioned at the start of this post, they must be eaten in moderation to receive their benefits. I just want to make sure this point is driven home, so folks aren’t making a batch of truffles and then after eating the entire batch in one sitting, hoping to still reap all of the wonderful heart benefits. There is no one miracle food that will solve your health issues entirely, but with a proper balanced diet filled with whole foods, we really do have the ability to control our health in so many different ways.

Let’s also take a quick moment to acknowledge that while heart disease can be hereditary, its prevention begins with a healthy overall lifestyle. For starters, this means no smoking, monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and incorporating exercise and a healthy, well-balanced diet into your everyday routine. Regular exercise is so important to our overall health is. Whether it be a serious daily gym routine or a simple 30 minute walk around the neighborhood, let’s always remember that keeping ourselves moving is so beneficial. Besides eating as healthy as we possibly can, it is one of the very best things we can do for our bodies and our health.

These truffles really will knock your socks off. They are rich and dreamy. They are luxurious and just one or two truffles will satisfy even the most hardcore of chocolate lovers’ cravings. The red wine taste is quite subtle but you really get it at the end. It is smooth and it finishes it so perfectly. I am not sure if anyone else enjoys sitting down with a nice full-bodied glass of red wine with a super high quality bite of dark chocolate. One of my most favorite flavor combinations ever.

Lots of love to you all today! In addition to making Valentine’s Day about your one true love whom you will likely shower with gifts and love, let’s look at it as a day to embrace love all around us. Including the love you should be showing yourself, your body and your health every single day of the year. This is the one and only body we will be given (at least in this lifetime), let’s do everything we can to protect it and give it the best. Every single day.

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles - Gluten-Free + Vegan

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather February 14, 2013 at 8:54 am

Thank you for the recipe….I will be making some this afternoon!! Cant wait to taste them. Just wanted to say that, like you, my husband and I LOVE to relax after kids are in bed by having a nice glass of cabernet and 85% dark chocolate. The perfect combo!!

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2 Meg @ Beard and Bonnet February 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

Mmm…dark chocolate and red wine…I am pretty sure that this is a perfect pairing. I am going to have to make these ASAP!

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3 Rochelle @ WheatlessRochelle.com February 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I think I would have a very hard time eating these in moderation. They look incredible. Pinning this recipe to try later. Thanks!

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4 TheHolisticHealthCoach February 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Oh my, these sound heavenly! I love dark chocolate! Thank you for sharing…can’t wait to try them!

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5 Simply called food March 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm

That recipe is great for Easter!

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6 tastyyummies March 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Thanks. I hope you enjoy if you make them.

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7 Kirstie December 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Have just made these. They are amazing and my gf/ dairy free friends will love them on Xmas day :-) namaste x

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8 Jenny Leiser February 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

I made these and the salted carmel tart this morning. I have had them in the fridge and freezer all morning and I can’t get either the tart or the truffles mix to set. I may have to give the tart some more time but the truffle mix is pliable but still to soft to roll into balls. Those that I have made are in the freezer and have not hardened anymore at all. What did I do wrong?

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9 tastyyummies February 12, 2014 at 10:00 am

Hey Jenny,I am assuming you meant the salted chocolate tart?
Bummer! I have never had that problem before on either of those, not setting up. They may need more time, hopefully in a few hours they will be ready. The coconut oil should definitely start to solidify that would make them firm up. You kept the recipes as-is correct and you used coconut oil? What type of coconut milk did you use in the truffles? It was the canned full-fat variety, correct? Let me know on those things and hopefully we can trouble-shoot this together.

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10 Jenny Leiser February 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Yeah, I used the full fat coconut milk and coconut oil. Yes, I meant the salted chocolate tart. I mean they taste great but they are just soft. Maybe they just need more time but certainly more than 1 hour. I am in 6 hours now. The tart is in the fridge and truffle mix in the freezer. I will keep checking in on them. I do not know enough about chocolate to work well with it sadly :(

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11 tastyyummies February 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Hmm I am so sorry Jenny, I wish I could offer more advice. I have never had this issue. I hope after some time they firm up for you. Let me know.

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12 Jenny Leiser February 14, 2014 at 8:43 am

I still love the recipe. It is not unusual for me to have to do something more than once to get it (in the kitchen anyway). Thanks!

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