As women, blood sugar balance is often the root of many hormonal problems. High blood sugar and insulin resistance can lead to an increase in testosterone levels in women leading to weight gain, irregular periods, unwanted facial hair and hair loss. This is most common in women with PCOS. On the flip side low blood sugar levels from not eating enough or waiting too long to eat in between can cause stress on the body through cortisol spikes which can down-regulate estrogen and progesterone production. Either way, blood sugar management is crucial for regulating women’s hormones as well as women’s emotions. Although blood sugar is not solely dependant on diet (stress is an independent factor that has little to do with diet) diet does play an important role in blood sugar management. As a general rule stable blood sugar occurs when there is adequate intake of calories (not too much and not too little) at regular intervals throughout the day (no snacking or grazing as this continually spikes blood sugar and insulin). It also involves not eating too late at night as this can double the effect of blood sugar and balancing meals with whole carbohydrates (containing fibre), protein and healthy fats.
Of all the things that we ingest, sugary drinks probably have the worst effect on our blood sugar. Although I would never consider a hot chocolate to be anywhere near as bad as a soft drink, drinking sugary calories is hugely damaging to blood sugar and overall hormone balance, much more so than eating a sugary meal as it goes through the system very rapidly with minimal need for digestion, causing an instant sugar spike followed by a pretty rapid sugar low and all the emotional problems that come along with it. Thankfully though, with a little tweaking, we can make many of the sweet drinks we love blood sugar friendly and in my opinion much more delicious too. The trick is to add protein, fat and fibre to an otherwise overly sweet drink. Depending on the drink you can also add some spices for flavour. Many spices are also great at regulating blood sugar. The chocolate latte mix I have used in this recipe from DHOW Nature Foods uses a delicate blend of spices as well as ground Bambara nuts. Bambara nuts are a nut native to Africa with an impressive nutritional profile. They are actually more of a legume than a nut and are also a complete vegan protein source similar to soy. The blend of Bambara nuts adds quite a bit of plant-based protein into the drink as well as plenty of fibre. I personally like to add nut butter as well for some extra protein and fat. Not only does this help to stabilise blood sugar but it also helps to give the latte a very thick and smooth texture. It reminds me of those thick Italian style hot chocolates from chocolate cafes.
The latte mix is absolutely divine, it tastes very professional and quite a lot better than many of the hot drinks I have ordered at cafes before. It can also easily be used in baking or raw desserts. I hope to have a few more recipes using this latte blend coming soon.
|Blood Sugar Balancing Hazelnut Chocolate Latte with Bambara Nuts|| |
- 1½ cups soy milk or milk of choice
- 2 TBSP hazelnut butter
- 2 TBSP maple syrup
- 1 TBSP DHOW Bam Choco Latte
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a saucepan and heat over low heat until hot.
- Serve with vegan marshmallows if desired or drink as is.