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So, I have noticed a recent upsurge in "raw" chocolate products. A couple I have tried have been tasty. But I don't understand what makes raw chocolate raw. Are the beans just not roasted? And if not what is done with them. Why would leaving chocolate "raw" be advantageous? Is it healthier and why? Inquiring minds want to know....

Tags: chocolate, health, raw

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Hi Jenna! The beans we use are harvested in a proprietary way so that they are extremely clean. Even so, they are regularly tested for contamination. We have submitted our products to the state of california health department for testing. Also, we build our own custom machines, so we go from bean to bar in our own facility. Hope that helps!?
Hearts!
Sacred Steve
Hi Jenna, It is best to test every batch. This is what I recommend to keep from accidently making people sick on raw cacao. We have thrown cacao out as a result of tests. This is a very serious matter. We work closely with the cacao farmers to ensure cleanliness. I wish I could talk about process, but that is proprietary right now. Eventually, we will open the factory up to the public...at least that is my intent.
Hearts!
Sacred Steve
With respect to the requests Steve made to buy beans in bulk, Steve asked very pointed questions to me about the quality and wanted samples of only the best ones. I have farmers that wash all the beans and they are very very clean and disease free. Not all beans are processed the same but if you work hard and have contacts with the farmers themselves you can really control a lot of the aspects involved. You certainly pay more for these labor intense processes but if you plan on making a raw cacao product it is a must.
Chocovore - Scores will also vary widely based on the variety. For example, one of the reasons crioolos are pale is that they have lower concentrations of polyphenols. So they will have lower ORAC scores right out of the pod. To really generalize: The darker the bean, the higher the concentration of polyphenols and the higher the ORAC score.
Is it worth the price? Over at rawguru.com they are advertising a .32 ounce (9 gram) bar of chocolate for $7.97 - or the equivalent of over $180 per pound (or over $400/kg). Can this possibly be correct?

Sacred Chocolate's hearts are $9.45 (quantity 1) for a 2 ounce portion, or about $75/lb ($166/kg).

To put it in perspective the price of the two new Bonnat Porcelanas (Peru and Mexican origins) is $21/100gr bar - or $95/lb.
When I calculated it I came up with different nubmers:
rawguru .32 oz (9.1g) bar = $87.58 per 100g ($875.80/kg)
Sacred Chocolate 2 oz (56.7g) = $16.67 per 100g ($166.70/kg)

For more perspective, Domori Porcelana is $18.60/ 100g
Amano Cuyagua, $15.62/100g
The most expensive of the ~240 chocolates I've tasted, is Amedee I-Cru, $26.40/100g.
I have known Paul Nison for many years. Everytime he put out an article like this, I always challenge him, and he never responds to me. These are my responses:

1. Theobromine, caffeine, and theophylline all have "deleterious effects on the body" (Nison provides a long list of such effects, ranging from birth abnormalities through to cancer) --->>> THEOBROMINE is a mild stimulant. It does not have the same effects on the nervous system as Caffeine. Chocolate mainly has Theobromine and only trace amounts of Caffeine. Theobromine is a smooth muscle relaxant and a vasodialator. As such it is GREAT for mental and physical performance since it helps in both oxygen and nutrient delivery to the capillaries and cells. From the 1890's to about the 1930's Theobromine was given to Heart attack victims to dialate blood vessels. It has also been given to asthma victims with success since it affects the vagus nerve between the brain and lungs. I have actually noticed improved breathing in myself as a result of eating raw cacao!
2. MOST CACAO is Filthy. That is why most of it needs to be roasted and winnowed. The RAW beans we use are tested and farmed in a VERY special proprietary process such that the beans are SO clean they actually look like ALMONDS! They can be eaten whole and raw!
3. I have seen MANY studies showing the benefits of cacao on the human body, Nison has yet to show me at least 1 scientific study showing that Cacao is dangerous to the human body.
4. "One man's meat is another's poison" still holds true! It is wise to use moderation in all things, including raw cacao! Some people are radically allergic to many foods, while others are not.
Hearts!
Sacred Steve
First of all, why specifically did you want the raw chocolate makers to respond to this? Basically, the article says that all cacao is to be avoided but raw is even worse. In the case of the raw chocolate makers, I supply 3 raw chocolate makers with cacao and the beans that they use are much better quality than the average bean (at least looking at cleanliness of the actual whole bean). Some of my customers use beans that are washed and hand peeled before starting the chocolate. Others use hand cleaned beans. These have almost no trace of bacteria when tested and any fecal matter or bug remnants are washed clean. These beans look amazing and I routinely am tempted to eat them.

As far as many of the other comments in the article, most of it is incorrect and has no scientific backing. I am a doctor and a nutritionist and I studied the cacao bean extensively for over a year before starting to work with it. I was sure that I was going to find something wrong with it but the more I learned, the more impressed I got to be. I have written several articles about the health benefits of cacao. Don't get me wrong, I am not a raw foodest. I have had raw chocolate that I like but I prefer a good Amedei Porcelana or Amano Cuyagua and most recently the amazing 70% Madagascar from Patric Chocolate.

I would be happy to respond to all of the negative things he talked about if the general response requires it. However, I think most people see the article for what it really is, a couple of guys that found out some potential negatives that they could not get over then they went on a rampage trying to find any potential negatives they could. In fact, the article mentions that Jeremy started to question cacao when he found out about the bugs that might be on the bean. You can give me almost any thing in the world and I will be able to find articles that are from "respected" journals that say completely opposing things.

Basically, I am trying to say I disagree with the article. There are some things that are true in it however, and the writer is using scare tactics by throwing those little "gems" in there and them going off about a lot of other personal issues.

I love chocolate and have researched it more than 99% of the population and I have yet to find any substantial evidence that will keep me away from it.

Let me know if there are any specific items from the article that you would like additional information on.
Thanks Samantha for the clarification. I
Sam:

None of Nison's opinions appear to be his own. The are all references from other authors. Ty Stanley (for the book cited) and Jeremy Saffaron.

You left out my favorite factoid from Saffaron's list: "No animal in nature will eat it unless tricked into it with milk or sugar." I am not sure what the 'it' is he is referring to, as Saffaron conveniently confuses cacao seeds, cocoa beans, 'raw' chocolate, and finished chocolate. But, does he even consider that it might be the bitterness of the seeds that keeps animals from eating cacao - and that the bitterness comes from the antioxidant compounds in the cacao seeds, and that bitterness is a common tactic employed by plants to keep from being eaten?

You may remember that when we were in Ecuador in 2005 that some of us attended a shamanistic ritual that included consuming ayahuasca. (Jeez, the guy can't even spell it right.) The shaman said they added ground cacao to the ayahuasca to make it more palatable. I have done a fair amount of research on this subject since and have come to the conclusion that this (adding cacao to ayahuasca) is a relatively modern practice. For two reasons. The first is that historically, the use of cacao in South American cultures was limited to making beverages from cacao pulp, not eating the seeds. The second is that if you take a look at all the textiles produced in Ecuador (for example) by indigenous peoples, there are literally no examples of cacao in the agricultural iconography they weave into their textiles. If cacao were important to them - as it was to Mesoamerican cultures - I would expect to see images of cacao pods on ceramic objects, in woven items, etc.

Similarly, I took a quick look in Google for "Jeremy Saffaron" (in quotes) to see if I could find anything about him. Five results. If there was anything to this guy there would be many more than five results. There are almost 70,000 for '"David Wolfe" raw' in Google.

Cocoa beans are not the only nut/cereal monitored by the FDA for which there are "allowable" levels of insect parts and droppings. This is a reflection of the near impossibility of being 100% clean - getting to that level would increase the cost of food production astronomically. I also believe that as animals we have evolved to be able to tolerate rather large quantities of these kinds of substances and it it my belief that it is the absence of these substances, especially early in life, that results in lowered stimulation of the immune system which has led to an increase in many diseases, including asthma, some allergies, and etc.

We also need to remember that in some cultures insects are a delicacy! And we're not just talking parts here we're talking the entire alimentary system. The aversion to insect parts is modern, western, and maybe peculiarly British, British Commonwealth, (where the first food purity laws since Kosher were enacted) and American. If you are hungry enough you will eat grasshoppers and even grubs (an Aussie Aboriginal treat for sure) and aren't locusts and honey a Biblical staple?

Saffaron says, "At mega does of 40 plus beans it acts as a hallucinogen and can cause many effects attributed to LSD or Hashish." To this I can only say that smoking dried banana peels, nutmeg, and dozens of otherwise okay foods are thought to deliver the same results. 40 beans is a lot of beans and anybody who is stupid enough to try eat that many ... hey - maybe it could be a stunt on the TV show Jackass!

Nison notes, "His (Saffaron's) personal study of him (it took 1.5 years of him eating it to see extreme negative effects) and his friends showed him clearly the negative effects of cacao." At what levels of intake? This is not science and, as everyone else here has noted, there is no credible supporting peer-reviewed research to back up these claims. It's all anecdotal and therefore suspect.

As one person on David Wolfe's blog TheBestDayEver opines:

Water can be toxic if drank [sic] too fast in too large a quantity. If you research anything enough online, you'll find somebody claiming it's totally toxic or hallucinatory, because everything, in some quantity, will be one of the two.
BELOW IS AN EMAIL DIALOGUE I HAD REGARDING THIS ISSUE EARLIER IN THE YEAR...

BTW, The below information that Nison/Saffaron is presenting below (no scientific backing or documentation to support it either, just like the last article they put out), could potentially be FATAL to a meticulous mind in the raw food movement who drinks ayahuasca! This is why: Say somebody reads the below and gets the idea that they are now only going to eat raw cacao with ayahuasca (assuming they are an ayahuasca user, rare breed indeed, but possible) based on the information presented below by Nison/Saffaron; that it is only eaten by indigenous people along with their ayahuasca brew, and therefore “safe” consumed in that way. Well, should somebody do that, it could result in a hypertensive crises based on the information in Erowid: http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/maois/maois_info2.shtml NOTE CHOCOLATE IS LISTED UNDER CAUTIONARY FOODS. The problem is the possible Tyramine Content in the particular chocolate which can vary based on many variables. It also depends on how much is consumed of course and the particular person’s body chemistry and sensitivities to all these complexities. Bottom line is that a serious hypertensive crisis has the ability to kill you. Also, not only is Ayahuasca an MAOI but there is potential that Chocolate is too, or at least supports an MAOI effect in some alchemical way, which would just exacerbate the potential danger.



On Jul 27, 2008, at 9:11 PM, SS@SacredChocolate.com wrote:

I have seen this same exact rant for years. There are many scientific studies for the benefits of cacao. I have not seen one yet showing it is poisonous. There are many plants in nature that don't have a natural predator. That being said, one person's "meat" is another's poison. I suggest consuming everything in moderation. Jeshua recommends the same. Why are some people fatally allergic to some foods while others are not? The reasons are many and sometimes not even chemical in nature! Love! Sacred Steve
www.SacredChocolate.com

________________________________________
From: "Aurora Butterfly"
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 15:09:16 -0700
To: Sacred Steve
Subject: Re: Cacao

Steve, what do you think about this? I think Paul Nison likes to crap on things.
Do you think cacao is toxic to the liver? hmmm...

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 1:27 AM, Brian Lucas wrote:

This is a an article from my bro Paul Nison. My friend Jeremy, who turned me on to raw cacao 11 yrs ago has done
some interesting studies on it. I've never been huge on cacao myself and use it only sparingly but if you eat a lot you should consider this article.

Love and Light, BeLive

Raw Toxic Chocolate
by Paul Nison
www.paulnison.com


This month my article is about chocolate. I chose to write abut this topic because many raw food eaters today are being misled and told that it is healthy. It is dangerous and people need to know the truth.

More True Information on the Negative Effects of Cacao…

Since my last article on the negative effects of cacao, many people have agreed with me how toxic it really is. On the other hand, there were some people who would not change their mind about it no matter what the cost. In fact, those people became angry with me. The truth can hurt, but I'm just the messenger. As I said in my last article about cacao, I wish it were healthy, but the fact is it is not! Whether you are willing to admit it or not is your decision, but there are so many foods that are proven to be healthy, why continue to take some that are up for debate? Many people are being misled to believe cacao and other raw foods are healthy. Many of the people who promote it, have a good heart and really feel it is a good food, but I know there are many who sell this product knowing it is toxic and addictive, just to make money.

I recently spoke to a good friend of mine Jeremy Saffaron. Jeremy has been involved in the raw food community for a very long time. He has the author of a raw food recipe book and also an excellent resource guide. Jeremy told me he was the first person to do any raw research with cacao involving the raw food movement. He spent 4 years (1999 -2003) studying the effects of cacao and has dedicated countless hours surfing the net, talking with specialists, and even got involved with the University of Hawaii, who's agriculture branch is looking into raw cacao toxicity.

When Jeremy first found out about cacao he was so excited about it. He sold it for a short while (2001-2002) and was the first person to let others in the raw food world know about it. Again I repeat, JEREMY WAS THE FIRST PERSON IN THE RAW WORLD to let others know about cacao.

He turned on many raw food promoters to it because he believed at the time that is was an amazing discovery as a great tasting, nutritionally loaded food and it was also a way to connect with his friends who were still addicted to cooked chocolate even though they were raw otherwise. Another big turn on was the fact that many of the daily coffee drinkers he knew in the yoga scene were glad to switch to raw cacao from their roasted coffee. Jeremy told me he never drank coffee in his life, but as a kid did eat chocolate from the store. But 13 years ago, he stopped eating chocolate because he found out about the bugs that were in all chocolate. (I mentioned that in my last article about cacao.)

With all the excitement about raw chocolate and all the benefits, Jeremy was thrilled to get the product to the public. However, when Jeremy was selling it, he did warn people that all the studies on it were not in yet so to be careful not to over due it until further research is conducted. It was also very cost prohibitive at the time at twenty five cents a bean, plus each bean had to be personally peeled to eat them. (By the way, this should be a hint about how much can and should be eaten in one sitting.)

After eating cacao for six months, Jeremy didn't really experience negative side effects, but he noticed those around him whose health and digestion weren't as efficient as his started to experience issues with the cacao. That was the first sign that lead him to begin to study the negative effects of cacao.

I myself have a similar experience. I consumed cacao in small amounts as well, but unlike Jeremy, I felt the difference every time I tried it. It didn't make me feel good. A good friend of mine, doctor Fred Bisci ,a raw foodist for about 40 years, also confirmed what Jeremy and I suspected, cacao is toxic!

Jeremy's findings were as follows:
• No animal in nature will eat it unless tricked into it with milk or sugar.
• If you can convince an animal to eat it then it greatly shortens their life span if it doesn't kill them immediately.
• The native people who ate it only ate the fruit of the theobroma (which contains all the benefits and none of the detriments) and only used the cacao seed as an addition to their psychedelic brew ahyuwasca and as a medicine in emergencies.
• Native people did not eat it as a food nor as a supplement, only for sacred use.
• Cacao is one of the most addictive substances known
• Cacao is super toxic to the liver
• It acts as a stimulant and agitates the kidneys and adrenal glands. This can cause: insomnia, nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night, shakes, and extreme energy shifts
• It is extremely clogging due to the toxins carried in the oils contained within. Plus the fat chains are highly complex and require tons of work to break down.
• The result of long term use is a high level of liver and blood toxicity which can cause extreme mood swings, angry outbursts, violence, depression, paranoia, & dizziness.
• In some cases of long term use, there are also psychological effects that range from addictive tendencies, sexual dysfunction, violent outbursts, lack of reasoning, and decreased will.
• At mega does of 40 plus beans, it acts as a hallucinogen and can cause many effects attributed to LSD or Hashish
Jeremy concludes that his personal study (it took 1.5 years of him eating it to see extreme negative effects) and his friends showed him clearly the negative effects of cacao.

From my study it seems that the people using cooked cacao powder had less toxic effects than those using roasted cacao beans whole and far, far less than those using whole, raw cacao beans.

There are a good amount of people who have experienced the same negative affect of cacao and have changed their opinion about it being such a super food. I personally can't see anyone taking it for a long time not feeling the negative effects on some level. A big problem is, at that point so many people are already addicted to it and can't stop even if they wanted to. Very similar to the addiction people have to cooked food. They just can't except that it's not healthy for them so they make excuses to keep consuming it.

Jeremy and I both feel the sadness that raw food promoters command so much public attention and use it to sell anything they can. It should be information, not products that people seek out.

The bottom line is no matter what someone feels, or believes, cacao is toxic! Science will confirm it. You may be able to consume the drug cacao and not have felt any negative affects, but in time you will. Please do not wait to experience the negative affects and get off this drug as soon as you can.

For those of you who say, I am always knocking someone else's glory or product, I can just reply by saying I am concerned about each individual's health. That is the most important thing to me. I know what it is like to live with disease and I want to help as many people as possible avoid it. I am so blessed to know people like Jeremy who have an open mind and continue to share the same mission with me of bringing the truth to the surface and helping others.

Jeremy and I acknowledge there are many toxic things that people do everyday from using a computer, to driving a car, from drinking coffee to smoking to all sorts of wild practices and toxic substances and experiences. Each one must make a choice and it's our hope that people with power use it responsibly.

Jeremy wanted me to share with my readers a warning to always study and research before promoting or selling anything. He learned the hard way. Years ago he promoted the use of coconuts because he lived in the tropics and knew the benefits well. The down side was people wanting coconuts and not realizing that the answer was to go where they grow. Instead they found a way to engage in exploitation and buy toxic formaldehyde dipped bleached nuts wrapped in plastic irradiated from Thailand. He went back and tried to dissuade people from eating the toxic nuts but they didn't seem to care. Cacao seems the same, those who want to engage with it will, toxic or not. (Once again after recently getting tons of coconuts right off the trees in Florida, I feel such a difference after eating Thai coconuts.)

Jeremy's final stand on cacao is it is for medicinal, sacred and entertainment usage only, it is not a health food! My personal, final opinion is that we should only consume foods for nutritional needs, anything else will lead to disease, especially the way we overuse it!
Steve:

Interesting cross reference to the "foods to avoid if you are on MAOI (mono amine oxidase inhibitor) medications" post. I am reminded that there are many examples of incidental heterodyne effects when combining two or more foods.

One example is ayahuasca itself. It is made from two different plants - one of which is a vine - neither of which have psychoactive properties. It is only when the two are combined that hallucinations occur.

From personal experience I can tell you that ayahuasca is poisonous as the first reaction your body has to ingesting it is a sincere desire to vomit. It is the practice to collect the body's "offerings" and dispose of them ritually. The hallucinations themselves (or at least the ones I experienced) have a quality I can only call crystalline. Very sharp edged and well defined, radiating with a bright internal light. The images I saw were based in North American Indian symbology (which I know much better than South American).

I have been told (a family member of a close friend relayed this information to me and I have no reason to doubt it - I have no personal experience and I have done no research on this) that people who are on blood thinning medications such as coumadin and who supplement those medications with a low-dose aspirin regimen should exercise caution in the amount of chocolate they eat because cacao also has blood thinning properties. (BTW, chocolate is not alone here. People on blood thinning medications are advised to avoid many foods that can further thin the blood, perhaps to dangerous levels. Kale is among them. If I ever have to take coumadin or another of its ilk avoiding kale presents no real problem for me. Whew.)

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