My love for chocolate runs deep. Even as a child, when I was the world’s pickiest monster, I loved chocolate. In fact, some of my fondest childhood memories involve me spreading out my giant bag of Halloween booty on my bedroom floor and gorging myself on Kit Kats and Mr. Goodbar. I’m sure every 2016 helicopter parent has disposed of this childhood diabetes inauguration ceremony, but this was back in the early ’90s, when parents got a Parent of the Year Award if their children made it through high school without getting themselves (or others) pregnant.
My love affair with chocolate continued throughout my early teen years. As we all know, school lunch options in most American schools are atrocious. Growing up in a small desert town in California, the schools of my youth were no exception. Instead of full-on rebelling against the system and bringing healthy homemade lunches featuring fresh vegetables and fish, I opted for the literal worst option. During my freshmen year of high school, I vividly remember buying Hostess Cupcakes from the snack cart and eating them for lunch. That’s right, I would eat snack cakes made of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and beef fat for lunch. On a daily basis. Silver Lining: I just learned that these snack cakes are relatively low calorie, with two cupcakes clocking in at just 320-350 calories. Yay for health!
Luckily, my chocolate palate became more sophisticated as I got up there in years. Once I graduated high school, I also graduated Take 5 candy bars and moved onto Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses. I think it was shiny purple wrapping that attracted me to them in the first place. And the more I learned about chocolate–how it’s grown around the world, the labor that goes into harvesting cacao beans, the artificial fillers that many commercial chocolate makers add to their chocolates–the more I began to expand my chocolate world. These days, I tend to opt for high-quality dark chocolate bars. My recent favorites are the organic, vegan chocolate bars made by Raaka, a local factory here in Brooklyn. Yes, they’re expensive, but after taking a tour of Raaka’s factory and learning about the care and love that goes into each of these bars, I learned to justify the cost.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I still eat chocolate donuts and chocolate croissants, even though I suspect they aren’t made from particularly high-quality chocolate. But, alas, it’s still a step up from shoving Twix bars down my throat and classifying Ding Dongs as lunch.
I’ve made my fair share of decadent chocolate desserts in my day, from a gooey chocolate pumpkin tart for Thanksgiving to heavenly salted caramel brownies for Tuesdays. But since I’m supposed to focus on health here at the Laws of Bliss, I’m sharing with you a a chocolate dessert that’s packed with nutrients and superfoods. Happy eating!
Mint Chocolate Pudding
Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free
- 1/2 of an avocado
- 5 teaspoons of raw cacao powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract
- 1 Medjool date, pitted
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons of coconut milk
- 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- Add all ingredients except the chia seeds to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a glass.
- Stir the chia seeds into the pudding until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow it to thicken.
- Serve with fresh mint and desired toppings.