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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 05, 2007

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

By Mark Sisson

Wine and Chocolate

How can you turn this down?

Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?).

10. Drunk Marinara

My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta).

9. Chocolate, Meet Meat

Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me.

8. Drink Wine at Lunch

Red Wine

A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post).

7. Goodbye Coffee, Hello Chocolate

Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to watch your blood sugar, stick to the scrambled eggs.

6. Drink Wine at Breakfast

Just kidding! Don’t do that.

5. Dump Carbs, Promptly Reward Self

Dark Chocolate

Do you need to cut out refined carbohydrates like pasta, candy, pastries and soda? Everyone does. Eliminating refined carbohydrate intake is a critical first step in losing weight, ridding yourself of mood swings, and simply improving your overall health. But be sure you create a system to reward yourself a little for each step you take to better health. For example, you might eliminate your three biggest vices (let’s say they’re pasta, potatoes, and soda). For each day you avoid these three vices, you get three small squares of dark chocolate. Eat them at night for a serotonin boost that will improve your sleep and make you feel happy. Three squares typically contain around 10 grams of sugar. While not ideal, that’s a lot better than several hundred grams from a serving of refined carbs at each meal.

4. Quit Wining and Eat Your Greens

Skip the sugary, trans-fat-clogged, chemical-laden store salad dressings and whip up an antioxidant- and immune-boosting dressing at home. Mix equal parts red wine with a tasty vinegar. Next, blend equal parts of this mixture and olive oil. This is an easy, healthy dressing that will liven up your greens (which I hope you’re eating every day).

Note: wine doesn’t last more than a few days at most, so don’t make big batches of the stuff. Just enough for a few meals.

3. Forget Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

This is not really something to eat daily, but if you’re a candy lover and you’re in need of a healthier substitute, have a square of dark chocolate with some fresh-roasted, organic, sugar-free almond butter. After a few weeks of this, if you try out the ole Cups, you’ll be put off by the chemical taste. Guaranteed candy cure. (You MDA frequent fliers know I’m really not a substitute kind of guy – to be healthy, you gotta eat healthy, end of story. I happen to think salads and grilled lean meats taste amazing and I think living on indulgent junk food is anything but living. However, some treats really are pretty decent for you – almond butter is full of Omega-3’s and fiber, and a little dark chocolate is fine.)

2. Yo, Sodaholics!

Think about switching your soda to wine. Again, huge disclaimer: this is not a recommendation to become Peter O’Toole. This is strictly for soda addicts. The purpose is to get you to realize what you’re actually doing to your body. For most folks – I’m not talking about alcoholics – soda is far worse for the body than wine (and unlike wine, has zero marginally redeeming health benefits). Downing multiple sodas may be socially acceptable, but it’s addictive and enormously destructive to health. The problem is that it intoxicates your body in an entirely different – and perhaps more insidious – way than alcohol. Soda does terrible damage, but you don’t “feel” the damage immediately. The closest thing is a sugar crash, in which case, most people just have another soda to stave it off. The problem with soda is that the internal destruction isn’t really noticeable until you’re overweight, diabetic, depressed and wondering why you have a mood crash every day at 3 p.m. If you drink a glass of wine, however, you feel it. You don’t need a second (I hope). So just imagine what all those sodas were actually doing to your body.

Gee, that’s just super, Mark, but I drink soda at work. No problem: to get off the lunchtime soda habit, have a glass of water and a piece of fruit. You’re just dehydrated.

1. What’s Your Best Chocolate or Wine Tip?

jypsygen, polifemus (out of order), suavehouse113 Flickr Photos (CC)

Helpful reads and references:

White chocolate is not chocolate!

Health benefits of chocolate

Wine beats juice for antioxidant absorption

Problems with soda

Is this guy nuts? My most popular articles

More Tuesday 10 articles

The idea for this headline came from Lyndon. Thanks!

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30 Comments on "How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day"


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Norma Toering
Norma Toering
9 years 7 months ago

For years I thought my two main guilty pleasures were something I had to hide. What a relieve to finally go public with my nightly red wine and the darkest of chocolate habit. Yes, and every once in awhile I indulge in a lunchtime glass of wine, and I’ve been known to pop a dark chocolate square as a mid-afternoon pick me up. Count me out of the closet on this one!
What’s your opinion of MonaVie?

8 years 7 months ago

Merry Christmas!Hope you has a good day!If you have the time, Welcome to my Web

7 years 8 months ago

Raw cocoa, and Stevia leaves, can make a wonderful low carb commercial substitute.

Raw cocoa
Stevia leaves raw
crushed raw blueberries
crushed almonds

I am not sure the proportions my wife uses, but the product is to die for. Friends ask her all the time for more, thinking it is just a chocolate, blueberry, almond mixture, with some leaves in it.. We can let our children have chocolate, and know that it is healthy, good and no glycemic load!

7 years 6 months ago

What’s the primal perspective on sugar-free chocolate (flavored with sugar alcohol)? Would a bar sweetened with maltitol be healthier than a bar full of sucrose, on account of the reduced glycemic load?

7 years 5 months ago
I was in World Market the other day with just the same dilemma. In one hand a sugar free with mallitol dark bar. In the other a regular Lindt 85% Cocoa Bar. Guess which one had less carbs? The Lindt. More natural w/ high cocoa content is better. If you are already off sugar, the 85% bar won’t seem bitter. Start with the 70% bar if you tend to favor a sweeter chocolate. A friend of mine once ate a 3 oz Mallitol bar, suddenly missed work spent the next day and a half with diarrhea and bad tummy cramping.… Read more »
5 years 9 months ago

Yeah, the Lindts are great. Weirdly though, I find the 90% even smoother and more palatable than the 85%. It’s my favorite commercial chocolate.

Christine Brown
7 years 18 days ago

Primal Hot Chocolate…YUM!!!

I love your recipe made with coconut milk, baking chocolate and just enough raw honey to take the bitter edge off the unsweetened chocolate…delish!

I’m not hard core enough yet to drink it without any sweetener at all, b

7 years 3 days ago

Soda addicts can drink sparkling water with some freshly pressed juice? (not shop bought obviously!) pears, mangos and peaches all juice very nicely. As does citrus fruit.

6 years 5 months ago

cocoa nibs! a friend thought I was crazy until she tasted them – unsweetened chocolate?! the cocoa nibs don’t have the bitterness of baking chocolate though, just taste like chocolate without sugar.

6 years 3 months ago
Single Serving Chocolate Mousse! 2-3 TBS Coconut Meat (I use the Artisana from Whole Foods) warm it in the toaster oven or the oven till it’s soft. don’t let it toast. add: 2-3tsp raw cacao powder pinch stevia optional: 1 tsp mesquite powder (sweetener available in raw food section, high in all kinds of minerals) Stir it up till you have a chocolately paste. Now add about 1/4 cup coconut milk… I prefer the full fat stuff that has a lot of meat in it from the asian grocery store. Trader Joe’s milk is too light, but will do in… Read more »
6 years 3 months ago

pretty sure number 4 should be “Whining.” Unless I’m winning, like Charlie Sheen.

4 years 5 months ago

…but even if you’re “winning,” you’ll need another ‘n’!

Am I the only one who has no problem knocking back two or three squares of unsweetened chocolate? The bitterness is the best part!

3 years 6 months ago

It was supposed to be a play on words… He replaced “whine” with “wine” since that’s the subject of the post and what is used in the recipe directly following.

6 years 1 month ago

Make your own Reeses peanut butter cups! Buy the darkest chocolate chips you can find and melt them. Then fill mini muffin liners with a spoon full of dark chocolate, add a teaspoon or so of all natural nut butter and top with more chocolate just to cover the nut butter. Refrigerate them until solid. WAY better than Reeses. Once you’ve had the homemade ones you will never want the kind in the orange wrapper again.

5 years 7 months ago

Try that with sun flower seed butter…oh HELL!

4 years 1 month ago

Ok, I’m in, making them now…… eeeeeee, so excited. Hope they don’t stick to the paper liners. Thanks for the tip!!

Nonie De Long
6 years 1 month ago

Just stumbled on your site and love the content. Very enlightened and love the links embedded for other articles to support ideas. I also appreciate the flexible approach to health: realizing not everyone starts at the same place and has the same preferences or struggles. Great job! Hats off!

6 years 22 days ago
My favorite chocolate: Endangered Species Brand Extra Dark (88%) Chocolate. The one with the Black Panther on the label. It has only about 1 g of sugar per square, is smooth and, for me, not too bitter. Some friends find it too bitter, but since I don’t normally have any sugar, I can really appreciate a little sugar in anything. Another idea: mix cocoa with some red chilie powder — I buy a mix at Savory Spice Shop, so I’m not sure how much chilie powder to add to the cocoa, so just try experimenting. I use less than 1… Read more »
5 years 11 months ago

I just buy pure 100%cocoa chocolate with no sweeteners at all from Harvey Nichols. The brand is Willies Supreme Cacao.

5 years 10 months ago

I just had some hot chocolate made with 100% cocoa powder by mistake, and man! After a few days on the primal diet it really is a mood booster. I never thought!
The ingredients are pretty nice too, lots of protein and fat, half of is carbs though. But cocoa powder is the way to go for me from now on.

Keefe Bella
Keefe Bella
5 years 8 months ago

Lindt 99% and the driest Cab Sav I can get my hands on. Anything less is uncivilized!

5 years 6 months ago

No. 6 – you may not but Tim Ferris does 🙂

Sas Hole
Sas Hole
5 years 5 months ago
Whoa, Mark. Enjoyed the post, but “dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine” is a bit off mark (no pun intended, but stet). No caffeine in chocolate, just theobromine. Different effects, too. I can have a quad espresso before going to bed and sleep like a dead body, yet two squares of 99% Lindt – anything less than 85% cocoa is too cloying to me – makes my heart rate jump twice from its normal morning pace of 35-40 beats per second. Sort of like the reaction to cocoa found in cats and dogs – remember,… Read more »
5 years 4 months ago
I love wine, I’ve been eating a variation of this primal diet for about a month now…I found it while on HCG and it (this type of eating) has been the perfect solution to stabilizing. I can actually eat dairy now and it does not bother me!!! I’m now trying to figure out what kind of exercise??? I love wine though I will drink a couple glasses of Chilean Carmenere at night…but I’m keeping my %’s at 60%fat/23%protein/the rest in vegies…a fruit in the morning. How am I doing???? I eat dairy though? I’m also unsure of the total calories… Read more »
5 years 4 months ago

Whoa why the hate on potatoes? They have lots of minerals in them and I’m sure we have been eating them for ages. People have lived off of 90% potatoes and were fine. I’m not recommending that as you should very your food and they can give you constipation I would imagine if that’s all your eating. But I think they a very good alternative to wheat or corn. As well as other tubers.

5 years 4 months ago


Did you know that a potatoe has the same impact on your body as a can of soda pop? Pure starch=sugar! Much better ways to get your potassium than a potatoe….and not a hater, just an Irish girl who grew up in a family of tater eaters and now have a family full of diabetics!


4 years 10 months ago

Fantastic article, with the tongue-in-cheek humor that makes MDA so worth reading. Thanks for always reminding us that living primally should be FUN! I enjoyed both chocolate and wine today, and it was a total mood-changer.

I was fascinated to hear that there is somebody out there who can sleep on espresso but not on chocolate. I’m the total opposite– can eat dark chocolate in the evening, but even decaf coffee will keep me up for hours. Guess we really are all different!

4 years 7 months ago

Cocoa, powdered, can be added to chili, spaghetti sauce, and of course coffee.

4 years 2 months ago

Ghiradelli’s 100% baking chocolate is my choice. It’s non-alkalized, which means you get all the antioxidants. Hershey’s 100% cocoa is also non-alkalized.

Have to be careful with chocolate choices — I believe the Lindt may be alkalized, others are too.

1 year 6 months ago

hello! i just wanted to ask what might be the ideal amount of dark choco intake every day? thanks!