For the Love of Cocoa Powder
Guest blog by Simona in Marketing – and her feelings off the Crazy Sexy Cleanse.
Today is Day One of “Life after the Crazy Sexy Cleanse”. I can’t tell you how clear-headed I felt with all these vegetables and lack of processed foods! Technically I started this cleanse a day early so that I could end a day early. This allowed me eating freedom at a family brunch and dinner yesterday without being the one who “isn’t eating anything”. Well, I had little bites of everything yesterday: decaf coffee, eggs, meat, seafood, bread and butter, flavored sparkling water. Whoa. Let me tell you how much those little bites added up to how not-clear-headed I’m feeling today. (Not to mention my skin broke out…oye!)
Prior to this adventure cleanse, I suspected what I eat (or don’t eat enough of) affects the way my brain functions. This seems like common sense to me, but the actual experience of feeling the difference drives home the fact that my diet directly affects the way my brain functions. That, my fellow wellness warriors, is enough to keep me in pursuit of a lifelong health journey.
Over the course of the cleanse, I made a point to avoid taking detours because I knew I could make it through – it was just 3 weeks, right? (I’ve done it before for a longer period of time and was stricter!) Well the one thing I found myself wanting really really bad was chocolate. When I say chocolate, it’s got to be dark. I’m talking 65% – 80% cocoa. I think just knowing this cleanse allowed detours and cacao, was an enabler for me. Of course I took advantage of this. Cocoa Powder made it into my smoothies a few mornings and I found other ways of indulging “cleanse friendly” of course. Hot Cocoa and Cocoa Almond Butter were weekly affairs.
Kris Carr outlines her tips for controlling craving and beating the “craving cyclone”. I clued into the bullet points that read “Sip some almond milk with cocoa and stevia” and “Enjoy a rice cake with almond butter…” I replaced the stevia with agave, as I find stevia too sweet for my taste.
Even though the CSD suggests a bit of cocoa power, I needed to research the benefits I have been hearing cocoa powder has, you know, to take the guilt out of this pleasure.
- Antioxidants in the form of flavanoids. Antioxidants are chemical substances that can help defend your body’s cells from free radicals. It is claimed to have higher levels of antioxidant flavanoids than green tea, and blueberries.
- The flavanoids in Cocoa powder can improve circulation which can lead to a healthier heart and lower levels of LDL cholesterol by assisting dilation of blood vessels.
- Cocoa Powder also raises levels of serotonin in the brain acting as a mood booster and promoting a sense of well being.
- Cocoa Powder makes an AWESOME soap colorant. =)
I could go on, but I’d rather share how I consume this magic and delicious powder.
Adventure Cleanse friendly Hot Cocoa
INGREDIENTS: 1 serving
8-12 oz Unsweetened Almond Milk (or Unsweetened Coconut or Hemp Milk)
1 to 1-1/2 heaping Tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder (raw is king)
1 to 2 teaspoons Agave (substitute the appropriate amount of stevia)
Cinnamon for sprinkling
- Pour Almond Milk into Sauce pan and heat on Medium until milk is steaming. I do a temp test with my finger. (Please exercise caution!)
- Once Milk is at your perfect temperature, add Cocoa Powder to milk and whisk, whisk, whisk the powder in.
- Pour into your favorite mug. (A preheated mug is deluxe!)
- Add Agave to taste.
- Sprinkle with Cinnamon and ENJOY!
Chocolate Almond Butter
Inspired by this recipe by Oh She Glows, I attempted to make Chocolate Almond Butter to go on my rice cakes. I’ll just leave you with my portrait of a snack instead of boring you with my not so great results. (Visual results… the taste works for me. After 20 minutes had gone by and shy of the promised creaminess, I was worrying about my food processor overheating. I bet if I had just let it go a little longer, the results would have proved amazing.)