As passionate as most people are about chocolate, I have never been one to really care
that much about it.
Sure, I love to enjoy a dark chocolate bar from time to time, but I had never experimented
with raw cacao powder in my kitchen at all.
While browsing the shelves at a well-respected health food store, I noticed a package of organic
cacao powder and decided to buy it.
When I got home, I stuck it into my pantry with thoughts of using it right away to make some of
the yummy chocolate creations I have seen or tasted.
Life interceded and that did not happen until one day I stopped by one of my favorite raw, vegan
restaurants–a cozy spot located in the heart of the East Village.
I had already eaten a hearty dinner, so I didn’t need anything heavy.
But I still had a desire–room–for a healthy dessert.
After browsing their menu, I decided to try their Raw Cacao Pudding.
This dark, sweet, creamy concoction was topped with coconut cream and cacao nibs.
It was love at first bite.
When I got home I was determined to try mind hand at creating a healthy, raw, chocolate dessert
of my own.
I fetched that package of cacoa powder from the pantry shelf and scoured the kitchen for other
ingredients to create with.
Previously, I had read several articles about the health benefits of chocolate and so I approached this
project without a bit of guilt.
Health Benefits of Cacao Powder
Cacao provides numerous health benefits especially for the cardiovascular and immune systems.
1. Improves Mood
Cacao powder provides “legendary” mood-elevating effects due to chemicals, such as endorphins,
stimulants, phenylethylamine, and serotonin, which can help improve your mood.
2. High in Antioxidants
Cacao powder is high in flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that cause cell damage and increase your risk of developing
3. Lowers High Blood Pressure
Chocolate may help to lower ‘’bad’’ cholesterol level and raise ‘’good’’ cholesterol level when used
This also helps to lower your risk of developing heart complications.
The magnesium in cacao powder helps to lower high blood pressure by improving blood circulation
4. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Because they are rich in flavonoids which help with circulation, cacao powder can improve the
function of the heart–preventing the development of heart attacks and strokes.
Chocolate’s benefits are too often far outweighed by the negative consequences of the fat and refined
sugar we often pair with our raw cacoa powder.
We can’t go around overindulging on sugary chocolate bars, however, there are many healthful
ways to add cacoa powder to your diet without any of the unhealthy ingredients.
When buying cacao powder, look for:
*certified fair trade
*higher fat content
*unsweetened cocoa powder
*cocoa as the only ingredient
*Avoid buying “ground chocolate” which is actually powdered chocolate bars full of ingredients we’re
trying to avoid
Cacao should be used in moderation.
Ready for some chocolate goodness?
Try this healthy, easy to make, Chocolate Banana Berry Chia Pudding recipe.
This guilt-free chocolate pudding is a thick, rich, creamy, smooth treat!
It’s perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.
Chocolate Banana Berry Chia Pudding
2 ripe organic bananas
1/2 organic avocado
1 organic orange peeled and separated
1/2 cup organic blackberries (save a few for the topping)
2 teaspoons raw organic cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 cup organic unsweetened almond or coconut milk
3 tablespoons organic chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla
1-2 tablespoons organic coconut palm sugar (optional)
Add the ingredients to your blender–I use a VitaMix
Blend until smooth.
Pour the pudding into a bowl.
Top with a few blackberries.
For a firmer pudding, place in your refrigerator for a few minutes to chill.
You can top your pudding with a dollop of coconut cream and coconut flakes,
if you like.
Got a craving for chocolate?
What are your favorite ways to use cacao powder?
Share your thoughts and suggestions with us.