The Benefits of Raw Chocolate
What is Raw Chocolate? Why Do We Eat It?
The chocolate we know and love from our childhood should hardly be called chocolate at all. As is true for all foods, the closer it is to its natural form, the more beneficial the nutrients. It may hard to believe, but the right kind of chocolate is actually good for you!
The purest form of chocolate, or cacao (pronounced ka-kow) available to us is raw cacao beans from Central and South America. These dark brown morsels really pack a punch! They primarily have a bitter taste, with different flavour notes (similar to wine) depending on the variety.
Did you know that there are over 1, 200 different flavours and nutrient compounds in cacao! Nutrients such as magnesium, iron, theobromine (which gives you energy like caffeine, but without the side effects) and a neurotransmitter called “anadamide,” which incorporates the Sanskrit word for bliss! That is why people LOVE chocolate so much!
What You Need to Know
Cacao is the tree, the raw substance, the pure goodness
Cocoa is the process, refined, Europeanized version
“Dutch Process” cocoa takes raw cacao and alkalizes it, making it shelf stable and transportable, but nutritionally devoid. Most of the minerals, antioxidants, and brain-bliss chemicals are gone.
The dairy ingredients used in conventional chocolate actually bind to many of the delicious and nutritious components in cacao, rendering them obsolete. For this reason, dark chocolate is best, but if you prefer milk chocolate, look for “milk” chocolate using coconut milk, which works synergistically with cacao – both in treats, and in the rainforest where they help each other grow!
The even darker side of chocolate is that many conventional chocolate producers source from plantations in places like Africa that use slave labour. It is devastating to think that our favourite treats could be created in this way. But fear not! The Big Carrot sells only Fair Trade chocolate, made with cacao sourced from ethical farms that pay their employees fairly. Most of these companies are based in Central and South America, where cacao grows in natural harmony with the earth.
Buying Fair Trade raw chocolate will support your health, the well-being of cacao farmers, and the planet! Truly a guilt-free indulgence!
Laura Rowe, Assistant Manager, Wellness Department, The Big Carrot