My dad believes that chocolate milkshakes fix just about any problem. Boy troubles? Chocolate milkshake. Bad day at work? Chocolate milkshake. I’ll never forget my disastrous 15th birthday party where he successfully pacified an entire room of disgruntled-drama-queen adolescent girls with chocolate milkshakes. God bless that patient man and his blender.
He makes them thick and rich with all the classic ingredients that I have long renounced, but I gotta say that I miss their undeniable consoling qualities now and again. They are just so good, and they somehow manage to put things in perspective every time.
Well dad, I’ve improved upon your classic, and it not only tastes like “a liquid brownie” (according to the hubby), but it’s totally raw, and boasts more antioxidants than a salad buffet. How can this be?! It’s all thanks to cacao.
What makes cacao a superfood?
Cacao has been given the illustrious label of “superfood” because it is an incredibly rich source of minerals and antioxidants. In fact, according to the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) it contains more antioxidants per gram than goji berries, blueberries, prunes, raisins, red wine, and green tea. This rating system was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture to measure the effectiveness of antioxidants to absorb free radicals that cause cell and tissue damage. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food. You can get a copy of the ORAC scale here.
So does that mean I can eat chocolate instead of fruit?
No. Eating a bowl of raw cacao nibs is not better for you than a basket of blueberries. Although cacao is very nutritious and incredibly yummy, like anything it should be consumed in moderation. Cacao contains two controversial elements; theobromine, a powerful stimulant which affects our nervous system and oxalic acid, which inhibits calcium absorption. Eating a couple of these milkshakes a week is certainly not going to do you any harm (in fact, for most of us it would be doing a world of good), but this should not be an everyday indulgence. Be a responsible health nut for crying out loud!
The difference between cacao and cocoa
Let’s get one thing straight people: cacao is not cocoa. They make look very similar, smell the same, feel the same, they are even spelled almost the same way, but they are worlds apart when it comes to nutrition. It all comes back to raw versus cooked foods, which I have talked about several times here on the site – when you heat any food above 40 °C (104 °F), you destroy many of the fragile enzymes and vitamins that are contained inside, thus rendering a once very nutrient-dense food, just a tasty one. It happens. That is not to say that cooked food isn’t good for you because it definitely has its place in the diet, but raw chocolate versus a Hershey bar? There’s simply no comparison.
If you’re in the market for some raw cacao (and you really should be on your way to the health food store immediately after reading this), please only purchase certified organic raw cacao to ensure that you are getting the most nutrition for you money. If you do not, well, you’ll also be chuggin’ down a whole lot of chemicals from irradiation and pesticides, which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.
Okay, without further ado, here is the Raw Chocolate Milkshake Miracle that has turned breakfast time into a ridiculous kitchen dance party delight. Food like this convinces me that God loves us and she wants us to be happy.
Raw Chocolate Milkshake Miracle
• ¼ cup hemp seeds (or use soaked almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds etc.)
• 2 heaping Tbsp. raw cacao powder
• 1 Avocado
• 1 very large frozen banana (or 2 small)
• 2 Tbsp. raw honey, agave, or maple syrup
• dash sea salt
• ¾ – 1 cup water
• 4 ice cubes
1. Blend all the ingredients together; add water to thin if desired. It’s a thick one, folks!
And although the urge to chug may take over, don’t forget to “chew” your milkshake for better digestion! Very important.
Dad, I know you love your ice cream, milk, and chocolate sauce combo, but when I come back to Canada, this is the first thing I am going to make for you. If my milkshakes don’t fix any problem we can come up with, nothing will. The only thing we’ll cry about is seeing the bottom of the glass.