You can tell because of how frequently I post about them on my Instagram: I love my morning hot chocolate.
I gave up coffee/caffeine two and a half years ago now (for more on how I did it, read my post here), but the part I missed most was having a morning ritual and beverage that I really enjoyed.
As I’ve refined my morning breakfast (from a quinoa porridge to a nut and seed porridge to a baked apple dish), I’ve also developed my morning beverage. It’s no longer an addendum, it’s an important part of my meal. This means that calories, protein, and fat are all an important part of my drink, not a frivolous extra.
The latest iteration of my hot chocolate has been twofold: changing from hemp seeds to coconut flakes (perfect for cooling my pitta this summer), and changing from molasses to beet powder as my sweetener.
(Want to listen to this blog post? Click here!)
I wanted to focus on the sweetener change: my feelings on sweeteners (natural and non) have changed slightly over the years. When I was at UNC we were taught “sugar is sugar is sugar” and that the calories/effects of white sugar were the exact same as consuming maple syrup, honey, and molasses. I never really believed that was true, and how I felt after consuming white sugar confirmed that something was different.
I’ve written before about why to choose natural sweeteners instead of refined sweeteners. And while I in general find that maple syrup and honey isn’t bad, I’ve been trying to find even more whole foods to add sweetness to help myself and my clients reduce the inflammatory effects of sugar.
I wondered if my hot chocolate could be sweet enough without added honey or molasses, and decided to use beet powder to test it out.
Beet powder is fabulous. Not only does it have a little sweetness, beets are high in vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. I particularly wanted to include beet powder in my morning beverage because of it’s nitrate content. The nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in your body, which help to reduce your blood pressure. This relaxing and reduction of inflammation is great for anyone experiencing allergies, inflammation, painful cramps, or high blood pressure.
In doing this experiment, I also realized that the ingredients I have in my hot chocolate also contribute to their sweetness: coconut flakes have a sweet quality, and if you add a little vanilla and cinnamon to your hot chocolate you’ll swear that there’s sugar.
Oh, and this recipe is vegan, gluten free, and super delicious. It’s the perfect addition to a small breakfast to get some extra calories in the most delicious form. Check out this recipe and enjoy!
- 1 tbsp coconut flakes
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp raw cacao
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp beet powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 16 oz water
- Put all ingredients in a high powered blender and mix for about 60 seconds.
- Pour the ingredients into a small sauce pan and warm on low heat with the pan covered.
- The hot chocolate is complete when it's warm but not bubbling. Be aware that if you boil the hot chocolate, it will create some clumps.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.