Chocolate – or, more accurately Theobroma cacao, was the ancient Mayan feel-good food. It was revered by the Mayans, and for good reason. Cacao has the ability to help raise serotonin levels, your feel good hormones, aiding the the relief of anxiety and depression. It also improves circulation, boosts cognitive performance and increases your energy in a sustainable way. It contains more antioxidants than blueberries or kale – which help to mop up the free radicals that invade your system and contribute to inflammation. On top of all this, it contains substantial amounts of iron, potassium and magnesium, with further nutritional elements of calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, carotene, sulfur and EFAs.
But Swiss Miss does not hold a candle to this chocolate. Most commercially available cocoa (not cacao) is heat-processed to aid in producing it on a large scale. If cacao is heated over 120 degrees Fahrenheit it becomes nutritionally void. Think chocolate bars and cocoa powder. So seek out cacao powder, not cocoa powder; they are not really the same.
So because you need more cacao in your life, here is a healthy hot chocolate recipe that combines the benefits of cacao with other nutrients to boost energy and stabilize your mood. If might even replace your morning coffee!
I start with simple hot water and a spoonful of cacao. I add coconut oil for healthy fat to act as a carrier to your cells and cinnamon to stabilize blood sugar. Cardamom boosts circulation and aids in decreasing inflammation.
Turmeric is a great spice that you cannot detect in the chocolate, but adds numerous benefits including decreasing inflammation, combating depression and contributing further antioxidant value. I was lucky enough to find these little roots at my local grocery store, but powdered turmeric works just as well, if not better, for this recipe.
Finally, I sweetened it with either raw local honey or a few drops of stevia. To be honest I much prefer the taste of the honey in this recipe. But use stevia if you want to avoid sugars.
The final secret is to blend – to incorporate all these good ingredients and to produce a smooth, thick, frothy beverage. It is almost like drinking French-style hot chocolate (Chocolate Chaud), with the decadent consistency of warm melty pudding.
Here is the recipe!
Healthy Hot Chocolate
1 c. boiling water
1/4 c. almond milk or plant-based creamer (I like Nut Pods!)
1/2 T. coconut oil
1 T. cacao
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cardamom
1/4 t. turmeric
2 t. honey or a few drops (4-5) of stevia