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Chocolate: You don't have to eat it to enjoy it

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Although I cannot imagine excluding chocolate from my diet - at least in moderation - there are times when we need to abstain if for no other reason than to stop the expansion of our hips. When those days come, you will be happy to know there are chocolate products you can luxuriate in that require zero calorie consumption. These wonderful products are brought to you by Juli Puryear, the creator of Cocoa Indigo.

Juli has led an interesting life. She spent a year traveling the world. She settled in Hawaii for a while and worked as a semi-truck driver. She spent nine years living as an expat in Punta Gorda, Belize where she ran a chocolate factory. Today she has returned home to San Diego where she has the best smelling garage in town. That garage is the “factory” for her new Cocoa Indigo products.

Cocoa Indigo actually began in Belize. For five of her nine years in Belize, Juli built a bean to bar chocolate company called Cotton Tree Chocolate. Her fascination with chocolate began when she learned how to make chocolate bars from raw cocoa beans. As Juli says, “Roasting, grinding and refining the cocoa was the simple part; making chocolate bars in the middle of a humid tropical jungle was a bit more of a challenge. I worked with a group of amazing Belizean women, and together we learned how to make wonderful chocolate bars.”

During her time at Cotton Tree Chocolate Juli developed a line of bath and beauty products made from Belizean cocoa beans, which she sold in Cotton Tree Chocolate’s gift shop. She worked in her kitchen making skin care products from the cocoa powder of Cotton Tree Chocolate. The products flew off the shelves of Cotton Tree Chocolate and also Moho Chocolate gift shop, Cotton Tree Chocolate’s sister company with locations in Belize City and San Pedro, Belize.

In 2013 Juli returned to her hometown of San Diego, California. She took her skin care recipes and a bunch of Belizean cocoa beans back with her and started Cocoa Indigo. Juli uses unrefined cocoa powder for her products - Belize beans preferred - and combines the cocoa powder with other all natural ingredients to make quality effective products that smell absolutely heavenly!

Choose from an assortment of body scrubs, body butters, facial scrubs and chapsticks. Try the Brownie Batter Body Scrub for a full body immersion in chocolate. Made from sugar, liquid castile soap, cocoa powder, cocoa butter and vitamin E, this chocolate scrub will exfoliate your skin and the cocoa butter will leave your skin as soft as a baby's bottom!

One of my favorites is the White Chocolate Truffle Body Butter made from Shea butter, aloe vera gel and vitamins A, C & E. The butter moisturizes deeply and absorbs quickly into the skin leaving skin velvety smooth and scented with sweet cocoa with subtle hints of vanilla cake and spice.

Juli sent me a few of her products to try and I shared (just a little!) with friends. As we tried the chapsticks and body butters, my friend Janice said, "I would be afraid to wear this on the subway, someone might try to lick my hand." Another friend, Iris, just kept licking the chapstick off her lips trying to get to the chocolate! I think that's testament enough to the delicious aroma of these products!

Juli may have left Belize, but a part of her experience there lives on in her Cocoa Indigo products. In fact, she still uses the cocoa powder from Cotton Tree Chocolate. I know this because I just smuggled a bag back from there in my suitcase for her!

Juli's products are sold primarily at farmers markets and street fairs in San Diego County. You can also purchase her products online at www.cocoaindigo.com

Order one of everything…you won't gain a pound!

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