Having a sweet pick-me-up after a meal can be healthy and nourishing, even if it feels a little sinful.
Often, meals aren’t complete without something sweet to finish it off. Your end of the deal is to ensure that you continue to nourish your body with healthy foods and beneficial nutrients. Here, you’ll find some treats that will satisfy that sweet tooth and your health.
THE HISTORY & HEALTHY FACTS OF CACAO | Chocolate’s history goes back to the Aztecs. They would pick cacao beans, which grow on the cacao tree, and mix the beans with water to make a very rich, dense and bitter drink. It was then given to the Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortez, who took it home to Spain, where they added sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Chocolate as candy, the way we know it today, was invented in the 1800s.
Though the allure of chocolate is in its taste, which satisfies cravings for fat and carbohydrates, there is a very nourishing reason why we crave it as well: It’s a superfood with plenty of positive effects on the body.
Evidence suggests that cocoa polyphenols act like antioxidants in the body, which is why dark chocolate and raw chocolate are called superfoods. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, D and E, as well as several essential minerals, such as potassium, copper, magnesium and flavonoids. Chocolate can also positively affect our mood hormones. Furthermore, the fat in chocolate has a high concentration of stearic acid, which is a saturated fatty acid that has a neutral effect on cholesterol. This makes it a healthy treat for your heart, but still, less is more.
Of course, we can’t forget about calories. To balance calorie quality with taste, you must use real ingredients and fruit, which outshine your typical candy bar in the health arena. So, here, you’ll see I used raw cacao powder. Of course, it depends on what you do with it. To keep its high antioxidants and other good minerals, I leave it in its raw form to maintain its “status” as a healthy ingredient.
Walnut-Cacao Crunch Truffles
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 tablespoon of raw cacao
1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil
Heat the coconut oil and raw cacao in a pan to melt it slightly. Pour everything in the blender with the walnuts and blend. Next, taste the dough to see if you prefer more sweetness. Continue to roll one large tablespoon of the dough into a small ball. Alternatively, you can serve it as a crunchy,yummy topping to baked apples or coconut ice cream.
Cacao (Chocolate) Mousse
1/2 cup of pure spring water or a nut or oat milk
2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, chili or cayenne
1 and 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste)
Place everything in a blender and blend. Top with something delicious to the eyes and taste; here, I used dried lavender.
Cacao Drink (adult chocolate milk)
3/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup of oat milk
2 tablespoons of raw unsweetened cacao powder
1 whole star of anise
4 whole coffee beans
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
4 ice cubes
Put everything in a blender and blend away. Pour it in a lovely glass, and serve it up with love and smiles.
Baked Apple with Vegan Ice Cream
1/2 an apple per serving
1 scoop of coconut-based vanilla ice cream (vegan and nondairy)
Shaven raw cacao or raw cacao powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the apples in half and cut out the core. Leave the peel on. Put it in the oven, center up. Add a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the baking dish and in the apple. After about 45-60 minutes, serve with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of shaven raw cacao. You can also use a frozen banana mixed with water or coconut milk, which makes a delicious vegan soft serve ice cream.
Jeanette Bronée founded Path for Life in 2004 in hopes of bringing awareness to the healing power of learning how our choices affect us. She established the nine-step online Path for Life Self-Nourishment Program based on her integrative, mind-body approach to nourishment, which she developed over the course of a decade by helping clients transform their relationships with food. In addition to her private coaching practice, Bronée is a writer, recipe developer and motivational speaker with a specialty in emotional eating.
PHOTOGRAPHY | TORKIL STAVDAL
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