If you are person with a sweet tooth, it’s hard not to go weak at the knees and break out in a cold sweat when you’re offered chocolate. It’s even harder to resist when you’ve made a pact with yourself to deny all sugary treats in an effort to lose that midriff overhang. Don’t despair we’ve found some ways you can still get that velvety chocolate taste without undoing the hard work you’ve put into your fitness regime.
If you haven’t already discovered cacao powder, it’s about time you did. Don’t get it confused with cocoa. Cacao falls into the category of a superfood and is loaded with protein, carbohydrates, and importantly minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium
Cacao looks like cocoa, smells like cocoa, even tastes chocolatey for the hit you’re looking for, but what’s more, it even has a mood enhancer called anandamide. This has a great effect on your central nervous system and increases serotonin – the hormone that makes you feel good.
Its flavonoids can lower bad cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.
Ways to use cacao powder
- Add it to a smoothie or replace your morning coffee with a hot cacao drink, using a natural sweetener like honey in lieu of sugar.
- Blend it with avocado and honey for a chocolate mousse. Try it, you’ll be surprised at how thick and creamy it goes.
- Make a chocolate chia seed pudding. It’s as simple as soaking chia seeds overnight and mixing it with maple syrup or pureed dates, vanilla extract and cacao powder and unsweetened almond milk.
- Sprinkle over fresh fruit
- Bake homemade protein bars or cacao brownies
- Sprinkle on oatmeal
- Sniff it. Founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Alan Hirsch has suggested research has found the smell of cacao may trigger the same neurotransmitters that are stimulated when you eat chocolate. Next time you feel like reaching for a snickers bar, reach for your pantry and have a sniff of cacao powder.