Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding, Anyone?

puddingFinally, a new recipe! Sorry for the delay. There’s been a lot distracting me lately. More on that below.

The good news is that this recipe is chock full of healthy fats, which your body really needs. It’s refined sugar free, and is also free of the top 8 food allergens!

The bad news is that I developed this recipe after becoming increasingly frustrated with the fact that so many doctors and RD’s are giving patients a certain brand of nutritional shake for weight gain (that’s right – some people have a hard time gaining weight due to malabsorption and other kinds of digestive distress or eating disorders). The popular brand I’m talking about is most definitely TOXIC, but the toxins aren’t all obviously disclosed on the label. The gory details can be found below the recipe.

Today I’d like to share a healthier alternative to store bought – anything but nutritional – shakes. Whether you need to gain or lose weight, this chocolate pudding is jam packed with healthy forms of fat (that don’t make you fat) and carbs that are relatively easy to digest. Of course, if you are seriously underweight, and have serious malabsorption issues, then this recipe is NOT for you – not yet, anyway. Too much chocolate and honey may only fuel the fire. And chocolate is not Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD/GAPS) friendly, if you are following it. Don’t worry, though, I will be attempting to create a vanilla version over the next few weeks. I’ll also be playing around with smoothies, so I can offer you a truly nutritional shake, as opposed to  not the toxic junk that’s being given out like water in hospitals and nursing homes.

Who doesn’t like chocolate pudding, right? When I gave up dairy, I thought I’d never eat it again. I was wrong! And I certainly didn’t think I’d be able to come up with such a deliciously healthy alternative.  I’d seen “pudding” made with avocado before, but it just didn’t taste right to me. Now that I’ve added a creamy substitute for cow milk, the consistency is closer to a traditionally light tasting (but not low fat – which contrary to popular belief is a BAD choice) pudding.

Can you guess what that substitute is? It’s coconut milk, which is loaded with heart healthy saturated fat. That’s right, I said it. Saturated fat from coconut is not only heart healthy, but brain, gut, skin – and whole body healthy too. Time to rejoice! Please note that I will explain why when I share my homemade coconut milk recipe, hopefully within the next week or so. Update 5/7/2014: here it is!

So much for a short but sweet post. On with the recipe:

Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding in the Raw

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 2 cups

Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding in the Raw

Paleo Friendly Chocolate Pudding, free of top 8 food allergens! Brought to you by www.TransformedByFood.com. All rights reserved.


  • 11 ounce chilled coconut milk (homemade, or see notes below)
  • 1 small, brown spotted banana (or, just use another avocado instead)
  • 1 large, very ripe avocado (chilled, if possible)
  • 2 T cacao powder
  • 1 T raw honey (double if not using a banana)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp beef gelatin (optional)
  • pinch Celtic Sea Salt (optional)


  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and puree until creamy and smooth. Do taste test and add more honey, if you wish. Enjoy!
  2. Please see note below for important information about purchasing coconut milk.

Food for thought:

Coconut milk and avocado are brain/gut/heart healthy fats. For best results, use soft, ripe avocado, and homemade coconut milk. Be careful when purchasing store bought coconut milk because it usually contains food additives that might irritate your gut, especially if you are suffering from a digestive illness. For that reason, I do not recommend consuming it on a regular basis. Consider this pudding, and all desserts to be a special treat, once or twice a week!

Here are some brands that appear to contain fewer additives than others: Thai Taste Coconut Milk (in a pouch, not a can, and no additives listed), Aroy-D (no additives), Wilderness Family Naturals Coconut Milk (BPA free Tetra Pack, contains 1/10 of 1% non GMO Xanthan Gum), or Native Forest Organic Coconut Cream (BPA free can, but contains guar gum). Update 1/16: Natural Value Coconut Milk and Cream are my new favorites! See note in post about Natural Value...

Please also note that some brands of coconut milk are thicker than others (the latter two choices listed above are), so if you use one that has a thinner consistency, you may need to add more avocado and/or banana. Play around with it a bit until you get it to a thickness you like.

And one more thing - if the (very) subtle banana taste bothers you, you can substitute another ripe avocado and another 2 to 3 teaspoons of raw honey instead. It tastes great both ways!


I hope you enjoy this recipe!

thickHere you can see the difference in thickness of 3 of different brands of store bought coconut milk. For those times when you can’t make your own, they are delicious alternatives.

The additive free Thai Taste (far left) is the thinnest, and closest to the consistency of homemade (as expected). Wilderness Naturals (middle) is in between a coconut milk and cream.  Native Forest, having mainly cream (separates in can), is thickest, but all need to be pureed for smoothest taste.

Update 1/16: My favorite additive and BPA free brand of coconut milk is Natural Value. The coconut cream is really good too, although if you use it to make hot chocolate, you need to use a blender or immersion blender (nice and easy) to break apart the chunks. And add some water, or it’ll be too thick. Otherwise, it’s a healthy, delicious option!

These all taste great over fresh berries! Dipping strawberries into Native Forest coconut cream is especially delightful. It would be a very special treat for Mother’s Day, especially since organic berries are in season this month. It’s strawberry month, actually.

Now for an explanation as to what prompted me to develop the above chocolate pudding recipe in the first place, if you have time to continue reading…

I wrote in a recent blog post that I was busy taking a corporate wellness class, but there’s another reason I haven’t been writing on a regular basis. I’ve been immersed in the world of conventional medicine over the past 2 months, and it’s a very stressful place for me to be.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the goings on in a hospital and two different rehabilitation centers for elderly patients, and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. We all want to avoid being on institutional settings like that, if at all possible.

Unfortunately, sometimes, we do all that we can to lead healthy lives, but something like a bad fall, an accident, or years of unhealthy choices can force us into such a situation. Such was the case for an elderly relative of mine.

When it comes to technology, our health care system is fine. Surgeons can do some amazing things these days. If a piece of you is broken, they try to put it back together, and sometimes, they are successful.

Still, any time you “mess” with the human body, you put stress on it, and it takes time to heal. Unfortunately, having to recover in such a setting is not exactly conducive to a person becoming “whole” again. We all know that. And I could elaborate on many different reasons why, but I’m going to focus on one thing: nutritionally void, junk food is available to very sick patients. I have a very serious problem with that.

Why is health care technology so advanced, while nutritionally void, junk food is readily available? What’s the point of “fixing” someone, if you’re not going to prevent more problems from recurring in the future? Why does no one see that real food is the best medicine there is? We’ve known that for centuries, and yet that lesson seems to have been buried by all of the technology – processed food – and prescription medication?

Anyway, I can give you a few examples of the junk food that I saw being served in these places, but I’m going to focus on one of them, because it was consistently recommended in each of the 3 different health care settings. It was also recommended to us by a doctor back when my daughter was struggling to gain weight, so I was familiar with the product. It disgusted me back then, and it infuriates me now that it’s still being given out to patients so often.

When a patient can’t gain weight, there is one product that seems to be handed out routinely. It’s called Ensure, which is marketed as a “therapeutic nutritional shake.” Well, let me tell you, the word nutrition should not be in the description at all, and it shouldn’t be implied that it’s in any way “therapeutic.” Why?

There’s nothing real about these shakes. They are a food science experiment, chock full of pesticide laden, genetically modified corn, soy, and canola. I suspect the 3rd ingredient, sugar, is too. Just take a look at the ingredients:

Ingredients (as per their web site):
Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Sucromalt, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Canola Oil. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Corn Oil, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Cellulose Gel, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Cellulose Gum, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Potassium Hydroxide, Liquid Sucralose, Ferric Orthophosphate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Acesulfame Potassium, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin, Phylloquinone, and Vitamin D3.
Contains milk and soy ingredients.;  Contains Milk Ingredients;  Contains Soy Ingredients;  Gluten-Free;  Halal;  Kosher Dairy;  Low-Residue;  Not for patients with galactosemia;  Suitable for Lactose Intolerance;

The second ingredient is corn malodextrin, which is “generally recognized as safe” as a food additive. That means it’s considered safe (but there’s probably no third party testing to verify that) in SMALL quantities. If you’re drinking this product every day, and it’s the second ingredient on the list, how can it possibly still be “generally recognized as safe?”

Chances are, the corn it’s derived from is genetically modified, and chock full of pesticides. Most likely, the milk, soy, and canola in the product are as well. So, you’re basically drinking sugar, toxic fats, and pesticides. Is that really what one wants to base weight gain on? Toxins are stored in fat, and will an already compromised digestive system really be able to filter out and dispose of them properly? DOUBTFUL.

What this company has chosen to do is to hide its questionable ingredients, by adding in large amounts of vitamins! So, instead of getting them through more easily digestible REAL food, you are getting synthetic forms of them. It’s just not the same thing. Make sense?

If you ignore the ingredient label, and just look at the nutrition facts, the high percentages of vitamins will pop out and you will believe it is a healthy product. It’s a deceptive practice that is very confusing to people, so if a doctor recommends the product, many people will assume it’s okay. It’s NOT, and no doctor should be recommending this product. As patients and consumers, we need to ask questions and read the fine print!

Most of all, though, we want to prevent ourselves from having to visit any doctor for anything other than a routine checkup, right? The most important step we can take away from conventional medicine is to put the processed food down and pick up more real, farm-to-table food. Eating food out digestive systems recognize is crucial to our brain-gut-heart and overall health. As I always say:

If your MIND doesn’t recognize an ingredient, chances are, your digestive system won’t either. Eat REAL food!

So, if you, or anyone you know, is drinking Ensure shakes, please consider making my homemade chocolate pudding instead, or better yet, make sure you eat healthy meals, with enough healthy protein and fats, and plenty of vegetables. Even the healthiest dessert is never a replacement for a meal. shakes

If you really need a better ready-to-go choice, though, you can try Orgain Organic Nutritional Shakes instead. They are doctor developed, and contain NO genetically modified ingredients, soy, preservatives, artificial sweeteners or corn syrup. Plus, they contain only 12 grams of sugar, which is almost half of what the Ensure shakes do. Even better, they contain 10 certified organic fruits and vegetables, organic whey protein and grass fed milk protein concentrates. If you can tolerate dairy, it’s a much better option that the more popular store bought brand. However, it’s not a perfect one! Like Ensure, it contains the food additive, Carrageenan, which may irritate your digestive system.

Let’s sum it up our choices briefly:

Bad Choice: Ensure Therapeutic Nutrition Shakes

Better Choice: Orgain Organic Nutritional Shakes

Best Choice: Homemade, Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding (with homemade coconut milk)

Please remember that none of the above should ever replace a complete meal, containing healthy fats, proteins, and plenty of vegetables. Real, minimally processed food is always the healthiest option.

If you like this recipe. here are some other coconut/cacao based desserts you might be interested in:

Have a happy, healthy, and delicious day, everyone!

Please note that this post has been shared with the Allergy-Free WednesdaysReal Food Wednesdays, Fight Back Fridays,  Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Natural Living Monday blog carnivals.

Also, I have provided some of my Amazon affiliate links for your research and shopping convenience. Know that if you purchase anything through those links, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You’re certainly under no obligation to do so, but I thank you for your support, if you do!

About Dawn

As a Certified Health Coach, I provide motivated individuals with the resources, tools, support and encouragement they need to make the gradual changes in food and lifestyle that could completely transform their lives. Contact me.

8 Responses to Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding, Anyone?

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