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Cacao - Raw Chocolate
Raw Chocolate – Could it really be this good?

Why is it that we crave so much chocolate? Is it the feel good factor, associations with love or addictions to sugar? Has life lost all it’s sweetness, or are we completely at the mercy of multi-billion dollar marketing campaigns from companies whom misuse developing countries' resources for their own financial gain?

By unravelling the secrets behind what makes us tick, and why these products are geared to be a part of our everyday cravings, we can make a more informed choice about how and what we eat. Maybe we can do it in a healthier, and even tastier way, that supports fair-trade and sustainable harvesting. Perhaps we can even get creative and sticky in the process!

Raw chocolate – Cacao (pronounced ka kow) has been used for centuries to promote vitality, health and as a mood enhancer. The high levels of theobromine are known to affect the serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Caffeine (which is more balanced than coffee as it has not been heat treated) is said to give us an energy boost. Traditional known uses for Cacao are numerous including support for a healthy heart and brain.

With records going back centuries to ancient Mayan civilisations where it was used as currency, Cacao is being rediscovered for its health giving properties. Cacao has 143 chemical constituents. It is high in anti-oxidants, proteins and healthy fats. Though once cooked the healing properties and chemical structure of cacao are changed and when combined with dairy the majority of the antioxidant properties are lost. The refined sugars draw minerals out from the body, cause blood sugar disorders, dehydration and are highly addictive.

Sprinkles - A Great Snack containing Cacao, Coconut and Bee Pollen
Cacao has high levels of magnesium, which in the western world the majority of us are deficient in. Magnesium levels are depleted by stress, including physical, emotional, mental and environmental. Substances such as nicotine, antibiotics, salt and sugar also affect our magnesium levels. Although we would not necessarily recommend cacao alone to increase magnesium levels, as a part of a healthy and balanced diet, and possible supplementation program, it can certainly help. For individuals craving lots of chocolate or cacao it would be best to question different factors, such as what might be depleting the magnesium levels (past or present causes) and what supplementation/eating regime will help to maintain healthy levels. This would generally include a magnesium supplement but it would also be worth looking at balancing blood sugar levels and ensuring that healthy fats were being taken and absorbed.

Cacao is available in beans and nibs and has a distinctive bitter flavour. The Criolla variety which is available at The Natural Store, is the most renowned for quality and richness, and the colours include deep blue and purple shades amongst the deep brown hues. The cacao can be eaten alone, sprinkled on cereals, mixed in smoothies or there are innumerable recipes for chocolate mousses, tarts, brownies and chocolates - all which open up a whole new world of options for chocolate lovers everywhere. By using low glycaemic load alternatives to sugar like yacon powder, yacon syrup, agave syrup, lucuma, vanilla and raw carob, the flavours remain rich whilst not upsetting the blood sugar balance. Other whole foods such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits, coconut butter, cocoa butter and spices give endless opportunities for creativity, flavour and texture. Additional superfoods such as wolfberries, bee pollen and maca add a whole new dimension in terms of potential additional health benefits and energy.

Keeping it raw and unprocessed is definitely the way to go for maximum impact, flavour and absorption. The creative potential is massive and the reactions from any willing tasters will be more than encouragement enough – if there is any left for them to try by the time you’ve finished really checking how good it tastes.

Recipe - Raw Chocolate Delights

Combine equal amounts (30g each) of Raw Cacao, Brazil Nuts & Chopped Dates in a blender. Add 5 ml Agave Syrup and 3-5 gms grated creamed coconut to taste. Mould into balls or flat pack into a tray and cut into pieces/shapes. Keep refrigerated and eat within 5 days.

Keep an eye open for our Chocolate Making kits… coming soon.

Please note that all information given is based on traditional knowledge and by no means is aimed at curing or treating any disease.

Click here to obtain more information, and to purchase, some scrummy Raw Chocolate Delights and Raw Chocolate Truffles >

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