The Raw Foods Evolution

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Raw Cacao Healthy?

Today's blog entry for my newsletter, The Raw Foods Evolution - is focusing on the raw cacao beans.

I write about raw cacao in my eBook titled "The Health Evolution: The Ultimate Guide to the Raw Foods Diet", available at .

Raw chocolate has been a subject of great controversy in the raw food community. One side says they are the best food ever, they are raw, and the amount of caffeine is insignificant. The other side of the debate says raw cacao is unhealthy, they are not 100% raw and must be lightly roasted, and the caffeine level is stimulating and stresses out the adrenal glands.

The controversy has heated up in the past week because David Wolfe and Shazzie just released their new book titled Naked Chocolate.

Personally, my experiences with raw cacao have been positive and I've enjoyed making gourmet recipes with them. Not everyone's experience has been the same.

Frederic Patenaude is the author of The Raw Secrets: The Raw Vegan Diet in the Real World, it's an amazing e-book. I highly recommend signing up for his newsletter,

Check out his new e-zine issue:

Thanks for the great newsletter Frederic!

I have a few comments about your article on raw cacao beans. I've been listening to David Wolfe's presentation on raw cacao on his website at "The Best Day Ever" website, it has some great information.

In your article you write

> First of all, cacao beans are not really food. If you found
> them in nature, you wouldn't eat the seeds. You would
> eat the fruit, which is apparently delicious, and throw
> away the seeds. Even if you wanted to eat the seeds,
> they would not taste like chocolate.

I disagree. Cacao is a bean or seed. Legumes and seeds are food and have been eaten by people for millions of years.

Why wouldn't you eat the seed? If you found an almond tree in the wild, would you throw away the almond because it's a seed? Would you throw away pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds?

I understand what you mean about the taste of raw cacao, it is unique and doesn't taste like anything else. Although when I search Boogle, it shows the definition of chocolate as being the cacao seeds.

You write
> In order for the cacao seeds to taste like chocolate
> and become the cacao beans that we know, they
> have to be fermented first. They are fairly bitter,
> indicating the presence of a poison. And when I say
> a "poison," I'm not making this up. Just do a little
> research and you'll discover that cacao contains
> many chemicals with a stimulating effects, such as
> theobromine and caffeine.

David Wolfe says you can eat fresh cacao beans right off the tree. You can't ship them that way because they'll go bad. It's the same with blueberries and dates, you can't ship them fresh across the country, you must first dry or freeze them.

Just because a food is bitter doesn't mean it is a poison. I love bitter foods and I feel they are very healthy. Kale, arugala, radish, and dandilion greens are bitter and I eat them all the time.

In general, I don't agree with the articles of Tom Billings, but he does make some valid points, this is his article on bitter foods:
"Raw vegan myth: bitter = toxic
One of the enduring myths of fruitarianism/raw
veganism is that any food that tastes bitter
absolutely must be toxic. There is lack of proof
for the claim that bitter implies toxic.The reality
that there is no legitimate scientific proof for the
fruitarian/raw claim provides yet another example
of advocates' claims failing to meet the logical
requirement of burden of proof.

If one is going to examine toxins in foods, one
must consider dosages (harmful dosage of
chemical vs. amount in food) and bioavailability
as well. The crank science approach (common
among fruitarian extremists) of equating the
presence in a food of a chemical that is toxic
(in isolation, and in large doses) as "proof" the
food is "toxic" is intellectually dishonest, and
borders on pathological fear-mongering....."

Cacao has about 1/20th the amount of caffeine as coffee beans, it's a small and insignificant amount. I don't believe theobromine is a poison, and I wouldn't call them chemicals, they are naturally occuring. addresses caffeine and theobromine and it says the effects of them do not cause health problems. I don't agree that just because a food has a stimulating effect means it is the body trying to expell a toxin. Herbs and foods have different effects on the body.

Watermelon has stimulating and diuretic properties, often used in cleansing and detoxifying diets. This doesn't mean watermelon is toxic. Ginger functions as a circulatory stimulant that promotes healthy blood circulation and warming.

I love herbs and I feel they have many healthy and beneficial stimulant properties.

In the scientific study you quoted

> "Researchers at the University of Michigan
> brought out the truth about chocolate. In a
> research study, they gave 26 volunteers a
> drug called 'noxalone.' They then offered them
> a tray filled with Snicker's Bars, M&Ms,
> chocolate chip cookies, and Oreos.

These foods don't contain chocolate! They contain chemicals made up in a labrotory. The amount of chocolate in these foods is so small it is insignificant.

The ingredients in these foods are "High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Oil, White Sugar, White Flour, (May contain 0.0001% cacao)

When you the ingredients of "Hershey's Chocolate Syrup" you'll see it contains no chocolate, it is fake corn syrup and chemicals.

> Others tell me that when they eat cacao beans,
> they get so much energy, but then have a "down"
> later on.

This has not been my experience with cacao beans. I don't feel down" after eating them. Sometimes I eat them alone, most times I mix them in smoothies.

One of the cool things about the cacao tree is that it will only grow in the wild, just like the brazil nut tree. You can't grow these trees in a farm, they must grow wild in the jungle. As the demand for cacao and brazil nuts increase, there will be more incentive to save the wild jungle and stop the deforestation. They also have 30 times more antioxidants than green tea, 20 times more than red wine, and 10 times more than blueberries.

Thanks Frederic!

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