Today I’m talking chocolate!
Before we get too far into this, (if this seems a bit strange and in case you don’t know this about me), in addition to being a transformational coach, I am also a raw food chef. Food is a huge passion of mine and every now and again I feel inspired to write about it. Like today, about chocolate.
Chocolate has long been one of my favourite things in life.
I recall as a child, being sent on my bike to the grocery store to pick up a couple items. While I don’t recall today what exactly was on that list, I’m 100% certain chocolate was not one of them. And yet it was the only thing I came back with (in a variety of forms) as I spent every dime my mother had given me, on chocolate.
Yes, my love affair with chocolate started at an early age and I’ve been seduced by it in one manner or another for most of my life.
So, can you image my utter joy and knee slapping happiness when I discovered that chocolate is good for us??
You must understand however, that I’m not referring to any old chocolate. I’m speaking about the original nectar of the gods, raw chocolate, also known as Cacao.
You might at this point, be wondering what on earth chocolate has to do with coaching and the other heart-based topics I typically write about. This, in part, is why.
I am about living. Living a life that is fulfilling, joy-filled, happy, healthy, abundant and by design. Part of what brings me joy is really, great chocolate. Simple as that. When I taught raw food classes, I got a lot of questions (and still do) about chocolate, so I thought I would share some information here.
All chocolate is made from the raw cacao or cocoa bean. The bean is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree named Theobroma Cacao, which translates to “food of the gods”. And with good reason.
Cacao beans contain no sugar and actual allergies to chocolate (as in pure cacao or cacao powder) are quite rare. It is more likely the allergy is to the dairy and or chemicals associated with processed and heat treated, mass produced chocolate.
Raw chocolate contains:
- magnesium – important mineral for muscles and nerves – especially the heart
- iron – critical for healthy blood
- chromium – a trace mineral that helps balance blood sugar
- Phenethylamine (PEA) – an adrenal related chemical that’s produced when we fall in love
- flavenols – antioxidant compounds that help your body produce nitric oxide which is essential for healthy heart function
- vitamin C – an important antioxidant
- omega 6 Fatty Acids – an essential fatty acid we must get from food
- tryptophan – an essential amino acid
- serotonin – the primary neurotransmitter in the body
- antioxidants – cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food
- manganese – helps to oxygenate the blood
- zinc – involved in many enzymatic reactions in the body
This is not a complete list of the benefits of chocolate, but it covers a lot of the highlights – just in case you needed more reasons to eat it!
Please note, this is only true of raw cacao powder or raw chocolate.
So what does raw mean? It has not been heated, or pasteurized. Nearly all commercially prepared chocolate and chocolate products are heated/pasteurized. Pasteurization occurs at very high temperatures and kills most if not all the benefits listed above. Regular cocoa powder from the grocery store is pasteurized. If you want the health benefits of chocolate for you and your family, choose raw chocolate, which you can find in most health food stores.
ps: If you really want to delve into raw chocolate, I highly recommend David Wolfe’s book, Naked Chocolate.