This guest post is written for Edible Goddess by Ronnie Landis; Ronnie is an author, health and personal growth speaker, nutritionist, and peak performance specialist. He is the author of the book, The Live-it Lifestyle: Dropping Diets Forever. His life mission is to be a voice for raw plant foods, super foods, raw chocolate, and a sustainable future for coming generations.
We live in truly extraordinary times where ideas, innovations, and over all circumference of expanded perspectives of the world make their way to our door step. In the field of nutrition there may be no more amazing discovery than that of the worlds most iconic and beloved food, chocolate. The cultural history that has given birth to this food defies modern rational, it resides at the depths of the human imagination, it is beyond words, and is in fact so astonishing that the current pace of information cannot keep up with what is still being revealed about this sacred food.
The original word used by the ancient people of Tenochtitlan, otherwise known as Mexico City, was cacao. This is said by some philologists (study of language) to be the oldest word in human vocabulary still widely used today. Christopher Columbus was the first European traveler to ever discovery cacao while running into a native boat filled with beans. He mistakenly thought of them as almonds and went on his way. Up until 1858 cacao beans were used as the main form of bartering in Meso America for goods and services; chocolate was the original money system. The legends, lore, and mythology that surround cacao has been revived after years of being sealed in the dark.
The popularity that chocolate has around the world is incomparable by any food on this planet. It has captured the hearts and minds of individuals the world over, in every culture, at any age, regardless of religious beliefs or social status. As of the last 10 years, the original food, cacao, has made its public appearance and since then has created what will soon be the standard for all chocolate enthusiasts everywhere. The raw organic chocolate revolution has begun. The truly amazing thing about cacao is the unparalleled health and well being properties it contains. The term, “Super Food” has become a huge buzz word recently, and for good reason. The underlining truth within this unique category of foods is the main player that lies at the center point of it all.
Cacao increases the efficacy of every super food, herb, or condiment it is incorporated with – cacao is the worlds greatest delivery system. From 1890-1930, the primary active alkaloid (bitter medicine) in cacao, theobromine, was used intravenously for heart attack patients in order to revive their heart! This compound, theobromine, is what is known as a “vasodilator”, which widens the blood vessels in our body allowing smooth blood flow and increased muscle function through oxygenation. There is a large body of evidence that suggests theobromine or cacao is the best remedy for asthmatic symptoms by loosening the muscles in the bronchus, which is the pathway for air to travel through our lungs, thus creating a healthier respiratory system.
Originally cacao was always consumed in a hot bitter drink, the ancient cultivars of cacao had such reverence for this food that they made it a staple in their culture, believing it to be a “cure-all” and used it as a medicine. We now have that same idea available to us to combine ancient wisdom with technological innovation. The simple idea of a blender was unheard of by the ancient people; they had to use a wooden molinillo to grind down the cacao seeds and then proceed to pour the liquid base from one cup to another to create a frothy drink. We can use our blenders to recreate the magic we have gleamed from historical accounts on chocolate allowing us to become alchemists in our own kitchen.
I am often asked about how much chocolate I really eat? The truth is I go through phases of high chocolate consumption to low or moderate consumption based on different factors. In terms of how much cacao is reasonable for others, I would point out that you are your own personal human experiment and should allow yourself to find this out for yourself. Montezuma, the Aztec king was known to have consumed 50 cups of his bitter cacao drink a day. Now that is probably excessive for anyone reading, and I certainly do not consume that much myself. In our current age there is an ever-growing variability between every person we come in contact with. Some people can handle larger quantities with no ill effects, some people can only handle cacao in small amounts unsweetened and spaced out. These differences are due to ones own unique metabolism, psychology, and personal preferences.
The way I approach cacao in my own lifestyle is based on strategy; I use it mostly as a delivery mechanism for transporting other nutrients and super foods/herbs into my body so they are easily assimilated through relaxation and pleasure. Those that follow hardcore naturalistic principles sometimes claim cacao is a “stimulant” and should not be consumed for health. This is bad advice in the fact that each food we eat has a stimulatory response on the body, in the upwards to 30% increase on our blood sugar regardless of what that food is.
Cacao is designed to be a cardiovascular stimulant, meaning it initiates our heart and the rest of our circulatory system for improved breathing, alertness, and function. When cacao is consumed in unreasonable amounts and too often, it can have adverse effects just like coffee, energy drinks, HFCS based liquids, candy, and every kind of artificially processed food. Chocolate in its original form is the ultimate replacement for the sugary morning mocha latte or boring old coffee idea. Now you can have fun with your food and eat it too!
The Super Food Morning Elixir Recipe:
Use a hot tea as your base (gynostemma, yerba mate, horsetail, green tea, etc) and strain into your blender; then add the following ingredients:
1-2 spoonfuls of raw cacao powder
1-2 spoonfuls of raw cacao nibs
1-2 spoonfuls of maca powder
3-4 spoonfuls of raw organic hemp seeds
1/2-1 spoonful of turmeric powder
1/2 spoonful of wild blue green algae
Sweetener of choice (raw honey, stevia, yacon syrup, etc.)
Blend on high for 20-30 seconds and nourish your body with the world’s greatest food. Cheers to the mystery!