Who doesn’t love chocolate? If you are one of those weird people who don’t, you can leave this blog now. No room for that kind of negativity in my life. Im kidding, you can stay! But you might want to browse one of my less-chocolatity blog posts. Enough of that nonsense, back to chocolate! If you haven’t heard, cacao — chocolate — is actually a phenomenal super food. I prefer to use chocolate’s more appropriate name; cacao, as chocolate carries a bad rep. What most of us know as chocolate is actually not healthy for you. This wannabe impostor is typically found ladened with sugar, rancid fat and highly processed cacao; otherwise known as cocoa. The Many Faces Of Chocolate Cocoa- This bean is heavily processed. It too comes from the cacao fruit but is highly heated. This processing strips it of not only nutrients but enzymes and changes its molecular structure. The other problem with cocoa that is often overlooked is that companies that typically use this processed bean have awful sourcing practices. The cacao industry can be rather insidious; waging child trafficking workers without pay and feeding them a lousy diet of GMO bananas. If that isn’t enough most of these cocoa plantations; such as Hershey, largely attribute to the destruction of the rain forest. Cacao– This is the real super food. It is the whole bean of the cacao fruit. But unlike cocoa, which is high-heat roasted and heavy processed, it is simply fermented to make digestible. The health benefits of cacao are immense:
- Lowers insulin resistance.
- Protects your nervous system: Cacao is high in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant also found in red wine, known for its ability to cross your blood-brain barrier to help protect your nervous system. Shields nerve cells from damage.
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Reduces your risk of stroke.
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease: The antioxidants found in cacao help to maintain healthy levels of Nitric Oxide (NO) in the body. Although NO has heart benefiting qualities, such as relaxing blood vessels and reducing blood pressure, it also produces toxins. The antioxidants in cacao neutralises these toxins, protecting your heart and preventing against disease.
- Guards against toxins: as a potent antioxidant, cacao can repair the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. In fact cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. Antioxidants are responsible for 10% of the weight of raw cacao.
- Boosts your mood: cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being. And the same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenylethylamine – is found in chocolate.
- It is rich in minerals: magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.
Getting The Good Stuff To be sure you are choosing the healthiest chocolate or yourself and the collective, shop for organic and fair-trade cacao only. Here are few brands I personally like and one I will be using in this recipe!
- Theo Chocolate
- Sunfood Raw Cacao
- Navita Raw Cacao
- Body Ecology Raw Chocolates
- Bullet Proof Raw Cacao/Bars
Nutrient-Dense, Good-For-You Hot Cacao To make a truly healthy hot cacao you only need a few superior ingredients. I add Jing Herb concentrates to add even more immune-boosting, anti-aging properties to the drink making it more of a chocolate elixir. You can stick to the simple recipe below if you’d like. Get as creative or simple as you want! For the basic ingredients you will need the following:
- 1 cup of spring water (or two if you’re sharing)
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoons raw coconut butter
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao butter
- 1 teaspoon raw vanilla bean powder
- 1 teaspoon he shou wu *optional
- 1 “squirt” of liquid stevia
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 1 pinch of REAL sea salt
- Bring water to boil
- Pour water into high-speed blender like Blendtec
- Add fats (coconut and cacao butter)
- Blend well to make own frothy and creamy “coconut milk”
- Add cacao powder, cinnamon, sea salt, stevia and any herbs
- Blend one last time quickly to mix ingredients