Posts Tagged ‘raw cacao’

Super Simple Raw Chocolate Cups Recipe

Raw Chocolate Recipes

Here’s a quick raw chocolate recipe that you can’t do wrong!

You take some raw cacao butter, mix it with raw cacao powder, add some stevia (or raw honey) and bam! You’ve got healthy chocolate.

Let me take you by the hand and show you exactly how this would work.

Raw Chocolate Cups Ingredients

How to Make Raw Chocolate

  1. First, shred the cacao butter. I used a cheese grater to break up the solid cacao butter. Cacao butter melts at 34.1 °C (93.4 °F), which is still raw woohoo!
  2. Now melt the cacao butter by putting the shredded cacao in a bowl, and putting this bowl in a bigger bowl that is filled with warm water. Be patient.
  3. After the cacao is melted, add the dry cacao powder. Add the dry or wet sweetener (I prefer stevia or raw honey here) and mix well.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate mix into small silicone cups. Here’s where you can get creative! Add nuts, dry fruit, coconut flakes, or any other goodies.
  5. Put the cups in the refrigerator or freezer to harden. Then take your yummy chocolates out, pop them out of the cups and store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator.

Click to see silicone cups

Bonus! If you use stevia you’re making a super healthy chocolate, that does not spike your blood sugar at all. Truly guilt-free and yummy chocolate is possible.

Want More Yummy Raw Dessert Recipes?

Then check out my free ebook called “28 Desserts You Can Eat Every Day“.

Comment below and let me know what your favorite raw chocolate “additions” are! Whether it’s dry fruit, fresh fruit, coconut, nuts… I want to know!

Love, Nathalie

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Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Chocolate?

healthy-chocolate-raw
Photo by Akico

Chocolate is such a controversial topic, with new contradictory studies and anecdotes being published regularly.

So the question at this point really comes down to this: are you eating chocolate because you like it and you feel good when you eat it, or are you doing it because you think it’s healthy?

Keep reading to find out whether there is such a thing as healthy chocolate… and then I’ll encourage you to choose whether to eat chocolate or not based on your own feelings about it.

Want a Healthy Heart and Long Life? Eat Chocolate.

But not just any chocolate! I think it’s important to highlight the benefits of chocolate without getting sucked into the hype of chocolate marketers… especially those companies that use lots of fillers and give you so little “real chocolate”.

Here are a few snippets that might encourage you to pursue healthy chocolate as part of a joyful lifestyle.

Jeanne Calment is the longest documented living woman in the world. She lived to be 122, which in itself might seem a little insane.

The really incredible part is that she claims her long life is due to eating and applying olive oil to her skin, drinking port wine, and eating nearly 1 kilo of chocolate per week. Now that’s a LOT of chocolate. Read her story here.

Recently, a friend and colleague of mine Carlene Monson sent me a sampler of healthy chocolates, and shared a very interesting story with me. Her husband started eating healthy chocolate and a few months later had his blood pressure and cholesterol tested again. The results were great, his doctor was amazed at how much better both his numbers were.

They’ve got chocolate to thank for these changes. Not just any chocolate though, but healthy chocolate that is cold pressed and packed with antioxidents. Keep reading to find out more about healthy chocolate.

Got Chocolate Cravings?

I want to emphasize that chocolate cravings are definitely a real phenomenon. Let’s look at what happens when you eat chocolate.

First you experience a shift in mood because chocolate releases feel good brain chemicals. You may also experience satisfaction from the mix of fat and sugar, great texture and taste.

On top of that you may be eating chocolate to supplement your diet unknowingly. I see it time and again: women eat more chocolate at certain times during the month when their hormones are fluctuating. Chocolate is high in magnesium which is important before or during a woman’s menstruation.

If you feel like your chocolate cravings are out of control you might want to shift the type of chocolate you are eating to a more pure form. It might be your body crying out for more of the minerals in chocolate but getting too many fillers instead. You might also need help managing your cravings.

What is Raw Chocolate?

cacao-pod
Photo by Nick Hobgood

Raw chocolate, also commonly know as raw cacao or even raw cocoa, is basically cold pressed cacao beans.

The Theobroma Cacao tree is a small evergreen tree that grows in tropical regions of the world. The photo to the right shows the cacao pod or fruit, which contains the cacao beans that are used to make chocolate.

Raw chocolate is essentially the cacao beans ground down to a powder, or sometimes also sold as nibs. You can also get your hands on cold pressed cacao butter, which is the healthy-oil part of the bean.

David Wolfe spoke at great length about raw chocolate and the benefits of eating chocolate for minerals. I’ve definitely felt the effect of eating healthy chocolate in my life, and must admit that it’s something I choose to enjoy regularly.

The Difference Between Dark Chocolate and Raw Chocolate

cacao-beans
Cacao Beans – Photo by Chrissy Gombos

The difference between raw chocolate and “regular” dark chocolate is that it has not been heated.

Traditional “candy bar” chocolates contain very little cacao and in fact are mostly fillers. Some of the worst aspects of regular chocolates is that they are filled with sugar and allergens like dairy, soy, and other unrecognizable filler products.

If you’re going to eat chocolate that isn’t raw (in a pinch or because you can’t get your hands on raw chocolate) then definitely make sure it is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is by far a better choice than a sugary “cheap” substitute.

Dark chocolate is generally made with cacao that has been processed with heat, which is what is called “dutched” chocolate. This process helps the cacao powder hold together as what we commonly know as the chocolate bar “feel”.

With that in mind, I’ve seen the best results when eating truly raw chocolate. You might be wondering how you can eat cacao powder… certainly not by the dry spoonful, right?!

Well with raw chocolate powder and raw cacao butter you can make your own raw chocolate fudge, cookies, brownies, and shakes. You can also purchase premade raw chocolate bars that contain far more actual cacao than any other bars out there on the market.

Where to Buy Raw Chocolate

I’ve got a few raw chocolate recipes in my free ebook called “28 Desserts You Can Eat Every Day“. You’ll need some basic raw chocolate ingredients, and here they are:

  • Navitas Naturals Raw Chocolate Powder: This is my go-to raw cacao powder for making smoothies, brownies, and chocolate puddings too.
  • Organic Raw Chocolate Nibs: If you’re looking for “chocolate chip” alternatives, this is what you need. Crunchy and great to add a different texture to raw ice creams and trail mix.
  • Raw Cacao Butter: If you’re looking to make your own decadent raw chocolates or raw fudge, then this is the healthy fat of the cacao that you’re looking for.
  • Raw Cacao Powder by Ultimate Superfoods: Although I’m a big fan of Navitas, I’ve recently tried the Ultimate Superfoods brand and I gotta say I’m loving this cacao powder. It’s got a slightly different taste and texture and I’m really loving it.
dark-cacao-truffles

Or, if you want to go straight for the raw chocolate bars and truffles, these are some of my favorites:

Do You Love Chocolate?

Leave a comment below and let me know whether you love chocolate or not. I know chocolate is not for everyone – it’s toxic for dogs, and my boyfriend likes to joke that he must be a dog because he can’t stand chocolate.

Take this article with a grain of salt and check in with your heart at this point.

If eating chocolate doesn’t appeal to you, or you feel jittery and stressed after you eat it, then it’s not for you. On the other hand if you feel good when you eat chocolate, then keep doing what works for you. We’re all different!

So are you more chocolate or vanilla?

Love, Nathalie

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Healthy Desserts: 28 Healthy Dessert Recipes in the Raw

In my article on healthy foods vs. unhealthy foods I mentioned that there are certain foods that we all agree to be healthy. Desserts tend to fall in the unhealthy food category.

kiwi-colorful
Photo by Klaus Post

Somehow we inherently know that eating too many desserts and sweets is not good for us. Either we’ve been told this growing up, or we just don’t feel so good after we overindulge our sweet tooth.

Why do we crave sweets and desserts?

Since I’ve got a wicked sweet tooth, I thought it would be interesting to investigate why it is that we crave sweets and desserts. (Or at least some of us.)

Sweetness is an Indication that Food is Edible

I was speaking to my dad about this the other day and he mentioned reading an article about sweets that said sugar is an indication that food is not a poison.

This made sense to me, if something tastes sweet then it is probably safe to eat. Think of eating bitter unripe fruit, you immediately get a bad taste in your mouth and push it away. However if the fruit is ripe, it is sweet and edible.

I’m sure this doesn’t apply across the board, and that there are exceptions to this rule. But I can accept the fact that we use our taste-buds and the sweetness factor of a food to determine whether to eat it or not.

The Bacteria/Yeast Connection

Another reason I believe we are big on eating sugar and sweets is the connection between bacteria and yeast. I don’t want to get too deep into this topic, but I have observed it in my own body.

At one point the balance of beneficial bacteria in my gut had been broken and there was an overgrowth of yeast. I’m not talking about female yeast infections here, because anyone can have too much yeast and not enough beneficial bacteria.

I noticed that whenever I ate lots of sugar, I had a huge rash on my stomach. That was the yeast flourishing. Yuck much? Luckily, I knew there were alternatives to traditionally high sugar sweets and desserts.

Can Healthy Desserts Really Exist?

The short answer is yes! Why else would I “give up” my old favorites, if I couldn’t have something equally delicious?

Healthy Desserts That Taste Good

Healthy desserts get a bad rap. Think of desserts made without any sugar, and these seem bland, granola, a little boring.

But what if you could get the richest, most decadent of desserts without all the junk that most processed desserts come with? It’s totally possible with raw, naturally sweetened desserts.

A Healthy Dessert Doesn’t Mean Just Fruit

28 Desserts You Can Eat Every Day

Okay, you might be thinking that the only thing raw foodies can eat for dessert is fruit. Fortunately, there’s a lot more to raw desserts than fruit.

Take a look at these:

  • raw chocolate puddings
  • raw apple pies
  • raw fudge
  • raw ice cream
  • raw cup cakes
  • raw brownies

28 Desserts You Can Eat Every Day

I’ve put together free a downloadable ebook called “28 Desserts You Can Eat Every Day”. Yep, that’s right I’m giving it away for free!

Grab your free copy of the 28 Desserts You Can Eat Every Day ebook now.

Feel free to share this ebook with all of your friends and family. I really want as many people as possible to experience these healthy desserts.

Because it’s time for us have our cake and eat it too. After all, health is wealth and what would our life be without a little treat now and then?

Get your dessert fix here.

Love, Nathalie

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How to Overcome Cookie Cravings – The Old Fashioned Way

Every now and then I do something silly for the love of cookies. If you read my going raw story, you know that my mom called me the cookie monster when I was growing up.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Temptations

This story starts a few days ago, when my grandmother brought over some chocolate chip cookies that she baked. We’re next door neighbors, so this kind of thing happens quite a bit. Especially since my grandfather is in the hospital and she can’t eat all the food she prepares.

Addicted to Cookies
Photo by Hannah Webster

So, there were chocolate chip cookies on the counter in my kitchen for a few days. I resisted the temptation, mostly by moving the cookies to a corner that I don’t go to very often.

Eventually all the cookies were eaten by my family members. I thought I had reached a safe harbor. Except, that in my mind I kept having this picture of me making home made cookies in the oven as a kid.

My favorite homemade cookies were oatmeal cookies. Now, I didn’t want to follow the recipes that I used to follow, because of all the sugar, and non-vegan ingredients.

A Raw Experiment: Baking in the Raw?!

So the thought of baking cookies stayed in my head for a few days. Until this morning, I woke up with a feeling of determination about trying to make healthy baked cookies. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but let’s just say my experiment wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped.

I blended a banana and a pear, along with some almond milk, some dates, some vanilla, and spices. I figured I should put something “traditional” to make it bake, so I added baking soda, and some olive oil.

Then I mixed in some oats, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and raisins. I put these in the oven in little cookie shapes and waited to see what would happen. Somehow, a little voice inside of me told me that it would taste better if I put them in the dehydrator. But I was really going for that “warm gooey home made cookie” feeling I had as a child.

When I took the cookies out of the oven, they looked and smelled really good. Unfortunately, the texture was a little like mushy sponges. Not that I’m against sponges or anything, but I think the dehydrator might have done a better job. ;)

The Moral of The Story

raw-vegan-cookies
Photo by Lali Masriera

When you’re craving something, it’s perfectly okay to indulge yourself! I mean, if I hadn’t tried to make these almost-raw-vegan cookies in the oven, I never would have known that they wouldn’t turn out. (Edit: My family thinks the cookies are pretty good, so it’s not a waste!)

Oh, and another moral… place the dehydrator in an easy to access spot (not in the back of the closet) so that when a hankering for raw cookies hits you, you can just put them in and forget about it.

So there you have it. Raw girl tries to bake raw cookies in the oven, and decides to go back to smoothies and dehydrated snacks. For now.

I don’t believe in labels, and if you see the words “raw food” here a lot its because I eat a predominately raw diet, but sometimes I have human moments. (Oh, and search engines like labels, so there you have it.) I’m sure you have human moments too. :)

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Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Fudge

Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Raw Vegan Fudge
This delicious recipe is brimming with colorful antioxidants & superfoods!

One of the things that I don’t miss after going raw, are conventional deserts. I used to be the candy and cake girl, but now I no longer feel guilty to indulge my sweet tooth.

There are tons of healthy raw vegan desert recipes, and it’s just a matter of trying them out. I filmed this video to show you how to make this zesty Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Fudge!

The Ingredients

Grind the dried goji berries up first, then place all the other ingredients into the food processor except for the soaked goji berries and the orange zest. (If you used raw cashews instead of raw cashew butter, then grind those up before adding the rest of the ingredients.)

Then place your mixture into a serving bowl and hand mix the soaked goji berries and orange zest. Set the fudge to cool in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving. Garnish with the slices of your zested orange, and enjoy!

The Tools You’ll Need

If you have a high speed blender like a Vita-mix, then you can make the whole recipe in your Vitamix. However, you can just as easily make this recipe in your food processor. My recommended food processor is the KitchenAid 700-Watt 12-Cup Food Processor.

You can buy this food processor from Amazon, where it has a 4.5/5 star rating!

Also, you might want to pick up an orange zester that is better than the one I used in my video. It took me quite awhile to zest that whole orange, so I think you’d be better off using something like the Chef’n PalmZester Citrus Zester. Just saying.

Let Me Know How You Like It

If you’ve gotten the chance to make this recipe, then please let me know how you enjoyed it. I’m always looking for feedback and ideas on how to tweak recipes or create new ones. :)

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