Thursday, June 6, 2013


FRawpachicoreeno.  Okay, so the name is kind of corny, but this thick, rich beverage reminds me of the drinks that people will wait in line to order - except in my opinion this is much better for your health. It's made with raw almond milk, roasted chicory, raw cacao, frozen bananas, dates, ground flax and black strap molasses.  It's every bit as decadent and delicious as the Standard American Diet (SAD) version.

Warning:  This is NOT a diet food!  It's not a weight loss food!  This is an example of the kind of high-raw food you can eat if you are NOT trying to lose weight!  But if you must indulge, compare this dairy and caffeine-free, whole-foods version to the fat and sugar load of the SAD version.  You'll find that in a side by side comparison with the SAD version, while it's higher in fat and calories per ounce, it's the "healthy" type fat, plus it has fiber, less sugar, and no cholesterol.  The bottled SAD version comes in a 9.5 oz. serving and contains 31 grams of sugar, fewer grams of protein, and no fiber.  This version is a much more generous serving size, and as an added bonus, it has some potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and additional vitamins and minerals.  In fact in my opinion, one 15 oz. glass of this beverage is a complete breakfast if it's part of an overall healthy diet.  If you wish to boost the nutrition even more, toss in a couple of handfuls of spinach.

If you choose to avoid roasted chicory, here is a source for raw chicory root.    I don't know how using raw chicory would change the taste, but according to my sources it's a better source of prebiotics than roasted chicory.

For chicory, I used Cafix Instant Beverage, which contains roasted barley, chicory, malt, figs, and red beet concentrate.  If you are gluten intolerant and would like to try the coffee-like flavor of roasted chicory without the barley, you can find it here.  Mountain Rose Herbs also carries dried beetroot powder, a pinch of which would be an excellent healthy addition to this beverage.  Or, simply add a small piece of fresh beet.

If you don't use cacao, you can probably substitute with carob.  In fact, you can probably omit cacao and carob altogether for a completely different flavor.   However some of the calcium, iron and antioxidants in this beverage are found in the cacao. For me personally, the cacao is the whole point of the drink!

For the almond milk, soak 1 cup of raw almonds overnight, rinse them and blend them with an equal amount of water in a high speed blender until creamy.  Add about 16 oz. of water and blend again.  Filter the mixture through a nut milk bag.  The milk is then used to make this beverage.  The pulp can be composted or reserved to make other recipes such as raw breads and crackers.  This might sound like a lot of work, but it only takes about five minutes tops to turn soaked almonds into almond milk, including cleanup.

The organic blackstrap molasses is not raw, and no raw version is available.  However, as a dietary supplement, it will enhance the coffee-like flavor of this beverage and add additional calcium, magnesium and iron, nutrients often needed in a vegan diet.

Note on the blackstrap molasses:   In my opinion, this should be organic.  The problem with non-organic black strap molasses is that most of the non-organic sugar found in the markets in the U.S. is likely to be GMO.  I'm willing to compromise and buy non-organic food when non-organic is not available or unaffordable, but this is not one of those times.  If it's not available in an organic form, I will not use it.

The ground flax seed adds creaminess and balances the omega 6 fatty acids in the almonds with additional omega 3 fatty acids.  Keep in mind that one serving of this beverage will not meet your requirement for omega 3 fatty acids for a day.  According to Dr. Michael Greger M.D., vegans need two tablespoons of ground flax seed each day in order to obtain enough Omega 3.

Currently I'm working on a more nutrient-dense version of this drink that is lower in calories and fat. I'll try to post it next week.  In the meantime, indulge a little!


Four generous, creamy, sweet servings, of 15 oz. each, (the bottled serving size of a comparative beverage is 9.5 oz.) enough to satisfy even the strongest craving for a decadent beverage - and it's a bit better for you.

3-4 cups of almond milk made from 1 cup of soaked and rinsed raw almonds
4 tablespoons instant coffee substitute beverage (I used Cafix, see comments above for alternatives)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder  (substitute with raw carob if you don't use cacao)
1 tsp raw ground vanilla powder
3-4  pitted deglet noor dates, depending on preference
3-4 frozen bananas (about 2 cups)
4 tablespoons organic blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

Blend everything but the ice and bananas into the almond milk.  A high speed blender like a VitaMix is best.  Chop the frozen bananas into small pieces and add to the blended mixture, then blend just until creamy.   Add ice to fill the blender and blend just until cold and smooth.  A few minutes or so after blending, the ground flax will be begin to thicken the drink.  Serve immediately.  

Serving Size 15 oz

Nutrition per serving

Calories 315
Total Fat   14 g
Saturated Fat  2 g
Monounsaturated fat 8 g
Polyunsaturated fat 3 g  
Trans Fat 0g
Omega 3 fatty acids  416 mg
Omega 6 fatty acids  2995 mg
Cholesterol  0 mg
Sodium  1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40 g
Dietary Fiber 10 g
Sugars 28 g
Protein 8 g

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So what do you think? Have you tried raw vegan food?