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cocoa

This is an ongoing series on spring detox cleansing. To catch up, refer to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5. I’m on day 9 of my cleanse and although I’ve had a couple of minor incidents, overall I’m feeling great and I’m even starting to see these changes in the way I look. When you focus on eating fresh, unprocessed, wholesome ingredients and you eliminate the foods that cause your body stress, you start to see it in your eyes, your skin, your attitude (most of the time) and your energy levels. A transformation slowly takes place in which you gain renewed strength and vitality. There are ups and downs along the way, just like everything else in life and (news flash) there are no quick fixes or miracle cures (darn) no matter what you hear on the radio or read in magazines. But if you really care about your health and are committed to making positive changes, better health can be yours in fairly short order. A mild cleanse is a good place to start (consult your healthcare advisor before starting any cleanse or detox program).

Having said that, I WANT some chocolate. Stomp, stomp!

Here’s my recipe for a healthy treat to soothe the soul when collard greens and bok choy just don’t cut it. We all have those days and rather than taking a high-speed nose-dive off the detox wagon and downing a bag of peanut M & Ms (you know who you are), my healthy cocoa dipping sauce is just the remedy. And yes, this treat is okay occasionally and in moderation while cleansing — at least in my world. Sorry, Miles, but the sauvignon blanc is still off the menu as a detox drink. Not forever though, so don’t despair, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Pure cocoa is a healthy ingredient. Its high flavonoid content makes it a great treat, but product quality is important. Cocoa is a processed food, which I don’t normally consider detox-worthy, but if you choose a good quality organic version, I think it’s a fine option on occasion and in small doses. Non-organically processed cocoa may contain some icky by-products, so go with the good stuff and use it sparingly.

Healthy and tasty cocoa dipping sauce (gluten-free & vegan)
6 mejool dates, pitted
3/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup almond butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 small packet of stevia (1 g packet, which is .o35 ounce or about 1/4 teaspoon)
sliced apples, pears, pineapple, oranges, jicama, or strawberries

Soak pitted dates in filtered water for an hour or so. Put soaking water, dates and the rest of the ingredients (other than the fruit) in food processor and pulse until you have a sauce-like consistency. Store in glass jar in the refrigerator. Dip sliced apples (or other fruit) into sauce and enjoy!

One serving consists of one sliced apple and 2-3 tablespoons of dipping sauce.

* I use NOW organic natural cocoa powder. There’s nothing else in it and it’s only 55 calories per 1/4 cup. See photo above, which is a plate of NOW cocoa powder.

Go forth and choose healthy treats (no peanut M&Ms)!
Melissa
P.S. The little skeleton box was a gift from a dear friend and is part of a rather colorful El Dia de los Muertos skeleton collection I have.

18 Responses to “sweet cleansing potion (day 9)”

  1. Craving chocolate is often a sign of magnesium deficiency. With all that cleansing your body is likely burning through minerals with all the replenishing and repairing. Be sure you are getting lots and lots of leafy greens in there!

  2. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    This post is topical in the UK at the moment because a British man who owns a cacoa business is in the process of making a high quality chocolate bar. We’re all following his ups and downs as events unfold. From where I sit it looks like very hard work buying the machines and getting the right quality beans. This week he had a college test his product on some volunteers working out in the gym… apparently the unsweetened cocoa drink proved successful in giving them extra energy or at least the perception of it. It’s the sugar in normal chocolate that’s bad for you isn’t it?

    I’d be the first to admit I like my chocolate to be creamy with high quality taste so I might struggle with 100% cacoa bar or something close to it.

    I’ve just downed a glass of juiced fruit and veg, not exactly a cleanse but it’s better than nothing. I must remember to drink lots of filtered water. With working longer hours these days at least I don’t drink quite as much tea and coffee as I did before.

    Your cocoa dip sounds really good, I’ll have to give that a try…. I love dates.

    Cid

  3. Melissa says:

    Meghan,

    Thanks for your comments and yes, I’m getting plenty of green leafy veggies and am in no risk of a deficiency. Far from it. No worries, I’m not “craving” chocolate, but I like a treat now and then and this is a good, healthy option. And it’s chocolately — yum!

  4. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    How are you? I hope the new job is going well. Would love to hear more about it — email me if you have a chance.

    I like organic cocoa powder (like I mention in this post) with no added sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg or preservatives. Many cocoa powders come with additives, I like mine organic and plain. Then I can play with it as an ingredient in the way I want. Now, if you’re talking about a dark chocolate candy bar, that’s a different story. Dark chocolate is made up of cacao beans, sugar, cacao butter, and usually something like soy lecithin. Right now I’m not eating any sugar or butter, so I will avoid dark chocolate and stick to a treat like this recipe I posted. But in normal life, a small piece of dark chocolate every so often isn’t a bad thing. Sugar isn’t evil, it’s just that we eat WAY too much of it. And often when you start, it’s hard to stop!

    :-)

  5. naomi says:

    I hear that craving and salute your solution. I have been on the hunt for some 100% chocolate today after finding that Waitrose were out of cacao. I was planning to make some honey sweetened chocolate for Fin to have on Sunday. In the end I had to settle for 99%, but that 1% sugar still niggles you know?

    When I get that chocolate craving I mix up a spoonful of cocoa with a large spoonful of coconut oil and a tiny drizzle of honey – just enough to take the edge off. Then I eat it from the spoon making disgusting noises of appreciation as I go….

    I gave you an award that comes with a meme because I think you have such a fantastic blog. Find it here:

    http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.com/2009/04/seven-things-i-love.html

    x xx

  6. Alright, your chocolate dipping sauce sounds sooo great! I have all of those ingredients stocked in my kitchen but had not thoguht of putting something like this together. I bet it goes great with strawberries!

    Glad to hear your cleanse is going well. I can’t wait to start one once I am finished testing recipes for my next cookbook!

    -Ali :)

  7. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    I feel much better now thanks… my new job in working part time in a brand new local Deli. I love it, all kinds of cheeses and goodies. Getting to know you and Miles has given me much more insight into various ingredients which is very useful. There’s not much work in my little market town, so disappointing for the younger generation. The rest of the time I’m working on my house which was built in the 1700′s… never ending I can tell you but wonderful at the same time. My interests vary so much from art to food to potions, ceramics and fabric and design in general.

    Cid

  8. Melissa says:

    Naomi,

    I love the way you started your comment! And your choco-craving elixir sounds perfect. Wow, how come I never thought of that? Those are 3 of my favorite ingredients!

    And thank you for the award! I’m honored that you thought of me and I appreciate it, especially coming from someone as creative as you! Now, I wonder what I will come up with for my meme. Hmmmm?

  9. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    Good, good, good. I must admit to being a touch concerned as you weren’t your usually chipper (or did Miles call you chirpy?) self. I’ve always thought it would be fun to work in a cheese shop, simply to learn about all the cheeses. I have such a hard time with dairy products that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea, but I love learning about cheeses, wines, and special things like that. Your house sounds charming, albeit a lot of work, I’m sure. Yes, you certainly do seem to have varied (and fascinating) interests!

  10. Melissa says:

    Ali,

    Yes, that dipping sauce is wonderful and something I turn to quite often.

    :-)

    Looking forward to the cookbook. Keep us posted!

  11. The dipping sauce does sound good, except for the stevia. I’d have to substitute for that. I have tried all types of stevia, even the ones that are not supposed to be bitter, and they all taste bad to me. I’d rather have no sugar than stevia.

    I do love Naomi’s potion, too. That could have some great applications (pun intended)! Seriously. I am saving both of these concoctions right now.

    Shirley

    P.S. Thought of you today. All my posts and comments disappeared for several hours. Tech support saved the day and I am breathing once again. Owe you an email … soon.

  12. CoconutGal says:

    Hi!
    Lovely blog with lots of great info and recipes!
    I’ve been wanting to try a cleanse but nervous my body is not strong enough. Sounds like you are doing well. Thanks for sharing :-)

  13. Miles says:

    Melissa,
    I’m on day four of no sauvignon blanc. Can’t say I feel any better right now!
    I blame you :)

    Miles

  14. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    I actually find stevia bitter as well, but it’s such a small amount that I don’t notice it in this concoction. I’ve made this with no sweetener and it tastes fine, although just not a sweet (obviously).

    Glad you didn’t have a major blog meltdown. Yes, it’s definitely a weird feeling when it flat-out disappears! Thank goodness for techy geeks.

    :-)

  15. Melissa says:

    Coconutgal,

    Thanks for the nice comments! You are so RIGHT about making sure you are strong enough to do a cleanse. People don’t think about that, but these things should be individualized for each person.

    For many people, two or three weeks of preparation is warranted first. My cleanse is not hard core, but it would be if I suggested it for someone who eats at McDonald’s every day, drinks a lot of alcohol, or something like that. Or, for someone dealing with a health condition. It’s about tailoring it to the person. Everyone can get to this point, it simply takes a personalized approach. You’re smart to know your own body well enough to know what is best for you!

  16. Kay says:

    While you are busy cleansing, I’m busy building the chicken coop and getting my gardens ready. I’m eating anything I can prepare in 5 minutes or less. I ran out of gf bread yesterday, so I had to come in from the workshop and do some baking.

    Is it looking like spring in your neck of the woods?

  17. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    For some reason, I don’t fully believe you. Maybe the problem is what you’re replacing the sauvignon blanc with.

    Tell the truth — you’ve turned to a nice merlot, cabernet blend to go with that duck and goat cheese salad, haven’t you?

    Don’t blame me!
    :-)

  18. Melissa says:

    Kay,

    You’re hard to keep up with, girl!

    You’d be proud of me though, my composter is coming along, my garden planning is — is — in the planning stages.

    It’s been fairly nice lately, so it does look like spring might show up around here soon.

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