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Is Raw Cacao a Superfood or Harmful Stimulant?

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– Frederic’s Update

–  Raw Cacao

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I’m here in Calgary getting ready for a raw food event called “High Fat or High Fruit?”, put together by the wonderful Diana Stoevelaar from Awesome Rawsome, who’s also contributing a great article on cacao for this issue of the ezine.

If you’re in the Calgary area and would like to attend, the event is on September 23rd at 7 p.m., on “High Fat or High Fruit”, that is the question! For information about attending, go to: www.awesomerawsome.com.

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New Edition of How to Make a Living in the Natural Health Movement

Do you dream of starting your own business in the raw food or natural health field?

Would you like to make a full-time income working part-time doing something you love?

We’re about to launch the next edition of our course “How to Make a Living in the Natural Health Movement”. We only do this twice a year at the most! The next edition is going to be great!

Today is the last day left to sign up: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/makealiving.html

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Watch the preview YouTube Video to get a peak at what’s inside this DVD series. For more information on the Low Fat Raw Vegan DVD Series, click here. On the video, click “HQ” after it has started for better quality.

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Is Raw Cacao a Superfood or Harmful Stimulant
By Diana Stoevelaar of www.AwesomeRawsome.com

Is raw cacao a superfood or harmful stimulant? Although some raw food leaders highly promote cacao as something that should be revered as a food of the Gods, others have spoken out against raw cacao and raw chocolate. Who should you believe? Don’t be fooled by all the hype!

“Many people are being mislead to believe cacao and other 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.”

Many raw food leaders including Victoria Boutenko, Dr. Doug Graham, Frederic Patenaude, Paul Nissan, Jeremy Safron, Dr. Fred Bisci, and Dr. Brian Clement, have already come to the conclusion that raw cacao is not a superfood but an addictive stimulant. What do they know that you perhaps don’t yet know?

They probably have discovered what Dr. Neal Barnard says in his lecture, Breaking the Food Seduction, namely that, “Chocolate, just like sugar, elicits an opiate reaction within the brain that trips the dopamine receptors and gives us a pleasure response…I don’t mean to say that chocolate is a drug. What I mean to say is that chocolate is the whole darn drugstore!”

When Narcan or Noloxone, the drugs used to block opiate receptors for those suffering a heroine overdose are used in research studies for those with a chocolate addiction, test subjects lose their desire for chocolate.

Jeremy Safron’s findings were as follows:

  • Cacao is one of the most addictive substances known.
  • 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.
  • Cacao is super toxic to the liver.
  • 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, and dizziness.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. (as with dogs)
  • 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 ahyuwascaand as a medicine in emergences.
  • Native people did not eat it as a food nor as a supplement, but only for sacred use.
  • When Native people did eat it, they only ate the fruit which contained the benefits without the detriments.

Jeremy Safron’s final stand on cacao is that it is for medicinal, sacred and for entertainment usage only; it is not a health food!

Paul Nison says, “The processing of cacao beans into powder and chocolate is an unsanitary, risky procedure to say the least. To be blunt – chocolate and cacao are laced with animal feces and hair, insects, and molds. The carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin has been found in large quantities on cacao beans.” and continues…

Watch Paul Nison in this very informative 9:33 minute video of with references to the scientific research regarding the harmfulness of raw cacao/chocolate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz_XezJ8cMY&feature=related

Doctor Fred Bisci, a raw foodist for about 40 years also confirmed what Jeremy Safron and Paul Nison suspected; cacao is toxic!!!

You can hear him speak about his findings and personal experience with raw chocolate here in this 3 minute clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AQA5IJ10Lg

Listen to Dr. Brian Clement explain in this short clip why he does not recommend raw chocolate:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuSWFZO2qs0&feature=related

Cacao is a Dangerous Heart Stimulant

Just last week I was visiting a health food store to purchase my greens (nature’s best source of minerals, trace minerals and magnesium) all without stimulants, addictive substances and high amounts of saturated fat, when I got into a conversation with a very health conscious gentleman who asked me what I thought about cacao. I told him that I agreed with Dr. Neil Barnard and others, that chocolate is harmful to our health. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, as well as phenylethylamine which slows down the breakdown on anandamide just as with the use of marijuana. Now you can understand why it’s so addictive!

He relayed an interesting story to me that clearly illustrates raw chocolate’s stimulating effects. He told me how he had recently started adding chocolate to his energy sports drink to help his energy and recovery. He rode his bike to the Blood Donor Clinic as he does every two months and tried to donate blood.

Unfortunately he couldn’t pass the screening test because his heart rate was too high! They asked him to sit for 15 minutes to allow his heart rate to normalize but it was still too high. He was shocked since this had never happened to him before!

Adding raw cacao was the only thing he had changed in his diet. Now, you might wonder why chocolate would make his heart race? Its due to the caffeine and theobromine, a sister molecule to caffeine, the same chemical that kills many dogs when they eat chocolate! The adrenal glands rev up metabolism so as to quickly eliminate the offensive substance. This is called stimulated energy which is always followed by fatigue, and therefore a desire for more of the stimulant.

My Personal Experience with Cacao

I never bought into the raw cacao craze; I was forewarned by knowledgeable people who knew the truth, but when a friend of mine wanted me to import some for her a few years ago, I obliged after trying to persuade her not to buy it. When it arrived I asked her if I might sample some so I could have a personal experience with it. She offered me a few nibs which I popped into my mouth. I chewed them a few seconds and felt compelled to spit them out into the kitchen sink. They were so bitter I couldn’t stand them and I used to be a dark chocolate fan! Apparently no animal in nature will eat them either unless you fool them into by combining the raw cacao with milk or sugar. So ended my desire to ever try it until…

I had the opportunity to try a raw chocolate dessert (a brownie made with raw cacao powder) for the first time at a raw food potluck. After just a few bites I felt a strange trembling sensation throughout my entire nervous system and then faintness came over me. I became very weak and had to be supported to walk. I linked the experience with the raw chocolate and decided not to touch it again until…

I worked for Avena Originals and they begged me to try their chocolate saying it was more “pure” than the cacao I had imported from a supplier in California. So after much coaxing I agreed to their request – to test their cacao by consuming just 2 tablespoons daily in my banana smoothie at lunch instead of the usual carob. After adding twice the amount of dates to the smoothie that I usually used, it was actually quite delicious.

The first thing I noticed was that I always wanted more after I had consumed the last drop, unlike the satisfied feeling I had with my banana –carob smoothie.

Secondly, I found it difficult to sleep through the night and suffered from insomnia. My gums started bleeding after about a week of consuming cacao daily, but the most unbearable side effects I experienced were the excruciatingly painful leg cramps in my calves that occurred nightly after about 2 weeks of consuming cacao. It was then that I abandoned my experiment and decided that cacao was definitely harmful for me. It appears that the cleaner one’s body the greater the sensitivity, which explains why long term raw foodists tend to experience the worst side effects. Fortunately all of these symptoms disappeared when I stopped consuming cacao.

I know you probably don’t like to hear that your favourite raw food is not good for you. That’s why I’ll never be as popular as those you try to convince you that it’s a SUPERFOOD. But then I am only doing my best to educate you; I’m not trying to convince you that the chocolate addiction you brought with you from the cooked food world is now actually good for you and that you should now consume cacao or raw chocolate with reckless abandon because it’s a SUPERFOOD! No, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, not due to cacao’s stimulating effects (I don’t eat it!) but because I have a conscience.

costa_rica_bribri_cacao.jpgPlease note that I stand nothing to gain by telling you not to consume cacao except knowing that I did the right think to inform you so hopefully you would not be led astray and lose what health you’ve gained by consuming more raw food. Reserve your money to buy real superfoods – leafy greens!

“Greens are nature’s true superfoods.”~ Sergei Boutenko

NOTE BY FREDERIC:

Some people claim that raw cacao is perfectly healthy because it’s a fruit. Because I live in Costa Rica half the year, I know what a real cacao fruit is. In fact, I often buy it at the supermarket. There’s a sweet/acidic pulp surrounding the seeds, and the way to eat the fruit is simply suck on the seeds like a candy, and then throw away the seeds! Why? They are not edible and taste horrible in their completely raw, natural state.

On the right is a photo of a Bribri native in Costa Rica, eating Cacao fruit.

What is your experience with raw cacao? What do you think?  Let me know with your comments below!

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.


Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.