Chocolate is one of the most sought-after sweet treats, and for good reason.
Made with a combination of cacao beans and sweetener, chocolate not only tastes good, it feels uplifting too! Add in some healing herbal adaptogens, and you have some serious edible magic.
There is an alchemy to combining the flavors of chocolate and herbs and to awakening the health benefits of each. So go ahead, discover their synergy, and indulge in the deliciousness. Here are five reasons you should be adding adaptogenic chocolate to your daily routine and a recipe to get you started this summer:
1. Cacao contains chemicals that elevate mood and energy.
Compounds like anandamide, referred to as a "bliss chemical"; vasodilator, which opens blood vessels; and mood-lifting PEA, which increases dopamine production, are all present in cacao. Cacao also increases levels of feel-good serotonin in the brain. Can you feel it?
2. Cacao is rich in minerals and antioxidants.
Cocoa supplies the body with essential nutrients like magnesium, which helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function. It also reduces cramping, which may be one reason women tend to crave chocolate during their monthly cycles. The antioxidants in chocolate can reduce the free radicals in the body that cause aging.
3. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stressors.
Adaptogens are nonspecific herbal remedies that work on many levels to help the body heal itself. Think of them as guides to good health.
4. Adaptogenic herbs can help reduce the effects of stress.
Over time, adaptogens work with the body to stimulate its natural healing abilities that are hindered by daily stress. Specifically, these botanicals can be used to fight fatigue and reduce the stress hormone, cortisol.
5. Adaptogens and chocolate make for a powerful combination.
By combining cacao, which is so rich in nutrients and mood-elevating chemicals, with the potency of herbs like astragalus, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and reishi, you are setting the stage for the body and mind to operate at their highest power.
This adaptogen-rich recipe is dairy-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free. It's also incredibly rich, creamy, lightly sweet, and chocolaty. All the best things ever!
Makes 10 pops
- ½ cup coconut butter
- ½ cup dates (about 6 large)
- 2 ounces dark chocolate (unroasted/raw is ideal)
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
- ½ dropper stevia or 2 tablespoons honey
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon reishi extract (optional)
- 1 teaspoon astragalus extract (optional)
- ½ teaspoon rhodiola extract (optional)
- 2 cups pure water
1. Pit dates, blend with the water, and set aside while melting coconut and chocolate.
2. Melt coconut butter if it's solid. You can do this over a double boiler, or you can simply place the jar in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler. Turn on low heat and stir when it starts to melt. Take off heat once it turns into a liquid.
4. Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth, moving from low to high power, for about 15 to 20 seconds.
5. Pour into ice-pop molds and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
6. Run the molds under hot water if needed to release pops from the molds, and serve immediately.