December 13, 2018

Cocoa Season

Looks like winter is finally hitting us here in the Great North! Oh, joy, oh bliss, let’s shovel snow!

Always an optimist – on a positive note – the snow signals COCOA SEASON!

Love my cup of heart healthy hot cocoa. Yes, depending on the ingredients, cocoa can be the perfect winter drink for your heart and your soul.

Having cocoa made with 2 cups (500 mL) skim milk and 5 tbsp (75 mL) high antioxidant cocoa powder (aka raw or natural cocoa powder) daily is a useful tool against the risk factors of coronary heart disease so says a report in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases published in 2012.

Although the number of participants was small (42 adults) after the end of the 4 week study the researchers found that the daily drink of skim milk plus cocoa was associated with a 5 percent increase in HDL cholesterol levels (that’s the good stuff), compared to only milk and a 14 percent reduction in oxidized LDL cholesterol levels (that’s the bad stuff), compared to milk only. In English – that large cup of cocoa raised the good HDL cholesterol and lowered the evil LDL cholesterol.

That cup of cocoa can also:

  • decrease insulin resistance
  • improve blood pressure
  • help blood vessels relax, which allows better blood flow

Not bad for a treat! I’m all about “having your cake and eating it too”! So here’s my recipe for a cup of heart health!

My recipe only calls for 1 cup (250 mL) of milk and 2 tbsp (30 mL) which is a little less than half of what the researchers used in their study.

Old-Fashioned Hot Cocoa

One of my pet peeves is how cocoa and hot chocolate get bantered around in the same sentence, as if they were one and the same.

No, no, no, no, no.

Hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate and cocoa is made from, wait for it, cocoa powder.

Here’s how I make a cocoa mix from my web cooking show My Left Frying Pan.

Natural cocoa powder is higher in flavanols (those powerful antioxidants that can help reduce your blood pressure) than regular cocoa powder. Read your labels. You want a product that says natural or raw right on the front of the package.

My recipe isn’t overly sweet, so give it a taste and add a little more sweetener if you need to.

1 cup (250 mL) skim milk or fortified organic soy beverage

2 tbsp (30 mL) raw or natural cocoa powder – click here for more info

1-2 tbsp (15 – 30 mL)  honey, or sweetener of your choice – see below for more info ( I use 2 tsp but I don’t like sweet as much as i love the cocoa flavour)

  1. Heat the milk on top of the stove, on medium, or in the microwave, on low until steamy.
  2. Whisk in cocoa powder and sweetener. Serve.

Makes I cup (250 mL) One serving = I cup (250 mL)

One serving with 2 Tbsp honey contains: 250 Calories, 1 g Total Fat, 0.6 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 127 mg Sodium, 51 g Carbs, 2 g Fibre, 45 g Sugar, 11 g Protein

To reduce the total amount of carbs to 42 g and the sugars to 31 g, use unsweetened organic soy beverage. My brand of choice is Canadian grown Nautr-a. Or use half the sweetener.

People living with diabetes feel free to use stevia instead of  honey.

5 Comments on “Cocoa Season

Mary-Ellen Johnson
November 4, 2018 at 11:22 pm

Thanks, Mairlyn. I’ve been trying different brands of stevia. Why do you like the Splenda brand best? I don’t think I’ve tried that one.

November 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

It doesn’t have that weird after taste.
Peace, love and fibre,

Jo Mayes
November 5, 2018 at 1:05 am

What about caffeine? I am totally decaf. Is there much?
Admire you very much.

November 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Decaf shouldn’t bother you, but having said that I can’t have a decaf latte in the afternoon without it playing havoc on my sleep.
Yikes! I’m super caffeine sensitive.
Peace, love and fibre,


[…] Plan a get out of your house day: What’s more fun than a walk? A picnic. Plan a picnic and go for a day trip if possible. Or walk to a park and eat there. Hopefully, October won’t be too cold to eat out in a park. A sandwich and a thermos of cocoa in nature? That’s a reason to celebrate. It really is the little things. Here’s my recipe for cocoa.  […]


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