Back in mid-January, Linda significantly changed her diet by opting to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle. Subsequently, in a mere four months, Linda lost 50 pounds. Really, it's stunning, if you give it a full moment of thought. And, Linda is not the exception. Many people are finding a new lease of life by going gluten-free and their results are similar, the weight comes right off. To be clear, Linda also eliminated all refined sugar, processed vegetable oils, grains (for the most part) and legumes from her diet as well.
|Linda in November of 2011.|
|Linda 50 pounds lighter in June of 2012.|
To investigate further, earlier this month I met with Misty, Linda's gluten-free mentor. The conclusion was that I must - and this is not optional - eat two tablespoons of coconut oil everyday (read about the benefits of the incredible coconut). Or, if while I'm traveling, I cannot eat coconut oil, then I need to eat good fats in other ways (eggs basted in butter, anyone?) Misty also politely advised me, tongue in cheek, that if I eat much more dairy I should buy myself a dairy cow. So, I'm increasing my intake of coconut oil, and decreasing consumption of dairy - except for where it really counts like crumbled gorgonzola on the Rockin' French Salad or parmesan sprinkled over Chicken Piccata. Or a dose of cream in my hot chocolate. You get the idea.
|Five months ago...|
There are a few points you should know before embarking upon this recipe. Xylitol, for many people, is a powerful laxative.That's the downside. The upside is that the human body builds a tolerance to the effects of Xylitol over the course of a week or two. Start with one-half to one teaspoon and work your way to two. May I suggest you have a leisurely morning at home the first time you try Xylitol? Just to make sure a bathroom is close by. So, I'm sure the former statement begs the following question: Michelle, why would I subject myself to building a tolerance to Xylitol? Afterall, it sounds like so much fun. The answer is that Xylitol is low carb, low calorie and diabetic safe. It is a natural sweetener that looks and tastes just like sugar - huge bonus. No weird aftertaste.
Because chocolate typically requires a fair amount of sugar to taste great and Xylitol will leave you with short-term trots, Linda introduced Truvia into the mix. Truvia is a calorie-free natural sweetener that is a combination of Erythritol and an extraction of stevia leaves. One packet of Truvia provides the same sweetness as two teaspoons of sugar. Truvia is also suitable for use by diabetics. The drawback to Truvia is that it has a slight aftertaste. I don't mind the flavor, but Linda is more sensitive to it.
As I'm building my resistance (which I like to pronounce with a terrible French accent), I am using one packet of Xylitol, one packet of Truvia and a small glug of maple syrup. You might prefer one packet of Xylitol and two packets of Truvia. Taste is such a subjective thing that you will likely need to do a little experimenting for yourself to uncover the right sweetness for you. In the meantime, the following recipe is what Linda has settled on and it is mighty tasty.
As usual, Linda is ahead of the curve and is completely off coffee. I am not. In fact, I really like coffee and don't particularly want to stop drinking my morning dose. With that being said, I do understand the benefits of avoiding caffeine so I am dutifully (slowly but surely) switching from full caffeinated espresso (made in a stovetop Bialetti pot) to decaffeinated. The main reason is to curb my body from manufacturing excess cortisol which is the stress hormone. Additionally, switching from granulated sugar to the natural sweetener duo listed below, will prevent a spike in my blood sugar so that I will not crash before lunch. It's all about moderation, but this hot chocolate will make you feel as if you are being decadent, even though you are not. It actually helps promote weight loss!
Coconut Oil Hot Chocolate (Sugar Free)
*Linda's note: I revised this recipe in October of 2014. For that post click here.
2 Tbsps extra virgin expeller pressed coconut oil
2 tsps unsweetened Valrhona or 1 Tbsp Ghiradelli cocoa powder
2 packets or 2 tsps Xylitol
1 packet or 1 tsp Truvia®
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Boiling hot water or coffee (preferably decaffeinated)
2 Tbsps heavy cream (optional, but oh so yummy and healthy)
1. Heat a kettle of water. The first step is to warm your mug with the hot water. Pour out the water.
2. Add the coconut oil to the mug and then the cocoa powder. Stir the coconut oil and cocoa powder together until melted. Add the 2 teaspoons of Xylitol and packet of Truvia and mix well. Add 1-3/4 cups of hot water (or decaffeinated coffee/espresso) into the mug. Stir well. Add cream if desired (highly recommended). Add vanilla extract. Stir again. Enjoy!