So, what’s the difference? It’s all from the same tree, right? As long as it’s dark chocolate, it’s good for me, yeah?
Proper raw dark chocolate made using raw cacao has all the good stuff in it. Commercially bought dark chocolate is made using cocoa, which was originally from the same tree, but has undergone a lot of processing using chemicals and heat. As a result of this, many of the beneficial nutrients have been destroyed.
Raw organic cacao is made using no heat or chemicals, and contains so many goodies! B vitamins for energy production, magnesium for chilling out a stressed body, antioxidants to counteract oxidative stress in your body. It even contains theobromine, which has been shown to improve symptoms of depression. It does this by stimulating secretion of serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. These are three neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating mood, and give us feelings of fulfillment, happiness, satisfaction and pleasure. I wrote a post last year about foods to increase levels of these in your body. Click here to read it.
Then on the other hand, we have cocoa, and regular milk or dark chocolate. As I said above, the cocoa beans used to make these have been roasted and processed to a point where they have been robbed of a lot of the good stuff. But in addition to this, manufacturers add sugar and often artificial flavours, preservatives and colours to the chocolate too. Not cool!
Raw cacao can be used in baking, smoothies, superfood balls, hot chocolate, or you can even make your own raw chocolate with it.
A smoothie with raw cacao in it will give you more of a kick than a strong latte any day! Here is one of my favourite smoothie recipes (pictured above):
1 cup homemade almond milk
1/2 a mango
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder
Place all ingredients in your blender, and whiz it all up!
I use Loving Earth’s raw cacao powder, which is an Australian company. They have a great range of stuff, including a huge selection of organic raw dark chocolate. On their website, they explain really well the benefits of the different nutrients in each product, and what they can do for your health. Their website is definitely worth checking out here!