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Hi! I'm Elizabeth Taylor. Welcome to VLGL, home to my vegan + low glycemic load culinary creations. 

VLGL gets delicious new content as often as is feasible, so come back and visit soon!

hazelnut mocha smoothie

hazelnut mocha smoothie

As you may have noticed, the VLGL universe has a special love for the luscious cacao seed. Of course: in addition to working antioxidant magic on the body, cacao -- the raw form of chocolate -- is about the most heavenly-tasting substance in this universe. We all seem to know this, though; it's a chocoholic's world, my darlings. And, with this smoothie, you can enjoy cacao, both blended and as crunchy cacao nibs, in an early-morning act of pure, pleasurable, nutritionally-sound self-care.

This decadent, frosty treat gets its heft from blended hazelnuts. Beyond acting as the primary ingredient in the famous Nutella, hazelnuts are rich in "healthy" fats, as well as Vitamin E, manganese, iron, and more. I just love the way their buttery texture combines with rich cacao, cinnamon, and vanilla, and how they provide a boost of protein without any feeling of sluggishness. As a teenager, I used to devour "fluffernutter" sandwiches (Nutella and marshmallow fluff on white bread), and while those were sweetly delicious, I much prefer how this cacao-hazelnut concoction makes me feel! 

As both a lifelong chocolate lover and longtime acne sufferer, I was so very relieved to read that the supposed connection between chocolate and acne is a myth predicated upon outdated and flawed studies. Rather, research indicates that it is foods with a high glycemic load -- or foods that spike blood sugar, such as simple carbohydrates and foods with significant amounts of added sugar -- that can trigger inflammatory acne. So, where chocolate is concerned, there is indeed a big difference between chocolate with large amounts of added sugar and delicious, rich, high-cocoa-content chocolate. This smoothie incorporates pure, raw cacao with a pinch of stevia for zero-glycemic sweetness.

As a final note, I love to add a little adaptogen-infused coffee to this treat in the mornings, and if you aren't shy about a little caffeine, I cannot recommend it enough for how superhero-status-incredible it make me feel. (And no, Four Sigmatic has in no way sponsored this post, though if anyone from Four Sigmatic is reading, please do feel free to send over some of that fantastic chaga mushroom coffee!) 

I hope that this frothy concoction brings you pleasure, pep, and antioxidant-packed happiness!

RECIPE: Hazelnut Mocha Smoothie
(makes one mega-smoothie)

iNGREDIENTS:
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups water or pre-strained nut mylk
- 1/2 cup blanched, raw hazelnuts (soak overnight if you have a weak blender)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 packet adaptogen-powered instant coffee, such as Four Sigmatic, or approximately 1 teaspoon instant coffee (omit for a lower-caffeine option)
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered vanilla bean
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
- Pinch of pure stevia powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- Two handfuls of ice
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)

METHOD: 
- Blend all ingredients except for the ice and cacao nibs until silky smooth. 
- Add the ice to your blender and process until combined but not fully melted (to preserve the delightful frostiness of your drink).
- Pour into a tall glass; sprinkle with cacao nibs. 

Serve with love!

☼ VLGL

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