choc almond mylk

I often get a craving for nesquik-esque choc milk, the stuff from my childhood. Or even a carton of choc milk from the deli. But once I glance at the ingredients list, I run away scared like a mouse that’s seen a cat-shaped ghost. Alas, when you are pregnant, cravings need sorting out, am I right? I’m 100% right.

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This choc almond mylk is way more nutritious and delicious than the contents of those edible memories shoved all the way in the back of your head, amongst the dust and cobwebs. Healthy monounsaturated fats, magnesium boost from the cacao and naturally sweetened with dates, what can go wrong? Perfectly plant based, making it perfect for vegans. Bottoms up!

choc almond mylk – serves 1

you’ll need…

  • 1 cup almond milk (preferably homemade – soak 1 cup of almonds for 8-12 hours, rinse then blend with 3 cups of filtered water and strain through cheesecloth, saving the meal for baking)
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao (or cocoa)
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean/1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
  • pinch of sea salt

here’s what you do…

  1. Place all ingredients into your blender, and blend until smooth. Serve immediately, or keep in the fridge for up to 4 days (providing your almond milk is fresh – it has a 4 day lifespan so work it out!). You might need to give it a shake if you’ve stored it in the fridge, as contents will settle.
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dairy-free spiced choc-banana mousse + a little on fermented foods

Whilst I adore the creamy goodness those plump bovines produce, non-fermented dairy isn’t something I like to overdo. I strongly believe good quality, fermented or cultured dairy has an important place in the diet, as not only does it contain gut-loving healthy bacteria and yeasts, a large part of the lactose (the sugar part) has been consumed by the thriving bacteria, making it much gentler on the digestive system. A small study undertaken with 15 lactose-intolerant adults showed negligible symptoms of flatulence and abdominal discomfort after consuming kefir – that’s great news for those who can’t drink the regular white stuff! The gut plays such a large role in immune function so it’s crucial we maintain its integrity, and fermented foods are a great start. Miso, kimchi, kefir, kombucha and yoghurt are all easily accessible and provide a great deal of beneficial bacteria responsible for vitamin synthesis, digestion of fibre and the regulation of the inflammatory response in the body. Long term, low level inflammation in the body is often touted as the ‘silent killer’, leading to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer – so don’t overlook these foods as they are crucial in the upkeep of your immune system.

dairy free spiced choc banana mousseA bad habit I often see is food being labelled as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, creating a sense of guilt and turmoil when we might eat a food thats negatively viewed in our minds. As long as we are aware of the foods we should be consuming at least 80% of the time, such as fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, seeds, good-quality animal proteins + fats and wholegrains, we know that anything that falls out of this category should be considered a ‘treat’, and treats can be good for the soul, an important part of nutrition. Nourishing your soul with homemade, preferably wholefood desserts is a positive thing, so don’t beat yourself up for making (and eating) that chocolate brownie – you probably deserved it. If you’re looking for some beautiful, wholefood sweets and treats, check out Jude Blereau’s Wholefood Baking, a fabulous read.

Alas, this little number is super quick to whip up, and is creamy, chocolatey, and spicy, all at once. Oh, and it’s good for you. You’ve got good fats from the avo, heart-healthy potassium + B-Vitamins from the bananas and mineral-rich cacao. You can play around with the proportions, especially if you like it a touch on the sweeter side. It also depends on the ripeness of your bananas, so you might need to add more maple syrup if they haven’t quite reached that sugary softness that turns them into smoothie material. Here, I’ve topped the mousse with my cacao and hazelnut buckwheat granola for crunch factor, a healthy take on the sugary ‘coco pops’ that kids love. I’ll post the recipe for those tomorrow. For now, have a treat – you know you deserve it.

dairy free spiced choc banana moussedairy-free spiced choc-banana mousse – serves 2 – gluten free, dairy free and refined-sugar free

you’ll need…

  • 2 (preferably) frozen, medium sized bananas (if using non-frozen, you probably won’t need the water)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/1 vanilla bean scraped/1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • water, if having trouble blending

here’s what you do…

  1. Chuck everything into your blender and…blend! Add water 1tbsp at a time to get things moving, just until its blending smoothly.