Nourish your body from the inside out with this 6-ingredient immunity boosting hot cocoa recipe that’s refined sugar free, wholesome, nutrient-rich and loaded with superfoods. Cheers to staying healthy!
One of my favorite things about winter (aside from chunky sweaters and cozy slippers) is the chance to curl up on the sofa under a blanket with a warm beverage. Herbal tea is usually my go-to drink of choice, but lately I’ve been sipping on a mug of this 6-ingredient immunity boosting hot cocoa.
While I know it’s January and most of us are like give me all the greens in an attempt to break-up with things like chocolate (at least temporarily after the indulgent holidays), you really need this hot cocoa in your life.
Plus, once you learn just how nourishing it is for your body, you’ll understand why it’s not nearly as indulgent as it might seem.
You see, most hot chocolate recipes are loaded with added sugar, but this one is dairy free, frothy and rich without being overly sweet, full of healthy fats, protein, and medicinal spices to support immune healh.
While you might be a bit surprised by a few ingredients (coconut oil, grass-fed collagen and butter anyone?), I promise that you can feel good about sipping on this secretly healthy sweet treat.
CHEERS TO GUT HEALTH
If you’re new(ish) to Honestly Nourished, you may not know it but I’m pretty obsessed with gut health and maintaining a balanced microbiome (i.e. the population of bacteria that reside in our guts). OK so what’s that got to with immunity and not getting sick?
Keeping our digestion in tip-top shape goes way beyond beating belly bloat. After all, our gut is considered our second brain and it’s where 90 percent of our immune system lives. When the gut isn’t working at it’s best, you’re more at risk for getting sick and all sorts of chronic disease and conditions (examples include eczema, arthritis, autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or celiac disease, acne, etc.).
By eating and drinking foods that nourish and support of gastrointestinal tract, we are keeping the the beneficial bacteria—probiotics—that live in our guts strong and healthy. These little probiotic super heroes fight off infections and foreign particles that find their way in.
My suggestion for keeping the good bacteria and your gut happy?
This big ‘ol mug of homemade hot cocoa full of anti-inflammatory superfood ingredients, nourishing fats, and healing collagen protein. It takes just five minutes to prepare and can easily be made vegan with a few simple substitutions!
SUPERFOOD INGREDIENT CHEAT SHEET
GRASS-FED COLLAGEN POWDER
Collagen powder is an incredible, completely flavorless supplement to add to both warm and cold beverages, especially for fitness enthusiasts and athletes. The amino acids glycine, lysine, and proline are especially high in collagen powder and have been shown to help generate new cell growth, as well as repair and build cartilage, skin tissues, hair, nails, and more. It also adds 6-7 grams of protein per tablespoon, which balances the macronutrients in the cocoa and makes it even more nutritious.
Vegan or vegetarian? Simply substitute your fave plant-based protein powder!
GRASS-FED BUTTER OR GHEE
I know it’s hard to accept that putting a tablespoon of butter in your hot cocoa is a good idea, but hear me out! While ordinary butter isn’t anything exceptional, grass-fed butter is truly a superfood. When cows nosh on grasses instead of grains, they produce milk higher in omega-3 fatty acids and those benefits get passed along to you. Both grass-fed ghee and butter are high in butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties helps maintain and restore the intestinal wall, as well as nourish the probiotics in your gut.
If you have any issues digesting milk-based products, try ghee (it’s been stripped of its milk proteins) or use the coconut oil for a completely vegan/vegetarian appropriate drink.
GET IT >>> Check your local farmer’s market first! The next best option would a reputable brand. I like Ancient Organics Ghee (it’s actually made from the milk of locally NorCal raised Strauss Creamery cows) and Organic Valley Pasture Raised Butter or Kerry Gold Irish Butter.
MACA ROOT POWDER
Considered the Peruvian ginseng, maca root is a medicinal superfood powder that lends a nutty, caramel flavor to recipes. It’s boasts energy- and stamina-boosting powers and has been used to improve athletic performance and memory, balance female hormones, and enhance libido. As far as nutrients, maca contains significant sources of iron, calcium, and copper.
For more deets on the health benefits of the superfood ingredients in this magical mug, check out the following Curated Kitchen series posts:
6-Ingredient Immunity Boosting Hot Cocoa
gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo, vegan option
Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 2 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 cup light coconut milk, canned
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other dairy-free milk
2 tsp maple syrup*
2 heaping tbs raw cacao powder
2 tbs unflavored grass-fed collagen or your choice of plant-based protein powder
1-2 tbs coconut oil, organic grass-fed butter or ghee**
pinch sea salt
1 tbs maca root powder (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp chocolate shavings from a stevia-sweetened dark chocolate baking bar or 1 tsp stevia-sweetened chocolate chips (I recommend this one because it’s dairy free, sugar free, gluten free)
1 tbs vegan marshmallows
Dollop of coconut whipped cream or other non-dairy whipped cream
*Alternatively you can substitute 1 tsp of stevia powder or 1 pitted and soaked date
**VEGAN OPTION >>>
- Omit the grass-fed butter or ghee and use coconut oil instead.
- Swap the collagen with your favorite plant-based protein powder or skip this addition altogether – it will still taste amazing!
- Add all ingredients except non-dairy milks to a high-speed blender.
- In a small saucepan, heat the coconut and almond milk on medium heat just until it starts to simmer.
- Carefully pour milk mixture into the blender. Cover with lid, taking care to leave an opening at the top for hot air to escape (or else you’ll risk a hot chocolate explosion) while blending.
- Blend using a hot soup setting (if applicable) or on medium until all ingredients are well incorporated and frothed.
- Transfer to mugs and top with shaved chocolate, chocolate chips, cinnamon, Maldon sea salt, and coconut whipped cream if desired.
- Enjoy immediately!
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
What’s your favorite wintertime warm drink that helps you keep cozy during the colder, rainy months? What (if anything) do you currently do to take care of your gut health? Let’s get the conversation started below! I love geeking out errrrr chatting with you guys!
See you back here on Friday!
*This recipe and portions of this blog post were originally developed for and appeared on the Athleta Chi Blog on November 19, 2015.