May 19, 2020

My Two-Step Healthy Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

By James Le Compte

In our household we start the day with somewhat of a frenetic morning routine. There are kids to get dressed, showered and lunches to pack! We all need to get off to a healthy start with plenty of clean, healthy energy for focus and stamina. If this resonates then I think you’re going to love the great taste and easy preparation of this chocolate superfood smoothie.

Let’s get directly into the recipe. Further below you can find some health benefits for the key ingredients.

Ingredients (makes two servings)

  • 4 tablespoons of organic 100% cacao powder (if you like your smoothie crunchy you can substitute organic cacao nibs)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of chia seeds (I prefer them ground into powder, otherwise they expand in liquid and can get stuck in your teeth!)
  • 1 teaspoon of organic ground flaxseed (also known as linseed)
  • 1 teaspoon of organic maca root powder (aside from the health benefits this adds a great butterscotch or cookie taste to your smoothie)
  • 2 large organic bananas (I like to freeze them in small pieces as they keep longer, and also make my smoothie icy cold)
  • 1 handful of organic strawberries (as with the bananas, these are great to freeze in advance)
  • 1 cup of milk (or plant based milk alternative)
  • ½ cup of kefir
  • 1 generous tablespoon (or squirt) or organic honey

Preparation (ready in 2 minutes)

  • Blend the cacao powder (or nibs), chia seeds, flaxseed and maca powder in your blender for 10 seconds to get a consistent base.
  • Throw in the remainder of the ingredients: banana, strawberries, milk, kefir and honey, and blend for 30 seconds. Enjoy!

A note on tools: I use a Thermomix at home but this recipe will also work just as well in a NutriBullet blender or a Vitamix. If you are using a more basic blender be careful not to damage the blades if you choose to freeze your fruit.


Want to make sure this healthy smoothie fits within your dietary preferences? Here are some variations that also taste great. 

Chocolate Keto Superfood Smoothie

  • One banana has about 26.95 g of carbs. You can substitute this for one avocado, which contains a variety of essential nutrients and important phytochemicals. An average avocado serving (of 50g) has only 4g of carbohydrates according to the USDA MyPlate program.
  • Chia seeds are an ancestral superfood. Healthline reports that a 28g serving of chia seeds contains 4g of protein and 9g of fat (5 of which are omega-3s).
  • In addition to the flaxseed (which are loaded with nutrients) you can ramp up the protein count with a handful of your favorite nuts, peanut butter or a raw egg.

Vegan and Dairy Free Chocolate Superfood Smoothie

  • Simply substitute the cow’s milk for oat milk (or your favorite milk substitute) and enjoy coconut kefir, which you can make at home in advance.
  • Honey can be substituted with high-quality organic maple syrup (which is high in minerals such as calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron).
  • The rest is vegan and dairy free!

Chocolate Paleo Superfood Smoothie

  • Some versions of Paleo do include full-fat dairy products but you can find a list of Paleo substitutes here, with the recommendation to replace cow’s milk with coconut milk or nut milk. Consider adding nut butter, both for flavor and a protein boost.
  • Flaxseed (which provides dietary fiber, manganese, antioxidants, vitamin B1, and omega-3 fatty acids) is actually a seed not a grain, so it is Paleo approved according to Paleo Plan.
  • Raw honey is also considered a safe Paleo ingredient.

A word of warning when it comes to selecting the best cacao powder for your smoothie


In case you are wondering, cacao powder or cacao nibs are paleo approved and keto friendly so long as they contain no additives and are non-alkalized. The even better news (for everyone) is that our T.cacao 100% organic cacao powder is the purest form of cacao powder you can put into your body. We don’t add or remove anything from the organic cacao that we harvest and turn into powder (that is to say, our cacao powder contains the full spectrum of healthy fats and antioxidant rich solids in the bean itselfnothing is pressed out or added). Read our complete guide to why not all cacao powder is created equal.

 

Interested in learning about the health benefits of the ingredients in this superfood smoothie?

Cacao

Let’s start with our #1 favorite ingredient—cacao. The cacao bean has been consumed by cultures in the Americas for more than 5,000 years, with the earliest known evidence of the domestication of cacao occurring in what is today Ecuador.

Here are six reasons why cacao is considered a superfood:

  1. It is positively loaded with antioxidants, with many scientific publications reporting that cacao is the most antioxidant rich food on the planet.
  2. It’s packed with theobromine, which is caffeine’s kinder cousin. It offers a more sustained energy release without the peak and crash of your daily cup of coffee.
  3. Cacao enhances your cognitive function and can even help you perform better if you're suffering from a lack of sleep. Recent research published in Frontiers in Nutrition demonstrated how the flavanols found in cacao and dark chocolate counteract the cognitive decline (or lower accuracy in performing tasks) that often occurs after a bad night's sleep.
  4. Cacao is mood-enhancing and has even been known to be prescribed by doctors for mild depression. One of the mood-enhancing chemicals in cacao is anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule. It's actually an endocannabinoid that interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system.
  5. Studies have shown that cacao gives your skin a natural collagen boost.
  6. Believe it or not theobromine, which is found particularly in (low or sugar free) cacao, is great for protecting your tooth enamel — it even outperformed fluoride in a head-to-head competition.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds and cacao have been part of the same diet in the Americas for many cultures, including the Aztecs and Mayans. In fact, “chia” translates to “strength” in the ancient Mayan language. The chia seed is produced by the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Central and South America. There are many proven health benefits to chia seeds. They're rich with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, plant-based protein, and antioxidants. Chia is also well endowed with several nutrients (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein) that are critical for bone health.

Maca Root Powder

This is another powerhouse food from the Americas. The maca root, which is a relative of the radish, is native to the Andes Mountains. It's worth noting that the research on maca root is still in its early stages but Healthline concludes that the maca root is “rich in a number of nutrients, including vitamin C, copper and iron. It also contains many bioactive plant compounds.” This study even found that individuals who took 1.5 or 3 grams (g) of maca per day experienced increased libido.

Flaxseed or Linseed

Another ancient superfood, flaxseed is believed to contain three principal health properties:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Lignans, which may help in blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism.
  • Fiber (both soluble and insoluble).

Nutritionists recommend that you eat your flaxseed ground up or powderized as the whole seeds are likely to pass through our intestines undigested.

Kefir

Kefir grains, which are living organisms, were first used in the Caucasus region but nobody definitively knows where they come from. Kefir is high in probiotics and is considered excellent for your gut health. It's also known to contain a range of essential nutrients such as protein, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin (B2) and Magnesium.

Thanks to the presence of lactobacillus kefiri and the carbohydrate kefiran, Kefir is known to have many antibacterial properties as well.

Fresh Fruit such as Bananas and Strawberries

Everyone knows that we need to eat several servings of fresh fruit per day. So why not combine two delicious powerhouse fruits into your superfood smoothie? Strawberries are packed with phytonutrients and flavonoids, which is why they are bright red. Bananas are a great source of magnesium and potassium.

I think you'll enjoy this healthy cacao powder smoothie. It certainly helps me to feel calm and centered in the morning. And while there are many cacao powders in the market we honestly believe that you cannot get your hands on a purer or better tasting cacao powder than our very own T.cacao Organic 100% Cacao Powder. I would love to know what you think of the smoothie. Please use the comments below to share your own favorite healthy chocolate smoothie recipe.

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