Cocoa and Berry Energy Shake

What a wonderful autumn we're having - 20 degrees and plenty of sunshine, and it's already November! But autumn doesn't always charm us with its beauty and one of its great disadvantages is the fact that by 4:30pm, it's already dark out, which makes us all a bit more tired and sluggish. I am someone who functions best at night, so I do most of my work in the evenings. But when it gets dark as early as it does right now, I am noticing my energy levels dip a bit. I'll tell you what I do about it...

Alongside fresh air and regular exercise, it's of course very important to eat foods which provide us with energy and sustain our fitness. Due to my current interest in superfoods and power foods, I've learned a lot about energy-boosting produce like matcha, maca, reishi, cocoa and others. I have substituted my afternoon coffee with a matcha latte and enhanced my Good Morning Shake with power ingredients like goji berries, maca powder, wheatgrass powder, acai powder, pollen, aloe vera, fruit and a plant-based milk of my choice. And whenever autumn fatigue or a stress-related spot of the blues come over me, I make myself a cocoa energy shake. Raw cocoa belongs to the superfood group - why that's the case, I'll tell you today.

A little known fact: the popular milk chocolate consists of very little cocoa. By law, chocolate has to contain at least 25% of cocoa, but most of it is covered by cocoa butter. There only needs to be 2,5% of fat-free cocoa solids in any given bar of chocolate. The rest is sugar, milk products and other industrial ingredients. Only cocoa has health benefits - eating a ton of milk chocolate will therefore not do anything at all for our wellbeing.

Most people are familiar with raw cacao - albeit this is not to be confused with common supermarket cacao drink mixes, which are created by grinding the peeled cacao beans. They don't just differ from raw cocoa in colour, but also in nutrient levels. In raw cocoa powder, on the other hand, the cocoa butter hasn't been separated from the seeds, therefore its fat content is much higher.

Also less well-known: the valuable cocoa nibs, which are veritable energy boosters and are mostly available at health food stores. They are peeled and chopped cocoa beans and are mostly sold roasted, but are also available raw, which of course is the best option. Cocoa nibs contain essential antioxidants, fibres and many more healthy nutrients, but they taste very bitter, as the cocoa butter hasn't been removed yet, and they also have a very high fat content.

The advantages of cocoa:

  • Cocoa is ideal to counteract physical strain and mental stress: Athletes in particular love cocoa drinks, as they provide energy, calories and antioxidants and reduce physical and mental stress.
  • Cocoa makes you happy: Cocoa might be the most popular indulgence in the world.
  • Cocoa contains many essential nutrients: Cocoa beans pack 54% fat and numerous other substances like proteins, minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron), vitamin E, fibre, polyphenols, flavonoids and further secondary plant substances, starch and vegetable mucilage. In addition, cocoa has been proven to contain mood-elevating properties, to stimulate the circulatory system and to support the central nervous system. The many antioxidants inherent in cocoa catch free radicals.
  • Cocoa contains many secondary plant substances: These ingredients, also called flavonoids, promote our health. Cocoa is called a superfood because it contains so many of them.

These days, I always make myself a cocoa and berry shake as an afternoon energy boost. It's quick to make, particularly with the Thermomix, and super delicious. I prepare my breakfast shake as well as various warming soups with the Thermomix.  When I cater bigger events, this food processor is particularly handy. I used it when I cooked for a Peek & Cloppenburg staff event, making my yummy superfood broccoli salad I will soon introduce to you, my Power Cookies as a giveaway, the Life Changing Loaf of Bread, Energie Kugeln (energy balls) and a Grünen Smoothie (green smoothie).

Today's recipe comes from my superfood series, for which I will introduce one recipe after the other as well as valuable nutritional information about the superfoods.

Disclaimer: The product introduced in this article was provided free of charge.

Photo: (c) Julia Stix / recipe & food styling: Eva Fischer

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Cocoa and Berry Energy Shake
2 glasses

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 handful of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 3 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrups
  • 1 tsp cocoa nibs

Preparation:

  1. Divide a mix of blueberries and raspberries up into two glasses. Use a fork to mash the berries.
  2. Halve and pit the avocado and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Combine the rest of the ingredients in the Thermomix and process on the highest speed until frothy. Slowly pour the smoothie into the glasses. Take care that the berries stick to the bottom of the glasses.