Cacao Is Bliss
Cacao is also known as the food of the gods. We typically think of chocolate as indulgent, luxurious, and pleasurable. However this food is more than a special treat. It is full of medicinal properties. Cacao is a source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, anandamide (the bliss molecule), and phenylethylamine (the love molecule). From protecting us from stress to improved memory and the feeling of happiness, cacao has a lot to offer our bodies. However, not all cacao is created equal. When we visit a typical grocery store, cacao is generally in the same section as refined sweets and candies. You would not find these same nutritional benefits in any regular chocolate bar, which has been highly processed with added nasties, and artificial flavours and preservatives. Raw cacao and milk chocolate is like comparing a fresh strawberry with a strawberry flavoured jelly candy.
Cacao In Balance
To properly incorporate cacao into our diet and to fully benefit from its medicinal properties, we must choose the right chocolate. Certified fair-trade and organic is the best route to go when picking out a chocolate, as nonorganic is typically heavily treated with pesticides and fungicides. They are also more heavily processed, which negatively affects any benefits of chocolate. Raw, unprocessed cacao pieces will be the most beneficial, but not always the most desirable. Alternatively, dark chocolate at 70% concentration or above will have the most nutritional value.
How to Enjoy Cacao
For some of us, eating cacao or even dark chocolate raw is unappealing. Yet, there are other ways to enjoy the healing effects of cacao. Blissful Ayurvedic Hot Cacao is the perfect way to warm up and enjoy the sweetness of cacao and refrain from reaching for the processed chocolate bar that may taste good, but will likely leave you feeling sick to your stomach.
- 1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon One Eleven Bliss
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, coconut sugar, or monkfruit sweetener
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup water
- Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add cacao until it slightly thickens.
- Add the spices, milk, and water, and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and mix in sugar or sweetener of choice and ½ teaspoon of Bliss.
- Pour into a mug and top with cinnamon and cardamom powder on top.
Beyond the Cacao
This recipe isn’t just chocolate deliciousness, but it has other ingredients with equally medicinally beneficial properties as the cacao. The ghee or coconut oil in our Blissful Ayurvedic Hot Cacao counteract some of the hyper stimulating effects of the caffeine in cacao. Where caffeine can increase inflammation, damage the nervous system, and interfere with sleep, the ghee or coconut oil balance this through DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This is considered the healthiest source of fat in Ayurveda, and it is attributed with keeping us young by improving brain function and decreasing inflammation.
Bliss has a number of beneficial effects as well, primarily in that it helps your body to function in the way that it needs to. It can reduce anxiety and help you sleep, or it can promote steady, clean energy during the day. However, we particularly like to enjoy this cacao in the evening after dinner. As milk peptides have strong links to helping us sleep, this recipe makes a wonderful end-of-day addition to help you relax and get a deeper, more restful sleep. For those who are dairy-free, you can still enjoy the calming benefits of a warm, dairy-free milk as a vessel for the health benefits of both cacao and Bliss.
Your dosha can also help you determine when the Blissful Ayurvedic Hot Cacao will best benefit you, and it can also offer unique alternatives to your dosha taste. Vata can benefit from adding a grated orange peel for an added sweetness to balance the lightness of the cacao. A drop of vanilla extract or mint may be enjoyable to Pitta types which will balance and cool the heating and stimulating qualities of cacao. Nutmeg, ginger, and clove suit the tastes of Kapha types, as the better and heating qualities of cacao and these spices are opposite of the heavy and cool of Kapha.