It’s was Halloween and...BOOM addicted to candy…

This week’s topic is specifically chosen just to remind myself to not binge eat cheap traditional candy this holiday season. The story is the same every year and I am tired of repeating the pattern. 

Halloween haunts me with its precious treats of peanut butter cups and snickers. Thanksgiving is next, stuffing it into all my pockets just because I can. Hopefully the candy coma subsides after Christmas candy is sprinkled in with holiday cheer.

So here I am reminding myself (and everyone else of course) that when the chocolate cravings kick in there is an answer! Cacao! Wonderful, amazing and healing cacao!

Here is a picture of the cacao pods, picked right off the evergreen tree native to Central and South America.

Melts in your gut, not in your hand! 

Why enjoy the “sugared down” version of cacao that is Hershey’s? An ordinary Hershey’s bar contains about 10 other ingredients that are not cacao based. Sugar is the #1 ingredient in almost every commercially available chocolate candy bar.

Breakin’ it down: Hershey's Chocolate Bar

  • Sugar - added to make the chocolate bar sweeter and more addictive, acidifies the body
  • Chocolate - processed from cacao, made with cocoa butter and cocao powder (about 25%), processed at least 2 to 3 times
  • Cocoa Butter - processed from cacao but loses medicinal properties in the process
  • Peanuts - one of the nations top allergens, even a plain Hershey’s bar has a warning that it may contain peanuts
  • Milk - from a factory farm because that is what is cheap, contains very little nutritional value after cooking into the chocolate, mostly adds fat and flavor
  • Nonfat Milk - even processed further from a factory farm and will little nutritional value
  • Milk Fat - from a factory farm, contains very little nutritional value 
  • Rice Flour - likely a thickening agent and filler, not cacao based
  • Cocoa (processed with alkali) - processed from cacao but loses medicinal properties in the process
  • Soy Lecithin - made from cheap genetically modified soy, added as an emulsifier
  • Salt - boost of flavor, ionized salt is highly processed with natural mineral removed and an anti-clumping agent added
  • Malt Extract - made from barley, added for sweetness and consistency
  • Monoglycerides - chemically created and used as an emulsifier, contains high levels of trans fat (which don't appear on the nutritional label if listed as monoglycerides) and are not be safe for human consumption in mass quantities or over long periods of time
  • Natural Flavor - any of thousands of chemically altered flavors with natural origin  (such as fruit, spice, flower), these can even been animal products

With the extra ingredients and high sugar content there is very little reason to enjoy a bar of chocolate other than for the sugar rush. They are cheap. They are everywhere. They come in dozens of similar but seemingly different brands. What choice do we have but to succeed to the candy mania of America?

To furthur explain how traditional chocolate has taken over the industry below is a picture taken from my local grocery store in the baking section. I could not find a chocolate chip with cacao content, all were made with cocoa and cocoa butter which have already been heavily processed. 

I ended up going to the 4 closest grocery stores in my area, Dunsmuir, California. I couldn't find cacao anywhere, this includes the local health food store in any form, powder, nibs or beans. I suspect the closest source for raw cacao is about 45 miles away in a town of 100,00 people. This could possibly make it a challenging if you live outside of a city to access such a teasure. I've resorted to ordering online just because I can't always drive that far just for cacao.

Dun, dun, dun, duh! Cacao the Superfood to the rescue!!! 

Have you heard of them? The mightiest and best of all foods available to humanity that boost natural vitality and health.  Well cacao is on the list, in its RAW form. 

Cacao loses all of the antioxidant and mineral power when its heated and processed to make cocoa butter or cocoa powder. Therefore any chocolate that is made with ingredient that were heated or processed is not going to be medicinally beneficial in the way that a raw cacao can be. Don’t get me wrong, a milk chocolate Hershey’s bar can be very healing in spiritual and metaphysical ways. 

Cacao is the source of all things chocolaty. High in many vitamins and minerals, not to mention is rich in antioxidants and even has antidepressant properties. This is the thing you need for chocolate cravings! 

When we crave foods we are usually trying to supplement a vitamin or mineral we are deficient in. Chocolate cravings are synonymous with magnesium deficiency which is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies for adults in America.

Breakin’ it down!: Raw Cacao

Here is a break down of all the vitamins and minerals found in cacao and how they can be beneficial for the body. All daily values listed are for 100 gram serving for raw cacao.

  • Calcium - needs magnesium to be absorbed, helps with stress regulation, muscle cramps, allergies and lowers cholesterol, 7% of daily value
  • Copper - helps iron and vitamin C be absorbed by the body, 89% daily value
  • Fiber - essential for digestion keeps things moving, 129% daily value
  • Iron - helps anemia and circulation, 21% daily value
  • Vitamin K - helps with blood clotting and circulation, prevents heart attacks, 11% daily value
  • Magnesium - chocolate carvings are a sign of deficiency, magnesium assists with stress, depression and PMS symptoms, 57% daily value
  • Manganese - improves upon muscle weakness, nervous system disorders and other degenerative diseases, 96% of daily value
  • Phosphorus - improves overall body function, 32% daily value
  • Potassium - assists with muscle cramps and high blood pressure, 21% daily value
  • Protein - 14.3 grams per serving, 29% daily value, every health nut everywhere is wondering: Where do I get my protein if not from animals? Right here in raw cacao
  • Selenium - works with vitamin E as an antioxidant, fights free radicals, 11% daily value
  • Zinc - improves up acid/alkaline balance in the body, immunity, healing and coordination, 21% daily value

These were just the most abundant vitamins and minerals, cacao also contains many other minute traces of vitamins that assist with optimal body function.

Beside the basic raw facts about the vitamin and mineral content, there was a study done in 2012 proving that a little bit of high percentage cacao dark chocolate daily will improve high blood pressure and encourage weight loss. Cacao also stimulates the release of endorphins, which is a natural antidepressant.

Sweet! How do I use CACAO? 

This is an awesome recipe to use raw cacao nibs and cacao powder. I’ve made this for years and it always satisfies my chocolate cravings and fills you up. This Raw Cacao Mousse is vegan and good for you!

Raw Cacao Mousse 

  • 2 medium over ripe bananas
  • 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I use honey, add extra tablespoons for sweeter mousse)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder, add extra for chocolatier mousse)
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cacao nibs (optional)

Peel and place bananas and avocado in a food processor or blender, add maple syrup and blend until smooth. After blended with no chunks add the coconut oil. Add cacao powder and nibs last and blend until even distributed. Move to another bowl. Place in fridge and let set for at least 2 hours before serving (I usually eat it right away). Serves 2 (but usually just me haha).

And the point is?... 

If you aren’t convinced to add cacao to your daily routine than nothing will! High in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants this superfood is versatile and commonly undersold in the everyday candy bar. 

Do you have a favorite high cacao dark chocolate bar?

What is your favorite raw cacao recipe? Share it below. If you tried the Raw Cacao Mousse recipe, how did it turn out?

Any candy addiction horror stories to tell?

<3 from Shasta

Dakota

Resources:

All Women Are Healers: A Comprehensive Guide to Natural Healing; Diane Stein; 1990

Cacao and Hypertension Study; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23209885

Cacao Nutrition Facts; https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2277624/0

FDA Natural Flavor; https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=501.22

Monoglyceride Wiki Page; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoglyceride

Mayo Clinic Sea Salt vs. table salt Article; https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/sea-salt/faq-20058512