Sunday, May 6, 2012

Is Raw Chocolate (cacao) Healthy?

photo by Trevor Ellestad

The Debate

Within the raw food community there is a lot of debate about raw chocolate. On the one hand there are popular raw food leaders such as David Wolfe, Shazzie, Truth Calkins and others emphasizing the high antioxidant properties of raw chocolate. They even refer to cacao as one of nature's greatest superfoods. On the other hand are raw food leaders such as Paul Nison, John Kohler, Durian Rider, Kevin Gianni and others emphasizing that cacao has addictive properties, causes mood swings and overstimulates your adrenals.

My Experience

I was confused about all of the back and forth debate and wanted to try cacao for myself. So I went to my local health food store and picked up a pound of Cacao Nibs, eating the whole bag over the last few weeks. In fact, just last night I finished off the last of the cacao, eating a few large handfuls after dinner. I must say that I felt wonderful last night as well as pretty much every night that I ate the raw cacao. My mood was elevated and I can attest that cacao is truly an amazing aphrodisiac (which is somewhat difficult to deal with as a single man).

Yet today is a different story. In fact, most days after I "binged" on raw cacao, I would feel testy, on edge, and be struggling with serious mood swings. A few days ago, for example, I got home from work and was feeling tired. My dogs came up and were barking at me to feed them and let them out. Out of sheer frustration I threw some papers on the ground as hard as I could. I then leaned back in a Lazy Boy chair and took a much needed rest, not understanding the source of my new mood swings.

My Conclusion

Raw chocolate causes mood swings and should generally be avoided. I experienced this first hand. That being said, I am sure I will eat chocolate again at some point. However, I now see it for what it is: a tasty treat to enjoy on occasion rather than a healthy superfood to enjoy regularly.


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