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A Primer For The Newest Health Food Craze: Raw Chocolate!

So you've been eating 73 percent dark cocoa bars every day thinking that their antioxidant power will add 10 years to your life.  Well stop.  Because the latest health craze is raw chocolate not dark, processed chocolate.  In fact raw chocolate, aka raw cacao, contains five times more antioxidants than the Acai berry!

 

 

Raw Chocolate Really Is Healthy!

Here are the results of a USDA test, the Oxygen Radical Absorbence Capacity (ORAC), comparing the antioxidant values in raw cacao nibs to popular fruits.

 

 

Five times the healthiest berry is a lot, but raw cacao has 20 times the antioxidant value of red wine and 30 times that of green tea.  That's pretty startling. 

If you read chocolate guru David Wolfe's (and Shazzie's) book, Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About the World's Greatest Food, you will learn more about this "luxurious, sensuous, delightful, passionate, inspirational, sexual and exciting to all senses" food, but for those of you who want to try raw cacao first, let me give you some reasons:

1. Cacao beans are the nuts of the cacao fruit grown in the tropics.   It is these raw beans that you should look for; most on the market are organically grown.  Don't confuse cacao with cocoa (processed), coco (coconut), Kola, or coca.

2. Cacao beans are high in magnesium, a mineral deficient in 80 percent of our diets.

3. Raw cacao or chocolate diminishes appetite, aiding weight loss.

4. Raw chocolate is high in fiber and so nutrient rich that it protects our hearts.

5. Cacao contains a negligible amount of caffeine, contrary to popular belief, but it does contain a stimulant, theobromine, that has beneficial effects, but it is ill-advised if you are pregnant or have acid reflux disease.

6. Does raw chocolate make you more beautiful and sexy? Sure. It's healthy!  

 

Raw Chocolate In Raw Form

Now, what about the taste of raw cacao?  My favorite is the straight raw cacao bean, or the raw chocolate nibs, which are a rough grind of beans.  These have no sugar or other sweetener; they're just dried from the tree. I love their texture, crunchy like an M&M, but nutty, with a unique flavor that's a blend of bitter chocolate, almonds, and espresso bean.

 

 

 

A powdered raw chocolate is also available if you would like to add it to your recipes. Though cooking raw chocolate will remove most of its beneficial nutrients, Kristen Suzanne's Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes will fix up that dilemma!

Take a bite out of these little darlings from recipes featured in Suzanne's book...

 

Chocolate Crunch Hazelnut Macaroons (KristensRaw.com)Chocolate Crunch Hazelnut Macaroons (KristensRaw.com)

 

Goddess Cream Cake (KristensRaw.com)Goddess Cream Cake (KristensRaw.com)

 

 

Raw Chocolate Chocolate Bars

For those of you hankering for a real chocolate bar, the Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bars, may be the closest thing to a Baby Ruth you will find in a raw cacao bar.  They taste more like a high cocoa content dark chocolate bar, but are incredibly filling, so you may consider them as a meal replacement or major energy bar.

 

 

Once you try raw chocolate in all its forms, particularly in recipes that include sweet fruits or agave nectar, you may find you know longer crave the sugary sweet processed chocolate of your pre-conscious days....

 

Sources: Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About the World's Greatest Food, Naturaw.com, RawRevolution.com, MSNBC.com