Friday, October 12, 2012

Chocolate Milk...Makeover!

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By: Andrea Sarjeant, Holistic Nutritionist
I was looking through a friend’s photos the other day. She just finished a triathlon, and said that she was motivated to reach the finish line by, what else? Chocolate milk. Because, yes, chocolate milk is the recent “official” sports recovery drink of athletes. And not only is it the official sports recover drink of athletes, I think that chocolate milk could be the official drink of kids. Chocolate milk has a special place in most of our hearts – as a child, I would long to guzzle as gigantic of a glass of that chocolatey goodness as possible.

However, there are better drinks out there. Drinks that are made fresh from whole foods, are super simple to make, and taste delicious. Keep reading for a delicious recipe for a chocolate milk 2.0. But first, I just have to get through a little bad news about milk. I hope you don’t mind.

The thing about milk. Milk isn’t the most nutritious food. Two main factors have changed milk as we know it today: homogenization and pasteurization. Pasteurization is the act of heating the milk to160 degrees in order to kill bacteria. The problem with pasteurization is that it kills vitamins, alters the protein, and makes the calcium less available.

Homogenization is the process that’s responsible for the creamy, emulsified milk that we have on our store shelves. In the old days, back when milk was delivered, milk was not homogenized; the fat and the milk nearly always separated. With homogenization, the milk is forced through very fine sieves in order to make the fat globules the same size and therefore ensure that the milky beverage is a uniform texture. The problem with homogenization is that the smaller fat molecules aren’t easily recognized by our bodies; they are too small!

So now that we know that milk isn’t as healthy as it once was, let me tell you something else: most of us can’t tolerate dairy. Around seven years old, we stop producing the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include digestive upset, asthma, eczema, fatigue, attention problems, nasal congestion and more. But the good news is that there are plenty of other sources of calcium. Leafy greens are one. (And I’ll be sure to write a post on how to get your little ones to eat more greens in the future).

The thing about sugar. There is loads of sugar in conventional chocolate milk. And we all know what sugar can do. Check out my blog for a recent post on blood sugar (link to And if you’re interested in learning more about how much sugar is in some common beverages, check out Sugarstacks. But this mylk creation has nothing but good stuff in it. The fibre from the banana and hemp seeds slows the impact of the sugar on your little one’s body. And so does the protein in the hemp seeds. The banana (and optional maple syrup) provide the natural sweetness. Translation: your child will not turn into a sugar monster. And if you’re unfamiliar with hemp seeds, now is the perfect time to get to know them. They’re full of fibre, good fats and protein. They also taste great. In this recipe, they provide the creaminess and richness that we often associate with milk. And although hemp seeds are related to the cannabis sativa plant, they won’t have the same impact on your child!

This recipe is delicious, and very versatile. Double the recipe, blend, and heat in a saucepan for a different take on hot chocolate. To make this drink more adult friendly, omit the maple syrup and add a shake of cinnamon. Cheers to healthy snack time!

Creamy Chocolate “Mylk”
½ banana
1.5 tbsp hemp seeds
1 cup water
1.5 tsp organic cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
Blend and pour into a glass. Serves 1.

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