Deep down the world always knew there was something more to chocolate.
Some days are made oh-so-much-better when we can enjoy a sweet piece of intense dark chocolate. The days when we need to draw on our deepest energy reserves and we really don’t have much to give. This reservoir of energy is called Jing or Essence in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Just like a leafless tree in the winter time uses its roots to draw nutrition from deep within the earth; we draw on our Essence reserve when we need extra energy to get us through. The Essence concept is similar to our life battery or ‘fight or flight’ mechanism and we need to use it thoughtfully so not to burn out.
The watered and sugared down commercial varieties are tasty but empty, leaving you wanting more. Real chocolate, Theobroma cacao has a complicated history. It was originally considered a sacred plant and used ceremonially by the Mayan and Aztec people. The cacao beans were traded as a form of currency and the pods an inspiration for art as depicted on many glyphs and works of art.
Health benefits of Raw Chocolate
Includes beneficial levels of magnesium, chromium, zinc, iron, antioxidants (flavonols) and the main alkaloid Theobromine, a heart and blood stimulant. In moderation chocolate can help improve blood circulation and support cardiac health. It is blood moving, heart pumping, mineral-rich and mood-boosting; Chocolate is a medicinal food.
Women and Chocolate
There is no secret that chocolate has a special connection with women, especially around menstruation. The high magnesium and iron content builds or ‘tonifies’ the blood while the natural mood enhancing chemicals have an antidepressant effect on the mind. The only down side is if you eat too much chocolate it can be too stimulating for some people causing heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia or adrenal fatigue.
Summary of raw chocolates mood boosting properties…
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Phenylethylamine (PEA) = The Love Chemical
Anandamide = The Bliss Chemical
Tryptophan = Keeping you Calm and Happy
Dopamine = Keeping you Motivated
Serotonin = Feel GOOD for no reason at all
Chocolates health benefits are now well known but that doesn’t mean you can chow down cheap chocolate and expect to feel the same heart energy ‘shift’ as the ancients did. Chocolate is food for the soul if you prepare it ritualistically, respectfully and healthily as did the ancients.
Tips for Creative Cacao Gods ‘n’ Goddess’s in the Kitchen
Besides practise, planning and putting in the effort to master this unique art form of raw chocolate making, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
Choose raw, organic and fair-trade cacao products
Even if you use your raw cacao to cook with you still have a superior health product that supports ethical companies and quite often indigenous people. Raw chocolate retains its nutrient density as opposed to the processed dutch chocolate variety’s.
Experiment with recipes using natural ingredients, avoiding processed sugars, refined flour and excessive dairy
This requires some research, trial and error. If you truly want to gain the health benefits of chocolate you’ll need to make some sacrifices in the processed foods department. You also need to learn appreciation for real chocolate, which is more intense in flavour. Just like people learn appreciation for olives, wine, cheese or coffee (all the pungent flavoured foods) you can learn to appreciate raw chocolate. Even raw desserts require some taste adjustments and the only way to achieve this is by cutting out the ‘watered down stuff’. Keep it real, keep it wholesome and you will be happy.
Add love to your creations and always SHARE your chocolate.
The magical ingredient in your grandmothers pie recipe is also a needed in your raw chocolate! Light candles, burn incense and listen to your favourite music while mixing, melting and concocting. The ritual is what you make it. Also, sharing your chocolate means you will eat less. I consider chocolate to be similar to wine, it’s best enjoyed with good company even if it goes quickly- you can always make more.