Warning! May incite hunger...proceed only if you want to discover mouth watering goodness.
You've heard of the bulletproof coffee craze that swept the globe and transformed people's morning routines. But now, a new trend is emerging and you definitely want to be apart of this one!
Hot chocolate! That's right folks, hot chocolate it's the new (black) coffee...dark hot chocolate to be specific. Finally, It's socially acceptable to include this delicious treat in your morning routine! No judgement...it's science!
Here are 7 reasons you should be drinking a delicious cup of hot cocoa (probably not every day...but definitely sometimes!):
1. It supports charity!
Below are 4 great chocolate companies dedicated to changing our world for the better! Look for them at your local gourmet grocery story or online through their websites, Amazon, Wholefoods, and Thrive Market. And be sure to try out our homemade go-to hot chocolate recipe using one of the chocolate brands below.
ME to WE Chocolate That Changes Lives™ - award-winning and handcrafted using Ecuador’s most prized cacao bean, Fino de Aroma. This delicious dark chocolate bar gives education to children and empowers cacao farmers in Ecuador.
Sweetriot riotBar - What makes this sweet treat so special? riotBars supports fair trade, sources cacao exclusively in Latin America, and directly supports a better life for farming families through fair prices and direct trade.
Endangered Species Chocolate - For the true dark chocolate lover, this deeply powerful, 88% cocoa dark chocolate is silky smooth and full of flavor. Endangered Species Chocolate also donates 10% of their annual net profit to organizations that seek to change the world for both habitats and humanity, and have given over $1,400,000 over the last three years alone.
Rescue Chocolate - “The sweetest way to save a life!” For each chocolate purchased, 100% of the net profits are donated to animal rescue organizations around the USA.
2. Starts your day off in a more positive (and in this case extra delicious) way.
I don't know about you, but when I have something to look forward to in the morning, I feel much more positive about waking up. Additionally, studies show that when you begin your day on a positive note, it increases the likelihood that you'll remain happy as your day progresses. This in turn can make you more motivated and productive throughout your workday as well!
3. Reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
Dark chocolate can also directly elevate your mood. There has been a growing consensus in the scientific community that dark chocolate can help fight stress, anxiety, and depression. How? It triggers a strong release of endorphins, known as the "feel good" hormones.
4. May help reduce risk of heart disease over time.
Some observational studies have shown a drastic reduction in heart disease risk among those who consume dark chocolate because the compounds in dark chocolate appear to be protective against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (aka the bad kind). In more simplistic terms, less cholesterol gets lodged in the arteries over time, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease.
5. Sharpens the mind.
Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow. It also contains stimulants that can help perk you up on those sleepy mornings!
6. Because why not?!
Life is too short not to enjoy your morning (and you can always spike it with some caffeine!). Of course, dark chocolate does contain sugar and therefore a higher calorie content. So as always, moderation is best.
OUR GO-TO DARK HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE
1 Cup Milk (or non-dairy alternative) 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar, optional
2 ounces dark chocolate, or more to taste
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
In a small pot or saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until just before boiling, 3 to 4 minutes (milk should have tiny bubbles around the side of the pot but be careful not to boil else the milk will become grainy). Add optional brown sugar and stir until dissolved, about 1 minute or less. Stir pieces of dark chocolate into milk until melted, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning and over cooking. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cinnamon/nutmeg into milk mixture and pour into your favorite mug. For an extra creamy (though more calorie laden) version add 1-2 tbsp heavy whipping cream to the mug before pouring in the heated contents. ENJOY!
Tips: You can also melt the chocolate first in a separate pan or microwave and add into the milk mixture once it is heated. Top with some shaved chocolate, whipped cream, and/or an extra sprinkle of cinnamon if you're really feeling your inner Martha Stewart.