Everywhere I turn lately, I feel like I’m being bombarded by sweets, especially chocolate. My little piece of dark chocolate just wasn’t satisfying my craving for something super rich, decadent, and most importantly – filled with chocolate!
Since being healthy is all about finding balance within your life and not depriving yourself, I made myself a super delicious “chocolate milk shake” that’s loaded with good for you foods! I promise you, drinking this shake will make you feel naughty even though you’re being a perfect angel!
Makes 2 servings
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
3/4 cup water (may need more depending on desired consistency)
1 frozen banana (cut up in chunks)
2-4 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder (you can add more or less depending on how chocolately you want this!)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Omega 3,6,9 with EPA and DHA
Put all ingredients in a blender and voila! You’ve got yourself a chocolate ‘milk shake’ without the milk! Made this way it’s vegan and gluten-free. If you’re feeling spunky, feel free to add peanut butter, top it with some fresh berries, toasted peanuts, or even add some Greek yogurt to make it even more decadent (not for you vegans!) I usually add a 1/2 of an avocado in this to make it even richer, but I’m saving my avocado for some black bean fudge brownies later… oh yes.
Since we’re about to celebrate the “Day of Love” with chocolate, I wanted to share just how healthy chocolate is for your body – always in moderation of course!
Chocolate comes from the seeds of cocoa trees. Surprisingly, the majority of cocoa trees are harvested in the Ivory Coast even though it was in South America where the cocoa plant gained notoriety by the Spanish. History shows that in Costa Rica Mayan traders drank cacao as early as 400 BC and in the Aztec culture cacao was considered sacred. (I can see why!)
Flash forward to today where chocolate is almost everywhere. However, it’s not the pure chocolate that Mayan traders and Aztecs were consuming. If you’re eating candy bars, you’re eating mainly sugar. For example, a single Twix bar has 20 grams of sugar (the recommended daily intake is 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men – which is still A LOT!) By eating these processed varieties of “chocolate” you’re not getting its full benefits! The sugar from these candy bars mainly come from added sugar whereas if you buy a 70% cocoa or higher chocolate bar, you’ll be getting the natural sugar found in the cocoa butter. Yes, it’s still sugar, BUT you’ll be getting the added benefits of this amazing treat.
What Cacao Can Do For You!
Did you know that raw cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world? More than red wine, blueberries, acai, pomegranates, and goji berries? These powerful antioxidants keep you looking young. Chocolate also helps lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and lowers your risk for heart disease (see chocolate is the way to a happy heart!) Due to its fiber rich content, dark chocolate actually fills you up and may even quiet coughs with its powerful ingredient, theobromine. If that’s not enough, chocolate improves blood flow, helping you see and think better. And finally, what may be the best reason of all to have a nibble on some dark chocolate – it makes you happy!
So the next time you’re in the mood for some chocolate, go for a small portion of raw cacao or a dark chocolate bar (70% or higher) and enjoy a gift from nature.
Happy Heart Day!