“I love taking my medicine in dessert-form,” said my husband as we spooned luscious mounds of this sweet, fruity and rich pudding in our mouths.
As you all know I have been using my kitchen as my laboratory to experiment with unique and tasty ways to get more herbs, fruits, vegetables and other plant foods in our diets. Both scientific studies and anthropological studies of the “Blue Zones” (areas in the world where a large portion of the population routinely live to be 90 -100+ years old) agree that eating more plant based foods (and less animal foods) are beneficial for our health.
In my opinion, herbs are under-utilized as a way to get exposure to phytonutrients (nutrients found only in plants). We all know plants contain vitamins and minerals, but the phytonutrients I am talking about are compounds like resveratrol, lycopene and quercitin. These have been called “accessory nutrients” because we thought that the vitamins and minerals were the only important parts of the food.
And yes, having enough vitamin C on board to prevent scurvy is important. Getting enough sunshine and vitamin D to prevent rickets is also good thing.
But “health” should be more than just avoiding a deficiency disease. This is where I believe phytonutrients come in to play. They take us from being just “not sick” to “vital, enthusiastic and truly healthy”.
“Chronic disease may come from a lack of phytochemical exposure.
Your ancestors had 8-10 times (a conservative estimate) exposure to phytochemistry than we do today.
And that [lack of exposure] foments chronic disease.”- Dr Kevin Spelman
I posted previously about how as modern humans we have far less variety in our diets than even 100 years ago. In 1903 there were almost 500 varieties of lettuce!! Even in the best stocked grocery store or seed catalog we can’t find that variety anymore. So, if a lack of phytonutrients could be contributing to our epidemic of chronic disease, than I propose herbs (in addition to fruits and veggies obviously) as a way to help fill in those gaps.
Enter herbal-infused foods like LemonBalm and Rosehip Muffins, Emerald Green Salt and now, Chocolate-Elderberry Chia Seed pudding. Of course there are teas, infusions, pills, and tinctures you can take, but like my husband I love being able to eat my medicine in unique and tasty ways.
I created this recipe because I wanted something quick and easy that would help us stay healthy during the winter.
Since elderberries are known for their ability to treat cold and flu symptoms as well as prevent infections from happening in the first place, I wanted to include them in my recipe. Chia seeds are a great source of nutrients, fiber and even essential fatty acids AND they make a great quick thickener for puddings.
And chocolate, because it’s chocolate! I don’t need an excuse to eat it BUT it also rich in nutrients like Magnesium, heart-healthy fats like steric acid and tons of phytonutrients called polyhpenols.
Chocolate-Elderberry Chia Seed Pudding
1 cup of Cacao-Elderberry Syrup
1 cup unsweetened almond, hemp, cashew, coconut or non-dairy milk of choice
1/2 cup chia seeds
optional: a sprinkle of cinnamon or cacao for garnish
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cacao-elderberry syrup and milk until combined. Continue mixing while adding the chia seeds in. Pour into 4 individual cups or glasses OR you can leave it in the bowl. You can leave this on the counter for 1-2 hours for it to gel or put it in the fridge overnight. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon or more cacao powder. Enjoy!
Are you ready to try this recipe and add more phytonutrients into your diet? Let me know if you do and how you like it. As always, share this post if you like what you see!