I Want, No Need More Theo in My Life: Theobroma Cacao, that Is. ~ Jennifer Radhika Lung

Via elephant journal
on Mar 22, 2013
get elephant's newsletter


I visited Costa Rica back in 2011.

In the midst of trying to learn kite surfing in gusty winds, traveling on bumpy roads, and simply hanging out on the beaches, I made sure I visited a cacao plantation. I mean, I love chocolate, the dark stuff. The 99 percent kind of stuff. I want to taste chocolate for what it is, and not all the sugar that masks the intensity of this fruit.

In my heart of hearts, I knew that this thing called cacao was magical—I hadn’t realized how magical it really was, at least, not yet.

There was a small cacao plantation situated along the eastern Costa Rican coast that offered chocolate tours  for tourist types. For the next hour, I embarked on a journey which changed my life. I saw cacao in it’s red and yellow hued pods, tasted the fleshy white fruit that surrounds the seeds, and witnessed it’s transformation from bean to what we like to call chocolate.

Theobroma cacao when translated from Greek literally means “food of the gods” (theos meaning “god” and broma meaning “food). The antioxidant and mineral properties of this delicious super food are greatest when it is raw and unprocessed.

In most commercial chocolates, the beans are roasted to bring out a nutty flavor, much akin to roasting nuts.Trust me, it smells amazing, but it also robs the seeds of some of the nutritional value.

Take a look at the some of the benefits of raw cacao:

Antioxidants: antioxidants protect us from age-related health issues. By weight, cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, acai and goji berries combined.

Magnesium: an alkaline mineral that is known to support the heart, restful sleep, relaxation of muscles (great for post work-out!), relaxation of cramping during menstruation (you know what I’m talking about ladies!) and increases brain function.

More minerals: iron (blood health and combats anemia), chromium (balance blood sugar), manganese (blood health), copper (blood health and immunity) and zinc (supports immunity, liver, and skin).

Vitamin C: an ounce of raw cacao nibs contains 21percent of recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Once cacao is roasted and processed, the vitamin C content is lost.

Omega-6 fatty acids: an essential fatty acid (EFA) which the body cannot produce and must be taken through food. Omega-6 is essential for brain function, bone health, metabolism, skin and hair, and maintenance of the reproductive system. Any cooked and processed chocolate contains rancid omega-6 which can cause inflammation.

Feel good stuff: raw cacao contains bliss endorphin anandamide, mood enhancer tryptophan, feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin and chemicals produced by the body when we fall in love called phenylethylamine (PEAs). Once roasted, the cacao no longer contains PEAs.

With all this good stuff to offer, here’s a tried and true recipe for you to whisk up at home.

Raw Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4


4 ripe avocados, pitted and lightly mashed with a fork

¼ cup raw cacao powder

¼ cup agave

pinch of cayenne

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place all ingredients for in a food processor and mix until combined.

Set aside to chill.


Jennifer Radhika LungJennifer Radhika Lung serves as a karma yogini, a vegan chef and cooking instructor at both the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Northern California and the Sivananda Yoga Center in San Francisco. Radhika has also trained as a raw food chef at the Tree of Life resort and has been the lead vegan chef in a corporate café for three years. Her cooking style fuses the practice of Bhakti—giving light, energy, and love. She is the author of The Bhakti Kitchen – A yogic way to vegan cooking. She is a lifetime student of yoga and shares her on the mat passion as a certified yoga instructor.

Like elephant food on Facebook



Asst: Terri Tremblett/Ed: Kate Bartolotta



About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]


4 Responses to “I Want, No Need More Theo in My Life: Theobroma Cacao, that Is. ~ Jennifer Radhika Lung”

  1. Shabnam says:

    So is it better to buy “organic raw cacao” or the raw butter?

  2. Raw cacao basically comes in three pure forms:
    – raw cacao paste/liquor : basically the beans ground into a paste
    – raw cacao butter: the fat that is pressed out of cacao beans
    – raw cacao powder: the residual of the bean after pressing and fat removed
    So neither is "better" than the other. It really depends on your application (smoothies, making your own chocolates, etc).
    You can also purchase some delicious already made organic raw chocolate bars, truffles, and the like. Find them at your local natural foods store. You can also check my company out at http://www.essen-cafe.com

  3. I have been trying raw vegan dessert recipes all week off the internet, and this one takes the cake! Thank you, Jennifer. 🙂
    I read Sivananda, Tree of Life and bhakti in your bio, and thought to myself: "How can you go wring with that? This must be one great recipe!" And it was. Just tried the first spoonful. Yum! Now off to finish the rest! I'll also have to look up your book. ~And I love the pinch of cayenne in there. Very Aztec.

  4. Radhika says:

    Thank you Catherine. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Much love and light to your culinary journey.