Internal Dialogue: “I’ll have one more piece”
External results: Whole bar gone
Aside from a post-meal sweetener, and in some cases a ravenous devouring, chocolate has become synonymous with a vast array of different feelings and sentiments. From heartbreak to lust to indulgence to, perhaps most poignantly in 2020, a friend to turn to when times are tough.
The human obsession with this plant and its produce started over 4,000 years ago with the Mayans, who mixed ground Cacao beans with chillies and dubbed Cacao the ‘Food of the Gods’, which is the direct greek translation of the plants Latin name; Theobroma cacao.
Chomping into a bit of raw Cacao likely have you retching, and thankfully the addition of sugar and milk is responsible for the chocolate we know and love. Its divine connotations still ring true and it is certainly the case that both us and the mayans were deriving real chemical high’s from this remarkable bean.
Studies have revealed that chocolate improves mood and can alter brain patterns. This is the result of four chemical compounds found in chocolate that provide us with a moorish feeling of relaxation:
Tryptophan: this nifty amino acid is found in chocolate and aids the brain in making serotonin, our happy chemical (read more here).
Phenylethylalanine : a natural anti depressant, this compound gives you similar endorphins to when you fall in love!
Anandamid: Also called “chocolate amphetamine” as it causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, leading to feelings of excitement and alertness.
Theobromine: Creates a calming and relaxing high similar to feelings of cannabis, (at a at a much lower level)
Perhaps then it is one, if not all, of these things that makes it almost impossible to have JUST one square of a bar of chocolate.
Everything in moderation they say…?
A whole bar of chocolate a day won’t do wonders for your waistline, however cocoa and dark chocolate are packed a raft of minerals essential for healthy body function such as:
Magnesium: Essential for muscle and nerve function.
Fibre: One ounce of raw cacao bean has nine grams of fibre, which reduces the risk fo heart disease.
Iron: Required for red blood cell production. One ounce of raw cacao has 6% of your daily iron intake.
Antioxidants: Responsible for protection against cell damage which causes cancer.
Additionally Cocoa Butter Cocoa butter can be used to treat bruises, stretch marks and is a popular moisturiser. So there is very good reason that you will find raw cacao lining shelves in health food shops. Unfortunately these benefits can’t all be attributed to some of the sweeter and more common milk chocolate varieties but we highly recommend trying some Raw Cacao (n.b. our November Mind, Body & Soil will give you ample opportunity to give this a go…keep reading for more info ?)
If you have never seen a cacao pod, you will probably find they look very different to what you would expect. A bright red/yellow almost autumnal beauty filled with tiny cocoa beans. We think they are rather stunning.
Originating in South America, the plant has now made its way around the globe with the vast majority of Cacao production taking place in West Africa. Taking about 5 years to bear fruit they require patience to grow and each of these pods can hold around 40-50 cocoa beans. Like many commercial crops they are now prone to diseases and scientists are now crossing African cacao plants with their South American ancestors to try and restore resistance to diseases that has been lost in our modern cocoa plants.
Unfortunately these plants are not possible to grow at home but as the cold draws in there are plenty of ways you can enjoy the healing effects of this plant. A cup of cocoa makes for the PERFECT winter warmer and that is why we have partnered with Willies Cacao for our next Mind, Body & Soil box…we are delighted to announce that their Vegan Medellin hot chocolate is making an appearance.
Fans of narcos might recognise Medellin as the birthplace of Pablo Escobar and the epicentre of the cocaine trade, what is special about this Hot Choc is that the farming of cocoa in the Medellin region has become, in many instances, a replacement for the notorious cocaine trade with the slogan “Cacao for Peace” becoming common in the region…so trust us this is a very meaningful cup of cocoa!
We are announcing this product as we are chuffed to partner with such a wonderful brand and we think that a cup of hot chocolate exemplifies the theme of our “Get Cosy” box. What else have we got going in there you ask??
Well you will have to sign up to see…its going to bring you some warmth this winter!
For 25% off this months box aka the lockdown 2.0 box , use discount code CACAO25 at the checkout!