Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Better Chocolate Milk

My boys have never really gotten into plain milk.  When the twins were weaning, I asked the doctor what she suggested since they weren't really drinking it.  She recommended flavoring the milk.  Oh, if only I had known then what I know now.  As I continue on this journey to transition our family to a whole foods lifestyle, I have done quite a bit of research, and from that I have decided to switch from commercially processed (i.e. pasteurized and homogenized) milk to fresh, raw milk.  We are currently drinking raw milk from a small local organic farm (for more information on why to choose raw milk, check out this website), and it is fantastic.  But I digress.  

Not only was I giving my kids potentially damaging milk, I was also loading it up with sugar and chemicals.  I tried just about every flavor of milk mix I could find, and was delighted when there was a sugar-free version that they liked (this is a topic for another post, but I have also given up artificial sweeteners and white sugar).  Needless to say, once I did a little bit of research on natural, nourishing, whole foods (and what foods are NOT of that variety), I realized that chocolate (or other flavored) milk might not be an option for my kids anymore.  

Once we made the switch to raw milk, I once again tried (unsuccessfully) to get the boys to drink plain milk.  I knew I wanted them to get the good stuff that raw milk has to offer, without forcing it on them or making them feel deprived.  My goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible for my family.  So I decided to make my own chocolate milk mix.   

During my search for a wholesome, natural sweetener (that tastes really good and is also versatile), I came across coconut sugar (otherwise known as palm sugar).  You can get this in various forms: block, paste, or crystals.  I have tried all of these, and I have found the crystals to be the easiest and most versatile.  This sugar is all natural, has a low glycemic index, and is relatively low in calories (15 calories per serving).  And it tastes AWESOME.  I have tried many other sweeteners, and this is my favorite by far.  You can find different varieties on Amazon.com, but it is pretty expensive.  The last time I got it I bought 5 lbs. in bulk from Azure Standard.  A better option would be to hit up your local Asian market (I have yet to go to ours, but it's on my to-do list).  You should be able to find a few varieties there and for much cheaper.  But this comprises the bulk of the chocolate milk mix.

The second ingredient is the chocolate.  I have switched from Hershey's brand to Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder.  I think you can get it for a decent price at iHerb or LuckyVitamin.  Or try your local health food store.  

So here are my supplies for the mix:
I am using a sample sized formula can for the acutal mix, and I use a quart sized mason jar for the chocolate milk itself.  The ratio for the mix is (roughly) one heaping teaspoon of the raw chocolate powder to three tablespoons of coconut sugar.  Once you've filled your container, you can either shake it or use a handy-dandy mini whisk like mine.

See?  Isn't it cute?  And it does a really good job.  I use it for lots of things.  But if you do not own a mini whisk, you could use a spoon, or fork, or whatever you choose to mix it.

You will also want to label it.  You could use a Sharpie.  Or, if you're a geek like me, you'll want to use your label maker.  I LOVE mine.  See?  There it is.
And just in case you couldn't read it from the above picture, here is a close-up of my spiffy little label.  
So once it's all mixed up and you're ready to make the chocolate milk, you'll need to add a heaping spoonful of mix per cup of milk (more or less, to taste).  It does not just dissolve by stirring it in.  You can blend this in a blender (fastest), or if you're not in a hurry, you can use the shake method.  I usually shake it up and stick it in the fridge.  Then every time I open the fridge, I give it a good shake.  It takes several times before the mix gets all dissolved, but it happens eventually.  Now pour and enjoy, like so:

It is truly delicious, and also much more nutritious than the chemical-laden, sugar-filled store bought syrups and powders.  We love it!

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