(It was still winter when I wrote this)
In case you don’t know, the first thing you need to remember about me is that I love to eat. I’m half Italian and I’ve never forgotten my childhood admonition: “Mangia!”
Anyway, it’s a rare snowy day here in Portland, Oregon, and while enjoying a laid-back afternoon watching the snow fall, I got to thinking about hot cocoa. Now, if you know everything about me, you should know that I don’t keep packaged, commercially prepared substitutes for the real thing hanging around. No tear-open-here-and-dump-the-powder into the cup of microwaved hot water for this girl.
Hmmm, what can I create with what I’ve got on hand to satisfy the hot cocoa craving, while simultaneously meeting all my other criteria for contributing to my health and well-being, instead of destroying it? Fortunately for me, I do keep the pantry pretty well stocked with interesting and useful ingredients.
First, I brought down the bag of Mayan super food raw cacao powder. The package states that cacao contains a naturally rich supply of antioxidants, fiber, and is one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium, flavonols and polyphenols, and it has been very carefully sourced! That, and it has zero grams of sugar. Excellent!
Next, I found the raw organic maca powder which, the package explains, comes from a Andean root vegetable that is believed to help increase energy, reduce fatigue and improve libido. It is also an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body to regulate stress and balance hormones. Perfect!!
Oh look! The label even has a recipe for a cacao drink, which gets my creative juices flowing. So, here’s what I came up with (thanks to Earth Circle Organics for the idea).
LUSCIOUS HOT COCOA
2 rounded tsp. raw organic cacao powder
1 tsp. raw organic maca powder
1 tsp. organic coconut palm sugar
Pinch Celtic sea salt
6 oz. boiling water
¼ tsp. natural vanilla extract
2 Tbs. organic heavy whipping cream, almond or full-fat coconut milk
In a small saucepan, I mixed the cacao powder, maca powder and coconut palm sugar (which is low-glycemic) and a pinch of naturally harvested Celtic salt. I added – very slowly, stirring all the while – the boiling water and let that simmer together for a few seconds.
After I took the pan off the heat, I added vanilla extract and a splash of organic whipping cream (not ultrapasteurized). You could use non-dairy milk like almond or coconut if you like, or leave it out altogether. But I like the additional (healthy) fat to help slow down the absorption of sugar. The finished drink had about five grams of sugar total and was oh-so-satisfying!
So, you ask, what the heck are flavonols and polyphenols good for? Well, both of these help fight aging and prevent disease. Flavonols help support healthy circulation and keep the arteries flexible and may also have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. Polyphenols are believed to help lower cholesterol. They work as antioxidants that prevent cellular damage in the body (hence, the powerful age-and-disease-fighting ability).
Who knew that age-fighting could be so much fun? And, yes, I can feel the benefits kicking in already! Woooohooooo!