That might seem like a simple proposition, but when your dietary restrictions extend to sugar, gluten, dairy, and alcohol, that leaves one with a piece of fruit. Or, the culinary creativity kicks in to create something rich and chocolatey and delicious, something which satisfies both the diet and the craving.
It is no wonder that cocoa, the sacred drink of the Mayans and Aztecs, is called the food of the gods. In addition to being delicious, it is loaded with nutritional benefits. It may have anti-depressant qualities and contains the neurochemical phenylethylamine which promotes a feeling of contentment and has an aphrodisiacal effect. It is an amazing antioxidant, containing 43.6 mg of flavonoids per gram, it is higher in oxidant-fighting polyphenols than red wine or green tea. Additionally, it may lower LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots, increase blood flow to the arteries, lower high blood pressure, boost cognitive performance, and provide essential minerals such as calcium and potassium. But beware, cocoa does contain caffeine and might delay the onset of sweet dreams.
Liquid Stevia has become my lord and saviour. I began using it when I was first diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Some researchers suggest it is the miracle cure, but I lost my faith in miracles long ago. It has been proven effective in limiting the creation of new biofilms, invisibility cloaks that protect bacteria from both antibiotics and your bodies natural antibodies. A delicious side-effect of my Stevia use, is that now I have a healthy sugar substitute. Note well, Stevia is powerful stuff, a few drops can sweeten the grouchiest grump, so use is sparingly.
When I need that little bit o’ naughty, I whip up a mug of my satisfying hot cocoa. If I’m feeling particularly naughty, I might add a shot of special sauce. These days, I limit the “special sauce” to once a week or so, but I feel blessed that I can now be naughty once a week.
Sugar Free, Dairy Free Hot Cocoa
3/4 – 1 cup plain Almond Milk*, or the milk substitute of your choice
3/4 – 1 cup water
2 heaping teaspoons cocoa powder (just the powder, no added sugar…)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, or spice of your choice
3-6 drops liquid Stevia
1 shot alcohol (I like an orange liquor such as Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Controy, when in Mexico) – Optional
- Note: Silk Regular Almond Milk is sugar free, Silk Vanilla Almond Milk has added sugar
Fill your favourite mug with your desired mix of water/milk substitute, with about 1/2″ of space at the top. Pour this mixture into a small saucepan. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, spice, and Stevia and heat over medium low heat. The cocoa powder will dissolve into the liquid as it begins to heat up, so I don’t stir the concoction until the cocoa powder has dissolved. Once the powder has dissolved, stir frequently with a small wire whisk. Watch the cocoa carefully as it will boil over if you aren’t looking. Enjoy as is, or with a snort of your favourite naughty.