Chocolate is frequently categorized as “unhealthy,” but in its pure unprocessed form, it’s actually quite nutritionally dense. Chocolate is derived from cacao beans, a fruit native to South America. Raw cacao is extremely high in antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals (especially magnesium). Aztecs traditionally used cacao for medicinal purposes: the beans were sun-dried, roasted, then mixed with hot water and consumed by the warriors before battle. Meanwhile, the cacao husks provided a unique defense against cavities, similar in function but far surpassing modern fluoride.
Cacao is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world. Its phytonutrients help serve as blood thinners – lowering blood pressure and helping combat blood clotting. It is also shown to stimulate neurotransmitters in the brain that activate positive emotions including serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine, phenethylamine and anandamine. Phenethylamine is specifically shown to promote positive attitude, while anandimine itself is referred to as the “bliss chemical”.
It wasn’t until the arrival of the Spanish in America that cacao began to be mixed with sugar and cinnamon to create a treat called “chocolate”. Today, most chocolate bars are mixed with binders, powdered milk, syrups, and other artificial ingredients. In this preparation, the medicinal roots of cacao are largely stripped away.
That said, preparing delicious chocolate while maintaining cacao’s medicinal roots and health benefits takes only 10 minutes, and doesn’t require any additives. With its rich profile of vitamins and minerals, there’s a reason the Aztecs referred to it as the “Food of the Gods.”
- 1 cup melted organic cacao butter
- 1/2 cup organic raw cacao powder
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Sprinkle of sea salt
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- Stevia to taste (raw honey if you dislike stevia)
- Melt cacao butter in a double boiler. Simply add 2 inches of water in a pot and place a heat resistant bowl on top. Be careful not to get water in the bowl.
- Once the water in the pot starts to boil, lower heat to medium. In the top bowl add cacao butter and stir for 5 minutes or until it completely melts. Remove bowl from heat.
- Add cacao powder, cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt, and sweetener to the melted cacao butter. Mix well with a small spoon.
- Add the mixture to your chocolate mold. I like using silicone, which is easier to mold. If you don’t have molds you can use cupcake liners.