Full of antioxidants and made creamy from raw cashews, this Dairy Free Hot Chocolate is the perfect sweet treat for any occasion.
I rarely talk about weight on this blog. In fact, I'm not sure I ever have! That's for a few reasons really. The main one being that I think there is so much more to life than what we weigh. Sadly, I think numerous people are at a healthy weight, but because of social media (including blogs) they often feel like they need to change their body to fit a certain mold. Even I, a girl who's always been skinny and fairly in shape, have felt that way. Another big reason I don't talk about weight is because I'm not a registered dietician or doctor. Everybody's body is different and requires different amounts of energy (calories) throughout the day and I am in no place to tell people how often or how much to eat.
The reason I want to talk about weight today, however, is because the other day I had a realization regarding weight based off of my own personal experience. Slowly, over the past two years or so I've gained a few pounds. I don't think it's noticeable to the outside eye, not even my husband (although he's not super observant when it comes to things like weight and clothes). But we all know that we can notice difference in our own bodies, even if the changes happen slowly.
I'm actually happy with the few pounds I've gained. A lot of people thought I was anorexic beforehand, but the extra few pounds I've put on have calmed those fears. But I was trying to think through what I started doing differently to cause my body to change. And you know what?
I started eating healthier!
I think a lot of people associate healthier eating with weight loss, but I'm here to say that, at least in my experience, eating healthier cause me to gain a few pounds. I always thought I was eating healthy, but when I made the switch over to a plant-based diet, I learned so much about processed foods. I've talked about this before, but before I went vegan, I used to eat so many low-fat, low-calorie processed foods that claimed they were healthy. We're talking low-calorie breads, fat-free yogurts, Special-K cereal, pretzels, turkey deli meat, 60 calorie hot chocolate packets, reduced calorie crackers and almond milk, etc. While these foods aren't inherently bad, they aren't full of as much nutrition as their whole food counterparts.
So, when I did start paying closer attention to the foods I was eating, I made a lot of swaps in my diet. I started eating whole grain breads with just ⅘ ingredients. I switched out my pretzels for green smoothies. I fell in love with oatmeal and peanut butter for breakfast instead of my sugary cereals. I started making my own crackers using whole grains and healthy oils. I even started making my own milk at home. By eating more whole foods and less processed foods, I subtly upped my caloric in-take...for the better! Those extra calories contain a lot more nutrients. A green smoothie full of fresh fruit, spinach and homemade almond milk will be more calorically dense than a handful of pretzels. A hearty bowl of oatmeal with natural peanut butter on top and dried fruit will be more filling than a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk. Soft, fluffy homemade bread cut extra thick will be more dense than the airy, 40-calories-a-slice store-bought bread.
And...homemade Dairy Free Hot Chocolate made extra creamy with raw cashews will definitely have more calories than a 60 calorie pack of hot cocoa. BUT it will be full of healthy fats and antioxidants from raw cacao powder. So because of that, I'll take the higher calorie treat any day. My body will thank me for it in the long run.
I'm not sure if any of you can relate to my experience, but I found it interesting that eating healthier caused me to put on a few pounds. I'm so happy for the extra weight too, because I know it's because I've been fueling my body with whole, natural, plant-based foods!
I really hope that you aren't scared away by this whole food, plant-based Dairy Free Hot Chocolate. It's so creamy, frothy and the perfect treat this cold, winter season. If you give it a try, I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or take a picture of your creation and tag #theconscientiouseater on Instagram!
Dairy Free Hot Chocolate
- 3 cup non-dairy milk
- 3 tablespoons cashews soaked for 4 hours
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup or more to taste
- 2 ½ tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons cacao nibs
- pinch sea salt
- Place all of the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth and heated through. Taste and add more cacao or maple syrup if desired.
- If you don't have a high speed blender, start by blending the ingredients until smooth and then transfer the liquid to a sauce pan and warm over medium heat.
I think that people with allergies are some of the most creative, innovative cooks. Y'all really inspire me with your persistence in finding different ways to use God's wonderful resources to create yummy versions of allergy-friendly food. 🙂
Thanks Emily!! In a way, it's such a blessing because it's forced me to be creative and branch out in the foods I eat!
I love this post and the message behind it! I found your blog from an Instagram comment you made on Robyn Coale's page, and I'm really glad I followed the internet wormhole over here! Always funny and great how those things work out. 🙂 You have a great voice and point of view. Keep at it! Now I'm off to explore more of your yum recipes.
Wow Melissa! You're so sweet and encouraging! I'm so glad you commented and said hi. I love Robyn and lived in NYC for a while and am kicking myself that I never met her:) Thanks again for your comment and hope we can chat more!
Count nutrients and not calories! Great post, thank you!
Amen Amber! Thanks!
Absolutely LOVE this post and everything you are saying. Life is about SO much more than low-calorie foods that can 'fit' into your diet. I am a huge believer in fitting in unhealthy treats at times but focusing 90% of your intake on nutrient dense foods. So YES to nutrients if it means gaining a couple of pounds!!
Thanks Deanna! I'm glad you enjoy my random thoughts:) Thanks so much for commenting and sharing yours as well!
So well said! As a recovering anorexic, this is really important for me to hear ♥ I have been striving to replace all of the processed, low calorie foods with nutrient dense, plant-based ones and its really aided my health during these past 6 months of recovery. As always, you're amazing!
I'm so glad this post was helpful Rose! It's so worth it to eat whole foods, even if they are more calorie dense. Our bodies will thank us!!
Bethany @ Athletic Avocado says
Great post and recipe! Im super glad that you posted about your own experience with your weight! I love hearing everyones story and what causes them to realize why healthy eating is so important!
Thanks Bethany! And I'm glad you enjoyed reading a little about my story! It's never my favorite to talk about weight, but I think it's important sometime:)
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl says
I also found that transitioning to not eating those super highly processed "low calorie" foods, cooking more, and embracing my love of coconut oil and sunflower seed butter and salmon (even though it's higher in calories and fat than white fishes) and real dark chocolate (instead of the fake stuff) meant that my weight has stabilized a few pounds above where I was when I first started cooking and running on the regular about 2.5 years ago. But I feel so much happier and healthier where I am now. There is no single right answer for all of us because we're all different, but I agree with you!
Ditto everything Alyssa! I'm glad you've found a healthy balance that feels good and includes lots of whole foods and indulgences too:)
Elsje Parsons Massyn says
I loved this article!! Everything is sooo true!
Thanks so much Elsje!