Raw chocolate - #1 superfood
It was only last week I was talking about cleansing the body, so if you don’t know much about the magical properties of raw cacao (aka Theobroma, meaning - Elixir of the Gods) then you may think that this is a cruel temptation..
But worry not, this wonder bean, when eaten in it's natural form is bursting full of nutritious goodness.
Unfortunately, like many things that are natural and good for us, the cacao bean as been mistreated and had much of the goodness processed out of it; to make it into the affordable and probably most common sweat treat on the planet.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Cacao was recognised thousands of years ago to be a source of power by the ancient Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs. Because of it's many uses and properties it was unclear wether it should be referred to as a food or a medicine.
It's believed that rulers, such as Montezuma (The 9th Aztec Emperor) drank Cacao in small amounts, up to fifty times a day . When Cortez discovered the drink it became a key ingredient of his soldiers' diet and some claim it was what helped the Spanish explorer defeat the Aztec empire and claim Mexico for Spain. Those who drank it felt increased energy, focus, stamina, happiness, and virility.
In parts of Centra America the bean was also used as local currency and often exchanged for animals and slaves.
The Mayans also used cocoa to create a ritual beverage that was drunk during family sharing gatherings as well as marriage ceremonies, providing one of the first known links between chocolate and romance.
The kind of chocolate these civilizations consumed would have been a bitter-tasting drink made of ground cacao beans, the cacao butter that surrounds each individual bean and would have then been mixed with a variety of local ingredients, such as vanilla, pimiento, and chilli pepper.
When the cacao bean first made it's debut in Europe in the 16th century the rich were the only people who could afford such exotic luxury yummyiness!
The Swiss and The Dutch who are incredibly famous for their chocolate, were pioneers in the evolution of what we know to be chocolate today. They invented processes that inadvertently destroyed most of the nutritious goodness and replaced the flavours and healing properties with refined sugars, milk, fats and other ingredients to make the chocolate more palatable, pliable and preserved to suit the European taste buds and conditions.
ME & CACAO
I fell in love and discovered a new side to cacao and it's fabulous qualities during a trip to Berlin in 2014 while visiting a DJ friend.
I was surprised when getting ready to go out to see my friend preparing a cacao drink. He asked if I would like some, saying 'this is what I drink now before going to a gig' and offered me a cup ..
It was a strong dose of cacao, made with just water and a little bit of natural sweetener. I must admit it wasn't how I'd predicted my evening to start; yet it wasn't long before I discovered this was fast becoming the preferred choice over other kinds of stimulant , especially for the older and more health conscious clubbers.
The whole weekend turned into a cacao appreciation experience, and on the Sunday afternoon I participated in my first cacao ceremony, which was held in a bar/hang out space along the river, which also had caravans converted into saunas.
We drank the ceremonial cacao (which is a high dosage of high grade cacao elixir with water added) during which a gentleman played the guitar and guided us through a gentle meditation. It was incredible how relaxed I felt, as well as feeling a great openness and compassion for this group of strangers.
After the experience we shared a sauna and then went dancing in the club next door (authentic Berlin ) we danced for hours then as soon as I felt tired I left and fell into a wonderful deep sleep.
The next morning I felt great, returning to the UK feeling blissed.
This for me this cacao experience speaks volumes of its great magical quality , it almost seems to deliver exactly what you need at the time from feeling total relaxed and blissed out to having the energy and zest to want to dance . And thats all because of the combination of all the natural bliss chemicals and natural relaxers (see benefits below).
My love affair with the sacred magical bean keeps on growing, I have attended several ceremonies since in Mexico as well in the UK . I have used it to hold my own Cacao Yoga & Dance ceremonies, as well as make raw chocolates and raw desserts in which my friends, family and yoga participants receive in varying combinations throughout the year.
Packed with flavonoids, which act as natural antioxidants.
It is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at a whopping 7.3mg per 100g.
It's the highest plant-based sources of magnesium (the most deficient mineral in the Western world) Magnesium is important for a healthy heart and is also a natural relaxer.
Contains more Calcium than Cow's Milk - 160mg per 100g vs only 125mg per 100ml of milk
Cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals -
Phenylethylamine, is a neurotransmitter produced naturally in the body when we fall in love.
Serotonin - As well as containing serotonin, raw Cacao also boosts the body’s natural production of serotonin, increasing our mood and ability to fend off stress.
Anandamide - In Sanskrit, Ananda means ‘bliss’, making this the ‘bliss chemical’. Anandamide is a neorotransmitter that has been isolated in Cacao, and is released naturally in the brain when we are feeling happy and content.
Theobromine is a cardiovascular stimulant, increasing heart function and blood flow
HOW & WHEN TO CONSUME IT
Make a Raw Cacao Drink ( see receipe below)
Put a spoonful in your morning smoothie
Replace your much loved Chocolate bar with a raw choc version - I often make my own, its super easy.. but here is a few of my favourite brands - The Raw Chocolate Pie Company - OmBar - The Raw Chocolate Company
Try it for your choice of healthy high before and during nights out
Attend a cacao ceremony
If consuming in high doses please be aware of these and even consult your doctor or nutritionists.
If you are on any kind of medication especially anti depressants, cacao can effect the behaviour of your medication
Despite it been good for high blood pressure, it too can have a negative effect if you are on any kind of medication
Like other stimulants do not mix with alcohol
MAKE YOUR OWN CACAO DRINK / CACAO SAUCE
1 cup of Organic & Raw Cacao Powder or solid
1/4 cup of cacao butter or coconut oil/butter
Place the Raw cacao and butter/oil into a glass bowl, placed over a simmering pan of water - this makes the paste
Nut Milk or water (add accordingly to preferred consistency, add more for a drink)
Agavae or Raw honey (to taste)
Add one tablespoon of the paste to a cup of hot water or nut milk - stirring gently until you have reached a good consistency (add less liquid if you want cacao sauce and more pate if you want a natural high)
For extra goodness and flavour add -
Store the paste in the fridge and enjoy whenever you want a natural relaxer add a bit more for a natural stimulant.