Essential Living Blog

Superfood Recipe: Coconut Cacao Chia Decadence Bowl

Raw Cacao Chia bowl recipe

Superfood Recipe: Coconut Cacao Chia is easy-to-make, both light and satisfying — filling you up without weighing you down.  Scrumptious & nourishing, it’s also great as an energizing breakfast bowl (especially topped with your favorite seasonal fruit).  When a “dessert” is so healthy that you get to eat it for *breakfast,* you know you’re doing something right!  We call it an Intelligent Indulgence(™)

Superfood Recipe: Coconut Cacao Chia

SUPERFOOD INGREDIENTS for the Coconut Cacao Chia Decadence Bowl Recipe


Superfood Recipe: Coconut Cacao Chia 

  • Superfood Recipe: Coconut Cacao ChiaPut the coconut milk, vanilla extract and sweetener in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the coconut milk just begins to simmer but is not fully boiling, then remove from heat.
  • Place the chia seeds, cacao nibs and coconut flakes in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour the warmed coconut milk over the chia and cacao mixture and stir to incorporate.
  • Place the chia seeds, cacao nibs and coconut flakes in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour the warmed coconut milk over the chia and cacao mixture and stir to incorporate.
  • Let the mixture sit at room temperature to cool for 10-20 minutes. At this point, if you desire, you can pour the mixture into 4-5 individual serving bowls, ramekins or glasses. Refrigerate the pudding for at least another 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours, until the chia seeds have absorbed most of the liquid.
  • To serve, sprinkle a few extra cacao nibs on top of each serving and enjoy.
  • To add some color, top with goji berries, mulberries or fresh strawberries or raspberries when in season.

Why It’s a Healthy Dessert

Unlike breakfasts or desserts loaded with sugar, this energizing, low-carb, low-glycemic treat won’t spike and crash your blood sugar levels. Its combination of dietary fiber and healthy fatty acids will satisfy your hunger and “stick to your ribs” so you can focus on your day instead of focusing on another snack to re-up. Its gluten-free, easy-to-digest ingredients won’t weigh you down, and the delicious dark chocolate of the cacao nibs will keep you energized all morning.

Superstar Ingredient Number One: RAW Cacao Nibs

Raw Cacao for superfood recipeCacao nibs are nature’s original healthy chocolate chip.

Cacao “nibs” are simply cracked pieces of a dried cacao bean, sort of like eating an espresso bean or the seeds of a carob pod.

Nibs give off incredibly chocolatey flavors as you eat them. Their crisp, crumbling texture exposes the earthy, dark, buttery, and *tart* flavor journey of a natural, sugar-free dark chocolate. Each nib offers a satisfying crunch and packs a potently nourishing punch.

Why RAW Cacao Is So Healthy

cacao pods growing on a cacao treeA substantial amount of research on this ancient Mayan superfood has produced convincing evidence that cacao is one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants, including polyphenols and anthocyanins, which have been shown to protect the membrane and DNA of cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Regular consumption of foods rich in these antioxidants has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In both the short and long term, cacao nibs offer an array of benefits which include:

Natural Energy: the combination of low doses of caffeine and a stimulating element called theobromine creates a mellow uplifting effect with fewer jittery side effects than stronger caffeinated substances.

Good Mood Food: Substances in raw cacao are both chemically and pharmacologically related to a type of neurotransmitter called anandamide. The name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which is translated as bliss or delight. The area of the brain that these substances target is the cannabinoid system, where feelings of pain and mood are controlled.

In Love with Cacao: a substance called Phenethylamine elevates in the body when people fall in love, contributing to sensations of happiness and elation. Conversely, phenethylamine levels drop in situations of stress and fatigue. Luckily for us, raw cacao is packed with phenethylamine and may help create that “in love” feeling when consumed.

Healthy Fats: Raw cacao nibs are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are associated with the elevation of “good cholesterol” levels and heart health.

Balance: Chromium, an essential trace mineral, helps facilitate the action of insulin and plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. As a good source of chromium, cacao nibs may help balance blood sugar and moderate appetite by facilitating metabolic balance.

Superstar Ingredient Number Two: RAW Chia Seeds

Essential Living Foods organic chia seeds
We’ve mentioned the health benefits of Chia seeds elsewhere. Similar to Cacao, Chia seeds were once a major staple crop of the Aztecs, who revered it as a nutrient-dense source of fuel for their long-distance foot-messengers (who ran great distances carrying only a small pouch of Chia for their daily nutrition). Today, science is revealing the secrets behind this ancient wisdom.

Incredibly rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and minerals, the tiny Chia seed is truly a nutritional powerhouse: an extremely filling low-carb superfood seed loaded with crucial Omega 3s, complete protein, minerals, and fiber.  Due to its high antioxidant levels, this tiny seed a does not spoil or go rancid.

Chia seeds contain more anti-inflammatory, brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds, and they’re also a dense source of crucial minerals, with more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than spinach. Not only that, they’re loaded with cell-protecting antioxidants.

To top it all off, when added to water, Chia Seeds form a gel (almost like a tapioca) perfect for vegan puddings and to thicken smoothies. This gel also works to shield the body from absorbing sugars too quickly, which stabilizes blood sugar levels and creates long-lasting sustainable energy.

Recipe and photos provided by the ever inspiring Sarah Betts who lives, cooks, and gardens in Seattle, Wa.

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