Valentine’s Day. An oft-deemed “Hallmark holiday” that for many, inflicts feelings of anxiety, profound loneliness, or simply a sense of nausea coupled with give-me-a-break’s and an eye-roll or two. Yes, I understand that the historical significance of Valentine’s Day has been lost on most, or that the socially constructed pressure of one little day in February seems ridiculous, but what if we shifted our paradigm? What if we see February 14th as an invitation to honour and celebrate LOVE?
There’s no question that in the Whole Happy universe I am all about feeling your best inside and out. Well, that is inextricably linked to love. Love for your partner, love for your friends, love for your family, your pets, your community at large. Love for our amazing planet. Love for food! And perhaps most importantly of all, love for yourself and your incredible body.
So instead of a dozen roses or box of conventional chocolates, exchange hugs, kisses, words of admiration, or written notes. If food makes your heart melt (as it does mine) definitely still go out for dinner, or maybe dine in at home. Perhaps even offer some sweet treats for your sweetheart, but do it all with so much love, and above all, a spirit of nourishment, because nourishing your body and the body of your loved ones is, in my opinion, one of the most special forms of showing love and creating a more loving world within you and around you.
For a little inspiration to do just that, give this Raspberry Red Velvet Power Pudding a try! It makes for a sensual dessert following a fabulous meal, or even packs enough punch for a kick-ass breakfast that will start your day with all sorts of feelings of love and nourishment (especially if you ease up on the maple syrup a bit, and add in some extra protein or collagen powder).
And of course, just because red velvet is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you have to save this delicious delight for one day of the year. Just because concepts of “love” are attached to Valentine’s Day definitely doesn’t mean that it’s the only day you should devote to this powerful emotion. Celebrate February 14th as a day of love, and then let it be an important reminder to love passionately and fiercely every single day, moment, and second of our lives.
More about the power-packed ingredients…
Avocado: There’s no question avocados are some nutrient dense little mothers. Loaded with healthy fats that provide long-burning energy, cognitive support, and cellular structural integrity, avocados are also packed with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, vitamin C, B6, B-12, A, D, K, E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Furthermore, they are a great source of dietary fiber - a single serving can provide more than 40% of the daily requirement! Because of all this, avocados aid in digestion, skin and hair health, liver function, vision, cardiovascular health, kidney function, bone strength, blood sugar balance, anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits…I could go on and on.
Coconut cream: Coconut-based products (oil, cream/milk, flour, chips etc.) in their whole natural form are one of the best immune boosters thanks to their antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic properties. Coconut is also high in antioxidants, and can improve skin and hair health. Not only that, but coconuts are super-packed with vitamins and minerals (calcium, magnesium etc.) that are integral for bone and teeth integrity, and the healthy fats diminish blood sugar imbalances while keeping you satiated and energized for longer.
Chia seeds: Boasting a rather ideal balance of essential fatty acids omega 3, 6, and 9’s, chia seeds aid in inflammation regulation and muscle function. They also contain all 8 essential amino acids needed for proper tissue growth and maintenance – some seriously attractive features for all you athletes out there (and everyone really). Even more alluring is that chia seeds are also loaded with magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all of which are needed for muscle contraction, relaxation and electrolyte balance.
Raspberries: These brightly hued berries are rich sources of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Research has found that raspberries may protect against heart disease, as well as improve memory, balance and coordination. Raspberries also contain anthocyanins and another phytochemical called quercetin, found to help slow cancer growth, and have been shown to help control blood sugar in diabetics and help prevent liver damage.
Cocoa powder: The antioxidant power of flavonoids as well as the essential minerals and vitamins found in cacao (or raw cocoa powder) improves blood flow and reduces plaque buildup on artery walls, and diminishes the effects of oxidative damage (cancer, aging, degenerate diseases). In fact, a study from Cornell University found that raw cacao powder contains nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea! Raw cocoa also contains fibre and stimulates the body’s production of digestive enzymes for digestive support. In addition, cocoa contains alkaloids, proteins, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic, lipase, lysine, and theobromine, that all work together to improve physical and mental health. Last, but certainly not least, cocoa is a known aphrodisiac around the world!
Collagen powder: Amongst the many amazing benefits of consuming high quality collagen, the shining glory of this nutrient is its unrivalled ability to repair tissue. Whether reducing symptoms of leaky gut, healing injured or overworked muscles and tendons, or just giving you skin that incredible youthfully glow, collagen is a serious winner in the nutrition world!
Raspberry Red Velvet Power Pudding
Prep/cook time: 5 minutes (or less)
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 large avocado
- 1 can pure coconut milk (or about 1 cup of the thick coconut cream at the top, and about 1 cup of the coconut water on the bottom)
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup collagen powder (or protein powder of choice)
- 3 tbsp raw cocoa powder
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Let it sit for a minute or two and blend one more time before enjoying with your favourite toppings (pictured here with whipped maple cinnamon coconut cream, unsweetened coconut shavings, cocoa nibs, and raspberries).