We’ve got a jam-packed Explore More post today.  Let’s get started!

I love chocolate.  My passion for it is deep and probably genetic – I have vivid memories of my 90+ year old great-grandmother sitting in her recliner noshing on it all day long.  I only eat high quality dark chocolate, though, and have lately tried my best to avoid soy lecithin, a popular emulsifier.  Here’s one way to make some chocolate treats with nothing but good stuff in them.

Speaking of chocolate, one of my favorite Paleo / family bloggers, Preparing it Paleo, created this chocolate cake from plantains.  Unlike my Chocolate Plantain Snack Cake, which requires plantain flour, this recipe gets you straight from plantain to cake.  I cannot wait to try it.  If her Paleo Plantain Brownies are any indication, it will be a family favorite.

Around this time of year, I start to see a lot of Facebook status updates from folks who have decided to “detox” with juices or raw foods.  I’m not a huge fan of the notion of detoxing … I’d rather see people view health and wellness as an all-the-time sort of thing as opposed to a break from their normal life.  Even the notion of detox as a “reset” bothers me, because I firmly believe that when people undertake these practices, they are depriving their bodies, minds and spirits of essential nutrients and nourishment that they need to thrive.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Here’s a terrific explanation about why detoxing with juices is not a great idea.  And, a bit from Dr. Weil about why raw diets may not be as health-promoting as you think.

Not to belabor the point, but if you have a history of GI distress, consider that both juicing and eating loads and loads of raw foods may exacerbate your troubles.  Here are some other tips to promote great digestion from PrimalDocs.

Speaking of something that people think of as a smart choice that is probably undermining their health goals … diet soda is just no good, folks.  I’m just going to say it very simply – if a product is sweet but is devoid of calories, it’s going to confuse your body.  If you do one thing this year to feel better, consider ditching the diet drinks.  (Pretty please?)

What can you drink?  How about bone broth!  Not the kind you buy in the stores, but the kind that you make – on the uber-cheap I might add! – in your own home.  Real Food Forager brings us this most excellent breakdown of the differences in quality and healthfulness.

Pregnant or trying to get that way?  You’ve surely been told you need folic acid for a healthy pregnancy.  It’s actually not quite so simple.  Folate is what your body needs.  Folic acid is a synthetic version we use to enrich foods like grains.  But read this and this for a more nuanced understanding.

Speaking of pregnancy, there is some new information out about moms who take SSRIs while pregnant.  Issues pinpointed in the study include higher rates of birth defects, miscarriages, and pre-eclampsia.

Specifically:

The researchers reviewed current literature about the efficacy and impact of SSRIs on depression treatment and on fertility and infertility to “challenge the assumption that the risks of SSRIs use are lower than the risks of untreated mild and moderate depression in pregnant women,” and to look at the impacts of SSRIs on neonatal health.

As with any medical research, this is just one study and the authors themselves point to two limitations of their work.  In addition to these specified limitations, I’ll point out that this was a literature review, which personally always gives me pause.  Nonetheless, as each woman makes the decision that’s right for her, this information may be one more piece of the puzzle.

On a lighter note, are you doing your quad stretches correctly?  (My answer was no.  I was definitely committing a “fake out.”)

And finally, along the lines of self-aware parenting, check out this little gem from Jada Pinkett Smith on her daughter’s decision to cut her hair.

That’s it from me and the wellness web today.  Tomorrow – more holiday wellness wishes!

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