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“The cocoa bean is a phenomenon, for nowhere else has nature concentrated such a wealth of valuable nourishment in such a small space.” — Alexander von Humboldt, German scientist
Cacao first appeared for its use around 2000 – 1500 B.C. in Central America.
The Aztecs and Mayans cherished the bean and pulp that could be made into food or drink.
Cacao was so highly valued that they used it as currency.
It was not just a food or beverage but a pillar to their economies, religions, rituals, ceremonies such as weddings, births, deaths and sacrifices.
Cacao has a long shelf life which made it more popular. They could store it and use it as a currency for 3 years and at the end eat or drink it.
Hernan Cortes seized Mexico in 1519 which started the globalisation and new era for the Cacao bean. Cortes wrote about cacao: “The divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a full day without food.”
As it was distributed around the world Europeans added sugar and the locals preferred it bitter.
In 1815 Van Houten, a now popular drinking chocolate brand, found a way to de-fat the cacao by roughly half and alkalise it, called “dutching”. Ever heard of dutch chocolate? This started the large scale of chocolate produced known as “cheap chocolate.”
Nestle, the massive corporation, found a way to pulverise milk in 1867 and succeeded in making the first milk chocolate in 1879.
This marked the end of the protected “SACRED MEDICINE” value of cacao. Including a loss of health, spiritual and ceremonial purposes of this treasurable beverage.
However, since around 2000 – 2012 the world has rejuvenated the much needed value of cacao, the sacredness and the ceremony back to communities for spiritual, ritual, healing and bonding purposes.
People are now benefitting all around the world becoming more connected with themselves, others and appreciation for the treasurable cacao beverage.
We are truly blessed to be involved in this ritualistic human experience.
Raw cacao has been claimed to be the most complex food known to man.
The bean in its natural ceremonial grade state is the only form which has all the benefits.
No Cadbury or Nestle chocolate will have even a fraction of the nutrients or benefits ceremonial cacao has. They are essentially just pulverises milk, sugar and cacao flavouring.
Average Cacao Bean Chemistry
per 100 grams:
*Credit David Wolfe Naked Chocolate
Cacao naturally is an energy and mood enhancer enjoyed by foodists, superfood lovers and spiritual communities.
Cacao also contains PEA aka phenylethylamine. This is the chemical that gets produced when we fall in love which promotes increasing focus and alertness.
Anandamide is what is known as the bliss chemical. This is an endorphin that the body usually produces after exercise which makes us feel joy and reduces pain. Anandamide is only found in one substance – cacao.
Cacao has shown to rejuvenate skin, prevent wrinkles and promote anti ageing benefits. It does this by protecting the skin from UV radiation and photo-aging due to the specific polyphenols found in cacao.
Cacao also shows the possible anti-tumor effects due to the highly dense phyto-chemicals found in the bean.
Cocoa is one of many food sources of substances that increase the production or bioavailability of endothelial nitric oxide (NOS).
NOS works by relaxing the muscle and blood vessel cells allowing for an increase in blood circulation.
This means it increases blood flow throughout the body and to the retina. This allows muscles to receive more oxygen and work better.
This means better cardiac output, muscle contractions, organ health and massive boners .
Studies show that 50% of Americans and Europeans get less than the daily need of magnesium.
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in your body. It plays some of the most important roles for the health of your body and brain.
Magnesium is involved in every cell in your body and needs it to function.
Magnesium is Involved in more than 600 reactions in your body including:
Compared to blood the concentration of magnesium is 18x higher. Magnesium and antioxidants act directly on the heart, combined with NOS, the cacao beverage can allow more blood flow and a release for opening up the heart’s blood flow.
If you have not had a large dose of ceremonial cacao before, not long after you can really feel your heartbeat beating deeply in your chest.
Ceremonial cacao is a food source, this means magnesium absorption is increased due to better bioavailability which is more preferable to the body.
This means your body can absorb a higher percentage of magnesium through your gut and into your bloodstream and cells.
Raw cacao has been shown to have the most abundant flavonoid (antioxidants and antioxidant activity) profile than any other plant!
Again, as ceremonial cacao is a food source the antioxidants are absorbed better with greater bioavailability. Your body can digest, absorb and extract maximum flavonoids out of this cacao antioxidant powerhouse.
Antioxidants protect your body from ageing and receiving damage from everyday toxins and stressors such as:
Antioxidants help your body fight off any of these harmful things that can get into the body, especially allergens, germs, toxins, and other irritants.
If you do not receive a healthy dose of antioxidants or flavonoids it makes it harder for your body to dismiss inflammatory reactions or uncomfortable symptoms like hay fever, pains, fatigue, bloating, feeling off, sick or swollen etc.
Other Huge Benefits:
The happy hormone. Serotonin is literally what makes happiness in your brain which converts melatonin which helps you to get a good night’s sleep. Without serotonin you’re more likely to be moody and suffer poor sleep. Hence, healthy serotonin levels help with stress management.
Good thing cacao is rich in substances that make the body produce and stimulate plenty of serotonin.
Anandamide is the bliss and joy feeling that is produced post exercise, especially long gruelling workouts or runs.
Cacao is the only plant this chemical is found in and it also prevents the breakdown of anandamide. This means a longer and more common feeling of bliss. Hell yes cacao!
PEA – phenylethylamine is the chemical that is released in our brains and bodies when we are in love. Sex and orgasm euphoria is the side effect of PEA.
People who are really happy all the time usually have high levels of PEA.
Tryptophan helps promote serotonin. Tryptophan enhances, aids in reducing anxiety and stress. Again must not be heated as heat destroys the chemical.
Large trace elements of zinc and chromium can be found in cacao aiding in regulating blood sugar, growth, insulin health, protein synthesis, sperm production and a strong immune system.
Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant and is similar to caffeine.
It also has similar effects and is only found in the cacao plant. Cacao also has a very low dose of caffeine.
Oxytocin is the love hormone. When giving or receiving love, going out on dates, hugs, being with close friends or family etc. can stimulate oxytocin.
Oxytocin can also have a sexual urge stimulating effect.
Cacao has substances that inhibit the MAO enzyme. Psychedelics and antidepressants also have MAO inhibitors which make you feel happy and improve your mood. Hence, ceremonial cacao is a natural mood enhancer which also has the ability to activate DMT.
Therefore, cacao should not be mixed with psychedelics like ayahuasca, let the plants do their own thing.
This can be a reason as to why the cacao ceremony itself is so important and respected in spiritual communities.
Due to the bringing back of the cacao ceremony over the 21 years its popularity is really beginning to spike again especially in Australia.
People are enjoying the bliss, love, calm focus, zen and good energy vibes the cacao ceremony is providing.
Some people drink it every morning, others drink it with friends or groups and some save it for meditational ceremonies only.
There are brands popping up everywhere who make their own brew of ceremonial cacao that we, as drinkers can enjoy.
Bali is a spiritual place known for its world class ceremonial cacao. I personally experienced my first ceremony meditation in Bali.
The experience which was so powerful that everything I am doing with my life now comes from the reflections and insights I had during that time.
There are so many ways to use cacao and the ceremony space of the brew.
Here are a list of rules and tips that you can use when using ceremonial grade cacao:
There are multiple types of ceremonies and dosages for cacao ceremonies. I personally have had some of the larger doses with close friends of mine…. Note* All girls I have done this with have cried from happiness and gratitude.
If you haven’t ruined the substance with heat, you can feel quite a strong effect.
Note* you do not feel drunk or dizzy, but your heart feels warm and fuzzy, you feel overwhelmed with happiness, gratitude, presence and love and you may even experience the cacao flashes.
The cacao flashes are something many people I know who enjoy ceremonial cacao and myself have experienced.
The cacao flashes occur after the ceremony when you clothes your eyes and allow the cacao to work its medicine.
People who you love pop up into your mind like a carousel and you can’t help feeling overwhelming love and happiness for them being in your life. It is really quite beautiful.
My first cacao experience was in Ubud Bali.
The brief gist of what happened was:
Quick note: if cacao is prepared properly it is the most chocolatey thing you have ever experienced and is actually amazing to taste.
In this meditation I got so clear with exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
I set the intention beforehand, and visualised exactly what I desired my life to look like for the next 5-10 years.
I would be deep in the meditation and come out of it every 10 minutes after a massive realisation like “OMG I HAVE TO WRITE THIS DOWN”!
I would then see everyone else was laying down with their eyes closed and I would lay back down.
What was surreal was every time I laid back down I would enter the meditative state exactly where I stopped beforehand. It was like adding another link on the chain to the depth of my thoughts.
I came out of the meditation desperately thinking “I have to write this down immediately I cannot fort it” roughly 3-4 times.
Upon finishing the facilitator put his hands together and gave me a nod, which I returned and started sprinting out of the place, and sped on my scooter until I returned to my AirBNB to write everything down.
I felt incredible, clear and felt I had found my direction after that experience.
I’d just like to note that this is one of many types of experiences you can use a cacao ceremony as an anchor for.
I have had the pleasure to facilitate numerous cacao ceremonies and from my perspective they have had great success. These experiences have been quite amazing to be honest.
Firstly, you must prepare the cacao. There are multiple ways to do so.
The trick is not to get the cacao too hot as that will destroy all the good natural substances that cause effect within your body.
Here are the steps I like to follow:
Note* You can serve cacao on top of pancakes, bananas and yogurts which is really good for children too.
Get creative and enjoy :).
Ingredients & Sweeteners that can be used:
1-2 serves depending on cacao and amount of liquid used
6. Keep mixing slowly with the heat down as low as possible until smooth
7. Serve into a cup and set the setting to get ready to start the ceremony
There are many ways to perform a ceremony whether it’s just for you by yourself, with a partner, a friend, a group of friends or family members.
I believe the MAIN BENEFIT and PURPOSE of a cacao ceremony is to strengthen your gratitude muscles.
Gratitude is a skill the more you practice the better you get.
A cacao ceremony is like having the best workout in the world for gratitude building.
Here are a few links where you can purchase the goods:
I tend to make these meditations up as I try to notice what feels right.
My go to for a cacao ceremony sounds like this:
Take a second to get comfortable sitting or laying down and close your eyes.
Let’s take a couple of slow relaxing breaths.
Allow yourself to feel the cacao working through you.
First notice the taste, the texture, the feeling in your body and your chest.
Allow the cacao tingles to rise up in your heart.
Notice your heart beat, is it slow, fast or hard?
Notice that your heart has connections to your brain and your body.
Allow yourself to really feel your heart and appreciate all the work it does for you.
Try to really feel your heart.
Notice that your heart is so much more than an organ it is where your love and gratitude come from.
Try to feel and fill up your heart with the feeling of love and gratitude.
Really feel it.
Now expand it to wherever it needs to go and appreciate what comes up.
*Allow time before allowing eyes to remain shut and discussion about what people are seeing and feeling. It may trigger something good in someone else.
Close: Appreciate everyone who participated and give thanks.
Australia Cacao Case Study: ,https://www.businessinsider.com.au/cacao-ceremony-san-francisco-2017-5?r=US&IR=T