Since I quit all caffeine March of this year (I drank coffee since the 11th grade!), I have been surprised at how much I really don’t miss it. But, there are certainly days when I really could use a little something. Today was one of those days…
Anyway, I accidentally discovered this pick me up drink a few months ago. I thought I was drinking it to satisfy a chocolate craving and get some great antioxidants but little did I know it would keep me up until 2am. Talk about wired! But it is a great pick me up, when taken before 3pm, and does satisfy those cravings. They say women tend to crave magnesium (chocolate) around that time of the month, so this is a great way to get what we need, and what we want. But I would definitely recommend not taking this any later than 3pm.
Anyway, the great thing about raw cacao, and the original reason I took it, was for all of it antioxidants and minerals. Oh and this is why you hear chocolate is good for us. It’s not the actual sugary processed Hershey’s bar, but the cacao that’s inside (well, inside dark chocolate; not the Hershey’s bar of course). That’s why the higher the percentage the cacao, the better it is for you and here’s why:
Antioxidants: Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea.
- Promote cardiovascular health – Help dilate bloods vessels, reduce blood clotting, improve circulation, help regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
- Protect from environmental and metabolic toxins – Help repair and resist damage caused by free radicals, and may reduce risk of certain cancers.
Neurotransmitters: By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good.
- Serotonin – Cacao raises the level of serotonin in the brain; thus acts as an anti-depressant, helps reduce PMS symptoms, and promotes a sense of well-being.
- Endorphins – Cacao stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the “runner’s high” a jogger feels after running several miles.
- Phenylethylamine – Found in chocolate, phenylethylamine is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. Acts as mild mood elevator and anti-depressant, and helps increase focus and alertness.
- Anandamide – Anandamide is known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released by the brain when we are feeling great. Cacao contains both N-acylethanolamines, believed to temporarily increase the levels of anandamide in the brain, and enzyme inhibitors that slow its breakdown. Promotes relaxation, and helps us feel good longer.
Essential Minerals: Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
- Magnesium – Cacao seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, present in 80% of Americans, is linked with PMT, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and joint problems.
- Sulfur – Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails and hair, promotes beautiful skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning.
Knowing what I know about what raw cacao can do, on top of giving you a little energy, why would I ever want coffee again? Here’s what you need to make this little drink:
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder (Whole Foods)
- some hot water
- and some almond (or coconut) milk
Apparently cold water and raw cacao powder won’t stir together, kind of like water and oil, so heat up a little water in a glass in the microwave. Then add the cacao and stir. Then, add in the milk of choice and stir. I love it just like that! My friend tried it and said she prefers a little sweetener in hers so you could add some stevia or raw coconut palm sugar if desired. Anyway, that’s it! It’s even easier to make than coffee!