Photo by Evert-Jan De Kort
“There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.” – Linda Grayson
Cacao (chocolate) is one of the most delicious and healthy superfoods that exist. It is beneficial with PMS symptoms, good for metabolizing glucose, keeping the heart healthy, easing depression (yes, for real) – and it also helps as a delivery agent for many other superfoods like mushrooms, goji berries, and spirulina.
In addition to supporting cardiac health and lifting moods, cacao may even help prevent colon cancer.
In its most natural form, cacao is a seed. Everything chocolate comes from a seed and is called cocoa beans. Chocolate does not have sugar or dairy unless you add it. If you want a delicious, high-energy weight loss food, chocolate is your bean!
Enjoy it raw
There are also many good reasons to eat chocolate only when raw – the oxalic acid and omega 6 fatty acids become problematic when cooked (adding trans fat and oxalates). Luckily, there are a lot of delicious ways to use raw cacao.You can buy nibs, powder, and cacao butter.
One of the special qualities cacao has is to hide the flavour of foods that don’t taste so great. You can eat spirulina with cacao and never even notice it. One of my favourite foods with raw cacao is so easy, healthy and delicious that you won’t believe it. This protein immunity pudding can be added to or subtracted from and you can’t mess it up (exactly what you need in the kitchen). It’s too good for me not to share, so here it is:
Chocolate protein immunity pudding
½ cup coconut milk
1 little chunk of cocoa butter
1 tsp coconut oil
3 tbsp chia seeds
½ cup cacao powder
1 tsp reishi mushroom
1 tsp chaga mushrooms
1 tbsp spirulina
1 handful of spinach
1 handful frozen strawberries
1 handful goji berries
a very small pinch of raw vanilla
bee pollen or cocoa nibs (optional)
Preparation: In a mixer, soak chia seeds with coconut milk for 30 minutes, then add in the rest and blend. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs or bee pollen (both yummy and so healthy).
You can also make maca bars – these are one of my favourite treats! Raw cacao, maca, maple syrup, macadamia nuts, coconut… mmmm. They make a delicious (and good for you!) treat.
You can make protein bars with raw cacao and hemp protein, and a few other wonderful ingredients including coconut oil. There are so many raw goodies you can make with cacao that are really healthy.
The one feeling I can say that I consistently get when eating chocolate is “decadence” – it’s a frivolous and lovely indulgence of the sweetest and healthiest kind.
I make smoothies with cacao, coconut milk, banana, spinach – and that’s it. It is healthy as can be and it tastes delicious! David Wolfe’s recommended moderate daily intake is one cacao bean per 11 to 17 lbs. of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, you could eat about 10 cacao beans a day.
What is your favorite chocolate food? Please share!
Patricia Sliwiany is a board-certified holistic nutritionist and founder of Alive & Aware Holistic Health. To find out more about its programs, please visit http://www.aliveandaware.ca, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-997-2031.