A client, in the pursuit of finding her ideal weight, once explained to me how eating chocolate was perfectly conducive in her weight loss efforts. Since chocolate is made from cacao beans and cacao beans grow on trees, she explained, she factored chocolate into her daily servings of vegetables.
Though this, obviously, would have made sense, I doubted she was eating pure raw cacao….instead of, say, Reese’s peanut butter cups (Of course, we could conclude that peanuts come from the earth and peanut butter cups therefore can be considered a vegetable as well. But let’s not go there)
It is true that cacao, the raw bean that’s most commonly heat processed and manufactured into the chocolate we know and buy at the local supermarket, grows on a tree, the Theobroma cacao to be precise. The health benefits of these raw beans however get lost in said heating process.
To ensure the full delivery of all nutrients in this delicious “vegetable” you will want to reach for raw chocolate which is the naturally fermented and dried cacao bean.
Don’t be fooled, these little beans, or seeds rather, growing on a tree are power-houses packed with nutrients such as Magnesium, Calcium, Sulfur, Zinc, Iron, Copper and Potassium.
They are also loaded with Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9 and Vitamin E.
Other nutrients you will find in cacao are anti-oxidant rich flavonoids, heart healthy oleic acid, as well as protein and fibre.
Here are some of the health benefits research has attributed to the consumption of raw chocolate:
Raw chocolate has an ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) factor of 600 umole/g, which is higher then even that of the super food Acai Berry which comes in at about 150 umole/g and is therefore highly effective in neutralizing free radicals in the body which have been linked to the growth of cancer cells.
Raw chocolate has been found to increase the production of the neurotransmitter Serotonin in the brain which is important in regulating our sleep-wake cycle as well as putting us in a good mood. This is why we associate consuming chocolate with pleasure.
Raw chocolate has a stimulating effect and releases Endorphins that are similar to the ones released during sex. No wonder chocolate is believed to be an aphrodisiac in cultures around the world.
If you are looking for a new way to include (raw) chocolaty goodness into your diet, here is a yummy and healthy recipe for possibly the best homemade truffles you will ever put your lips on!
Let’s source our chocolate mindfully!
Raw Chocolate & Hazelnut Truffles
1cup Ground Almonds or Almond Meal
1/2 cup Hazelnut Butter
1/4 cup Raw Cacao Powder
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
5 TBSP Raw Cacao Nibs
1 pinch Vanilla
Pinch of Himalayan SaltCombine all ingredients with a spoon or spatula in a mixing bowl, when they are well mixed roll them into walnut size balls with your hands.
I like to roll them in Coconut Milk Powder until they are well coated. Store them in the fridge and enjoy as desired. You won’t be able to keep your hands off them for long.