5 delicious, energizing, soothing adaptogenic cocoa recipes from a health coach-fitness trainer-herbalist

In Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipe, Uncategorized by Robyn Landis0 Comments

Think cocoa is for winter only? Think again! 

Sure, it’s most appealing to face into a steamy cup when it’s frosty outside. But a rich, deep cocoa drink is so satisfying year round. And while in Arizona now I do tend to switch from cocoa to smoothies by late spring, when I lived in Seattle a hot cup of cocoa was pretty much welcome year round!

As a “joyful nourishment instigator” (integrative health coach, fitness trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, Ayurvedic herbal advisor and motivation specialist), one of my specialties is inspiring people to LOVE fueling their healthiest best bodies. Embracing chocolate plays a tasty role in that joy!

Like many wellness experts, I consider cacao a healing food as well as a pleasure source, and there’s ample evidence to support that this beloved treat is a well-rounded nourisher. Of course, chocolate candy is not a healthy food; too many people confuse “cacao” with the highly-processed, hyper-sweetened mainstream supermarket bars that bear little resemblance to their cacao origins. Most studies on chocolate’s benefits are conducted with unsweetened, minimally processed cacao.

But dark chocolate is actually included in the Healing Foods Pyramid™ as part of a balanced whole foods/plant-based diet. Quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and other minerals. It’s also loaded with biologically active organic antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids (a class of polyphenols including flavanols, procyanidin and catechins), among others.  It has more antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables—more phenolic antioxidants than most foods, in fact.

There is scientific evidence that cacao can improve heart health (yes, really!), increase blood flow, lower blood pressure, [yup!], improve brain/neuro function (including in dementia) and cognitive performance, protect skin, lower inflammation, reduce stress hormones, boost immunity, and more.   

 For cocoa/cacao beverages, you can use either raw minimally processed cacao powder or cocoa powder that’s dutch-processed with alkali (and generally milder in flavor). Either type of powder has less fat than bar chocolate and is probably the healthiest way to consume cacao (though I do love my 80-90% bars!).  Cacao powder is much higher on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, representing antioxidant capacity) scale than cocoa powder. But even cocoa powder has value.

For healthful chocolate beverages, unsweetened is the way to go (you can sweeten lightly as needed). I prefer raw cacao, but will occasionally use cocoa (as long as it is pure cocoa without milk or sugar or processed additives—no mixes!).

I’m a cacao aficionado, so I love to try every organic and fair-trade cacao powder I can find. Some of my favorites right now are Viva Naturals, Ojio, Navitas Naturals, Healthworks, Freedom Superfoods, and Earth Circle Organics. The cacao varietal/origin you choose will give you a different flavor and even a different texture. 

So here are my five favorite energizing, soothing, nourishing and immune-boosting cocoa recipes for a happy healthy yummy winter!  (They’re versatile—and vegan, too!) 

NOTE: The quantities of nutrient/herbal boosters don’t need to be super exact; these are just good starting points.  ¼ tsp, ½ tsp, 1 teaspoon….whatever! More will give you more benefits, but may change the flavor in ways that take a bit of getting used to.  Work up slowly. But I do encourage experimentation!   

Your ratio of hot water to hot “milk” may also vary and I suggest trying organic unsweetened almond, cashew, pecan, walnut, macadamia or coconut milk (I tend to use almond milk myself).

For each recipe, my preferred method is to make a rich paste or smooth thick liquid out of the powders with a little hot water, then add your hot nut milk of choice to that and stir. Add any other liquid ingredients (if any) and enjoy!

So for each recipe, instructions are:

·      Add enough very hot water to make a paste or a thick liquid.

·      Add ½ to 2/3 cup hot nut/plant-based milk of your choice.

·      Sweeten with 1 tsp of date sugar or ½ tsp honey or maple syrup (or adjust sweetness to taste)


Find one that appeals to you for its flavors or specific benefits, and give it a sip!

Mushroom Maca Superfood Power Cocoa

1.5-2 T organic cacao powder of your choice

½ tsp maca root powder (white, red or black)

¼-½ tsp reishi mushroom powder 

¼-½ tsp cordyceps mushroom powder

¼-1/2 tsp. mesquite powder (optional)

Cozy Chaga Cordyceps Chai Cocoa with Cardamom

1.5-2 T organic cacao powder of your choice

½-1 tsp chaga mushroom powder 

½-1 tsp cordyceps mushroom powder

1/8 tsp ginger powder (optional) or Blue Lotus Rooibos Chai Masala Powder

less than 1/8 tsp cardamom powder (or 1 drop Young Living Vitality cardamom oil)

Calming Pumpkin Pie Peace Cocoa

1.5-2 T organic cacao powder of your choice

½- 1 tsp mucuna pruriens powder

¼-½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

½-1 tsp. powdered magnesium glycinate

 Immune-Boosting Mexican Chocolate

1.5-2 T organic cacao powder of your choice

½-1 tsp reishi mushroom powder 

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cayenne or chili powder

Robyn’s Chocolate Golden Milk

1 T organic cacao powder of your choice

1 to 1-1/2 tsp turmeric paste, Gaia Golden Milk powder, or plain turmeric

Dash of black pepper

1/8 tsp ginger or drop of Young Living ginger oil (optional) OR

1/8 tsp cardamom powder (or 1 drop Young Living Vitality cardamom oil)


ROBYN LANDIS is an ACE-certified fitness professional, personal trainer, health coach, Ayurvedic educator and bestselling author. She is a mind-body transformer who helps people LOVE getting the body and energy that’s fit for their dreams—without hype, regimens, extremes, or concern for irrelevant “weight.” 

Robyn brings science, spirit and common sense to untangling the “health hairball.” She simplifies proven essentials, and ignites your own powerful desire to use them.  Her unique, trademark Conscious Inspiration™ process has helped thousands overcome health-info confusion, overwhelm, and resistance, and transcend the issue of “motivation.”  She tirelessly dissolves destructive myths about health and fitness, and models joyful self-care, embodying and advocating a radically vibrant, radiant vision of “ wisening.”

Robyn’s books (including Herbal Defense, cowritten with KP Khalsa, one of the country’s foremost plant medicine experts) have been published in five languages with a combined 200,000+ copies in print. Her vision is to uplift and uplevel the way we think, talk about and DO healthy living—and how we teach kids to understand and revere their bodies. She writes, teaches, speaks, coaches, trains, facilitates and designs programs. She offers individual and group coaching, including “NOURISH U: 9 Weeks to More Energy, Less Fat and a Super-Fueled Life.”

In addition to transforming how health/fitness professionals and individuals alike approach the concept of “motivation” (a radical shift that makes healthy living a natural, joyful choice)—Robyn specializes in helping women over 40 achieve optimal hormonal health for glowing skin, lower bodyfat, energy, and JOY—and helps men at midlife who’ve “let themselves go” get back in shape so they’re primed for performance and pleasure in their next phase of life.  Her clients learn to integrate food, exercise, rest, meditation and traditional healing, and become deeply happy getting exceptionally healthy™ —with energy to spare and the health to thrive and live fully. 

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