9 Healthier Ways To Get Your Chocolate Fix
We’ve all heard that talk going around that chocolate can be healthy for us in moderation. But what are these researchers actually talking about?
The raw chocolate bean known as “cacao”, not to be confused with the household known “cocoa”; is rich in minerals like magnesium (this is one of the best natural food sources and is a muscle relaxant and stress reliever. Now you know why we can’t help but crave it ladies!) iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. It is also packed full of antioxidants called resveratrol, which inhibit oxidization or damage to our cells and repair their free radical damage, in turn nourishing and protecting our nervous system. This raw bean contains an ORAC score of 95,000! That’s 21 more times antioxidants than green tea, 14 times more than red wine, and 7 times more than even dark chocolate! Of course I’m referring to commercially bought dark chocolate which uses processed cocoa. Oh! And did I mention it provides “good vibes?” Research shows that raw cacao provides a great source of 4 happy neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylemine. Which can provide a natural mood enhancement and can alleviate depression.
So what defines cacao from cocoa? Like mentioned above, cocoa is a household name we all grew up with. Also known as “Dutch cocoa”, referring to the way in which the raw cacao bean is processed. This method involves heating (roasting) the bean up to 150 degrees Celsius! Removing most of its natural goodness that keeps us young and healthy.
Raw cacao on the other hand is minimally processed, using the ‘cold-pressed’ method (removing the bean fat- that yummy cacao butter), keeping all the living enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals intact (just to name a few!) This is the good stuff guys!!
FUN FACT: Did you know? Raw, organic cacao contains more calcium than cow’s milk? Cacao contains 160mg per 100g, milk only containing 125mg per 100ml. When the two are mixed together, milk can actually interfere with the absorption of cacao’s powerful antioxidants…
Time to re-think your drink!
Here are 9 deliciously simple ways to get you fix!
1. Make your own raw chocolate.
All it takes is 3 ingredients and literally 5 minutes!
Combine 1 cup raw cacao, 1 cup melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup rice malt syrup (or your preferred choice of natural sweetener.) Whisk together in a bowl, add in as many or as little superfoods as you like, nuts, seeds, dried berries, shredded coconut, essential oils (choc-mint=yum!) Pour into moulds and leave to set in fridge.
2. Snack on cacao nibs.
“Nature’s chocolate chips”. Raw cacao slightly crumbled, and crunchy!
Quick and easy snack to have on hand when you’re out and about, throw into a trail mix, sprinkle onto smoothies, muesli, salads etc.
3. Chocolate Superfood Smoothie.
Type in “chocolate superfood smoothie” on Google and the choices are endless! A particular favourite of mine at the moment is 3 tbsp cacao natural WPI (whey protein isolate), 1 tbsp ABC butter (Almonds, Brazil nuts & cashews), sprinkle of cinnamon, large handful of spinach, ice, 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup coconut water. YUM!
4. Chocolate Mousse.
Because who doesn’t love chocolate mousse!
I’ve tried quite a few different recipes now and this one would have to be my all time favourite! Whisk together 400ml natural coconut cream, 1/2 cup raw cacao powder, 1/4 cup rice malt syrup and 1/4 cup chia seeds. Pour into patty pans/martini glasses whatever looks most appealing to you! Top with favourite superfoods like desiccated coconut, cacao nibs and fresh blueberries. Great quick recipe to whip up for dinner parties.
5. Choc-Banana-Nut Ice Cream.
Ice cream minus the dairy and sugar overload!!
In a food processor or blender combine 3 frozen ripe bananas, 2 tsps raw cacao powder and 1 heaped tbsp natural/organic peanut butter. Serve with favourite superfood toppings. Have this one pre-prepared for those hot summer nights!
6. Green Cacao Energy Balls.
Fruit-free bliss balls for my friends with sensitive tummies.
Mix together 1 tbsp supergreens powder, 6 tbsps ABC butter, 6 tbsps raw cacao powder, 2 tbsps flaxseed meal (alternatively use LSA meal), 2 tbsps coconut oil, 20 drops organic stevia liquid, 2 tbsps rice malt syrup, sprinkle of sea salt and 8 tbsps boiling water for consistency, or as needed. Roll into balls, coat in desiccated coconut and let set in the fridge.
7. Chocolate Protein Fudge.
Mix together 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, 1/2 cup cashew butter, 1/4 cup raw cacao powder, 1/4 cacao natural WPI (whey protein isolate), 1 tbsp rice malt syrup and a pinch of sea salt. Pour batter into a small cake tin or similar and allow base layer to set in freezer for at least half an hour. Mix together 1/4 cup coconut cream + 1/2 of cooled coconut cream and pour over base layer of fudge before leaving to set in freezer.
8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
A healthier take on ‘Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.’
Mix together 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup cacao powder, 1 tbsp rice malt syrup and 2 tbsps coconut cream until smooth. Spoon into patty pans and pop in the freezer for 5 minutes. Spoon in 1/3 tsp of peanut butter (or your favourite nut butter) onto each of the cups, pour remaining chocolate mixture over the top of each, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and refrigerate for at least half an hour before serving or eating.
9. Flourless Chocolate Muffins
Decadently rich, perfect for parties and would also make a great cupcake.
All you need is 4 ingredients.
In a food processor combine 1 cup smooth natural/organic peanut butter, 2 very ripe bananas, 1/4 cup rice malt syrup and 1/3 cup raw cacao powder. Spoon batter into patty pans and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes. You may even like to top these with some dairy-free chocolate chips.
References: iquitsugar.com, nature.com, movenourishbelieve.com, powersuperfoods.com, begoodorganics.com