I like to indulge in a cold brew once in a while, but for the most part, I try to stay away from coffee. Too much caffeine gives me the jitters and a crash in my energy levels in the afternoon. But there’s an even better way that I like to give my body just what it needs in the morning to sustain energy and focus all throughout the day — and it’s a chocolate-lovers dream.
My delicious morning energy-boost comes from cacao. My new coffee replacement wake me up, and I’ve even noticed improvements in my mood and focus! Cacao, or the cacao bean, comes from the Theobroma cacao tree, which is native to the tropical regions of central- and south America. If you’re thinking of cocoa, though, there’s actually a difference. Cacao refers to the raw cacao bean, whereas cocoa is used to describe the cacao bean after it’s been roasted.
Cacao has a slightly more bitter taste than cocoa, so it makes for a great coffee substitute. But what really makes cacao the perfect morning beverage is that it’s loaded with health-boosting nutrients that provide the body with energy that will last all day.
Cacao is packed with antioxidants that help fight oxidative damage and prevent disease in the body. It’s also got nutrients like magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, and manganese. Magnesium, in particular, is lacking in many peoples’ diets, and it’s responsible for a host of enzymatic reactions that play important roles in our health. And thanks to an alkaloid in cacao called theobromine, consuming cacao has shown to have stimulating effects on energy levels — and it can even boost your mood!
The best part about cacao is that it’s a delicious chocolatey treat to start your day with. We promise, you won’t even miss your morning coffee. This simple recipe can be adjusted to include any non-dairy milk that you like. Try it with oat milk for a creamier sip, or make yours with boiling water and a handful of cashews! My recipe for a warm morning cacao milk is super simple.
Just heat one cup of unsweetened almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in one teaspoon of raw cacao powder. Once it’s fully combined, pour into a mug and let cool slightly, about two minutes. Add in one teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup, and you can even top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon! To make a frothy, more latte-like beverage, combine all these ingredients (heating the milk first) in a blender and add one tablespoon of coconut oil. You can even enjoy this beverage cold by just combining all ingredients in your blender with or without ice!
Once you try adding this energizing cacao beverage to your morning routine, you won’t be running back to your boring old coffee. The difference in your energy levels and mood will quickly make this drink the best part of your day. For a cacao powder we love, try this one from Navitas Organics ($6.99, Amazon).