Thursday, August 26, 2010
Thoughts: Surprisingly, most people have never tasted real chocolate. The cacao used in chocolate candy bars, cookies, breads and other common foods is actually a hybridized cacao from a plant that doesn't have the alkaloid potency of "real" cacao.
Today Natural News brings us this fascinating article about real "heirloom" cacao vs. hybridized cacao, why chocolate is called the "food of the Gods" and how you can try real cacao yourself!
Most people have never eaten real chocolate. Sure, we've all wolfed down plenty of "chocolate" candies, bars and cakes. But as you'll see here, very little of that is actually made from real chocolate. Virtually all the chocolate used in modern foods is derived from a hybridized cacao plant that lacks the phytochemical potency that gives real chocolate its many beneficial properties.
So even though almost everyone has tasted chocolate, very few people have actually experienced true heirloom cacao from the original, phytonutrient-rich plants.
Cacao originated in a region now spanning the border of Ecuador and Colombia. Its plants were discovered thousands of years ago, and the cacao fruit and seeds have been used throughout South American culture for as long as human history can remember.
Heirloom cacao is called Arriba Nacional or just "Arriba" for short. That's the real cacao from Ecuador, harvested from heirloom plants growing just the way they grew thousands of years ago.
In comparison, virtually all the chocolate used in candy bars, chocolate chips, chocolate cakes, breads and so on is derived from the hybridized plant called CCN-51 - a pale shadow of the heirloom "Arribe Nacional" cacao it was supposed to replace.
Most consumers have no idea the chocolate they've been eating is "watered down" with what is effectively a cheap, weakened cacao substitute. And if you've been eating that watered down chocolate all your life, you're in for a real surprise when you get your hands on "Arribe Nacional" cacao, which has a deeper, more complex and "floral" flavor profile.
My first taste of real chocolate
My first experience of real chocolate was enjoyed in Ecuador, where I lived on and off for two years. One day I drove to a nursery in Zamora, a small city to the East of Loja (in Southern Ecuador). There, we picked fresh cacao pods right off the trees, sliced open the tops and began to eat the cacao fruit.
Here's a picture of Mike Adams holding cacao pods from Zamora.
Yes, cacao trees have fruit. It's a thin layer of sweet fruity flesh surrounding the cacao bean, sort of in the way a lychee fruit has a layer of delicious white fruit flesh surrounding its central seed. Cacao fruit tastes a little bit like fresh lychee fruit, in fact, with a hint of chocolate flavor in it.
Once you eat the fruit, you're left with cacao seed pods. This is where "chocolate" comes from. The seed pods are usually ground into a fine powder, with the oils being mechanically separated from the non-oil substances which are then subjected to a combination of drying, fermentation and cooking (depending on who's doing the processing), creating a finished cacao powder.
This fine cacao powder is what goes into fine chocolates, often sweetened with sugars or enriched with milk fats. Hence the name "Milk chocolate."
However, the higher cost of heirloom chocolate has kept it out of the hands of all but the most selective chocolate artisans. The number of chocolate-making shops in America that use real heirloom cacao in their confections probably numbers less than ten. That's why virtually no one in North America has ever tasted real chocolate before.
How I met the founder of Pacari
In Ecuador, there's a company producing 100% heirloom cacao that's truly raw (never goes above 118 degrees during processing), truly organic and "single origin" meaning it's all from one region and not blended with other cacaos from other countries.
That company is called Pacari, and its founder, Santiago, introduced me to his line of heirloom cacao one evening at a raw foods gathering at Matt Monarch's house in the Valley of Longevity near Vilcabamba, Ecuador.
There, I had the opportunity to taste 100% raw, unsweetened, full-potency heirloom cacao -- and it was a superfood experience that forever changed my perception about just how powerful and even enlightening superfoods can be.
Food of the Gods?
You see, the best-known active ingredient in cacao is a bitter alkaloid called theobromine. The Latin prefix "theo" is of course the same root as in the word "theology," meaning the study of God. Bromine comes from "broma" which, in the variation of "brosi" is Latin for "food."
Theobromine, then, is literally translated into "food of God" or "food of the Gods."
Why would cacao be named "food of the Gods?" If you just eat regular watered-down chocolate, you'll probably never know. To really attain a deeper experience of cacao, you must eat the heirloom variety that's naturally high in theobromine and other alkaloids. And once you do that, your experience may give you a greater understanding of why, over the last several thousand years, the indigenous people of South America have used superfoods like cacao to support their connection on a spiritual level.
In the cultures of South American people, eating heirloom cacao is not merely an act of consuming calories. Nor is it a form of entertainment as is often pursued in first-world countries. Rather, eating heirloom cacao is a way for them to connect with the universe. It is a deeply spiritual experience, to be savored and honored, not to be wolfed down with processed sugar and ice cream.
Throughout the cultures of South America, food was a way in which people were able to gain insight into the universe around them.
I realize it seems odd in our modern cultures to think of food as a source of enlightenment or wisdom, but this idea was pivotal for South American cultures, and it actually makes good sense: Since we become what we eat, to eat the seed pods of a sacred plant is to become one with that plant. Certain plants alter brain chemistry and function, expanding consciousness and inviting us to explore alternate realities before returning to their physical world, blessed with the gift of new experiential insight. Such is the nature of the "sacred plant journeys" also routinely practiced by medicine healers (shamans) of South American cultures.
While cacao is not a psychedelic plant, it is well known as a source of unique antioxidants and bitter alkaloids that may support healthy moods while brightening your day. Maybe this is why this superfood was called the "food of the Gods."
Straight from Ecuador: 100% organic, raw heirloom cacao
Now, after five thousand years of history, YOU can experience Arribe Nacional heirloom cacao straight from the rainforests of Ecuador.
Thanks to our connections in Ecuador, we were able to coordinate with Santiago to receive a large shipment of this unique heirloom cacao, straight from Ecuador.
This is the real stuff: Pure heirloom cacao, truly raw (not just a false claim, but really truly raw), truly organic and harvested with the help of local farmers in a genuinely fair manner that honors their livelihoods. (The Pacari company works in many ways to help support local cacao farmers, and while it's not yet certified as "Fair Trade," they are working in that direction.)
Right now, Natural News have available for immediate shipment from their store:
• Raw "Arribe" Cacao Beans
• Raw "Arribe" Cacao Paste
• Raw "Arribe" Cacao Butter
• Raw "Arribe" Cacao Nibs
• Raw "Arribe" Cacao Powder
• A combination "chef's pack" of Powder, Nibs, Butter and Paste (regular price is $83.80, but for this article we've marked it down to just $54.72, a nearly 35% savings)
Click here to see these products in the NaturalNews Store.
These are all single-source, straight from Ecuador, made 100% of heirloom cacao plants, organic and raw. Just as importantly, this is perhaps the finest cacao you will ever taste in the world. It is one of life's "bucket list" experiences to ingest this plant and tune in to how it is interacting with your body and mind. To miss out on this plant that our world has to offer is to truly miss out on one of life's real gems.
I regret to have to mention this, but not everything described as "Arribe" in the cacao world is truly Arribe. Some cacao producers will blend a small amount of Arribe into a batch of largely hybridized CCN-51 cacao, then they'll label the final product "Arribe" cacao. That's like calling your salad dressing "Olive Oil Dressing" when it's really made from 90% soybean oil and only 10% olive oil.
Our Arribe cacao is 100% truly Arribe with no misleading blending. Additionally, all the products have absolutely no sweeteners, no filler, no preservatives, no GMOs, no soy, no wheat... nothing! Just pure, raw heirloom cacao from Ecuador to you.
As a result, don't expect this to taste like a candy bar. It doesn't! This is not candy. This is a potent superfood in its purest form, unadulterated and uncooked. It is the closest thing you can find to venturing into the Ecuadorian rainforest and harvesting your own wild cacao pods.
This raw cacao is grown in Ecuador, harvested by Ecuadorian farmers, then processed by hand in small batches. It's never cooked! The result is some of the finest cacao you will ever encounter on our planet.
When you get some of this, consider it a treasure. I recommend not feeding it to anyone who isn't enlightened enough to appreciate what they are consuming. Most children, in particular, are expecting sweet "junk" chocolate and will likely not appreciate "Arribe" heirloom cacao.
And if you do give this as a gift to someone, please explain the history of heirloom cacao to them so they understand what a magnificent food treasure they are consuming. This is the stuff of Kings and Queens. Just a few hundred years ago, only ultra-wealthy royalty would have had access to such exotic foods. Today, we can all experience it!
And enjoy this heirloom cacao. This may be some of the finest superfood you are likely to be able to source anywhere in the world.
By health ranger Mike Adams - what a legend!!!
Some of my favourite Earth Diet recipes with cocao are: (all are available in the Recipe section of www.TheEarthDiet.org)
-Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls
-Raw Strawberry Nut Pie
-Raw Chocolate Icecream
-Raw Chocolate Mint Brownies
-Cookie Dough Balls
-Raw Chocolate Mousse
Quotes: The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race. - Don Marquis
What I Ate Today:
Meal 1: A beetroot (beet), carrot, celery, ginger juice.
Meal 2: A orange and grapefruit juice.
Meal 3: A Green salad, light and refreshing! My favourite salad created with avocado, baby spinach, green lettuce leafs, garlic, spring onion (shallots), coriander (cilantro), green chilli, cucumber and lime.
Meal 4: 4 nectarines, my favourite fruit! 2 white flesh and 2 red, juicy juicy!
Meal 5: Some walnuts.
Meal 6: Red Beans and Rice at a Cajun restaurant with Director Rob Graydon and Writer Steve Strangio, and Happy Cakes creator Helena TerBush :) I will be the Assistant Director of SAVAGE HOT BABE MASSACRE starring WWE wrestler MICK FOLEY!!!
Recipe: The recipe for Green Salad and Rice and Beans (Spanish, Mexican and Brazilian) available free on The Earth Diet website www.TheEarthDiet.Org
Exercise: A 1 hour workout at Big Al's Family Fitness doing cardio and abs and stretching in the sauna :)
68 days to go!!!