When the weather outside is frightful, few things are more delightful than a good old hot chocolate. Most men in recovery have some kind of memory of a winter hot chocolate moment. Some turn to Hershey’s syrup, some to Abuelita’s chocolate, some to the beloved Swiss Miss. Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is a mind, body, spirit, effort. Part of the holistic approach to recovery includes learning about nutrition and the body. As men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, we fed and abused our bodies with toxic chemicals for many years. Our recovery teaches us that what we put into our body matters. When it comes time for that yearly dose of hot chocolate, perhaps for the first time, we turn the box of mix over and check the label. What more could be in hot chocolate aside from chocolate? Processed foods which comes in boxes on the shelf of super markets are full of preservatives, additives, genetically modified ingredients, and sugar. Sugar is a large problem in processed foods, particularly foods that are sweet. On the shelf hot chocolate mixes can have high amounts of sugar and processed ingredients.
Thankfully, the superfood movement provides many ways to make the year’s best hot chocolate while providing immense nutritional benefit, instead of giving it away.
The chocolate that we know is not pure chocolate. All of chocolate starts with the cacao bean, a bitter bean that comes off a tree. Cacao beans are roasted and processed to make chocolate. Raw cacao still has chocolate elements without the creamy, sugary, processed taste of ‘regular’ chocolate. A powerful antioxidant, raw cacao is particularly beneficial for cardiovascular issues. High levels of magnesium help with blood pressure, cholesterol, and clean out the heart for better health.
Whole milk is a controversial health choice. Many researchers and nutritional scientists argue that drinking cow milk is not good for the body because, unless it is raw, it is often highly processed with hormones. Raw cow milk is a delicious choice, but isn’t always available. Nut milk varieties are lower in calories, higher in protein, and also provide antioxidant, superfood properties. Try almond or cashew milk for nut milk, hemp or rice milk, coconut milk, or for a tangy flavor, try goat milk.
Healthy hot chocolate doesn’t have to sacrifice sweetness. There are many natural sweeteners that sit low enough on the glycemic index not to be of great concern. Honey, stevia, and coconut sugar are great choices. Though agave is advertised as a sweetener alternative, it sits high on the glycemic index.
Choose Your Flavor:
Though some like their hot chocolate to be as pure as possible, others like to bring in flavors.
- Peppermint extract requires just one or two drops to give you the minty mocha taste you want, while providing benefit to your digestive track
- Cayenne powder can bring the “Mexican hot chocoalte” element into the dish by providing a little bit of heat, good for detoxing and cleansing the system
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove are warm and seasonal flavors that provide excellent digestive benefits
- Turmeric, cardamom, ginger, and other spices can make hot chocolate taste like a decadent dessert while providing anti-inflammatory properties
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474