My boys are two very difficult customers to please. Although they love their chocolate, I have yet to find a chocolate Cacao smoothie mix that their fussy little taste buds will approve of. The alternative to Boost Juice’s King William Chocolate Smoothie that I came up with didn’t cut it because they weren’t having none of that (even though I enjoyed it a lot)!
The problem with using Cacao is its bitter aftertaste. Additionally, if you want to get the most out of the health benefits that Cacao offers, you can’t add dairy because it inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from Cacao. Since I didn’t want to use a nut milk because of the carrageenan content, that didn’t leave me many other ingredients to play around with.
Even though I could give the boys a blast of nutrients through our tried and tested “Super Smoothies“, the whole purpose of these Smoothie blending experiments is to expand those fussy palates and encourage them to accept new flavours they wouldn’t normally agree with if they were served in their pure forms.
Today’s recipe got the thumbs-down from the boys but I’ve included it here because I really liked it. I’ll admit that I’ve always had a weakness for peanut butter and chocolate, and if you do, too, then this one might be right up your alley…
- 2 tsp Cacao powder
- 200ml coconut milk
- 2 dates (remove pips)
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 large frozen banana
- We used M&S coconut milk because it was the only one we have found that claims to be free from preservatives, colours, and flavours.
- Soy milk may be used as an alternative to coconut milk especially if you’re not really into coconut flavours or if you have concerns about using coconut milk.
- More about Cacao
Health Benefits of Dates
Dates are an awesome way to add natural sweetness to a smoothie without adding sugar or honey. They have a lovely “caramel” flavour that make them perfect for creamy chocolate smoothie bases. I’ve added dates to smoothies before and G2 identified the smell as a “cola” flavour. Dates contain the following health benefits:
- rich in dietary fiber which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut.
- contain health benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins which are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
- moderate sources of vitamin-A which is known to have antioxidant properties and essential for vision and maintaining healthy mucous membranes and skin.
- antioxidant flavonoids such as ß-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin which have the ability to protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals. Zea-xanthin also offers protection against age-related macular degeneration, especially in elderly populations.
- excellent source of iron
- excellent sources of potassium which is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
- rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Calcium is an essential constituent of bone and teeth, and required by the body for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse conduction. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for bone growth.
- moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins and vitamin K. Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin act as cofactors help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Vitamin K is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.
A Couple of Notes on Coconut Milk
Coconuts contain significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, they provide fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. It is therefore now thought that consumption of coconut milk may help protect the body from infections and viruses.
MCFAs are rapidly metabolised into energy in the liver. It is thought that unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat. This does not exempt them from contributing to heart disease – they are still a fat – but they have a different effect than saturated fats.
The link between excessive consumption of dietary saturated fats and coronary heart disease (CHD) is well established. Because of coconut milk’s high content of saturated fatty acids, it is still seen as a food that should be consumed in moderation. – BBC Good Food
- Calm Nerve Cells. Coconut milk is high in magnesium that helps to keep your blood pressure at a normal level. The combination of calcium and magnesium in coconut milk also keeps muscle and nerves from becoming overstimulated.
- Strengthen Bones. Coconut milk does not contain as much calcium as dairy milk but it does contain high amounts of phosphorus that can help to strengthen bones.
- Fight Virus and Infection. The lauric acid in coconut milk will be converted to monolauin in your body. This compound contains antiviral and antibacterial properties.
- Regulate Blood Sugar. The manganese in coconut milk helps you metabolize glucose in the body to help the metabolism working at the optimum level. Manganese can also help to prevent osteoporosis, PMS, inflammation and vitamin absorption.
- Lower Cholesterol. Even though coconut milk is high in saturated fat, but this type of fat raises the HDL or good cholesterol while dairy based products raise the LDL or bad cholesterol. The fat in coconut milk is easy for your body to metabolize which will lower your cholesterol levels overall.
- Relieves Arthritis. The selenium in coconut milk acts as an antioxidant that will help to reduce free radicals that can cause joint inflammation.
There are 3 concerns related to coconut milk:
- Bisphenol-A – which can be avoided if you get fresh coconut milk or you use the ones in tetra-paks.
- Guar Gum is an additive that is included in some packaged coconut milk. The brand we use states that it is free from preservatives so I would presume that includes Guar Gum.
- Fructose mal-absorption (FM) – this is cited as one of the negatives against coconut milk, and I would presume it is similar to the problem that lactose-intolerant individuals have with the consumption of milk. So unless you have FM (which would mean a lot of other foods you shouldn’t be eating as well), this isn’t really a reason to avoid coconut milk.