You guys, we've been duped. All this time we've been led to believe all the delicious things have to be "bad for us."
It's not true.
And this healthy homemade hot chocolate proves it so.
Though, I much prefer the words nutritious... nutrient dense... even superfoods.
Cause, you know, healthy is sorta subjective... and a little loaded. Anyhow....
Lately I've been making this healthy homemade hot chocolate recipe that's just four ingredients, all of which are real, whole foods (who woulda thought!).
This puts Swiss Miss to shame. Though I haven't found a replacement yet for those cute little marshmallows I used to love eating with a spoon...
Because this recipe uses quality cacao (more on that down below) it's richer. And using whole food sweeteners like dates and maple syrup add sweetens with minerals that have health benefits, too. Plus a much gentler effect on blood sugar.
The secret is using raw cacao powder. Note: this is different from most cocoa powder you find in the grocery store baking aisle or that you may already have at home for traditional baking.
Raw cacao is processed at much lower temperatures so more of the enzymes, minerals and antioxidants stay in tact. Cocoa powder (typically used in baking) is roasted at higher temperatures so it loses most (up to 90%) of it's nutrients. The roasting makes it sweeter too; raw cacao is more bitter.
Raw cacao is rich in magnesium. BTW, have you ever heard that frequent chocolate cravings can signal a magnesium deficiency? Or maybe you notice you crave it more at times when your body requires more magnesium (ie. right before your period or under stress)...
Cacao contains an endocannabinoid that's known as the "bliss molecule" that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body. This is why pure chocolate can have a similar effect to CBD oil in the body.
Cacao has 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries.
And it has more calcium than cow's milk.
Cacao is known as a heart opener and has been used ceremonially for thousands of years to connect with the heart and people around you.
Note, you want to make sure you're getting a high quality, organic raw cacao. Testing has shown cacao is easily contaminated with heavy metals, particularly lead and cadmium. Choosing organic is one way to lessen exposure.
My favorites is Terrasoul.
If you're avoiding chocolate...
There was a time when I was following the autoimmune paleo protocol and I avoided chocolate (so hard, I know). That's when I discovered carob. It's very similar to cacao though much sweeter.
I like using this carob powder sometimes when I make hot chocolate for the kids, especially if it's later in the day or evening so we can skip the caffeine (yes, chocolate has caffeine!).
Carob is made from dried, roasted carob tree pods. It looks identical to cacao powder. It can be used as an alternative to chocolate in all sorts of things you'd use chocolate in - brownies, cakes, smoothies, etc.
Did someone say mushrooms?
Now if you really want to get crazy, add some mushrooms to your hot chocolate. It sounds weird, I know. Hear me out though...
This drink makes a great delivery mechanism for other superfoods and adaptogens.
You could add some mushrooms like chaga (immune support), cordyceps (stamina, anti-aging), reishi (immune support) or Lion's mane (brain health). (note: some of these are not advised if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, have a blood disorder, low blood pressure or will be under going surgery). In general these mushrooms have many health benefits including being anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. (As always, do your own research before adding a supplement and consult your doctor if you're concerned about a health condition.)
Or throw in a little ashwaganda, an adaptogen that helps your body adapt to stressors and handle stress better.
Start out experimenting with what you've got in your cabinet already, like cinnamon, nutmeg or a drop of peppermint oil. You can make so many different types of delicious bevies using this recipe as a base. Have fun!
Have fun doctoring it up. And know you're nourishing your body in the most delicious of ways.
Healthy Homemade Hot Chocolate
- 4 cups plant-based milk (coconut, almond, cashew)
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder (can also use carob powder)
- 2 dates
- 1 tsp vanilla
- maple syrup (optional, to taste)
- Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to medium pot and heat over medium heat until bubbling, not boiling. Remove from heat before it gets to a boil. Pour into two mugs. Optional: top with coconut whip cream (see link below for recipe)
Optional: top with dairy-free whipped cream.
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Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.