Hmm, Spicey Banana Chocolate Chia Pudding would make amazing in a smoothie as well! This recipe can easily just be a nice afternoon snack but I also got to thinking that it would be double yummy in a smoothie. See below…take 1/4 of this recipe and mix well with your favorite nut milk and you have a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up! You could simply make this recipe up, store it in a mason jar in the fridge and take out a Tbsp or 2 to add to your smoothies for a chocolaty boost as well! So far I am more of a cacao fan than a carob one so in this recipe I used some of both. I had to test them both out for myself. My body doesn’t handle cacao very well, except for my taste buds, so I used more carob.
Ingredients: yields 3 cups
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp NuStevia powder (or your desired sweetener; agave, yacon, etc)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1 banana, sliced if you want it chunky or blended in
- In a medium-sized bowl combine the water and chia seeds. Allow them to “gel” anywhere from 10-30+ minutes. Be sure to stir out any lumps. Chia seeds soak up 9x their size in water. Add the remaining ingredients and chia seeds into the blender and mix really well.
- Another option: You could just mix everything together and let it sit for 10-30 minutes. In order to get all of the ingredients to blend in you either have to do it afterward in a blender or prior and then just leave the seeds whole. Either way is wonderful.
- Garnish. EAT!
- You can store this in a glass container in the fridge for a week.
Nutritional Value for complete recipe:
- Calories: 501
- Fat: 19.9
- Fiber: 4.8
- Carbs: 10.8
- Protein: 15.7
Spicy Banana Chocolate Chia Smoothie!!
Carob vrs. Cacao – the controversy
I am not going to take sides right now on this topic, Carob vrs. Cacao. I am just going to stir the pot and ask you to research which you feel is the best choice. Many are strong believers in the health benefits of cacao, others are not. You decide for yourself. But don’t stop here and make up your mind. GOOGLE! See what others believe and have experienced. I pulled the carob info off of lovingraw.com where Phillip is for carob and not so much for cacao. Down below I pulled info from LiveSuperFoods.com which lists strong points about cacao. David Wolfe who is well-known in the raw industry is a huge user of raw cacao. It will take much more research to be able to compare apples to apples here.
- Carob is the new darling of the raw food world. It tastes a bit like chocolate but doesn’t come with all the side-effects, making it perfect as a chocolate substitute in your favorite desserts.
- Like cacao (raw chocolate), it comes from a tropical pod grown along the Mediterranean. Unlike cacao, its seeds aren’t edible; it’s actually the pulp that, once ground, creates carob powder. Swap that carob powder in for chocolate, and voila – most people will be too busy devouring your desserts to notice that the deep, rich flavor isn’t chocolate!
Why not Chocolate?
- Most people love chocolate’s taste, but not necessarily how it makes them feel afterward. While you might not be thinking about the caffeine jitters, sluggishness, bloating, or guilt you’ll feel after devouring a chocolate bar, you’ll definitely might be feeling some (or all) of these side-effects afterward.
- The problem is, cacao in its pure form is so bitter that you have to add loads of sugar or processed sweeteners – not to mention fats and artificial flavors – to make it palatable. Carob, however, is naturally sweet so you don’t need to add a bunch of other (mostly unhealthy) ingredients to make it taste really good!
- Chocolate is also loaded with caffeine, something you won’t find in carob. While chocolate-based desserts may leave you feeling empty afterward, carob satisfies with healthy doses of potassium, essential iron, B vitamins, and three times the calcium that chocolate has! In short, carob delivers purer nutrition and purer taste than cacao.
Cacao powder is simply the cacao bean, that through a cold-pressing process, has had the fat (cacao butter) removed. With the fat removed, cacao powder becomes hydroscopic, so it dissolves easily in liquids.
Antioxidants: Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Health benefits of these antioxidants include:
- Promote cardiovascular health – Help dilate bloods vessels, reduce blood clotting, improve circulation, help regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
- Protect from environmental and metabolic toxins – Help repair and resist damage caused by free radicals, and may reduce risk of certain cancers.
Neurotransmitters: By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good.
- Serotonin – Cacao raises the level of serotonin in the brain; thus acts as an anti-depressant, helps reduce PMS symptoms, and promotes a sense of well-being.
- Endorphins – Cacao stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the “runner’s high” a jogger feels after running several miles.
- Phenylethylamine – Found in chocolate, phenylethylamine is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. Acts as mild mood elevator and anti-depressant, and helps increase focus and alertness.
- Anandamide – Anandamide is known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released by the brain when we are feeling great. Cacao contains both N-acylethanolamines, believed to temporarily increase the levels of anandamide in the brain, and enzyme inhibitors that slow its breakdown. Promotes relaxation, and helps us feel good longer.
Essential Minerals: Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
- Magnesium – Cacao seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, present in 80% of Americans, is linked with PMT, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and joint problems.
- Sulfur – Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails and hair, promotes beautiful skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning.
Essential fats: There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil, that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite.
Important note- To fully benefit from chocolate’s wide array of nutrients, eat chocolate that is as close to its natural state as possible. Whole cacao beans and nibs are best. You lose many of the health benefits when you eat commercially produced chocolate.