I confess- I am in love…with raw cacao and dark chocolate. (Not to be confused with cocoa powder, which is involves roasting cacao at high temperatures). Whether it’s blended up in a delicious smoothie, used in my favorite dessert recipe, eaten on the go in a dark chocolate square, or especially as warm delicious homemade hot chocolate, it’s a powerful food in my diet. I even use raw cacao mixed into my morning cup of coffee!
Dark chocolate is crave worthy for a reason. It provides beneficial minerals to the body along with its delicious taste. Cacao is known to improve mood by stimulating bliss chemicals, alleviating stress with supportive magnesium, and has additional naturally occurring minerals like iron, copper, and manganese. No wonder us ladies tend to crave it around our period as the body’s way of asking for mineral and mood support! Not to mention it provides a nice dose of fiber and powerful antioxidants.
Now, in order to achieve those benefits, we can’t eat just any chocolate – Nor do I recommend consuming a chocolate bar a day, but you CAN take advantage of the medicinal qualities of dark chocolate in a healthy and satisfying way. You just need to know what to look for!
UPGRADE YOUR CHOCOLATE AND SHOPPING WISELY
Be sure the brand is at least 70% or higher in cacao content. Read the ingredients label and avoid added milk, especially if you’re sensitive. Aim for 5 recognizable ingredients or less. The less sugar per serving the better, ideally from stevia, raw honey, or a bit of coconut sugar. It’s best buy raw organic cacao powder so that you can add it to recipes and make your own clean treat.
This Valentine’s Day, treat yourself and someone you love to high quality dark chocolate and you’ll feel the physical and mental rewards. You may even find yourself falling in love with raw cacao like me.
Here are my favorite recipes with cacao to help you get started, and an example of a high quality raw cacao powder you can use for these delicious options:
Chocolate mousse with Chili pepper kick!
I’ve admittedly eaten chocolate mousse for breakfast because it provides a great source of healthy fat AND the stimulating cacao first thing in the morning. Get the recipe, here.
Homemade Hot Cocoa
I’ll throw this in my thermos for the perfect mid afternoon pick-me-up and treat on a cold wintery day. Get the recipe, here.
Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate (70% cacao)
If you’re avoiding sugar altogether, but still want a little square here and there. Get it, here.