Like Water for Chocolate: Cacao Superfood

Raw Cacao

Thanks to my Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor I’ve been making slight changes in my diet these past two weeks.  I recently underwent Chinese Body Typing and was told I’m an Earth Yang.  In Chinese Body Typing the doctor looks at your body and makes a determination about what types of foods you should avoid and consume more of.  It’s pretty interesting; and has 1000’s of years of history to back it up.  So, I’m an Earth Yang which means no VEGGIES for me.  He says I’m a GRAIN GIRL, meaning 50% of my diet should be grains, the other 50% is halved between animal product/meat and fruit.  Fruit includes vegetables that have seeds!  My doctor suggested I try something that I was unfamiliar with; raw cacao powder.  I mean, obviously I AM FAMILIAR with CHOCOLATE!  So what’s the difference?

Cacao vs Cocoa

Cacao powder is not to be confused with cocoa powder.  The later is more processed and looses some of its important vitamins and minerals.  Cacao powder on the other hand is much less processed and is considered a SUPERFOOD.  A superfood is simply a food that contains high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.  Cacao is a superfood because it is high in anti-oxidants (more than blueberries).  It’s a great source of iron and magnesium.  It contains more calcium than cow’s milk.  Finally, it’s a natural mood elevator and energy booster.  Check out this great blog post for more detail on Cacoa’s superfood status.

Cacao is native to South America, specifically the Amazon.  Cacao is the bean of the Cacao tree.   It was traded extensively throughout pre-Columbian Meso and South America, sometimes even used as currency.  Both the ancient Aztec and Maya cultures revered it and used it in religious ceremonies.  One of the most famous ways the ancient Meso- Americans used it was as a drink for their Emperors.

Like Water for Chocolate

“Like water for Chocolate” is a saying which originated in Mexico; it means “as hot as anything can be”.  To make the Cacao drink that the Emperor’s savored boiling hot water was poured over cacao powder (roasted and ground cacao beans).  Sometimes spices such as chilies and vanilla were added to the drink.  When Europeans encountered cacao in the 16th century they began exporting it back to Europe.  Once in Europe it gained it’s more familiar character.  Milk and sugar were added to it to make rich hot chocolate drinks, and milk chocolate candies.   These confections taste wonderful, but throughout the process to make them, the cacao looses almost all of it’s superfood goodies.

To get the most out of cacao, buy raw cacao powder from a health food store.  You can add it to smoothies and bake with it.  I’ve tried it in smoothies; and its amazing!  I haven’t baked with it yet; but when I do I’ll share the results with you!

Today, I channeled Ancient Meso- Americans in my Cacao Power Smoothie:

cacoa-power-smoothie

 

Here’s my recipe:

cacao-power-smoothie-recipe

 

The drop of wild orange essential oil is there for the benefit of flavor and to add vitamin c to the smoothie.  The addition of vitamin c helps your body absorb more of the calcium from the cacao powder.  Make sure you use wild orange essential oil that is safe for consumption.  Shop my retail page for edible wild orange oil.  For the spelt powder, I bought spelt berries and ground them up in my food processor.  I added these for a little extra grain in my diet.

Happy blending 😉

Lydia