When you’re living a sugar-free, no grain lifestyle, one of the toughest situations is family birthday parties. Having guests for dinner can be tough, too. In “my old life” I would have planned a jaw-droppingly gorgeous dessert. I love to bake and I have a real talent for it. It’s been one of the hardest things about my NAFLD transition. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of “healthi-ER” dessert ideas across the Internet. The problem is that even though they might be grain-free and utilize healthy fats, they all have added sugars.
Here’s the thing about NAFLD. I can’t eat ANYthing with added sugar, be it processed granulated sugar, or even honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. At least I shouldn’t if I want to get well. The problem with even the “healthier” sugars is that they are still exactly that — sugar. They still cause a big jump in blood sugar.That spikes insulin production, which means our bodies are going to convert that excess sugar to fat. And guess what? That fat is stored in the liver. The only sugars, natural or otherwise I should be consuming are from fruit. And, even those need to be in moderation.
Should I even be eating desserts, anyway?
So, no desserts, right? That would be the simplest. But, if you could have seen my grandson’s face when he asked if I would still be able to have a piece of his birthday cake, you would know why it’s important to me to have some “special occasion” alternatives. That’s how this Dark Chocolate Pudding recipe came into existence. Believe it or not, that creamy, decadent texture comes from AVOCADO. I know, I know. I thought it sounded crazy, too. Well, let me tell you, it’s crazy GOOD! Besides avocados there are only four other ingredients: raw cacao powder, dates, coconut milk and my homemade vanilla. Plus, this creamy, dreamy, dark chocolate pudding is whipped up in minutes, with NO COOKING. It has only five ingredients and can even be made a day ahead.
Score! This recipe changed my party food experience! This is not something anyone, healthy or not, should be eating every day. Even though they are extraordinarily good fats and carbs, there are still fats and carbs in it. When I grew up, dessert was a fabulous treat. We didn’t feel entitled to have dessert, every day, and because of that, when we did have it, it was a real occasion. As a nation, we would be so much healthier if we adopted that attitude, again. Even over the objections of my favorite little people! lol So, eat dessert, as a fabulous indulgence once in awhile. Save up your carbs that day, to indulge in a treat that actually has some crazy, incredible health benefits. Yup, super-health contributions. Check it out.
Let’s talk a little bit about the ingredients for my Dark Chocolate Pudding.
Avocados are nutrient-dense. They’re loaded with heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, some trace-minerals and fiber! They contain folate, potassium and about half your daily needs for fiber. The healthy fats and fiber in avocados fill you up and make you feel satisfied…satiated, for longer periods of time. Avocados have been shown to help in reversing insulin resistance and in regulating blood sugar levels. That’s from the high levels of monounsaturated fats they contain. MUFAs have been show to help protect against heart disease, cancer and cognitive declines, along with many other benefits. Avocados have the highest amount of protein and the least amount of sugar, of any other fruit in the world. Avocados also provide anti-inflammatory phyto-nutrients. They’re one of the best sources of Vitamins B and C, as well as A, E and K which need those healthy fats, for our body to be able to absorb them. Besides Dark Chocolate Pudding, avocados are also fantastic in my scrumptious Avocado Salsa. (I can’t eat that on tortilla chips, any more, but it is delectable on grilled chicken, salmon and hamburgers!)
They’re not available in our little town stores, so I order Medjool Dates, online. If you have close access to a health food store, I’m certain you would be able to find them, there. These luscious little jewels are how I replace ALL the sugar in so many of my recipes. They are naturally sweet. I find they are the PERFECT balance for me, without being super sweet. They are the only “sweetness” in this dark chocolate pudding. And trust me, they are enough! Medjool Dates help reduce cholesterol, prevent and relieve constipation, naturally boost energy, reduce triglyceride levels and boost bone health. Just like avocados, Medjool dates fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied…satiated. Are you noticing a healthy trend in these ingredients?
Raw Cacao has 40 times the antioxidants as blueberries! Unlike the box of cocoa powder on your pantry shelf, cacao is ground from unprocessed beans. There hasn’t been any chemical processing or roasting. Raw cacao is also the highest, plant-based, source of iron. It’s loaded with magnesium and has more calcium than cow’s milk. Raw cacao is a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant. It helps maintain muscle and nerve function, can boost energy and help burn fat. Yeah, baby! Bring me the chocolate! lol
I’m not talking about the highly-processed, full of sugar cartons you can find in the dairy case or even coconut water, here. I’m talking about canned, organic, full-fat coconut milk. When you open the can, there will be a thick layer of coconut cream formed at the top that you will stir back into the milk. It’s rich and creamy and fabulous! Coconut Milk helps lower cholesterol, improves blood pressure, builds muscle and helps reduce fat, provides electrolytes and prevents fatigue. It’s a great source of healthy calories for the brain and it aids in improving digestion.
Even if it wasn’t so good for you, I really believe you would love this creamy and delicious homemade dark chocolate pudding! It is not the super-sweet chocolate that you may have allowed your palate to become accustomed to, but it IS sweet and it IS scrumptious. It’s definitely DARK chocolate and loaded with all the nutrients and health benefits that implies. It needs nothing else to taste wonderful, but I do like to garnish or decorate it, before serving. I’ve used whipped coconut cream, before, but my favorite is a few sliced almonds and blueberries.
Enjoy, sweet friends! I hope you get a chance to try this easy recipe, soon. Have a wonderfully blessed evening!
How to Make Dark Chocolate Pudding
- Pour the coconut milk and pitted dates into the pitcher of a high-power blender. I love my Blendtec, but any high-powered blender (like a Ninja or Vitamix), or a high-speed food processor, should work.
- Puree the coconut milk, water and dates until a smooth, creamy paste has formed and they are completely incorporated.
- Add the avocados, vanilla and cacao powder to the blender and process until all ingredients are combined and the pudding is thick and creamy.
- You can serve it right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. It's perfect for a simple make ahead dinner party dessert.