Saturday, January 25, 2014

Super Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe

Photo copyright NaturalNats.com
This year winter has been a really cold one in Minnesota.  -35 degree wind chills now sound normal here.

With all the nasty cold it's really nice to be able to come inside to a delicious cup of hot chocolate!

Store bought brands have so many unhealthy ingredients (like trans fats, artificial sweeteners and chemical preservatives).  There has to be a way to enjoy hot chocolate and still be healthy.



I've been searching long and hard for months now looking for a great hot chocolate recipe to share with you all, and I'm happy to announce I've finally found one!

The recipe had to meet some very specific requirements.  It has to first of all taste good (because no body wants to drink yucky hot chocolate, and believe me I tried a couple of yucky recipes), secondly it has to be healthy, and third I didn't want it to cause a spike in blood sugar because that makes people crave more sweets.

The recipe has two main ingredients which are cacao powder and coconut sugar, with a bonus add in of vanilla extract.



Cacao (pronounced "ka-cow") is healthy because it is the unrefined form of cocoa powder.  You know how you're always hearing about how chocolate can be healthy for you?  What makes certain chocolates healthy is if they are made with cacao instead of the processed version called cocoa.

Raw cacao is a super food packed with nutrients!  Cacao is loaded with antioxidants (even more than wine) which fight off free radicals from damaging your cells, and it's a great source of magnesium which many people are deficient in.  The flavonoids can help your body process nitric oxide which can improve blood flow, can help improve heart health and lower blood pressure, and increase blood flow to the brain.

Coconut sugar is the new kid on the block in the sweetener world and is made from the sap of coconut flowers.  I chose to use this awesome sugar for several reasons.  One it has a low glycemic index, which means it won't spike your blood sugar.

Two, it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids like glutamine.  Glutamine is very important for metabolic function and "can also be effective for healing of wounds and injuries, building up the immune system, treating inflammatory bowel syndrome, helping with HIV/AIDS patients and possibly aid in the treatment of cancer."  (source)

From what I've read the glycemic index is low enough that it is considered safe for diabetics to use.  When I used other sugars in the recipe they caused me to crave more sweets, but because the glycemic index is so low (only 35) in coconut sugar I haven't had that problem.

I was able to buy the coconut sugar at Trader Joe's for $3.99 for 16 oz. (a really good deal), and although I bought the cacao at my local health food store, the best price on cacao powder seems to be at amazon.com.


Super Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe!

1 cup Coconut Sugar
1/2 cup of Cacao Powder
Vanilla Extract (optional)
Milk (almond, coconut, or cow milk)

Put the coconut sugar and cacao powder in a jar and shake until they are well mixed.

Heat up 6 oz. of milk for each person.  Once the milk is warm (don't boil or it will burn on the pan) then turn the heat off.

Put in 2 Tbls. of the cacao sugar mixture for each person, then stir until it's well dissolved.  Add a few drops of vanilla extract for each person.


Pour into cups, and enjoy the healthy deliciousness!  :)

Pin It for later:  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/245024035950825122/


Sources:
http://blogs.webmd.com/food-and-nutrition/2013/07/health-benefits-of-cacao.html
http://www.mnn.com/food/beverages/stories/7-health-benefits-of-drinking-hot-cocoa
http://www.naturalnews.com/042968_coconut_sugar_low_glycemic_B_vitamins.html

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