Superfood Almond Butter Swirl Chocolate Cups (Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Low Sugar)
Life changes can be stressful, even when they're positive changes. I feel like I've recently gone through a hurricane of life changes and many of these changes have been real life-altering events that made me face the fact that I am officially an adult dealing with grown up things (man, growing up is hard!). They have also made me realize how grateful I am to be healthy and to have a balanced lifestyle where I can (usually) rationally think through whatever I am going through. It has put into spotlight the importance of a healthy diet and exercise to be a steady force of balance during tumultuous times.
When we experience uncertainty, it is so easy to distract yourself with unhealthy habits like indulging in junk food or imbibing more alcohol than you should. However, sticking with nutrient-dense food and exercise during these times are even more paramount because healthy habits balance you both physically and mentally. Exercise can be so cathartic and can reduce overall tension in your body and mind. It releases endorphins, which elevates mood and and acts as a natural painkiller. Also, making exercise into a daily routine gives you a something steady to rely on when life seems to be changing around you.
Along with exercise, the food that we consume is so important, especially during high stress times. Food has the ability to either induce or reduce anxiety. There are numerous studies that show that certain nutrient deficiencies in the brain can cause depression, anxiety, and panic. The brain's neurotransmitters are made from the nutrients you ingest so dialing in your diet is key when you're undergoing stress.
During these more stressful periods over the past few months, I've kept up with my exercise routine by working out 6 days a week, first thing in the morning. Getting my days started with a workout sets my day on a positive and energized note and reminds me how grateful I am to be able to exercise and maintain my health. Also, I've made sure to get in at least one very nutrient dense meal per day (even when pizza happens for dinner), especially focusing on the micronutrients that are key for optimal brain function, like folate, magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and zinc. I've also added in adaptogens, which I discussed in a prior post, to help modulate my adrenal system. They're so easy to add in to a morning smoothie, oatmeal, tea, or chocolate - as you'll see in this recipe!
These chocolate cups are made with my favorite adaptogenic mushroom, reishi. Reishi helps regulate your immune system and can be used to help treat anxiety. It's become quite popular in the last few years and is showing up in new beverages and snacks, which I'm loving. When added to the chocolate, you cannot taste the reishi at all and it adds a great health boost to this treat. Of course, I also had to add in my favorite collagen peptides to these cups because I love the extra protein and the gut-health benefits. Those ingredients take these lower-sugar chocolate cups to a whole new level of healthy and delicious! If you're trying to sneak in some of these ingredients, I highly recommend these chocolate cups because they're super delicious and sneakily good for you!
superfood almond butter swirl chocolate cups (paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, low sugar)
Time: 30 mins
- 1 cup unsweetened chocolate (I used Pascha Organic 100% cacao chips)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 2 tsp reishi powder
- pinch of himalayan sea salt
- 1/3 cup raw almond butter
- 2 scoops collagen peptides
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- Line a 12 cavity muffin tin with a liner (or use a silicone muffin tray) and set aside
- In a double boiler, melt together the chocolate, 1/4 cup coconut sugar, reishi, and himalayan sea salt until the chocolate is melted and smooth
- In a microwaveable bowl, add almond butter, collagen, coconut oil, and 2 tsp coconut sugar and microwave for 20 seconds on high. Stir until well incorporated
- Add about a tablespoon of chocolate mixture into each of the muffin liners. Drizzle about a tablespoon of the almond butter mixture over the top of the chocolate and swirl with a spoon or spatula until the almond butter is swirled throughout (but not completely mixed into the chocolate)
- Refrigerate the chocolates for about 20-30 minutes until the chocolates have firmed up and enjoy!