This week I had a mad craving for chocolate!

Strange, as I never really liked chocolate until I began enjoying raw cocoa shakes.

I started off with once a fortnight, then once a week and pretty soon I wanted it all the time. The more I had, the more I wanted.

This made me wonder about the raw food revolution, the high profits of raw cocoa manufacturers, the open tickets to cacao that fitness trainers and nutritionists were giving their clients and how over-consumption of this tasty little product may be affecting people’s mental and physical health around the world.

Now we have all been told time and time again (yes by health practitioners) that raw cocoa, as opposed to dark chocolate or processed chocolate is a good option, right !?

Truth? For sure! Raw cocoa in it’s natural state (preferably extracted and ground straight from the pod) contains super dooper high levels of antioxidants and magnesium.

Traditionally, cacao was also used to stimulate the kidneys. It contains loads of vitamins, minerals, the amino acids arginine and tryptophan which trigger the creation of serotonin which helps us to relax and feel at ease. Tryptophan is the same amino acid that is found in turkey and is why turkey is often described as a “feel good” food.

However, what they don’t tell us about cacao is that there are negative affects of eating too much of it and that over-consumption can result in feelings of depression, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, nausea, liver toxification, nervous disorders, osteoporosis, even heart and circulation disorders.

Why? How? Huh?

Well, in addition to the wonderful antioxidants and magnesium that is present in raw cacao (which we are told about so frequently), there are also naturally occurring chemicals such as theobromine, theophylline, phenylethylamine, anandamide and caffeine which can be harmful to our CNS (central nervous system), gut and GI (gastro-intestinal) system, cardiovascular and endocrine system.

These chemicals directly stimulate our three most important neurotransmitters; seratonin, endorphins and dopamine, which affect our mood, pain, sleep, appetite and alertness receptors. We naturally produce these chemicals in the brain to provide the body with a healthy balance but in excess, these neurotransmitters can have negative effects on the body.

Anandamide over-stimulates our endocannibinoid neurotransmitters in the brain (and much like marajuana can alter sensory receptors, slowing the body’s ability to participate in coordination, time perception and memory recall). Phenylethylamine stimulates dopamine receptors (our feel good hormone) which plays a part similar to a stimulant such as amphetamine.

When our neurotransmitters are overstimulated, there is a sense of depletion when intake drops back to a natural level. This causes addiction and in fact, Natural Doctor Cythia Perkins suggests that we are actually doing more harm eating it raw as absorption of these chemicals occurs more freely.

And here’s the truth. I absolutely, undoubtedly get HIGH from raw cocoa. I feel wonderful, energetic (yes even more than normal!), wired and awake.. then pretty soon I feel a little tired, then fatigued, foggy and …. want MORE !

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, are you saying I can no longer drink Choco-Shakes as they are addictive or that I should just eat chocolate instead as it’s not that much better for me!?

Absolutely not. You can definitely still drink your favorite Choco-Shakes and please for the life of all of us, don’t go eating synthetic, sugar filled, additive ridden chocolate bars thinking this nutritional road is just all too challenging !!

While I see the merit in using this delicious powder to assist in the reduction of sugar and additive laden chocolate bars, cakes and drinks, I also see our population of health goers struggling to maintain thyroid, emotional and weight balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m simply enlightening you to the fact that there are certain elements of cocoa that may not be all that they are nutritionally cracked up to be an  in excess these natural chemicals found in the plant have been known to be damaging in certain individuals.

So if you are currently consuming large amounts of this natural elevator and know you have high stress levels, an unbalanced thyroid, mood swings, or suffer from depression or anxiety, you may wish you reduce your intake of cocao.

What’s a healthy dose? Well that’s up to you! I am here to give you food for thought and educate you to make the best decisions for yourself.

Personally, I don’t tend to promote a particular amount of cacao as each person is different and responds in their own certain way. However, if you are looking for quantities, If I were eating it every day I would say I would be in the “too much” zone for me personally and once per month as a treat would provide more of a balanced intake.

Just remember, because cacao may be a good alternative for coffee drinkers, chocolate lovers and occasionally even drug dependents, it is not usually something we would hear a health practitioner say we can’t live without.

You may like to look into maca and carob instead and see how your body responds to those if you just can’t live without your cacao. If you are a coffee drinker and feel the need for an increase in energy and alertness, maybe try green vegetable juicing!

The information in this blog is not meant to sway you one way or another. My opinion is actually very balanced on this subject. I neither promote nor neglect raw cacao and I do enjoy a good raw cacao shake!

My opinion? Stay on your true path to be healthy and happy and enjoy all nutritional foods you love (including your cacao).. in moderation.

Always committed to your success,

Marissa