Friday, March 14, 2014

Is Chocolate Really Good for Us?

Wondering about the nutritional benefits of raw chocolate or raw cacao? Read on to find out if raw chocolate is actually good for you.

I can't say it any better than this author so I thought I'd share with you the words of Jennifer Murray. This is an article written by her found on

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Cacao (Raw chocolate)

Is chocolate really good for us, or do we just wish that it was?

I'll never forget the day my first acupuncturist told me it was good for me to eat chocolate. What a genius she was! So astute, so well educated, and clearly not to be doubted. She believes there is a reason why some people's bodies crave chocolate; that somehow, something in the chocolate helps your body toward it's goal of being balanced. In the years since, there has been a lot of controversy over whether or not she is right.
In the raw foods community many people believe in raw cacao, or raw chocolate (not the roasted, processed cousin known as cocoa) as a super food for health and vitality. Nobody is claiming that the sugar and various other ingredients that usually accompany chocolate are also good for you, but what about the raw cacao, raw chocolate bean itself?
Nutritional Value and Reputed Benefits of Raw Chocolate in Raw Culture
The much touted nutritional benefits or raw cacao range from reducing cataracts to improving heart function to alleviating stress. The theobromine naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some believe can treat depression. It may cause the brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter called anandamide which would account for the euphoric sensation some feel when indulging in chocolate. Not much is known about how the ancient civilizations of the Americas used chocolate, but it was certainly treasured by them for medicinal purposes. Nowadays we know that raw cacao is certainly very high in antioxidant flavanoids, sulfur and magnesium. The essential fatty acids found in chocolate may help the body to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Amongst the loftiest claims in raw food culture is that raw cacao (without added sugar or dairy products) will reduce your risk of cancer as the high levels of antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals in the body.

Can You Trust the Hype About Raw Cacao?

Raw cacao is just like most things in the world of health and nutrition- the information changes fast. You need to keep on top of the news. There are many that believe that chocolate, even in it's purest form of raw cacao, is still not very good for you, perhaps even toxic. The stimulant quality may agitate kidney and liver functioning. Some tests find it to be addictive, leading to mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms when not consumed regularly. Sexual dysfunction has also been listed as a possible side effect of chocolate intake- yikes! Certainly you must never blindly trust the information given to you by someone who is selling the product. Conduct your own research and see what the experts are saying. Though chocolate may not be the knight in shining armor that so many of us wish it was, when eaten in moderation, it doesn't seem to be causing too much harm either. To play it safe, consume chocolate on special occasions and look for your magnesium and antioxidants elsewhere.

So basically what she is saying is people in the raw foods movement are either for raw cacao or against it. But then there are those who will use it once in a while in a decadent recipe just because they can. And that is exactly what I did the other day. I wanted to experiment with it a bit and decided to buy a small bag. I am not crazy anymore about chocolate to be honest. When I started on this lifestyle almost 5 years ago now it was very easy for me to give up sweets/candies/chocolates. I never really loved them I just ate them at times because they were there. And I don't believe that you HAVE to use raw cacao in raw chocolate desserts. I am fine with using cocoa powder that is not raw for that matter. I don't get hung up on "condiments" being 100% raw because they are consumed in such small amounts by me that I don't feel they hinder my progress in this lifestyle. I actually prefer raw carob over anything when it comes to making "chocolate" type recipes. But let's just have some fun with raw cacao for those who do believe in consuming it on this lifestyle. 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding(serves 4)

by Elizabeth @

5 ripe bananas

3 Medjool dates

2 T chia seeds

1 T hemp seeds

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C filtered water

5 T raw cacao powder

In a blender, blend all of the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Allow to gel/set up in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serve with a banana slice and some cacao powder sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for a lazy afternoon in the sun yesterday watching the boys play outside catching insects and being fascinated by the beauty and wonder in a Mahogany nut from our trees. And for the long overdue phone conversation I had with my best friend from childhood!! Luv you Legs!


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm glad you don't mind the cocoa/raw cacao (spelling?) difference! Because I didn't realize the difference! And I linked banana split recipe to my Facebook blog page with "cocoa". When I started reading this, I thought I was going to be in trouble until I read your reassuring words! Pudding looks good! I'll print this,too!

Elizabeth said...

Your so funny!!! Thanks for posting that!! Awesome!

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