For the Love of Cocoa Powder

cocoaFINAL

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cocoa Powder also raises levels of serotonin in the brain acting as a mood booster and promoting a sense of well being.
  4. 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
Mug
Sauce pan
Whisk

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

HotcocoaSTEPS

  1. 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!)
  2. Once Milk is at your perfect temperature, add Cocoa Powder to milk and whisk, whisk, whisk the powder in.
  3. Pour into your favorite mug. (A preheated mug is deluxe!)
  4. Add Agave to taste.
  5. 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.)

snackportrait

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12 Comments

    • says

      Hi Sarah, While no sweetener is exactly good for you, on our quest to cut out sweeteners for this cleanse, we chose to follow the suggestion of the author and use agave or stevia if we felt the need to satisfy a sweet craving. Studies show that Agave has one of the lower glycemic levels (27), we also know that Agave is a processed sweetener. Like everything processed, it is always a must to proceed with caution.

      I’d love it if you would share what you’ve read from your research. I will be doing research of my own to help me choose the right sweetener for those times when I cave and give into my sweet tooth! Thanks!

  1. says

    Chris,

    Yes! I had Crohn’s disease for 25 years, and have been disease free for 8 years since changing my diet.

    Simona, I’ve not tried it myself, but I’ve heard that if you roast nuts before processing them, the oils come out better.

    • says

      Thanks for the tip Chris, I was going for raw this round, but next time I’ll have to try roasting the almonds.

      It’s empowering to hear about people like you overcoming serious ailments with diet change and change from within.

      I recently came across this page on one of my new favorite blogs: http://www.ahouseinthehills.com/crohns-disease/

      Thank you for sharing Chris! =)

  2. Karen Pettinger says

    I wanted to comment on the clear-headedness you mentioned. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I had a bad, round-the-clock case of “fibro-fog”. What I read led me to believe that a yeast overload might be the culprit, so I went on a three week cleanse very similar to yours – a diet that almost completely eliminated all sugar, including fruit, starches, yeast, and anything fermented or pickled. I remember the clarity and the lack of nasal congestion as the two biggest improvements. I am a little ashamed to admit that I decided not to join you in this cleanse because I didn’t think I could drum up the self-discipline. Good for you sticking with it! Hats off!

    • says

      I will continually be amazed at the studies and stories showing diet and disease correlations. At the end of week one, I watched the film Forks over Knives. It was a great boost of encouragement. The next time I feel the need to “reboot” I will be watching this film again and digging out my cleansing books as motivators. Getting started is the biggest hurdle for me, but once that ball is in motion, look out! Good Luck and remember there is always someone out there cleansing. You are not alone =)

  3. says

    I don’t know how many of you know this but diets free of processed foods, high in organic fruits and veggies, and low in red meat, are used to help treat people with auto immune diseses. I have Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and since there are no medical treatments I use diet to help control my syptoms and try to slow the progression. Please continue to share!

    • says

      I recently read an article about a woman with MS and how she changed her diet (she eats according to the paleo diet). She reported reversal of her condition. Amazing! Thank you for sharing and I wish you continued healing.

  4. Ellen says

    OH MY GOD!!!! I may collapse! What a wonderful recipe! Thank you! It’s just what I have been searching for after the cleanse!

    • says

      Oh yay! This will continue to be a source of cocoa in a way to curb my chocolate consumption. I sure don’t want the sugar that is associated with chocolate. Great job on making it through the cleanse!