Hey, y'all. I have been making this chocolate multiple times a week for the past month because ya KNOW I need it daily, and this recipe has extra good stuff that packs a nutritional punch while still tasting dee-licious. I love having it with rich, creamy almond butter in the morning, usually paired with dates and a bowl of chia pudding with fresh blueberries from the front yard. Yes, I've got it good. Though having said that, mental illness is REAL and so even though I do have an amazing seemingly comfortable life, it's a constant battle staying afloat. This is just another reason I value eating nutritious foods. I genuinely do notice how they help my mood. Eating a variety of raw or gently cooked whole plants everyday - fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds - makes a difference. 

Added to that, I supplement with a high quality daily multivitamin (currently trying this one out) and superfood powders that have been used for millennia across the globe for preventative, healing and spiritual purposes. While scientific studies may be out on certain foods, generations of people in cultures throughout the world have long understood and honoured the power of plant foods: roots, flowers, berries, mushrooms and more. Examples are ashwagandha in Indian Ayurvedic custom and reishi mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine. I would love to find some food history courses at my university that get into this content in detail, but I am having trouble. If you have any resources to recommend, please send them my way. I'm interested in researching historical records of the uses of these foods, and what they mean(t) to the peoples that cultivate(d) them.

This recipe includes products from two of my favourite Canadian companies - they aren't sponsoring this post, I just truly dig the quality of their stuff - Prana from MontrĂ©al, and Harmonic Arts from Vancouver Island. I sprinkle my chocolate bars with the Machu Pichu trail mix from Prana because it adds crunch from the nuts + chewiness from the dried fruit. I mix in Harmonic Art's Activate Superfood Upgrade (or Elevate, depending on how I feel) because it pairs so well with chocolate while enhancing the healthfulness of the recipe; containing powerful foods like maca, cinnamon and mushroom (chaga and reishi) extracts.

I will add, just to be clear, that as much as I appreciate certains foods because they give me energy or a clearer mind, they are not enough to cure my mental health problems. Mental illness needs professional assessment and ongoing treatment, including pharmaceuticals if necessary. Whatever you need to do to feel OK has gotta be done! :)

[ makes 3 chocolate bars ] 

1/3 cup coconut oil (or cacao butter)
2/3 cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup finely ground coconut sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup

In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the coconut oil and whisk in the cacao, vanilla, salt, sweeteners and Activate Superfood Upgrade until smooth and delicious. (If it's too thick, add a lil more coconut oil, or throw the mixture into a blender and add a lil almond milk.) Stir in the cranberries. Pour into chocolate molds or onto a plate lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle on the trail mix and put the chocolate in the freezer for at least 20 minutes or until it hardens. Keep in the fridge. Enjoy!