It’s seldom that I work with a couple, but when it happens, it’s amazing the quality of their results. All of my clients have huge successes and tremendous transformations but with the support of their family the changes are exponential. This was the case for a current couple who just completed their six months of private 1:1 coaching. Absolutely fabulous work from both of them. All their goals were accomplished, they have so much more energy, have lots tons of weight, feel better, and have both decreased the number of pharmaceutical drugs they were prescribed. As we completed the final appointment, I hear that the one thing they really struggle with is Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding. They love it, won’t give it up, and is there any way I could figure a way to make it healthier.
Tough request! But, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Chocolate Pudding Thickeners
Actually, I agreed quickly because I use a chocolate mousse recipe at home that is relatively healthy. Big problem I found out though was that it didn’t have the texture and consistency of Jello Chocolate Pudding. Way too much chemistry research made me realize it’s all in the thickenerss. This shouldn’t really surprise me . . . there are very highly paid scientists and chemists working to identify just the perfect combination of sugar and fat as well as the proper about of texture to create great “mouth feel”. And I’d bet Kraft has some of the best working for them.
I don’t want to bore you so just know there are a LOT of thickeners available and most of them are chemical products. In the health food world we usually hear xanthan gum, agar agar, guar gum, ground chia seeds, ground flax seeds, psyllium fiber, gelatin, and carrageenan. For a variety of reasons I usually work with agar agar (I’ll write on that another day). As with all thickeners, these have come under scrutiny and questioned about their use in healthy food diets.
Honestly, I made a lot of chocolate pudding. My family will not ask for chocolate pudding any time in the near future!
Locust Bean Gum for Chocolate Pudding
What I finally ended up using, which seemed to work well, and was relatively healthy – locust bean gum. Locust bean gum is also known as carob bean gum and is derived from the seeds of the carob tree. It thickened very well without needing to be heated. One of the criteria for this recipe was that it could all be mixed up quickly, just like instant Jello pudding. The taste and texture were good also. I couldn’t find the product locally but was able to easily order it online.
Is Locust Bean Gum Healthy?
Honestly, I can’t say for sure. As with so many of these products, there just isn’t a lot of research. But, I did find a couple studies that seemed to indicate this thickener was safe. During a two-year animal study, rats were given locust bean gum as 5% of their diet, and no carcinogenic or other toxic effects were observed (1). It’s also been studied in humans as a potential cholesterol-lowering compound with success (2). So, I used locust bean gum. I couldn’t find any studies indicating harmful effects. But, I’d be caution with overconsumption or if you have digestive issues, just to be on the safe side.
Final Verdict Chocolate Pudding Challenge
My clients loved the solution. These are their comments:
“The flavor is amazing. The taste and texture is almost identical. The coconut milk makes it extra creamy. We like it best at 2 1/2 Tbs. honey. No need to buy Jello pudding anymore. Thanks.”
Give it a try. Not only did this chocolate pudding recipe mass my client’s criteria, it passed my son and his friend’s taste requirements. Enjoy!
Chocolate Pudding Ingredients:
- 1 BPA-free can extra thick coconut milk
- 2-3 Tbs. local, raw honey
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 2 tsp. locust bean powder
Chocolate Pudding Directions:
- Mix well in a blender until thickened. Refrigerate at least an hour.