Life is all about balance. Try to live on lettuce and berries alone, and be prepared to take down the next tray of brownies someone puts in front of you.

Understand that as a human being, you need a little treat once in a while.

Raw cacao powder is my secret weapon for a healthy indulgence that makes you feel good... and a little bad at the same time. :)

It's great for smoothies (even green ones!), but because it's winter, my favorite way to enjoy it is by making raw hot chocolate.

You've heard that dark chocolate is good for you, I'm sure - and cacao is just that, in it's purest form. It's packed with antioxidants and very good for your cardiovascular health, and then there's the feel-good component of it, as chocolate has certain antidepressant, mood-elevating properties.

If you've got a VitaMix, it's really the best, because you can use dates to sweeten the drink and the machine warms it up if you leave it on long enough. You can use raw agave if you don't have one, but dates are the best choice because they are a more natural form of sugar.

There are endless ways to enjoy this one - I added hazelnuts because I had them on hand, but you could easily go without.  If you don't like coconut, you could keep it simple with almond milk, dates or agave, and cacao. Add some flaxseed or vanilla for extra flavor... or cinnamon and a touch of cayenne for a Mexican-like variation.

Raw Coconut-Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

  • 1-¼ cup almond or coconut milk (I use vanilla unsweetened coconut)
  • 3 pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 heaping tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in VitaMix and blend until smooth and warm from the machine. Alternatively, replace dates with raw agave to taste and warm the mixture on stovetop.

Makes 1 large mug.

Enjoy!