Motecuhzoma’s servants “brought him in cups of pure gold a drink made from the cocoa-plant, which they said he took before visiting his wives… I saw them bring in a good fifty large jugs…, all frothed up, of which he would drink a little. They always served it with great reverence.”
Bernal Díaz, Spanish soldier invading the Aztecs
The Aztecs gave us cacao, and I am so grateful. There’s nothing quite like a frothy cup of chocolate. Especially as we enter the longest nights of the year in the northern hemisphere. A cup of pure gold made from cocoa can bring light into the depressing darkness.
After I cleaned up my diet in 2005, I tried some commercial hot chocolate once when I could not access my usual chocolate stash. (Confession: Hi, my name is Heidi and I am a chocoholic). To me, it tasted very little of chocolate and mostly of corn syrup.
I never drank it again.
Over the years I have tried various ways of creating a healthy hot chocolate drink. I thought using almond or hazelnut milk would be the cat’s meow. Unfortunately, those “milks” tasted almost nothing like the nuts. I later learned that one company only used four to six almonds for a carton of “almond” milk. The drink largely was made up of fillers. No wonder there was almost no nut flavor to the milk.
I switched to coconut milk until my sister helped me discover that one of the ingredients was titanium dioxide. Who needs that? It’s also an ingredient in sunscreen.
I think I have finally found something that is both healthy and tastes fabulous. A guilt-free chocolate drink. Now that really is the cat’s meow.
My concoction is influenced by my childhood experiences in Germany, when the hazelnut-cocoa spread called Nutella was a special treat. I can now make a raw, vegan warm chocolate drink that is reminiscent of it. I usually have a cup every day and drink it slowly, with reverence.
It makes a nice holiday treat.
Thank you, Motecuhzoma.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Raw, vegan “hot” chocolate
You can modify the recipe, depending on your preferences. Here’s what I do.
Warm up some water. The water temperature needs to be warm enough to dissolve your ingredients yet not so hot that it cooks them. That means a temperature under about 110°.
Pour the water into a mug of raw organic cacao powder, raw organic coconut butter, raw honey, nut flavoring, and a tiny pinch of salt. Mix and enjoy.
Here are the general proportions I use:
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 2 or 3 drops hazelnut or almond flavoring
- Tiny pinch of salt
Adjust to match your preferences. I use coconut butter because it retains the fiber from the fruit. If you do not want to keep everything raw, skip the honey because all its good qualities disappear when it is heated. Substitute something else like xylitol or stevia. If you do not have access to coconut butter, try coconut milk—after reading the label. Or make your own nut milk.
Descriptions of cacao being served in the palace of the Aztec emperor, http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/maya/chocolate/early-history-of-chocolate
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
It was a book lover’s dream. Only small wrapped tomes we had brought lay around the beautifully decorated tree.
About 15 children’s book writers and illustrators circled up. Before we picked out our packages, we were asked to give brief descriptions of what we currently were reading. How fun to hear people talk about the details of the writing skills of the authors—books they did, or did not, enjoy, and why.
Then we took turns selecting gifts. If we wanted to, on our individual turns, we could steal what someone else had already opened. In turn, someone could steal what we held in our laps.
Writers kept stealing a book about writing prompts and another about how to write for the screen. The most unique gift was an old book with the center cut out and a gift card and chocolate bar placed inside.
Interestingly, no one stole that gift, though the owner had squealed with delight when she opened it.
Clearly we were all bibliophiles.
My package contained a double delight, which I managed to bring home—How to Get Happily Published and Lemony Snicket Lump of Coal.
I’m grateful there are still booklovers among us—people who love the look and feel of a book, people who love to turn pages, people who know what makes for good writing.
Books helped save my life after I was diagnosed with highly aggressive end-stage cancer—especially Waking the Warrior Goddess by Christine Horner, M.D. They pointed to important studies that gave evidence for integrative practices I used to help my body return to health. They helped me understand what so-called solutions to avoid. And they helped me heal my life with insights and understanding.
The books I read during my journey back toward health are referenced in the back of Thriver Soup. For me, books are not only my treasured wealth, they also are life savers.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
For a list of resources beyond Thriver Soup, see references used in the book on pp. 358-375.
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817–May 6, 1862), American essayist and poet.
Oh, come, Divine Physician, and bind up every broken bone.
Charles H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Pulpit Prayers
Several of my friends invoked the Divine physician to bind up my broken bones recently through laying-on-of-hands healing techniques. I sustained three fractures in my left hand after falling off a galloping horse in mid-November. I am grateful to energy workers Brecka Burton, Mim Grace, Patricia Garry, Julie Loewenstine, and Laura Dailey.
On Monday the doctor seemed quite impressed with how well my hand was healing. With the type and location of the fractures, he often sees fingers balloon to enormous sizes. Mine never did. Also, the bruising had hardly been noticeable.
Along with the energy healing, I attribute this excellent progression to the following:
– An anti-inflammatory diet so I did not already have a lot of chronic inflammation to make it worse.
– Icing my hand faithfully the first three days after the injury, before I knew I had broken bones.
– Using arnica homeopathic ointment on my hand until I found out the bones were broken. Then I switched to comfrey cream.
– Taking arnica homeopathic pellets.
– Doing exercises several times a day once I was allowed to bend my fingers again.
Part of what inspired me was when my dad, Dr. Charles D. Bright, broke his wrist falling on ice decades earlier. He faithfully followed his recovery routine. He regained more use of his wrist than anyone else the doctor had seen in his practice.
As a writer, I depend on my fingers a great deal. I am grateful for his example and for the healing balm and guidance I received.
This week, a friend told me about a woman we both know who has cancer yet who is not taking care of herself. Her cancer is getting worse. This doesn’t mean if she took better care of herself, the cancer progression would be different. However, I believe self-care is important when our bodies need extra support. Asking for assistance from friends also is a good idea. They usually want to help anyway.
Getting help and doing all we can doesn’t necessarily mean we will get better, yet why not give our bodies every chance we can? It can only assist the Divine physician with binding us up in healing ways.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Before taking comfrey for broken bones, read about its uses and precautions here: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/comfrey
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892) was an English Particular Baptist preacher. C. H. Spurgeon’s Pulpit Prayers, http://www.spurgeongems.org/chs_prayers.htm