If you’re a 1970’s baby, like me, I bet you remember chocolate yogo?!
This is my healthy, easy and delicious version, without all the nasty additives, chemicals and processed sugar. I wouldn’t even bother reading the ingredients of something like that, knowing that I wouldn’t want to feed it to my kids.
I’ve created two versions – sugar free, made with healthy xylitol (more on that in a bit) and one made with raw honey (which also has amazing health benefits).
Intolerance friendly, just the way you like it
You can also make this without cow’s dairy, for anyone that is intolerant to casein, the protein in cow’s milk. If you can’t tolerate lactose, or are on a low FODMAPs diet, the good news is, yoghurt is low in lactose (and so is hard cheese – so, enjoy!). However, if you’re super sensitive to lactose, try the coconut yoghurt option.
FYI, a 1 tbsp serve of yoghurt has the green light for low lactose on the Monash foods app, while 3 tbsp is yellow. If you are doing low FODMAPs and don’t have this app, you need it! Most cheeses are green for 40g, which is 3tbsp, except your soft creamy styles.
Finally, if you have an issue with amines, please replace the cacao with carob powder. Lucky for you, carob is naturally sweeter than raw chocolate so it’s a tasty alternative, which my family enjoyed for years. But take heart, if you’re missing chocolate, it is one of the things we can now eat every day without any reaction at all! (Heal you gut, don’t ignore your emotions, get rid of the ‘main culprit’ foods, and before long, you’ll be adding back in many, many foods. Come and see me to get started.)
Let’s talk about the sweeteners – xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar replacement that is actually healthy! It is used to prevent tooth decay and studies show it is as effective as flouride without the side effects. That’s why you’ll see it in natural toothpaste, such as Grant’s.
Additional benefits of xylitol include the stimulation of our digestion and immune systems, as well as lipid (fats) metabolism, obesity control and reduction of ear and respiratory infections. It’s even been used effectively to treat disease that’s resistant to antibiotics. See the PubMed article here.
The reason is helps weight control is that it has a low glycemic index and therefore doesn’t spike insulin and blood sugar. I am always taking to my clients about keeping blood sugar steady – not just for weight maintenance, but for energy! When our blood sugar spikes due to high GI foods or sugar, it will also crash and burn, leaving us feeling exhausted (and craving the next sugary treat). So, anyone with low or fluctuating energy, or who has been diagnosed with prediabetes, or diabetes, xylitol is a great choice.
Xylitol also affects absorption of calcium in our gut, leading to stronger teeth and bones. And many studies have shown, that by feeding good, rather than harmful bacteria, xylitol prevents tooth decay, reduces inflammation and improves digestion. You may not realise, that our mouths are part of our digestive tract – one long tube, to be precise (and gross!). So, the health of our mouths is crucial to the functioning of our digestion. (Top tip for digestion – chew your food!)
And finally, because our mouths are connected to our ears (ear nose and throat, people), an unhealthy mouth can also cause ear infections. Bet your GP never told you that, when he was prescribing another course of antibiotics! A study of kids showed xylitol reduced recurrent ear infections by 40%.
Please note, if you love your pooch, keep xylitol safely away. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs (along with chocolate, grapes & raisins, onions & garlic, avocado, alcohol, coffee, tea, dairy, raw yeast and macadamias).
Natural sweetener – raw honey
Another healthy choice for sweetening this dessert is raw honey. It has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it fights infection. It even heals wounds, improves digestion and treats allergies.
But it won’t work with normal store-bought honey. Raw honey can crystallise, so food manufacturers had the idea to heat it up so that it always stays runny, thus killing all the natural antibacterial properties! So, if you’re wondering if it’s worth spending more on raw or manuka honey, the answer is definitely yes! If you are eating your honey raw, on toast or stirred into something warm (not boiling), then you will reap all the health benefits.
Another honey tip, is to buy local. Local honey has the amazing ability to reduce our seasonal allergies because it comes from local plants. Studies show, this helps to desensitise us to the pollens in the air, thereby decreasing our allergic reactions!
Like Xylitol, honey can have a positive effect on blood sugar regulation and help prevent obesity. Compared to sugar, it raises our tolerance to glucose, resulting in lower blood glucose levels.
Honey is also full of antioxidants and works wonders on a sore throat and cough. Amazingly, it may also help with sleep, by providing the liver with glycogen to keep it processing while we rest. (If you’ve ever woken at 3am, that’s your liver struggling to process, which can mean hormonal issues or sensitivities – and you may need some help.) Raw honey also triggers a release of tryptophan in the brain, which converts to serotonin and then melatonin, helping us to fall asleep naturally.
Heavenly, healthy choc ‘yogo’
Gluten free, option for dairy free or cow’s dairy free
1 tbsp raw cacao (or carob for low amines)
1 tbsp raw honey or xylitol (for low fructose)
1 cup sheep’s milk yoghurt (casein free), greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt (lactose free). Yoghurts must be unsweetened, natural yoghurt, not vanilla or any other flavour.
First, sift cacao and xylitol through a fine strainer to remove lumps. If using honey, stir that in now.
Add yoghurt and stir through, removing any lumps, until it’s a smooth silky consistency. Serve as a healthful and delicious dessert or snack anytime. And know that you are choosing real, whole foods that support your beautiful body.