It’s Easter time and although we have been looking down the barrel of Easter eggs in supermarkets since January, in the most part chocolate benders are harnessed to the Easter long weekend.
Chocolate is a wonderful thing, but when you hear the benefits of chocolate, don’t be caught up in thinking this is referring to the standard store-bought milk varieties. The studies that boast of chocolate’s amazing health benefits are referring to an ingredient in dark chocolate called raw cacao.
I add the taste of chocolate into my snacks daily, but without the guilt and here’s how.
Cacao powder is packed with nutrients, magnesium, iron, antioxidants and polyphenols to help support your health every day. It is also rich in antioxidants for whole body protection, supports your natural immunity, is high in magnesium to support healthy muscles, heart and stress levels, a good source of iron for energy plus a source of fibre for digestive health
The biggest plus for me is it naturally contains neurotransmitters that boost your mood – a bit like coffee does but without the effects of caffeine. Be careful not to confuse raw cacao for baking cocoa with the latter being processed and roasted at high temperatures (rather than cold pressed). Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value of cocoa.
5 ways to add chocolate into your life, the healthy way
Try making cacao and chia seed bliss balls which require no baking, take next to no time and store forever in the freezer. You can also add protein powder just to pack a real punch in the protein stakes. There is quite a lot of natural sugars from dried fruit in bliss balls so protein aids in slowing down the release of these sugars into the bloodstream and to prolong satiety.
A cacao chia seed pudding is loaded to the brim with goodness and boasts the superfood chia seed. Chia seeds are cute little morsels full of omega- 3 fatty acids and have more antioxidants than blueberries (that is a lot. They work to promote cellular repair, maintain healthy blood pressure, and balance your sugar levels, with the bonus of helping us feel fuller for longer. Soak the seeds overnight in coconut milk (1:4 ratio) cocoa powder and honey. YUM!
A chocolate smoothie using raw cacao is always welcome and a nutrient dense way to fill up with heaps of fibre, energy and antioxidants. To a cup of milk of your choice add raw cacao, chia seeds, oats, bananas and honey.
Coconut roughs are made by processed together dates, coconut, cacao powder and almond meal. They remind me of the ones you buy in the confectionary aisle that are full of saturated fat, sugar and well not much else. These are protein packed with the addition of almond meal but not overpowered by them.
These recipes can be found through my website or alternatively google one to your liking. Once you have the know-how and ingredients to make your own healthy chocolate treats, you will no longer crave conventional chocolate but rather enjoy it in its most pure state.
My date, cocoa and chia seed bliss balls are super easy to make with no baking, take next to no time and store forever in the freezer. I also add protein powder just to pack a real punch in the protein stakes. There is quite a lot of natural sugars from the dates in this recipe so the protein aids in slowing down the release of the sugars into the bloodstream and to prolong satiety.
My Sticky cacao chia pudding is loaded to the brim with goodness and boasts the new superfood chia seed. This cute little morsel is full of omega- 3 fatty acids and more antioxidants than blueberries (that is a lot;). They work to promote cellular repair, maintain healthy blood pressure, and balance your sugar levels.
This smoothie is full to the brim of superfood goodness and is nutrient dense with heaps of fibre, energy and antioxidants. The maca powder is an addition which helps with endurance and is a is a powerful adaptogen. This means it is great to support our system to better cope with stress and balance hormones in male and females. This is more of a breakfast smoothie and is super thick as the chia seeds absorb the milk. If you want something a little more hardy just add a 1/4 cup muesli.
Raw coconut rough
I call this recipe coconut roughs because the taste reminds me of the ones you buy in the confectionary aisle that are full of saturated fat, sugar and well not much else. These are protein packed with the addition of almonds but not overpowered by them because I didn’t want something chock full of nuts (I eat enough of them already during the day).
Once you have the ingredients, then it is super easy and much more pure than conventional chocolate which contains mainly animal fats and processed sugars.
Cocoa butter is the duck’s nuts (it can be pricey) of chocolate and comes from the cacao bean. It is a good source of Vitamin E and has essential fatty acids Omega-6 and monounsaturated Omega-9 (oleic acid, like olive oil) as well as stearic acid – an unusual fat in that it neither increases nor decreases blood cholesterol.