By Sue Knorr:
My love of chocolate goes back further than I can remember. Without a doubt it’s right up there at the top of my list of most favorite things to eat. Cacao in its raw state, a.k.a. raw chocolate, is one of the healthiest foods on earth because it’s loaded with delphinidins. Delphinidins are the best of the best polyphenols, the things that give plants their colors and make them so good for us. Notice I said raw cacao, raw chocolate. Raw is the key. To receive the full benefit of the polyphenols in cacao, it must be eaten in its raw form.
If your mind is already wandering down the chocolate-bar aisle of your favorite health-food store, forget it. By the time raw cacao beans become a chocolate bar, even a high cocoa- content chocolate bar, there has been a mass destruction of the polyphenols they once contained.
Raw cacao is extremely bitter. Think bitter as in unsweetened Baker’s chocolate. The processing of raw cacao to make it taste good destroys a large percentage of its polyphenols. The sweeteners and fats that are then combined with the processed cacao to turn it into our favorite chocolate treats, simply add insult to injury. Those containers of unsweetened cocoa powder in your market are no better. Most cocoa in stores today, including the unsweetened type, is Dutched, meaning it has undergone a process of being treated with an alkali, which destroys the polyphenols in the attempt to make it more acceptable to your taste buds.
What’s a chocolate lover to do? Try these two recipes. They will satisfy your chocolate desires and more. Both recipes are outstanding anti-inflammatory Zone-balanced meals that will keep you satisfied and performing at your best for hours. Each recipe is a 3-block meal and can also be divided into 2 or 3 snacks. The smoothie was originally inspired by a recipe in a Zone book. It’s more like a frosty frozen custard than a liquid smoothie. It was aptly named brownie batter by my daughter the first time she tasted it, and the name stuck. You’ll see why when you try it. Some of you might remember it from the old Zone Forums. The pudding recipe is hands down my favorite. It’s quick and easy and uses a Zone shake packet as the base. It’s my number-one best meal of all time for preventing hunger and maintaining peak performance. A tip: I use Navitas Naturals Certified Organic Cacao Powder, raw chocolate powder, found in the super-foods section at Whole Foods.
Sue’s Brownie Batter Smoothie
The turmeric in this recipe gives an additional anti-inflammatory benefit, and the cinnamon aids in insulin control. (You can read more about these two ingredients in “The Anti-Inflammation Zone” by Dr. Sears)
- 1/5 banana, frozen
- 1/3 cup frozen dark cherries (about 12 large cherries)
- 1 heaping tablespoon raw organic cacao powder (about 1/8 cup)
- 3 scoops Zone Protein Powder
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
- A generous amount of cinnamon
- 1 scant teaspoon alcohol-free, glycerin-based almond flavoring or vanilla extract
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup milk or water to help it blend better
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Optional, 1 heaping tablespoon plain yogurt
Blend all ingredients with an immersion blender, or process in a small food processor. Adjust milk or water to facilitate blending if needed. It should be so thick a spoon stands up in it.
Double Chocolate Avocado Pudding
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 Zone Chocolate Shake with unprocessed organic cocoa and maqui (delphinidins)
- 1 heaping tablespoon organic raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup fat-free cottage cheese
- 1/2 medium avocado
Blend all ingredients until silky smooth.