Cacao & Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

For the superfood lovers amongst you, this is about as great as you can get! Three incredibly powerful super foods – cacao, coconut and chia – all crammed into one little bowl of deliciousness. Chia seed pudding is certainly nothing new, I am not claiming to have created something new, but in my opinion it is one of the most nourishing and sustaining breakfast or snack (or dessert) foods that you can make. It is also super easy for busy people who need ‘grab-and-go’ foods in the fridge, because you can make up a heap of pudding, separate it into jars and then pop them in the fridge for when you next need a quick breakfast. In fact, I often make up four or five jars at a time and take them with me to eat after I teach yoga and before my uni lectures. Lately, I have been snacking a lot of chia seed pudding during my exam revision study, as it is a great brain-nourishing food too due to the high Omega 3 and good fat concentration in chia seeds and coconut cream/milk. It is a great mid-afternoon snack when the munchies kick in, because it is high in protein, good fats and is therefore very satisfying (even small amounts).

First of all, let me tell you a little bit about why these three superfood ingredients truly are fantastic. Although, if you know this all already, or are happy to take my word for it, feel free to skip down to the recipe below!

Cacao – cacao, or in plain English chocolate, is actually one of the most incredibly potent super foods on the planet. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that bar of Cadbury is going to do wonders for your health. The difference with cacao is that it is raw, unprocessed form of cacao beans, from which chocolate is made. You can purchase whole cacao beans, cacao nibs (crushed beans) or cacao powder from your health food store or even some supermarkets. However, it must be raw cacao, because once it is treated with heat it loses a lot of the precious vitamins and minerals that it contains, including Vitamin C. Cacao is the most antioxidant rich food on the planet, and is also a wonderful source of magnesium (for energy, prevents headaches, muscle pains/cramps), sulfur (hair, skin and nails), vitamin C (for healthy immune system) and many more. It is also delicious, although 100% raw cacao has a strong bitter flavour that is associated with dark chocolate. Cacao is also a naturally stimulating food, so eating it for breakfast will give you a natural energy boost, plus it causes the brain to release ‘happy’ hormones and neurotransmitters, which is why we tend to find comfort in chocolate products. All in all, cacao packs an absolute nutritional punch and is probably still my favourite and one of my staple super foods.

Coconut (Cream) – coconut cream has been given a pretty bad name in the past due to its high saturated fat/fat content. However, as I have discussed many times not all fats are created equal and the fats in coconut are particularly healthy and important for a balanced diet. Coconut products, including coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut flesh contain a special type of medium-chain fatty acids, which are difficult to find in any other food sources. These medium-chain fatty acids are incredibly good for your health and have been shown to actually help regulate healthy cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease and diabetes, regulate metabolism and nourish the brain with the good fats it needs. Coconut cream is kind of like a very thick version of coconut milk and as such is the highest in fat, so if you would prefer a lower fat option then you can easily substitute coconut, almond or any other dairy milk alternative instead.

Chia Seeds – chia seeds belong to a special group of gelatinous plant foods, meaning that they bind together to form a jelly-like substance, which is a powerful aid of detoxification in the body. Basically, the little jelly of chia seeds go through your gut and can help to bind and eliminate toxins and any other ‘crap’ that might be stuck in there. Chia seeds also contain a lot of fibre, so they are great for aiding digestion and healthy bowel movements. Like cacao they contain high amounts of magnesium and protein, as well as Omega 3s, which are important fats found in fish oils that are essential for brain functioning amongst other things. Because of this chia seeds are a great food for vegans and vegetarians to include in their diet to ensure they are getting enough Omega 3s from plant sources. And like all super foods chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, that neutralise free radicals in your body and prevent oxidative damage to your cells. And if that doesn’t make any sense to you, oxidative damage = ageing!

So as you can see, this chia seed pudding recipe is a pretty complete and amazing food to include in your daily diet. I hope you enjoy!

IMG_7131

Chia pudding topped with paleo granola and activated almonds.

Cacao & Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients (kind of rough because I never actually measure anything…):

  • 1 can organic, full-fat coconut cream/milk
  • 6-7 Tbsp organic chia seeds
  • 2-3 Tbsp organic raw cacao powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp rice malt syrup/raw honey (or about 10-15 drops liquid stevia)
  • Toppings: granola, muesli, activated nuts, buckwheat groats, cacao nibs, cinnamon, puffed quinoa or pretty much anything else!

Method:

1. In a bowl mix together the coconut cream, chia seeds, cacao powder and sweetener of your choice. It may take a little bit of stirring to incorporate the cacao powder, so keep going! Taste for sweetness and adjust as you need (although if your intended toppings are sweet maybe keep it on the mild side).
2. Transfer the pudding mixture to one large container, or separate into jars (Mayver’s jars are perfect for this!). In each jar put about 3 tablespoons of mixture.
3. Place in the fridge and allow to set for at least 1-2 hours, but preferably overnight. The pudding should thicken up and stick together as the chia seeds absorb the cream. If you find it is too thick for your liking you can simply stir in some almond milk before serving.
4. Take out your pudding/jar of pudding, add the toppings you like and enjoy! The pudding will keep quite easily in the fridge for more than a week, so it is great to do large batches on the weekend and you will have breakfast for the week.

Keep healthy,

Erica xx

Sources:

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition+tips/is+coconut+a+superfoodr,19899

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition+tips/cacao+a+guilt+free+treat,7575

http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

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