Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future

Cacao: Raw Chocolate

 

Latin Names:

Theobroma cacao

Common Names:

Cacao, cocoa, chocolate, xocolatl (Aztec)

Superfood Type:

Nut

History, Facts, and Legends

There is something about chocolate; there is something in chocolate; there is something we know about chocolate that is beyond touch, taste, and tantalizing sensation. The essence of chocolate is truly indescribable, ineffable, inexpressible.

All chocolate is made from cacao beans (also known as cocoa beans). Cacao is chocolate. All the antioxidant value, mineral benefits, neurotransmitter rejuvenating properties, and overall health-giving qualities of chocolate are found in original cacao. Chocolate consists of just one ingredient—no sugar, no dairy, no chemicals required—that one ingredient is cacao.

Cacao is the seed (nut) of a fruit of an indigenous American jungle tree. In 1753 Carl Linnaeus, the eighteenth-century Swedish scientist, thought cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree himself: Theobroma cacao, or “Cacao, the food of the gods.”

Studies on Chocolate

Every study on chocolate is pointing to the same conclusion: there is something in chocolate that is really good for us. That something is the raw cacao bean, the nut that all chocolate is made from. The cacao bean has always been and will always be Nature’s number-one weight loss and high-energy food. Cacao beans are probably the best-kept secret in the entire history of food.

From what I have been able to assess from my own magical mystery cacao tour and visiting cacao growing regions in Central and South America, it appears there was an early, widespread territory of Theobroma cacao throughout the north and western portion of Amazonia as well as the Orinoco river basin of Venezuela, along with regions of Central America and Southern Mexico. Over time, various populations of this once heavily forested area were cut off from each other and split into separate ecological niches.

There is no cacao season—chocolate is always in season. The cacao tree flowers and produces fruit all year long. The cauliflori flowers have five petals with pale, lightly scented, mushroom-like growths that grow straight out of the trunk or large branches.

Cacao flowers are rarely visited by bees. They are best pollinated by tiny insects called midges. At least six different types of midges are known to help pollinate cacao. Once pollinated, each flower develops into a pod-fruit. The fruits typically begin as green in color and develop into characteristic red, orange, yellow, blue, or purple varieties. It takes five or six months for each fruit pod to ripen. The fruits usually grow to between seven and eight inches in length. Each fruit contains anywhere from twenty to fifty almond-like seeds, or “beans,” surrounded by a sweet, thin pulp. It is these seeds that we call “the food of the gods,” or cacao beans—the raw, natural form of chocolate.

Three major species variations of Theobroma cacao are currently in wide cultivation around the world: Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario (a cross of the other two). Criollo is the most highly prized. Many Internet sites and chocolate companies brag about their Criollo cacao beans, when in reality they have Forastero varieties. Criollo varieties are rare, comprising less than 1 percent of the worldwide cacao market.

The cacao fruit is hard-shelled and does not fall to the jungle floor when ripe. In the wild, the ripe cacao fruits are gnawed into by monkeys, birds (macaws, parrots, etc.), bats, and other jungle animals. Typically, some of the seeds fall in the jungle forest and, with good conditions, a new tree is born.

Cacao seeds sprout quite easily, and young trees can bear fruit within three to five years in a proper growing environment. A mature cacao tree will produce about fifty fruits, usually picked two or three times a year. As mentioned, cacao trees bear fruit all year long. Like coconuts and noni, there is no true harvest season. Cacao trees prefer well-drained acidic soils with a high content of organic matter and mushroom mycelium. As long as that type of soil is present, close companion trees do not bother the cacao. Trees and plants such as annona trees (cherimoya family), avocado trees, bananas, coconut palms, legume-shade trees, oil palms, rubber trees, and many other tropicals are intercropped with cacao.

Cacao trees grow best in the shade of larger trees where they are protected from wind and excessive sun. They like to grow inside the latitudes of 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south of the equator. Within this zone, cacao trees can adapt to a large range of tropical conditions (from extremely humid to drier regions), but they must have warm temperatures to thrive (79 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius is ideal). They love environments where temperatures are above 60 degrees F (16 degrees C). They thrive best with minimal fluctuations of high humidity. All of these factors make cacao a great house or greenhouse plant. You can purchase cacao trees over the Internet for your home or greenhouse. If conditions are just right, in a few years, your cacao trees will actually bear fruit.

Cacao instead of Gold

Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them instead of gold as money!

When political turmoil caused Cortez to return to Spain in 1528, he brought with him precious minerals, agricultural goods and, most likely, cacao beans. Cortez was probably the first to bring chocolate to Europe. The world would never be the same. About the cacao drink, he wrote it was: “The divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”

When the conquistador Cortez and his henchmen first encountered the Aztecs, the Spaniards were amazed to find a thriving highland metropolis known as Tenochtitlan nestled between the peaks of fifteen mountains, most of them volcanic. At that time, Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) boasted more than a million residents, making it several times larger than the greatest cities in Europe. Cortez and his crew were confronting a completely unique ecosystem, civilization, and culture. What Cortez and his men found most shocking was the fact that Emperor Montezuma’s royal coffers were overflowing, not with gold, but with cacao beans. Gold was used in the Aztec empire for aesthetic purposes, not for money. The coin of the realm in ancient Mexico was cacao beans. The Spanish chronicler Francisco Cervantes de Salazar mentions that the Emperor’s cacao warehouse held more than 40,000 loads, which would mean 960,000,000 beans!

Cacao spread from the royal court of Spain into France, Holland, England, Belgium, and Italy, and eventually across all of Western Europe. It was the Europeans who combined cacao with refined cane sugar; the Native Americans always preferred bitter chocolate. We now know that refined sugar draws minerals out of the body, causes blood sugar disorders, dehydration, and is highly addictive. Sugar, with all its attendant dangers, lowered the medicinal value of the chocolate sold in Europe and altered the spirit of cacao’s original healing properties.

Bioko, a small island near the equator off the coast of west Africa, was the first site of cacao cultivation outside of the Americas. Farmers planted cacao from Venezuela there in 1590 so that the cacao trade could be closer to Europe. This island with its well-drained soil, tropical rain patterns, and warm climate, possesses a perfect climate for cacao. Bioko became the launch point for cacao into Africa. The island is now part of the African nation of Guinea. Today, farmers there produce eight thousand tons of cacao beans each year, accounting for 70 percent of the nation’s export wealth.

In 1828, a Dutch chemist named Coenraad Johannes Van Houten patented a process for the manufacture of a new kind of low-fat powdered chocolate. As early as 1815, in his Amsterdam factory, he had been looking for a better method than boiling and skimming to remove most of the cacao butter from chocolate. He eventually developed a very efficient hydraulic press that squeezed the oil out of the cacao. Cacao typically contains around 50 percent cacao oil/butter, but when the cacao was processed through Van Houten’s machine, the cacao was reduced to around 27 percent oil/butter leaving a “cake” that could be pulverized into a fine powder. Van Houten created what would eventually be termed “cocoa or cocoa powder.” To cause his cocoa powder to mix well with water, Van Houten treated it with alkaline salts (potassium or sodium carbonates). While this “Dutching,” as it came to be known, improved the powder’s miscibility (not its solubility) in warm water, it also made the chocolate darker in color and milder in flavor. Van Houten’s invention made it possible to develop large-scale manufacturing and distribution of cheap chocolate in powdered and solid forms that millions of people could afford.

The invention of notoriously problematic milk chocolate was due to the collective effort of two men: the Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé (1814–1890) and Swiss chocolate manufacturer Daniel Peter (1836–1919). In 1867, Nestlé discovered a process to powder milk by evaporation. This discovery eventually made Nestlé’s business enterprise the largest food corporation in the world. Daniel Peter came up with the idea of using Nestlé’s milk powder in a new kind of chocolate. In 1879, the first milk chocolate bar was produced.

The Sacred Heart

More than anything else, cacao supports the heart in a literal, metaphysical, and spiritual sense. The Aztecs often called cacao yollotl eztli, which means “heart blood.” Cacao supports a healthy cardiovascular system, opens the heart, returns us to our natural state of feeling (instead of excessive thinking), and reconnects us via intuition to the mystery of Mother Nature’s herbal apothecary.

With cacao there is fantastic hope for chocoholics everywhere! You can turn cravings for cooked, processed chocolate into super-nutrition with raw chocolate (raw cacao beans, nibs, butter, powder, and bars).

The mythology surrounding cacao seems to always revolve around regaining the human heart connection to Mother Nature. Consider the following legend from South America:

Khuno, the god of storms, destroyed a village with torrential rain and hail because he was angry at the people for having set fire to the jungle to clear land for their crops. After the storm, the people found a cacao tree. This, they say, is how cacao came into cultivation. Cacao showed these people how to live in harmony with the jungle.

Like all superfoods, chocolate straddles the line between a food and a potent and beneficial medicine.

The raw cacao bean is one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods due to its mineral content and wide array of unique properties. Since many of the special properties of cacao are destroyed by cooking, refining, and processing, planet Earth’s favorite food is still unknown to most of us. Now we get to reconnect with the power of real chocolate.

Benefits

This raises the possibility that certain food components like cocoa flavonols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue or sleep deprivation.

 —Ian A. Macdonald, University of Nottingham Medical School, commenting on promising research on cocoa (cacao) and the improvement of mental acuity research.

Cacao Is the Best Natural Food Source of the Following Nutrients

Antioxidants

Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. These antioxidants include polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. By weight, cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, açai, pomegranates, and goji berries combined.

Antioxidants protect us from age-related health conditions and illnesses. They shield our DNA from free-radical damage. High antioxidant superfoods like cacao, as a general rule, potentiate the superherbs such as medicinal mushrooms (reishi, cordyceps, chaga, maitake, shiitake, lion’s mane, coriolus, etc.), astragalus, pau d’arco, cat’s claw, and others.

Magnesium

Cacao seems to be the number one source of magnesium, one of the great alkaline minerals.

Magnesium supports the heart, increases brainpower, causes strong peristalsis (bowel movements), relaxes menstrual cramping, relaxes muscles, increases flexibility, helps build strong bones, and increases alkalinity.

When the body has enough magnesium, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart trouble but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free-radical injury to the heart.

Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80 percent of North Americans are chronically deficient in magnesium. Cacao has enough magnesium to help reverse deficiencies of this mineral.

Iron

Cacao contains 314 percent of the U.S. RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of iron per 1 ounce (28 gram) serving. As is now well known, iron is a critical mineral in nutrition. Iron is part of the oxygen-carrying protein called hemoglobin that keeps our blood healthy and fights back anemia.

Chromium

Chromium is an important trace mineral that helps balance blood sugar. Nearly 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this trace mineral. Cacao contains enough chromium to help reverse deficiencies in this mineral.

Manganese

Cacao is a rich source of manganese, an essential trace mineral. Manganese helps assist iron in the oxygenation of the blood and formation of hemoglobin. Interestingly, manganese is also concentrated in tears.

Zinc

Cacao is an excellent source of zinc, another essential trace mineral. Zinc plays a critical role in the immune system, liver, pancreas, sexual fluids, and skin. Additionally, zinc is involved in thousands of enzymatic reactions throughout the human body. Zinc becomes more bioavailable after we cleanse and detoxify ourselves of heavy metals.

Copper

Copper is an essential trace mineral. Copper is found naturally as part of the vitamin C complex in plants including cacao. In the human body, copper helps to build healthy blood and strong immunity.

Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid was discovered in 1928 by a scientist from Budapest named Albert Szent-Györgyi. In 1937 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in recognition of his discoveries concerning the biological oxidation processes, with special reference to vitamin C.

We have Linus Pauling to thank for bringing forth an awareness about the importance and value of vitamin C as both a super-medicine and potentiator of other compounds. Linus Pauling won two Nobel Prizes (Chemistry in 1954 and Peace in 1962).

A one-ounce (28 gram) serving of cacao nibs supplies 21 percent of the U.S. RDA of vitamin C. That’s about 44 mg per 100 grams of cacao. This is an extraordinarily high value for a dried nut or seed. Cacao must be raw to contain vitamin C. All cooked and processed chocolate has lost all of its valuable vitamin C.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Cacao contains essential omega-6 fatty acids. All cooked and processed chocolate contains rancid omega-6 fatty acids (trans fat) that can cause an inflammatory reaction when one eats cooked chocolate. This is the final arbiter on the matter of raw versus cooked chocolate. Chocolatiers cannot escape the fact that once the cacao bean is cooked their product is automatically contaminated with rancid essential fatty acids.

Cacao is great fun for everyone—especially kids!

Phenylethylamine (PEA)

Phenylethylamines (PEAs) are a class of compounds found in abundance in cacao. There are different frequencies of phenylethylamines in cacao that are either destroyed or coagulated by roasting cacao beans. Because phenylethylamines are heat-sensitive, they are not present in conventional and organic cooked and processed chocolate.

PEAs are a major class of chemicals that we produce in our bodies when we fall in love. This is likely one of the main reasons why love and chocolate have such a deep connection. PEAs also play a role in increasing focus and alertness.

A greater than 2.2 percent concentration of PEAs and a significant concentration of magnesium appear to be the main natural appetite suppressants found in cacao.

Cacao beans contain no sugar and approximately 50 percent fat depending on variety and growth conditions. A 50 percent fat content is actually low compared to other nuts. There is no evidence to implicate cacao bean consumption with obesity. Cacao is actually one of the great weight-loss foods because within its extraordinary nutrition profile it contains the minerals and PEA molecules that shut off appetite.

Anandamide

Anandamide is a cannabinoid endorphin that the human body naturally produces after exercise. Anandamide has only been found in one plant—cacao. Anandamide is known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that when we eat cacao, natural anandamide and/or cacao anandamide tend to stick around longer, making us feel good longer.

The ascorbic acid [vitamin C] in foodstuffs is easily destroyed by cooking at high temperatures, especially in the presence of copper and to some extent of other metals.…

If we lived entirely on raw, fresh plant foods, as our ancestors did some millions of years ago, there would be no need for concern about getting adequate amounts of the essential foods, such as the vitamins.

—Linus Pauling, Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu

Tryptophan

Cacao contains significant quantities of the essential amino acid tryptophan, a powerful mood-enhancing nutrient. According to research obtained by cross-referencing data on the Internet, cacao powder consists of somewhere between 0.2–0.5 percent tryptophan.

The presence of tryptophan in the diet is critical for the production of serotonin, our primary neurotransmitter. Once in our bodies, tryptophan reacts with vitamin B6 and vitamin B3 in the presence of magnesium to produce serotonin. Enhanced serotonin function typically diminishes anxiety and literally improves our neurological and physiological “stress-defense shield.”

Tryptophan is heat-volatile and susceptible to damage or destruction by cooking. As a result, tryptophan is usually deficient in many cooked-food diets, even if animal protein intake is high. (This may be a large reason why depression is on the rise.) Eating cacao beans raw would thus be an excellent way to obtain dietary tryptophan.

Serotonin

Cacao is rich in the tryptamine serotonin. Serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter in the human body and in nearly all living things. Serotonin is similar in its chemistry to tryptophan, melatonin, and DMT. Serotonin helps us build up our “stress-defense shield.” If serotonin levels are high, the world could be collapsing and we would still feel good. If serotonin levels are low, all could be well, but we would still feel like hell.

Fiber

Cacao contains an extraordinary type of soluble fiber. The fiber is so perfect for the human digestive system that cacao can be blended, crushed, and micronized and will still help cleanse the intestines and bulk up bowel movements.

Methylxanthines: Caffeine and Theobromine

Does cacao contain caffeine? Contrary to popular opinion, cacao is a poor source of caffeine. A typical sample of cacao nibs or beans will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine (less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in conventional coffee).

Today we know that cacao is one of the richest sources of a peculiar and interesting substance known as theobromine, a close chemical relative and metabolite of caffeine.

Theobromine, like caffeine, and also like the asthma-improving methylxanthine theophylline, belong to the chemical group known as xanthine alkaloids. Chocolate products contain some caffeine, but not nearly enough to explain the attractions, fascinations, addictions, and effects of chocolate.

Cacao usually contains about 1 percent theobromine. Theobromine is an effective antibacterial substance that kills streptococci mutans (the primary organism that causes cavities). Theobromine is a chemical relative of caffeine but is not a nervous system stimulant. Theobromine dilates the cardiovascular system, making the heart’s job easier. This is one of the major reasons why cacao is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.

Cacao—Chinese Medicine

Treasures: Yang jing, qui/qi, shen, blood

Atmospheric Energy: subtly cooling (in excess … heating)

Taste: sweet, bitter, astringent

Organ Association: heart, kidneys, spleen

In February 2008, Dr. Gabriel Cousens discovered in clinical tests of healthy people that cacao does not elevate blood sugar in the same way as a caffeine-containing food or beverage. In fact, Dr. Cousens found that cacao has less of an effect on blood sugar than nearly any other food. Cacao raises blood sugar by only 6 to 10 percent. Foods containing stimulants can raise the blood sugar by more than 30 percent.

Does Cacao Contain Harmful Oxalic Acid?

Cacao contains somewhere between 1,520 and 5,000 parts per million oxalic acid. Is this harmful? When considering more common foods that are much higher in oxalic acid such as spinach, the answer is clearly no. Also, keep in mind that once oxalic acid is cooked it binds with calcium in the body and settles in the kidneys. Another reason to eat raw chocolate.

Here are a few listings of oxalic acid amounts from a table originally published in Agriculture Handbook No. 8-11, Vegetables and Vegetable Products in 1984:

Vegetable Oxalic Acid (g/100 g)

Amaranth 1.09

Parsley 1.70

Purslane 1.31 Spinach 0.97

In this table, raw chocolate would rate between 0.15 and 0.50. At the very most, it still has half the oxalic acid content of spinach. Consider how much chocolate people eat versus how much spinach—you may easily decide to eat 100 grams (3.5 oz) of raw spinach in a salad, but try eating 3.5 oz of chocolate in the same amount of time. You’ll have more on your mind than oxalic acid.

Cardiovascular Cleansing Compounds

Like goji berries, cacao contains the compounds N-caffeoyldopamine and N-coumaroyldopamine and their analogs. These compounds significantly suppress an adhesive molecule, P-selectin, that glues platelets to white blood cells and blood-vessel walls and increases inflammation. Elevated P-selectin levels in the blood have been associated with an elevated danger of cardiovascular clots (thromboses).

What to Look For …

Cacao Product Types

Look for the following raw, organic cacao products:

Cacao beans with the skin

Cacao beans without the skin

Cacao nibs

Cacao with fruit (this still has the dried, sweet cacao fruit on the unfermented bean)

Cacao powder

Cacao butter

Cacao paste

Chocolate bars (Enjoy the raw chocolate bar revolution. It is sending shock waves through the entire chocolate industry.)

Cacao beverages

Cacao trail mixes

Herbal cacao confections

Superfood powder combinations containing cacao

Cacao

Planetary Association: Sun—Center of the Sun

Specific Organ Effect Location: Sacred Heart

Sex: Slightly male

Cosmic lover: Vanilla

[Note: It takes approximately 2½ to 3 pounds of raw cacao nibs/beans to create one pound of raw cacao butter.]

When buying cacao, look for the following to make sure you are getting the highest-quality “bang for the buck”:

Low microbe counts: Because of the exceptional quality and standards under which www.sacredchocolate.com’s cacao products are processed, any foreign microbe/bacteria activity is virtually nonexistent on the skin and inner nib. This is an extraordinary feat considering that cacao beans come from a moist and juicy fruit grown in the hot jungle. The unique process Sacred Chocolate uses to dry cacao nibs and beans retains the purity, fine aroma, fairly uniform large size, purplish-brown color, easy peeling (of the beans), and nutritional impact that nature intended. Because of the quality of the bean and of the processing, you get to enjoy a rich, raw chocolate flavor and aroma without roasting. Sacred Chocolate takes care to deliver you the finest, cleanest, microbe-free organic cacao beans, nibs, butter, and powder available on the world market. Be aware that poor-quality cacao is also available that has been heated, fumigated, fermented, conventionally grown, and/or may even be dirty (contaminated with dirt as well as bacteria and fungi).

Pleasant and tasty. Great flavor without roasting. Low acidity and no-to-low fermentation.

100 percent raw and certified organic. Purchase Fair Trade or better quality organic cacao to ensure your cacao and chocolate products have not been harvested by slave labor. A Fair Trade certification is not necessarily required to indicate quality or slavery-free cacao yet it is an important standard for conventionally-grown cacao coming from Africa. Sacred Chocolate currently pays cacao farmers nearly four times the Fair Trade standard, and, in cooperation with other companies, is helping to develop an even higher standard of farmer protection.

John Robbins, the author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution, founder of EarthSave International and of the Web site www.foodrevolution.org, has suggested seven things you can do to stop the use of slaves in cacao harvesting in Africa and other nations:

1.     Educate yourself further. Good sources of information include:

Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org)

The Child Labor Coalition (www.stopchildlabor.org); Anti-Slavery (www.antislavery.org); Unfair Trade (www.unfairtrade.co.uk)

Fair Trade (www.fairtrade.net)

Kevin Bales’s book Disposable People (University of California Press, 2000) is a thoroughly researched expose of modern-day slavery.

2.  Write a letter to the editor or an article in your local newspaper. Blog about these issues on websites. Write to your Congressional representatives and senators.

3.  Buy Fair Trade chocolate and/or better-quality cacao products (raw, organic).

4.  Get stores in your community to carry and distribute Fair Trade and/or raw, organic chocolate.

5.  Contact the big chocolate companies and ask them to buy Fair Trade cacao. Hershey Foods Corp. can be reached at 100 Crystal A Drive, Hershey, PA 17033; (717) 534-6799; Mars, Inc. can be reached at 6885 Elm Street, McLean, VA 22101; (703) 821-4900. Tell them that you expect something to be done immediately to ensure that cacao imported into the U.S. is not harvested by enslaved children.

6.  Support the Fair Trade campaign by joining organizations such as Global Exchange. They can be reached at 2017 Mission Street, #303, San Francisco, California 94110; (415) 255-7296; info@globalexchange.org.

7.  Support the anti-slavery movement by joining organizations such as Anti-Slavery International. They can be reached in the U.S. at Suite 312-CIP, 1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036-2102. The main office is Anti-Slavery International, Thomas Clarkson House, The Stableyard, Broomgrove Road, London SW9 9TL, England.

Cacao—Ayurveda

Taste: sweet, astringent, bitter

Energy: Cooling (in excess … heating)

Post-Digestive Effect: Sweet

Properties and Action on the Tri-Dosha:

  Light

Mild laxative

  Good for the heart

Drying oil

  Dry

 

 Reduces Vata (in small to moderate quantities)

 Reduces Pitta (in small quantities)

 Reduces Kapha (in small quantities)

 Increases Pitta, Kapha, and Vata (in that order) (in excessive quantities)

How to Use Cacao Products

After eating chocolate you feel godlike, as though you can conquer enemies, lead armies, entice lovers.

 —Emily Luchetti, author and pastry chef

Recommended ways to consume chocolate:

1.     Purchase raw cacao products (beans, nibs, powder, butter) and blend them into your favorite beverage. One tablespoon of cacao powder per quart works great with any beverage. Blend cacao into coconut water, teas, or coffee. Discover the magic of cacao drinks.

2.  Sprinkle raw cacao beans (nibs) on your favorite dessert or treat instead of chocolate chips. Raw cacao beans ARE the original chocolate chips.

3.  Eat raw cacao beans with goji berries, hempseed, Incan berries, almonds, and other trail mix ingredients. Cacao is truly an outrageous snack food!

4.  Eat raw cacao beans by themselves. If you are a dark chocolate fan, you will hardly believe the truth about chocolate.

Please read my book Naked Chocolate to discover all the subtle nuances of cacao alchemy.

Recommended Daily Intake

Small quantities of cacao per person per day: 1 cacao bean per 17–22 pounds weight.

Moderate quantities of cacao per person per day: 1 cacao bean per 11–17 pounds of body weight.

Excessive quantities of cacao per person per day: 1 cacao bean per 3–9 pounds of body weight.

Example 1: If someone weighs 140 pounds, then a moderate intake of cacao beans would be 8–13 cacao beans.

Example 2: If someone weights 200 pounds, and s/he wanted to guzzle massive amounts of cacao, then an excessive amount of cacao would be 22–66 cacao beans.

Cacao Recipes

Fly High Goji Berry Bonanza

4 cups liquid—water, hot or cold tea, fresh coconut water, or any nut milk

3 tbsp. cacao powder

1 tbsp. cacao nibs

1 tbsp. maca or red maca (you can also add a small amount of maca extreme if you desire)

3 tbsp. goji berries

1 tsp. goji berry extract powder (optional, but super energizing!)

1–2 tbsp sweetener (we suggest yacon syrup, light or dark agave, or any of our raw honeys)

1–3 cups frozen, organic berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries work well)

1 tbsp. hempseed

1 small pinch Celtic sea salt

¼–½ leaf fresh aloe vera gel (optional)

several drops “Crystal Energy” (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Oh WOW Cacao—Superfood Greens Booster!

4 cups liquid—water, hot or cold tea, fresh coconut water, or any nut milk

3 tbsp. cacao powder

1 tbsp. maca or red maca (you can also add a small amount of maca extreme if you desire)

1 tbsp. cacao nibs

2 tbsp. coconut butter

1 tbsp. cashews or wild jungle peanuts

1–2 tbsp. sweetener (we suggest yacon syrup, light or dark agave, or raw honey)

1 tbsp. hempseed

1 small pinch Celtic sea salt

¼–½ leaf fresh aloe vera gel (optional)

2 tbsp. Sun Is Shining™ (formerly Nature’s First Food) Superfood Powder

½–1 tbsp. spirulina

several drops “Crystal Energy” (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Chocolate Vanilla Bean Dream

4 cups liquid—water, hot or cold tea, fresh coconut water, or any nut milk

3 tbsp. cacao powder

1 tbsp. maca or red maca (you can also add a small amount of maca extreme if you desire)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. cacao nibs

2 tbsp. coconut butter

1 tbsp. cashews or wild jungle peanuts

1–2 tbsp. sweetener (we suggest yacon syrup, light or dark agave, or raw honey)

1 tbsp. hempseed

1 small pinch Celtic sea salt

½ tsp. ginger (optional)

½–1 tsp. cayenne (optional)

¼–½ leaf fresh aloe vera gel

½ fresh vanilla bean

3–5 capsules of medicinal mushroom powders (open capsules and pour powder in)

several drops “Crystal Energy” (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Party Recipes

Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 10 of these gorgeous little bites.

1 serving dark chocolate sauce (raw cacao beans)

2–3 pinches ground cinnamon

1 cup pecans, not soaked

1 cup medjool dates, pitted

Blend the pecans and the dates together in a food processor to make a dough. Dust some cinnamon onto a clean work surface, and place the dough on it. Sprinkle some more cinnamon on top of the dough and flatten it out, adding more cinnamon if it ever gets sticky.

Once the dough is about 0.2 inches thick, and about 6×6 inches square, cut the edges so they are even. Spread the chocolate sauce on top.

Pick up one side of the dough and start to roll to the other side, so you end up with a spiraled log. Cut this log into 0.6 inch-wide rolls and serve.

Chocolate Milk Kick

Serves two, though you may find yourself making more!

1 pint very cold almond milk

4 tbsp. chocolate powder (crushed cacao beans or nibs)

2 tbsp. carob powder

1 tsp. maca powder

1 tsp. tocotrienols

4 tbsp. raw agave nectar

¼ tsp. powdered ginseng

1 tsp. cold-pressed hemp oil

1 tsp. cold-pressed flax oil

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy immediately before we come over and drink it for you! Simple, fun, and tasteful.

Cacao Kapow

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this meal, it’s one of our best ever recipes! Serves 2, and keeps you up all day.

2 oranges

14 dried apricots, soaked in water 4 to 6 hours

½ cup almonds, dry

1 heaping tablespoon of raw cacao nibs

2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

Juice the oranges. Blend the orange juice with 10 of the apricots, and put into two glasses.

Blend the remaining apricots with the almonds, cacao nibs, and chocolate powder. Keep it still slightly crunchy. Spoon this on top of the orange and apricot blend.

For an extra treat, top with some agave nectar and some orange zest. Wow!

Quick Cacao Mix

3 tbsp. cacao nibs

2 tbsp. hempseed

½ tsp. maca or red maca

1 pinch Celtic sea salt

1½ tbsp. yacon syrup

Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl and mix well, dusting the cacao nibs and hempseed with the maca and Celtic sea salt. Drizzle the yacon syrup over this mixture. Gently fold all ingredients together, so that the cacao nibs and hempseed become evenly coated with yacon syrup. Eat slowly with a spoon. To expand the fun, multiply the above amounts for each person, and share from a bigger bowl! Serves one.

VARIATION 1:

Multiply the amounts of each ingredient by 8

1½ cups cacao nibs

1 cup hempseed

4 tsp. maca or red maca

⅛ tsp. Celtic sea salt

¾ cup yacon syrup

Combine first four ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until mixture takes on a thick, sticky consistency. With the food processor on low, pour in a thin stream of yacon syrup until the mixture forms a thick paste (proportions may need to be adjusted). Turn off the processor, and with a dab of coconut oil on each hand, remove the mixture from the bowl in walnut-sized portions. Form into balls, place on a plate, and refrigerate.

Wait at least one hour to enjoy this cool, chocolate snack.

VARIATION 2:

The Traditional Way

Follow the instructions above, but use a large mortar and pestle instead of a food processor. Add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper with the Celtic sea salt. Grind the ingredients slowly, and channel your love into the best chocolate ever!

Credit: Andrew Rhodes

Chocolate Mint Adorable Smoothie

3 good scoops frozen almond milk

2 drops peppermint extract

1 or 2 scoops Sun Warrior™ rice protein

1 Sacred Chocolate™ bar (mint variety)

agave or honey for sweetener (add quantities to your liking)

Break up the chocolate, chop the fruit into small pieces, and place them in the blender. Next add the frozen almond milk and blend until smooth. Serves two.

Chocolate Orange Dream Smoothie

2 Sacred Chocolate™ bars (Fluffy Citrus variety)

1 medium/large organic orange

1½ cups frozen berries

1 or 2 good scoops frozen almond milk

1 or 2 scoops Sun Warrior™ rice protein

agave or honey for sweetener (add quantities to your liking)

Break up the chocolate, chop the fruit into small pieces, and place them in the blender. Next add the frozen almond milk and blend until smooth. Serves two.

John McCabe’s Superfood Cacao Perfect Travel Food

In a food processor, blend the following ingredients into a wet cookie-dough consistency. (Be careful, this recipe has a TON of calories per ball.)

ALL ORGANIC, RAW INGREDIENTS:

heaping handful of shredded coconut

heaping handful of oatmeal

2–3 tbsp. coconut oil

2–3 tbsp. cacao butter

⅓ cup ground cacao beans

¼ cup dried blueberries

¼ cup goji berries

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup walnuts

10 macadamia nuts

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ cup honey

½ tsp. pink salt

¼ cup hempseed or powder

a few tbsp. carob

2 tbsp. tahini

several dates, pitted and cut into pieces

1 tbsp. vanilla, or a whole lot more!

heaping tbsp. of bee pollen

Superfood green powder (the powder from several caps)

heaping tbsp. of maca

heaping tbsp. of mesquite powder (see Glossary of Recipe Ingredients)

almost ¼ cup agave nectar

After you’ve blended all the ingredients well, and while the food processor is still blending, add a tiny bit of water and it will all turn into a big gob of raw cookie dough. Roll into balls and refrigerate.

Choco-Immuno Elixir

Choose one of the following tea recipes below. To create the hot tea base, bring the tea ingredients to just below a boil in 1.5 quarts (1.5 liters) of spring water, then turn off heat and allow to steep covered in the pot for 5 minutes.

TEA RECIPE 1:

1 handful goji berries

5 tbsp. pau d’arco (antifungal superherb from the Amazon)

2 tbsp. cat’s claw (antiviral superherb from the Amazon)

2 tbsp. chanca piedra (anti-nanobacteria superherb from Peru)

1 whole vanilla bean, sliced into small pieces

TEA RECIPE 2:

1 tsp. chanca piedra

1 tsp. pau d’arco

1 tsp. chuchuhuasi (kidney-adrenal-lower back healing superherb from the Amazon)

½ tsp. cat’s claw

Add the strained contents of the hot tea base (above) to a blender already containing:

1 handful goji berries

2 tbsp. maca and/or red maca

1 tbsp. cacao nibs

1 tbsp. cacao powder

1 tsp. mesquite powder

1 tbsp. coconut oil

3 tbsp. Manuka, NoniLand™ honey (or other favorite raw honey), yacon syrup, or agave nectar

1 tsp. cinnamon powder

1 tsp. ginger powder

1 tbsp. Sun Warrior™ protein powder (or hempseed protein powder)

contents of 4–6 capsules of powdered medicinal mushroom blend

contents of 2–4 capsules lion’s mane medicinal mushrooms

contents of 2–4 capsules cordyceps medicinal mushrooms

contents of 2–4 capsules agaricus blazei medicinal mushrooms

contents of 2–4 capsules reishi medicinal mushrooms

1 pinch cayenne pepper (to taste)

1 tsp. camu camu powder

2–3 drops of orange essential oil or ¼ tsp. fresh grated orange zest (optional)

1 pinch Celtic sea salt

Blend until completely creamy and frothy. Enjoy the total-body, feel-good experience on your own or with loved ones.

Serves five.

Warning:

Eating cacao may cause you to have THE BEST DAY EVER!

For further information on raw chocolate read Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie. Filled with in-depth information and over sixty mouthwatering recipes, Naked Chocolate is the product of years of research into superfood nutrition and the phenomenal and enlightening power of cacao.

Up-Your-Crunch Bar

Recipe by Ginger Robinson

Your friends won’t believe it when you tell them that you made this at home. Same texture, chewiness—everything—as those chemicalized, dairy-contaminated chocolate bars, only this tastes WAY better! It’s amazing!

Combine equal parts:

Agave nectar

Cacao butter

Raw cashews

Add:

1 big handful white mulberries

1 tsp. ho shou wu powder

1 tbsp. maca powder

1–2 tbsp. lucuma powder

Melt the cacao butter in a measuring cup in the dehydrator, add to blender with agave, and cashews. Blend till smooth. Stir in a big handful of dried mulberries by hand and then pour the mix into molds. Set in freezer awhile to harden them up. Thin slice into chocolate bars and have The Best Day Ever!

$18,000 Cacao Smoothie

Recipe by Len Foley

Combine base ingredients in a blender:

1 cup warm gynostemma herbal tea

1 tbsp. raw virgin coconut oil

1 tbsp. raw Manuka or NoniLand™ honey

1 pinch Celtic sea salt

2 droppersful of liquid Vanilla Creme stevia

Mix on low, then add:

1 tbsp. hempseed

1 tbsp. black sesame seeds

Mix on high until smooth, then add:

Coconut water or raw almond milk or other nut milk (up to ¾ of the mixer)

Add other ingredients:

5 drops super deer antler

1 dropperful of liquid zeolites

4 droppersful of super ionic or angstrom minerals (optional)

½ tsp. ho shou wu powder

⅛ tsp. eucommia bark powder

½ tsp. maca powder

1 tbsp. mesquite powder

1 tbsp. Sun Warrior™ protein powder (or hempseed protein powder)

1 ½–2 tbsp. raw cacao powder

1 tbsp. Irish sea moss (clean it, must soak 2–3 days, change water each day)

4 caps reishi mushroom

⅛ tsp. Pure Radiance C® powder

½ tsp. blue-green algae powder

3 caps blue mangosteen

⅛ tsp. cordyceps mushroom powder

dash of cinnamon powder

1 tbsp. pure pumpkin seed oil

4 caps cistanche powder

2 tbsp. tocotrienols

1 tbsp. bee pollen

Mix on low, then add ice to taste. Continue to mix on low, or a bit higher if necessary, till blended frothy smooth.

“Blend Your Way to Cacao Heaven” Shake

12 oz. spring water or healing tea (suggested combinations: horsetail/oatstraw/nettle or cat’s claw/pau d’arco/ho shou wu/reishi)

½ inner gel (not skin) from one aloe vera leaf

1–2 tbsp. raw honey (you can also use yacon syrup and/or agave syrup)

1–3 tsp. bee pollen

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tbsp. carob powder

1–2 tbsp. mesquite powder

1–2 tbsp. maca powder (also try red maca)

1 tbsp. Sun Warrior™ protein powder (or hempseed protein)

1 tbsp. tocotrienols

2 tbsp. hempseed

½–1 tbsp. cold-pressed hempseed oil

2–3 Brazil nuts

2 tbsp. cacao nibs

2 tbsp. cacao powder

½ tsp. cacao butter

1–2 tbsp. Sun Is Shining™ Superfood Powder

¼ tsp. blue-green algae powder (try also E3Live™ Flakes or Crystal Manna)

1 tbsp. spirulina

1 pinch Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon powder

¼ tsp. chili powder (or more if you like it HOT!)

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and savor the ecstasy of superfood heaven!

Blackie’s Chewies

This is like a brownie, only darker and much richer. You can’t eat many of these in one go, unless you’re a complete raw chocoholic!

4 cups of black mission figs, soaked 1 hour in spring water

1 cup black tahini

½ cup raw chocolate powder

1 cup goji berries, soaked 1 hour in spring water

1 tsp. fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp. golden flaxseeds

1–2 tsp. ho shou wu powder

1 tbsp. spirulina

1 pinch Celtic sea salt

Finely grind the flaxseeds in a coffee mill or blender. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until fine and doughlike. If the mixture doesn’t stick together, slowly add some goji berry soak water while blending.

Knead the dough until you’ve put lots of love into it, and place it onto a Teflex sheet. Spread it out until it’s about 1 inch thick, and square the edges off. Cut into little squares. If you fancy, place half a cherry on top of each square.

Dehydrate for about 4 hours, then turn the squares onto the dehydrator tray without a Teflex sheet and dehydrate for 6 more hours.

¡Olé Mole! Chocolate Tortillas

These are slightly spicy, slightly chocolaty, and oh-so versatile. We stuff them with raw nut/seed pates, avocado, salad, or salsa. Serve them with guacamole, sunflower sprouts, and slices of lime on a bed of spring onions. Makes 6 tortillas.

corn, freshly stripped from 2 raw cobs

½ cup dry golden flaxseeds

¼ avocado

½ cup sunflower seeds, dry

4 spring onions

2 cloves garlic

¼ tsp. Celtic sea salt

1 tsp. cumin powder

½ tsp. cayenne powder

1 tbsp. paprika

1 tbsp. raw chocolate powder

2 squeezes lime juice

Ground the flaxseeds into a fine powder using a spice mill. Finely chop the garlic. Chop the spring onions. Add all the ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth. The dough should be thick and sticky.

Place six equal amounts on a Teflex sheets, flatten out into circles, and dehydrate for about four hours. Turn the tortillas over, remove the Teflex sheets so air can circulate more, and dehydrate for another one or two hours.

Special Note on Allergies

A recent study showed that only one out of five hundred people who thought they were allergic to chocolate actually tested positive. Allergies to chocolate are quite rare. It is typically the case that the person is in fact allergic to milk and dairy products. Some people can be allergic to cooked and processed chocolate but are not allergic to cacao.