We wanted to make a cup of rich hot chocolate that was better for you AND actually tasted good. Well, after some experimenting with different ingredients, according to my boys, we did it! We wanted to create a recipe that would make one cup at a time because you never know when a Michigan day will prompt you to make a quick cup. Plus, I think they wanted to have a cup as an after school treat more often and they knew if we could make it supportive, I would be happy to oblige.
We choose to use organic cacao powder in our hot chocolate recipe. Did you notice the spelling? Yes, cacao and cocoa are have two different meanings.
Cocoa is what is in most hot chocolate packages and stores. Cocoa has been roasted and chemically processed, which destroys most of the antioxidants and flavonols. These antioxidants and flavonols support your body, so it is a shame they roast the bean.
Then we learned, cocoa is treated with an exuberant amount of pesticides and usually contains GMOs. Basically, cocoa has been stripped of most of the benefits and has toxins added to it. Ugh.
To make it even worse, most cocoa is grown in indigenous areas where people are paid extremely low wages and in many areas child labor is used to grow the product. Now, I know you are thinking what I was thinking. This last bit of knowledge ruined the taste for chocolate, right? Well, you can look for the fair trade chocolate symbol on chocolate products to avoid this unfair treatment to people.
Now, lets take a look at the health benefits to cacao. Here are our top five reasons in the order we loved them.
First, magnesium. Did you know that cacao is one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium? Magnesium is a mineral that many of us are deficient in. Magnesium is essential for supporting cardiovascular health, proper brain function, migraine relief and sleep support. There is a book The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Carolyn Dean that you may be interested in reading. Our middle guy needs this mineral, so we love giving it to him in this yummy form!
Second, calcium. Raw cacao has more calcium than milk! Yes, I said it. Do your research. You will be amazed at what you learn when you empower yourself and take control of your health. You may even stop drinking milk after you research it.
Third, it is a good source of serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine which are four mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Through research we have learned that it is likely when our bodies are placed under stress we may turn to chocolate for the flavonoids to elevate our mood. I mean, it is pretty cool our body may be trying to tell us something through a craving. And, in all honesty, what a great way to support a ‘little happy’ in your day. Finally, it tastes so darn good. I know I smile when I have some dark chocolate!
Fourth, the ORAC score of cacao was significantly greater than blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate powder on a per gram basis. AN ORAC score measures the antioxidant values of foods. Of course we all know the Young Living NingXia Red Supplement is a great source for this, but cacao was higher than most commonly known foods we eat for the antioxidant value. About 40 times higher than blueberries and we have all seen the amazing marketing for blueberries and the antioxidants they contain.
But why do we need antioxidants? Well antioxidants, in so many words, help you flush out the junk in your body. Think of car. If we plugged the exhaust, it wouldn’t run properly and eventually, it wouldn’t run at all. If we don’t have antioxidants to flush out our body’s exhaust, we wouldn’t run properly and eventually…
Fifth, it is an excellent source of plant-based iron. It is a little more than double per gram than spinach! If you are looking for a vegan way to get more iron, this may be a yummy way! Vitamin C helps iron to absorb in your body, so maybe add a little NingXia Red or fresh squeezed orange juice with some cacao.
Now that I have told you about some of the benefits, I will share our recipe.
One Cup of Hot Cacao Ingredients:
- 2 TB of Raw Organic Cacao Powder for a very rich tasting cup or 1 TB for a milkier version closer to a store bought packet. I would start with one and add a second to taste.
- 1-2 TB of Sweetener (Agave, Stevia, Raw Organic Sugar, Maple Sugar…)
- 1.5 to 2 cups of Clean Water or Dairy Free Milk Product (less water is richer tasting)
- A small pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
- Peppermint Vitality Oil (Optional)
- Place all dry ingredients in the cup.
- Pour the hot water or warmed dairy free milk product.
- Add the optional drop of YL Peppermint Vitality.
One last note. I am sure you are wondering why would you may want to add the Young Living Peppermint Vitality? Well, first because peppermint and chocolate taste so darn good together. But honestly, peppermint vitality can support your digestive system and it supports brain function also! I mean, this cup of hot cacao with peppermint vitality is one amazing sweet treat with so many supportive benefits! It’s a treat I don’t mind making my kids before tackling homework, after a rainy soccer game or while we look at holiday lights.
Cheers to Good Health,