Oh hello there friend! I hope you’re having a wonderful week. I’m having an epic cookout with a friend tonight (we’re testing out a macadamia nut crusted halibut) and checking out the new vegetarian restaurant that’s opening up down the block, so it should be pretty great!
The rest of the weekend will likely be filled with yoga and working on my cooking class handouts and schedule. I had a pretty nomadic February and April/May are also going to have quite a bit of traveling about, so this month I’m feeling a pretty big urge to balance it out by staying low key and working away at creating a totally awesome content to share with you!
Yesterday I was working on some content for a Nutritional Reset Program I’ll be launching in the next few weeks at my makeshift stand up desk and I started to feel a little stiff and achy. I remembered an interview I had recently listened to on the benefits of raw cacao for modulating stress and alleviating tension in the body and decided to whip up my very own hot chocolate.
Now for those of you who know me, I’m kind of a go big or go home kind of gal. If we’re at a swimming hole and there are two different cliff or bridge heights to jump off of, you better believe I’m choosing the higher one! Regardless of whether it bruises my underboob (true story!).
In keeping with that spirit, I decided to pump up my hot chocolate by making it even more awesome with ingredients such as maca and Ashwagandha root. Lets take a look at the benefits below.
If you’ve been around the Nourished block before you may remember this sweet little Peruvian root vegetable. Maca is known for its adaptogenic (meaning it helps the body adapt to physical and emotional stressors and remain in balance) effect on the on the body.
Specifically, maca is great for balancing men’s and women’s hormones and boosting the libido in the process 😉 It works by nourishing the endocrine system, specifically the hypothalamus and pituitary, and helping it to produce the proper amounts of hormones for your body so that you can be as happy and healthy as possible.
I find that maca has a slightly sweet, caramelly flavour, which makes it delicious in sweeter preparations. It is often sold in powdered form and has numerous other health benefits thanks to its great fatty acid and nutrient profile.
I typically go for an organic raw cacao powder or an organic roasted cocoa powder. Dutch cocoa, a process by which the raw cacao is treated with an alkalizing agent to lower acidity, can decrease the antioxidant content of cocoa by up to 60-90%.
In order to get the maximum antioxidant benefits from our bevvie you’ll want to avoid Dutch cocoa in most of our chocolatey treats. Cocoa/cacao is an amazing source of antioxidants, in the form of polyphenols and flavanols, and is one of the highest food sources of magnesium.
It also contains certain amino acids such as phenylalanine, tyrosine, and L-tryptophan that are precursors to dopamine and serotonin, respectively, and so help boost levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain.
This herb is sometimes referred to as Indian Ginseng and is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic, adaptogen, and longevity herb. It is a Rasayana, which “is described as an herbal or metallic preparation that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health and expands happiness” (An Overview of Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurvedic Medicine).
Like maca, this root it is a great adaptogen that supports your adrenal gland function, thereby enhancing your body’s overall resilience to physical and emotional stress. It also improves the function of your reproductive system, ensuring you always maintain healthy and happy hormone levels.
This hormonal benefit is great for women who are entering or going through menopause to help mitigate some of the uncomfortable symptoms or who suffer from intense PMS and menstrual cycles.*See Below!
- 1.5 tbsps. organic raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp. maca
- 1 tsp. ashwagandha root powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup hot water
- Raw honey to taste
- Optional: ½ inch chunk of cocoa butter
Add cocoa powder, maca, and ashwagandha to your very favourite mug and whisk together.
Add coconut milk and vanilla and combine until smooth. You may need to use a whisk to get rid of all the chunks.
Pour boiling water into mug and stir.
If you have a venting blender, add all ingredients and blend until frothy, about 1 minute.
Add honey, let cool, and enjoy!
*Actually, this entire beverage is great for helping alleviate symptoms of PMS thanks to:
- Contains magnesium, which is great for preventing cramping.
- Helps increase serotonin and dopamine, which is great for preventing mood swings or cycle-related sad spirals.
- Amazing for balancing the entire endocrine system and balancing out female sex hormones.
- Helps balance the reproductive system (sex hormones) and adrenal glands.
Keeping estrogen and progesterone in a proper ratio will help mitigate some of the unpleasant symptoms of menstruation such as heavy periods, severe cramping, breast tenderness, water retention, hormonal acne, and bodily aches and pains.
So if you suffer from super shitty periods and crazy cycles this would be a great drink to incorporate into your daily routine for a couple of months to see if it makes a difference.
So that’s my recipe for today friend! Perfect for curling up with under a blankie and watching your favourite movie or reading your favourite book over the weekend. Stay warm out there 🙂
And if you’re looking for some inspiration to take your health to the next level I’ve put together a FREE 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan & Shopping List that you can download right here.