(Nearly) everyone agrees that cacao is delicious. It’s such a feel-good ingredient and I feel that’s the ultimate healthy indulgence, especially in the winter.
But people often don’t know about the MAGIC history of raw cacao, which has actually been around for thousands of years.
I fell in love with cacao a few years back in Ubud, Bali, when I took part in an event I never thought existed… a cacao ceremony!
There I was, in the middle of the jungle celebrating and enjoying this ‘drink of the gods’ (as it’s been known throughout history), as we danced, laughed, meditated, and sang until dawn. The feeling of bliss, love, and happiness was so overwhelming. That night I learned that cacao is so much more than just a delightful treat.
Cacao became, after this day, my remedy for relaxation and good health. I believe that cacao can make most things better, and I hope that after reading this it becomes your medicine too.
What is cacao?
Cacao comes from the Theobroma Cacao tree which means “food of the gods”, it is the raw and unprocessed version of cocoa. The quality of the cacao is important - that’s why our MAGIC Raw Hot Chocolate is made out of the finest Fairtrade Ecuadorian cacao powder!
Hopefully, we can all agree that it tastes delicious...but can a cup a day really have such a huge impact on your well-being?
With 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries, Cacao is a true superfood. It’s good for your heart, and can improve your blood flow and cholesterol!
It’s packed with vitamins and is rich in important minerals - like magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, chromium, manganese, sulfur, copper & phosphorus.
Also, did you know that cacao is actually the highest plant-based source of Iron? Two times more than spinach and it contains more calcium than cow’s milk!
It is great to take after a workout as it is packed with magnesium which helps to manage muscle contractions and neuromuscular signals, as well as relaxing your often overworked arterial smooth muscles.
Cacao for energy
I find that Cacao gives me loads of energy! In fact, it encourages natural energy production because it contains phenylethylamine (PEA) and makes for a nice alternative to a strong coffee.
Theobromine in cacao is a natural stimulant for your heart and brain. Theobromine’s effects are less pronounced but longer-lasting than its cousin caffeine.
Believe it or not, Cacao is A-MA-ZING for your skin. With vitamin C, magnesium, fatty acids, and antioxidants, it’s amazing for working to repair cell damage and restore your skin.
The benefits for your mental health:
Cacao isn’t just for the body, though.
There’s a reason cacao is so popular on Valentine’s. The phenylethylamine present is said to have aphrodisiac effects - that’s why chocolate is often called the ‘love drug.”
But that’s not all. Cacao has been shown to alleviate a host of mental afflictions, such as depression, insomnia, nervousness, and excitability.
It contains four so-called “bliss chemicals”: serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are responsible for controlling the release of dopamine, and can positively affect your mood, memory, appetite, pain perception as well feelings of well-being, rejuvenation, attraction, and euphoria.Some consider raw cacao to be a natural kind of antidepressant, and it's easy to see why!
What makes it MAGIC?
While cacao is more popular than ever, it’s always been a highly sought after ingredient.
Native to Central and South America, Cacao has been used for thousands of years, where the Mayans and Aztecs often consumed it for ceremonial purposes.
Maya legends state that whenever there is an imbalance between humans and nature, cacao comes from the rainforest to open people’s hearts and return the planet to a state of harmony.
And even now, thousands of years later, spiritual ceremonies are still organized, in yoga communities for example. Some are active and involve lots of dancing, while others are quieter, and centre on meditation and inner reflection.
Those ceremonies are organised to rebalance the energy in the body and regain health. I believe that cacao provides a gentle touch of the heart, to help guide you and reflect on your inward journey.
In spiritual communities, cacao is believed to open your heart and allow you to connect with yourself and others more lovingly. It helps you gain clarity and balance, deepen meditation by connecting you to your inner spirit and wisdom, and enhance your creativity.
How to use it:
The great thing about cacao is that it will tell your body if you’re overdoing it. Too much will give you migraines and stomach aches.
To make it easy to reap the benefits of cacao, we’ve added it to our MAGIC Raw Hot Chocolate.
It doesn’t just contain cacao though - our raw hot chocolate contains other superfoods such as Reishi mushroom, which has been used for thousands of years in ancient Chinese medicine. It’s been said to promote relaxation and support healthy sleep cycles. Add in Ashwagandha for a reduction in stress and anxiety, and I believe you have the perfect drink to help you wind down.
For more on the MAGIC of these mushrooms, check out our blog - Why I'm mad about mushrooms (and you should be too)
To enhance taste, we've added coconut milk powder, cinnamon and just a hint of coconut sugar for a deliciously creamy recipe!
Gently heat your favourite plant milk on the hob then transfer to a mug. Stir in one tablespoon of MAGIC, relax, and enjoy the magical benefits of cacao.
Cacao has been enjoyed for thousands of years, and I’m confident it’ll be used for thousands more.