Raw chocolate-- what is it really?

Sarah Hart
@sarah-hart
10/31/08 10:30:18AM
63 posts
So, I have noticed a recent upsurge in "raw" chocolate products. A couple I have tried have been tasty. But I don't understand what makes raw chocolate raw. Are the beans just not roasted? And if not what is done with them. Why would leaving chocolate "raw" be advantageous? Is it healthier and why? Inquiring minds want to know....
updated by @sarah-hart: 04/09/15 09:26:57AM
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
10/31/08 06:11:31PM
116 posts
Hi Sarah,Thanks for your question! I am the maker of Sacred Chocolate http://www.SacredChocolate.com , which is considered in the "RAW" world to be the gold standard by which all raw chocolate is compared!Technically, what makes Raw Chocolate RAW is the following:1) Beans are never roasted and always stored and processed at temperatures below about 115 degrees F.2) All or most of the other ingredients used also follow the rule in 1).Most sweeteners are not considered truly raw. It is VERY difficult to use a really raw sweetener to make traditional chocolate. Look at my research on "raw" agave nectar here: http://www.naturaw.com/sacred-chocolate/newsletter-2.htmlSacred Chocolate makes 19 flavors and only our 100% cacao bar is technically truly 100% raw, since we use things like organic maple sugar, essential oils, and vanilla beans, which are all not technically raw (Vanilla Bean has to be "cured" at non-raw temperatures to bring out any vanilla flavor; some flavors such as coffee and caramel can only be obtained by the cooking process). What I can guarantee you though is that the cacao itself in Sacred Chocolate never exceeds temperatures above 114 degrees F ! Why do we do this?1) Raw cacao has an antioxidant rating (ORAC SCORE) of 600 umoleTE/g !!!! Acai is about 150 as a comparison !!!! Roasting or processing at high temperature destroys about 80 to 90% of those antioxidants!2) Roasting or Processing at high temperature also can create trans fatty acids, of which Sacred Chocolate has none.3) Check out the lab report done on our Ginger Flavor. The Ginger is only 57% cacao content, so if 100% cacao is at 600, then the Ginger should show up at 342 if we have done our job right! Check out this report (Scroll to the bottom to see the TOTAL ORAC score): http://www.naturaw.com/sacred-chocolate/Sacred_Chocolate_Nutritional_Analysis_GINGER.pdf You will see that it is listed at 343 !FYI, Sacred Chocolate is Certified Organic, Vegan, Kosher, and Halal, and is sold above fair trade standards. (For the most part the cane sugar industry used BONE CHAR as a processing/filtering agent!)Hope that clarifies things...Hearts!!Sacred Steve
Clay Gordon
@clay
10/31/08 07:16:19PM
1,680 posts

In the article you reference on agave nectar, you start out talking about maple sugar and mention that you use "Criollo Aromica Ecuadorian" beans to make your chocolate. I have never heard of this kind of bean. Can you let us know more?

Also, could you please explain for everyone what "600 umoleTE/g" means, not just spell out the technical terms.

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity but people may not know what that means.

Thanks,
:: Clay




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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 07/01/17 12:34:50PM
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
10/31/08 07:27:47PM
116 posts

Thanks Clay for that added clarification!

The unit notation umoleTE/g means micromole of trolox equivalents per gram. That is a mistake actually!

Thanks for pointing that out! The bean we use is officially called "Arriba Nacional Aromica". It is sourced from Ecuador.

Hearts!!
Sacred Steve

Clay Gordon
@clay
10/31/08 09:22:53PM
1,680 posts
Steve:Sorry if it seems like I am belaboring the point, but while some of us may know what "micromole of trolox equivalents per gram" means, other members of TheChocolateLife probably do not.:: Clay


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/01/08 01:24:27AM
116 posts
I am not an organic chemist. What I do know is that that is the units by which they are measuring the antioxidants present in our Lab report. People in the health industry loosely use the term ORAC score to refer to any method used to measure antioxidant levels. This should shed some light on the matter! http://www.clinchem.org/cgi/content/full/50/5/952
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/01/08 01:54:46AM
116 posts

Dear Samantha, I don't have a lot of confidence in that report only because they are reporting such a huge swing in the min and max values (202 to over 1000) for a 100% cacao bar (the 1000 level was probably gotten from a bar where the beans were not roasted and the 202 value was probably from a bar where the beans were minimally roasted; The more you roast, the more you blow out the antioxidants--this is a repeatable experimental fact.) Even the cocoa (cacao) powder which is devoid of about 80% of the cocoa (cacao) butter is reported to be in the 600 range on average with a much smaller range in min and max values probably because they do much of the pressing in the industry before the beans are roasted. On a per weight basis since it is much more concentrated, it should be much higher than the bar. 

Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/01/08 02:00:06AM
116 posts
Forgot to answer your other question! The beans we have are being farmed in a very special unique fashion to ensure that fermentation temperatures do not exceed what is considered raw. The beans are only lightly fermented!Also, the reason that I can guarantee that Sacred Chocolate never exceeds 114 degrees F is because I designed and built the machines that grinds the cacao beans! yay!Hearts!Sacred Steve
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/01/08 02:01:52AM
116 posts
Also, forgot to mention that most commercial dark chocolate at 70% cacao content does test out at about 90. Our Gingeroo at only 57% cacao content tests out at 343!
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/01/08 02:43:19AM
116 posts
Finally, one reason there is a great variation in ORAC value in finished chocolate is because each chocolatier has his/her own way of roasting...some roast minimally while some roast a lot! 15 to 45 minutes is typical at anywhere from 250 to 400 degrees F !
Sarah Hart
@sarah-hart
11/01/08 08:09:14PM
63 posts
Woah! I wish I had read the xocai thread before I started us down this road again. Apologies about that. I still don't feel that much more enlightened on the subject. I mean, I have a lot more information but it is a little hard to sort through.
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/02/08 02:03:41AM
116 posts
You have to actually get into it for a while and study and sit with it and it gets more clear after a while! Chocolate is really both an art and a science! A true alchemy!Hearts!Sacred Steve
Clay Gordon
@clay
11/02/08 06:17:30PM
1,680 posts
Sarah:What you might consider taking away from this discussion is that there is a group of people who are dedicated to eating "raw" foods because they consider them to be healthier than cooked foods. Not necessarily better tasting, but healthier. There are other groups of people who don't think it's necessary to be so strict about the temperatures at which their food is processed.As near as I have been able to discover, there is no legal scientifically-accepted temperature below which foods are raw and above which foods are no longer raw. The raw food "movement" has settled around a temperature of 115F as the threshold.As several people have pointed out, the temperature of fermentation piles routinely exceeds 120F, at which point the beans should no longer be considered raw. So, to be truly raw, the beans must be either unfermented or only partially fermented. Steve says he uses only partially fermented beans and I can empirically accept that partial fermentation is possible, though there is a difference between farming and fermentation so his explanation on this point is a little unclear, but I think not deliberately misleading.Steve is right, roasting temperatures always exceed 115F, so raw cacao is never roasted. Also, it is technically possible to grind beans and keep the temperature below 115F as cocoa butter is liquid around 96F so if Steve says he has built special grinders then we should be able to accept him at his word.There is some ambiguity in the raw food and organic food world about "purity" in its most literal sense. Legally in the US, manufacturers of organic foods can call them organic even if they contain small quantities (I think the max is 5%) of not-organic ingredients. Steve appears to be saying that the same thing is true in the raw food world - there are just some ingredients that somewhere in the process the temperature has to rise above 115F. He cites vanilla: "we use things like organic maple sugar, essential oils, and vanilla beans, which are all not technically raw (Vanilla Bean has to be "cured" at non-raw temperatures to bring out any vanilla flavor.)" Steve very clearly states that "only our 100% cacao bar is technically truly 100% raw." The maple sugar Steve says he uses is also not raw but has the "best vibe." However, a 57% cacao bar contains over 40% sugar which is way over the 5% max for organic foods so I personally think that calling a bar "raw" when it contains such a high percentage of "not-raw" ingredients - no matter what the vibe is - a stretch.In the case of cacao, cocoa, and chocolate, it is pretty easy to demonstrate that the more you process it, the lower the residual levels of the chemicals that contribute to wellness. However, in one of Nature's perversely common surprises, the more you process cacao the better it tastes - at least to most people.The point that I keep coming back to is, how far do you have to go to get the benefits of cacao into your diet? For me, and for many people, it is not necessary to go to extreme of raw chocolate in order to do so. For others, it is. In the end, it is really a matter of lifestyle choice as well as a matter of taste - even if the definition is a little hazy.In the end, the FDA/USDA are not likely to get involved and regulate the meaning of the word "raw" unless a lot of people start dying because they ate raw food that wasn't safe, or unless there's a huge amount of money in it for someone.Personally, there are very few raw chocolate "products" that I have liked well enough to want to eat every day. But that's me. I find that a combination of "natural" cocoa powder, nibs, and really good processed chocolate each day provides me with all the wellness benefits of cacao as well as providing me with the sensual pleasures I find lacking in most raw chocolate products.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/03/08 07:11:35AM
116 posts
Taste is a matter of opinion. Some people are of the opininon that raw foods in general taste better than cooked foods. Most people will agree it depends on the particular food. The reason humanity started cooking food was to preserve it (destroy bacteria/molds) and effectively eat animal products. Taste could also be a reason, but originally not the primary reason.Suggested Reading:Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and ShazzieConscious Eating by Dr. Gabriel CousensThe Sunfood Diet Success System by David WolfeEnzyme Nutrition by Howell
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/03/08 09:13:54AM
116 posts
I forgot to mention that one of the main reasons behind the raw cacao trend, besides flavor and nutrition, is the fact that the complex and delicate chemistry that is inherent in raw cacao, is left intact for the most part. Therefore, the chemistry that is known to get us feeling "buzzed" or "high" from chocolate is even more present and thus the effects from it, more accentuated. This is something that a person in a fasting state just has to experience for him or herself, mainly because everybody's body chemistry is different, and I honestly can only speak of my own experience and the experiences of others as they have been related to me. Some of the main chemicals that are present and responsible besides theobromine of course are anandamide and phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA also shows up in large quantities in blue green algae.Check out the known list of chemistry in raw cacao...http://www.naturaw.com/raw-chocolate.htmlDue to its complexity, there are also components in raw cacao that are still unknown, sort of like Royal Jelly.
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/03/08 09:19:51AM
116 posts
Forgot to also mention that Tryptophan is present in Raw Cacao.
Eric Durtschi
@eric-durtschi
11/03/08 09:36:14AM
38 posts
It is true that over roasting cacao beans can bring down the nutritional benefits. However, I make a product that has extremely dark roasted cacao, probably more so than any other cacao product, and we even brew the product and it still had an ORAC score twice that of blueberries. It also still had large amounts of magnesium and PEA. Also, to clear up the naming of the bean from Ecuador. The reason for the misunderstanding of the bean name is that they are trying to literally translate it. It should be "Aroma Nacional desde Rio Arriba" The bean classification is Nacional, they call it Aroma because of its unique aroma and it was classically grown near the Arriba river.
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/03/08 09:55:46AM
116 posts
Thanks for the clarification Eric! I don't speak Spanish.What type of product do you make? I would love to see the report!Hearts,Sacred Steve
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/03/08 09:58:04AM
116 posts
It should also be mentioned that blueberries are surprisingly low in ORAC value. I have seen scores ranging anywhere from 30 to about 50 depending on how they are grown.
Koa Kahili
@koa-kahili
11/04/08 12:08:35PM
7 posts
Is Chocolate "Raw"?Chocolate is a fermented food.A lot of people have been asking if Garden Island Chocolate is Raw. My answer is, "there is no such thing as Raw chocolate", leads to only more questions, hence this simple blog. The white pulp that surrounds the beans in the pod is most definatley raw and a delicious refreshing treat. The beans eaten straight from the pod are raw but rather bitter and astringent, the health benefits from choking down some wet viable cacao seeds is yet to be investigated. Raw food is all food cooked below 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit), as defined by Wikipedia. The fermentation process in cacao generates temperatures as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. A lot of foods are fermented, so can you eat fermented food and still be a raw foodest? That all depends on who you ask. In actuallity the cacao seeds are not fermented, its the white mucilaginous pulp that surrounds the beans that are fermented. The pulp disappears completely, leaving only the dead heated seeds. The seeds are then dried and become known as 'beans', ready for the chocolate factory. Poor fermentation can have serious concequences. If fermentation stops completely, the beans will be 'slaty' and unable to produce quality chocolate. Short fermentation prevents flavor precursors developing and bitterness and astringency reducing. Too much fermentation develops undesirable flavor characteristics, or 'off-flavors', when the beans are roasted. A pure criollo only requires a 3 day ferment reaching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) for only about an hour after each days oxygenation or turning of the beans. Cacao beans can have flavor development if not fermented, but usually these beans are roasted to bring out some flavor. The unfermented, unroasted beans usually have an off sour taste that when made into chocolate are quite bad. As for "Raw" cacao powder, the Broma process uses less heat and pressure then the hydraulic press. Cocoa liquor pressing if definitely not "Raw". The chocolate used in this process generally comes from moldy beans that are roasted at a high temperature. The liquid cocoa liquor is stored in large storage tanks where it is kept at a temperature of about 70C to ensure that the liquor remains liquid. From there the liquor is pumped to the liquor conditioning tanks mounted on each press, where the product is prepared to achieve optimum conditions when it is pressed into cocoa butter and cocoa cake.The liquor is heated to the required temperature in the tank, while high-speed stirring gear ensures quick heat transfer and homogenization of the product as well as reducing the viscosity. This gives the product a relatively thin-fluid consistency, and improves its flow and pressing properties. Industrial presses use as much as 6000 psi, requiring over a hundred tons of hydraulic pressure pushing on a press cylinder. "Raw" foodests should also be suspec of dutch processed chocolate. Dutched chocolate, is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder flavor. Dutched chocolate forms the basis for much of modern chocolate, and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa, and baking.The Dutch process accomplishes several things: Lowers acidity; Increases solubility; Enhances color;Lowers flavor. The Dutch process destroys flavonols (antioxidants).In conclusion, if "Raw" chocolate tastes like chocolate, chances are its not "Raw". Most of us eat chocolate because it taste good, it makes us feel good and satisfied so the preoccupation with "Raw" should be left to our tastes buds not a label.
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/04/08 12:38:57PM
116 posts
Thanks for this clarification! This is great!Hearts!Sacred Steve
updated by @sacred-steve: 09/08/15 10:09:14PM
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/04/08 01:07:52PM
116 posts
I would also like to add that everybody's chocolate palatte is totally unique, and what somebody considers great tasting, another considers disgusting. It is also possible to monitor fermentation temperatures, and control them, if one so desires. Also, I never use cacao powder in my chocolate. We slowly stone grind the beans at low temperature.Hearts!Sacred Steve
Chocovore
@chocovore
11/06/08 08:15:11PM
6 posts
I've been following this interesting thread was well into it when S. S. disclosed the Sacred Raw was made with low-temp fermented cacao. I mistakenly assumed raw/unroasted/unfermented cacao. What is the ORAC score for dried but unfermented cacao and dried, roasted unfermented cacao?Thanks,Chocovore
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/06/08 08:19:24PM
116 posts
Hi Chocovore!I am not sure about the ORAC scores on those different types that you suggest. I have not seen any lab reports on those yet.Hearts!Sacred Steve
Clay Gordon
@clay
11/07/08 09:14:24AM
1,680 posts

Chocovore - Scores will also vary widely based on the variety. For example, one of the reasons criollos are pale is that they have lower concentrations of polyphenols. So they will have lower ORAC scores right out of the pod. To really generalize: The darker the bean, the higher the concentration of polyphenols, and the higher the ORAC score. But not always.




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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 07/01/17 12:37:01PM
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/24/08 01:11:36PM
116 posts
Hi Jenna! The beans we use are harvested in a proprietary way so that they are extremely clean. Even so, they are regularly tested for contamination. We have submitted our products to the state of california health department for testing. Also, we build our own custom machines, so we go from bean to bar in our own facility. Hope that helps!?Hearts!Sacred Steve
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
11/24/08 06:42:17PM
116 posts
Hi Jenna, It is best to test every batch. This is what I recommend to keep from accidently making people sick on raw cacao. We have thrown cacao out as a result of tests. This is a very serious matter. We work closely with the cacao farmers to ensure cleanliness. I wish I could talk about process, but that is proprietary right now. Eventually, we will open the factory up to the public...at least that is my intent.Hearts!Sacred Steve
Clay Gordon
@clay
11/24/08 08:57:57PM
1,680 posts
Is it worth the price? Over at rawguru.com they are advertising a .32 ounce (9 gram) bar of chocolate for $7.97 - or the equivalent of over $180 per pound (or over $400/kg). Can this possibly be correct?Sacred Chocolate's hearts are $9.45 (quantity 1) for a 2 ounce portion, or about $75/lb ($166/kg).To put it in perspective the price of the two new Bonnat Porcelanas (Peru and Mexican origins) is $21/100gr bar - or $95/lb.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
ChocoFiles
@chocofiles
11/29/08 10:09:43AM
251 posts
When I calculated it I came up with different nubmers:rawguru .32 oz (9.1g) bar = $87.58 per 100g ($875.80/kg)Sacred Chocolate 2 oz (56.7g) = $16.67 per 100g ($166.70/kg)For more perspective, Domori Porcelana is $18.60/ 100gAmano Cuyagua, $15.62/100gThe most expensive of the ~240 chocolates I've tasted, is Amedee I-Cru, $26.40/100g.
Eric Durtschi
@eric-durtschi
12/01/08 10:25:09AM
38 posts
With respect to the requests Steve made to buy beans in bulk, Steve asked very pointed questions to me about the quality and wanted samples of only the best ones. I have farmers that wash all the beans and they are very very clean and disease free. Not all beans are processed the same but if you work hard and have contacts with the farmers themselves you can really control a lot of the aspects involved. You certainly pay more for these labor intense processes but if you plan on making a raw cacao product it is a must.
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
12/11/08 09:44:03PM
116 posts
I have known Paul Nison for many years. Everytime he put out an article like this, I always challenge him, and he never responds to me. These are my responses:1. Theobromine, caffeine, and theophylline all have "deleterious effects on the body" (Nison provides a long list of such effects, ranging from birth abnormalities through to cancer) --->>> THEOBROMINE is a mild stimulant. It does not have the same effects on the nervous system as Caffeine. Chocolate mainly has Theobromine and only trace amounts of Caffeine. Theobromine is a smooth muscle relaxant and a vasodialator. As such it is GREAT for mental and physical performance since it helps in both oxygen and nutrient delivery to the capillaries and cells. From the 1890's to about the 1930's Theobromine was given to Heart attack victims to dialate blood vessels. It has also been given to asthma victims with success since it affects the vagus nerve between the brain and lungs. I have actually noticed improved breathing in myself as a result of eating raw cacao!2. MOST CACAO is Filthy. That is why most of it needs to be roasted and winnowed. The RAW beans we use are tested and farmed in a VERY special proprietary process such that the beans are SO clean they actually look like ALMONDS! They can be eaten whole and raw!3. I have seen MANY studies showing the benefits of cacao on the human body, Nison has yet to show me at least 1 scientific study showing that Cacao is dangerous to the human body.4. "One man's meat is another's poison" still holds true! It is wise to use moderation in all things, including raw cacao! Some people are radically allergic to many foods, while others are not.Hearts!Sacred Steve
Eric Durtschi
@eric-durtschi
12/11/08 10:04:43PM
38 posts
First of all, why specifically did you want the raw chocolate makers to respond to this? Basically, the article says that all cacao is to be avoided but raw is even worse. In the case of the raw chocolate makers, I supply 3 raw chocolate makers with cacao and the beans that they use are much better quality than the average bean (at least looking at cleanliness of the actual whole bean). Some of my customers use beans that are washed and hand peeled before starting the chocolate. Others use hand cleaned beans. These have almost no trace of bacteria when tested and any fecal matter or bug remnants are washed clean. These beans look amazing and I routinely am tempted to eat them.As far as many of the other comments in the article, most of it is incorrect and has no scientific backing. I am a doctor and a nutritionist and I studied the cacao bean extensively for over a year before starting to work with it. I was sure that I was going to find something wrong with it but the more I learned, the more impressed I got to be. I have written several articles about the health benefits of cacao. Don't get me wrong, I am not a raw foodest. I have had raw chocolate that I like but I prefer a good Amedei Porcelana or Amano Cuyagua and most recently the amazing 70% Madagascar from Patric Chocolate.I would be happy to respond to all of the negative things he talked about if the general response requires it. However, I think most people see the article for what it really is, a couple of guys that found out some potential negatives that they could not get over then they went on a rampage trying to find any potential negatives they could. In fact, the article mentions that Jeremy started to question cacao when he found out about the bugs that might be on the bean. You can give me almost any thing in the world and I will be able to find articles that are from "respected" journals that say completely opposing things.Basically, I am trying to say I disagree with the article. There are some things that are true in it however, and the writer is using scare tactics by throwing those little "gems" in there and them going off about a lot of other personal issues.I love chocolate and have researched it more than 99% of the population and I have yet to find any substantial evidence that will keep me away from it.Let me know if there are any specific items from the article that you would like additional information on.
Eric Durtschi
@eric-durtschi
12/12/08 08:50:14AM
38 posts
Thanks Samantha for the clarification. I
Clay Gordon
@clay
12/12/08 09:57:09AM
1,680 posts
Sam:None of Nison's opinions appear to be his own. The are all references from other authors. Ty Stanley (for the book cited) and Jeremy Saffaron.You left out my favorite factoid from Saffaron's list: "No animal in nature will eat it unless tricked into it with milk or sugar." I am not sure what the 'it' is he is referring to, as Saffaron conveniently confuses cacao seeds, cocoa beans, 'raw' chocolate, and finished chocolate. But, does he even consider that it might be the bitterness of the seeds that keeps animals from eating cacao - and that the bitterness comes from the antioxidant compounds in the cacao seeds, and that bitterness is a common tactic employed by plants to keep from being eaten?You may remember that when we were in Ecuador in 2005 that some of us attended a shamanistic ritual that included consuming ayahuasca. (Jeez, the guy can't even spell it right.) The shaman said they added ground cacao to the ayahuasca to make it more palatable. I have done a fair amount of research on this subject since and have come to the conclusion that this (adding cacao to ayahuasca) is a relatively modern practice. For two reasons. The first is that historically, the use of cacao in South American cultures was limited to making beverages from cacao pulp, not eating the seeds. The second is that if you take a look at all the textiles produced in Ecuador (for example) by indigenous peoples, there are literally no examples of cacao in the agricultural iconography they weave into their textiles. If cacao were important to them - as it was to Mesoamerican cultures - I would expect to see images of cacao pods on ceramic objects, in woven items, etc.Similarly, I took a quick look in Google for "Jeremy Saffaron" (in quotes) to see if I could find anything about him. Five results. If there was anything to this guy there would be many more than five results. There are almost 70,000 for '"David Wolfe" raw' in Google.Cocoa beans are not the only nut/cereal monitored by the FDA for which there are "allowable" levels of insect parts and droppings. This is a reflection of the near impossibility of being 100% clean - getting to that level would increase the cost of food production astronomically. I also believe that as animals we have evolved to be able to tolerate rather large quantities of these kinds of substances and it it my belief that it is the absence of these substances, especially early in life, that results in lowered stimulation of the immune system which has led to an increase in many diseases, including asthma, some allergies, and etc.We also need to remember that in some cultures insects are a delicacy! And we're not just talking parts here we're talking the entire alimentary system. The aversion to insect parts is modern, western, and maybe peculiarly British, British Commonwealth, (where the first food purity laws since Kosher were enacted) and American. If you are hungry enough you will eat grasshoppers and even grubs (an Aussie Aboriginal treat for sure) and aren't locusts and honey a Biblical staple?Saffaron says, "At mega does of 40 plus beans it acts as a hallucinogen and can cause many effects attributed to LSD or Hashish." To this I can only say that smoking dried banana peels, nutmeg, and dozens of otherwise okay foods are thought to deliver the same results. 40 beans is a lot of beans and anybody who is stupid enough to try eat that many ... hey - maybe it could be a stunt on the TV show Jackass!Nison notes, "His (Saffaron's) personal study of him (it took 1.5 years of him eating it to see extreme negative effects) and his friends showed him clearly the negative effects of cacao." At what levels of intake? This is not science and, as everyone else here has noted, there is no credible supporting peer-reviewed research to back up these claims. It's all anecdotal and therefore suspect.As one person on David Wolfe's blog TheBestDayEver opines:Water can be toxic if drank [sic] too fast in too large a quantity. If you research anything enough online, you'll find somebody claiming it's totally toxic or hallucinatory, because everything, in some quantity, will be one of the two.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Lemm Huang
@lemm-huang
12/12/08 01:22:22PM
13 posts
Hi everyone,Samantha referred me to this website after forwarding to her the article by Paul Nison.Wow, this website has some really great, great info!I sent this article to her because I just could not see Paul's motive for writing this article, since he promotes raw foods in his store, articles and lectures. I reasoned that he could have a sincere concern for the public, even though he maybe technically wrong. So I wanted to find out from Samantha whether she had ever heard of anyone experiencing negative side effects from eating raw unfermented cocoa.Eric, since you are a doctor and nutrition specialist, could you please point out the things in his article that are indeed true. This would at least help me to sort out his article better.To everybody else:I also want to know if raw unfermented cocoa still smells like cocoa. It obviously tastes bitter, with Forastero being the strongest. But does the inside of the bean straight from the pod still have the cocoa flavor for the Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero varieties?Has anyone ever tried or know of anyone who has tried making raw chocolate without fermenting or roasting the cocoa?If so, can you share with me what your experience has been like? - not the process of course, but the taste.
James Cary
@james-cary
12/12/08 05:56:45PM
32 posts
But most orange juice, at least in the States, is not consumed raw. Most is at least pasteurized.Certainly there's a tolerable amount of pathogens as Clay mentions. But, I would think in order to insure safety on a mass scale, it will take a considerable amount of resources. Cacao pulp seems like a nice place to set up a homestead if I were a pathogen. And the process of drying is still mostly done in the open to all manner of creatures who might make a deposit of pathogens.I've done some reading (I believe in On Food and Cooking by McGee) which says that certain foods can actually be digested better when consumed cooked. What is the thinking in this regard to chocolate? Does it play an effect on the body, maybe the liver (or possibly the intestines) as has been suggested?Thanks for bringing up this topic, Sam and Lemm. I've really been wondering about this, too.
Chocovore
@chocovore
12/12/08 08:24:14PM
6 posts
All: Back to chocolate. This is a great time of year to count your microbial blessings. Foremost are the benefits to humankind that result from injesting fermented and cultured foods and beverages including most chocolate. The microbes active in fermentaion are beneficial and tend to displace harmful pathogens. More importantly, many such microbes are symbiotic and essential for maintaining good health. Use common sense. Eat and drink without fear and trust your liver and immune system to protect you from the bad stuff. Seek out the good stuff (live foods) including the liquor from fermenting cocao if you can get it. Cheers, Chocovore
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
12/12/08 10:58:43PM
116 posts
BELOW IS AN EMAIL DIALOGUE I HAD REGARDING THIS ISSUE EARLIER IN THE YEAR...BTW, The below information that Nison/Saffaron is presenting below (no scientific backing or documentation to support it either, just like the last article they put out), could potentially be FATAL to a meticulous mind in the raw food movement who drinks ayahuasca! This is why: Say somebody reads the below and gets the idea that they are now only going to eat raw cacao with ayahuasca (assuming they are an ayahuasca user, rare breed indeed, but possible) based on the information presented below by Nison/Saffaron; that it is only eaten by indigenous people along with their ayahuasca brew, and therefore safe consumed in that way. Well, should somebody do that, it could result in a hypertensive crises based on the information in Erowid: http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/maois/maois_info2.shtml NOTE CHOCOLATE IS LISTED UNDER CAUTIONARY FOODS. The problem is the possible Tyramine Content in the particular chocolate which can vary based on many variables. It also depends on how much is consumed of course and the particular persons body chemistry and sensitivities to all these complexities. Bottom line is that a serious hypertensive crisis has the ability to kill you. Also, not only is Ayahuasca an MAOI but there is potential that Chocolate is too, or at least supports an MAOI effect in some alchemical way, which would just exacerbate the potential danger.On Jul 27, 2008, at 9:11 PM, SS@SacredChocolate.com wrote:I have seen this same exact rant for years. There are many scientific studies for the benefits of cacao. I have not seen one yet showing it is poisonous. There are many plants in nature that don't have a natural predator. That being said, one person's "meat" is another's poison. I suggest consuming everything in moderation. Jeshua recommends the same. Why are some people fatally allergic to some foods while others are not? The reasons are many and sometimes not even chemical in nature! Love! Sacred Stevewww.SacredChocolate.com________________________________________From: "Aurora Butterfly"Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 15:09:16 -0700To: Sacred SteveSubject: Re: CacaoSteve, what do you think about this? I think Paul Nison likes to crap on things.Do you think cacao is toxic to the liver? hmmm...On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 1:27 AM, Brian Lucas wrote:This is a an article from my bro Paul Nison. My friend Jeremy, who turned me on to raw cacao 11 yrs ago has donesome interesting studies on it. I've never been huge on cacao myself and use it only sparingly but if you eat a lot you should consider this article.Love and Light, BeLiveRaw Toxic Chocolateby Paul Nisonwww.paulnison.comThis month my article is about chocolate. I chose to write abut this topic because many raw food eaters today are being misled and told that it is healthy. It is dangerous and people need to know the truth.More True Information on the Negative Effects of CacaoSince my last article on the negative effects of cacao, many people have agreed with me how toxic it really is. On the other hand, there were some people who would not change their mind about it no matter what the cost. In fact, those people became angry with me. The truth can hurt, but I'm just the messenger. As I said in my last article about cacao, I wish it were healthy, but the fact is it is not! Whether you are willing to admit it or not is your decision, but there are so many foods that are proven to be healthy, why continue to take some that are up for debate? Many people are being misled to believe cacao and other raw 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.I recently spoke to a good friend of mine Jeremy Saffaron. Jeremy has been involved in the raw food community for a very long time. He has the author of a raw food recipe book and also an excellent resource guide. Jeremy told me he was the first person to do any raw research with cacao involving the raw food movement. He spent 4 years (1999 -2003) studying the effects of cacao and has dedicated countless hours surfing the net, talking with specialists, and even got involved with the University of Hawaii, who's agriculture branch is looking into raw cacao toxicity.When Jeremy first found out about cacao he was so excited about it. He sold it for a short while (2001-2002) and was the first person to let others in the raw food world know about it. Again I repeat, JEREMY WAS THE FIRST PERSON IN THE RAW WORLD to let others know about cacao.He turned on many raw food promoters to it because he believed at the time that is was an amazing discovery as a great tasting, nutritionally loaded food and it was also a way to connect with his friends who were still addicted to cooked chocolate even though they were raw otherwise. Another big turn on was the fact that many of the daily coffee drinkers he knew in the yoga scene were glad to switch to raw cacao from their roasted coffee. Jeremy told me he never drank coffee in his life, but as a kid did eat chocolate from the store. But 13 years ago, he stopped eating chocolate because he found out about the bugs that were in all chocolate. (I mentioned that in my last article about cacao.)With all the excitement about raw chocolate and all the benefits, Jeremy was thrilled to get the product to the public. However, when Jeremy was selling it, he did warn people that all the studies on it were not in yet so to be careful not to over due it until further research is conducted. It was also very cost prohibitive at the time at twenty five cents a bean, plus each bean had to be personally peeled to eat them. (By the way, this should be a hint about how much can and should be eaten in one sitting.)After eating cacao for six months, Jeremy didn't really experience negative side effects, but he noticed those around him whose health and digestion weren't as efficient as his started to experience issues with the cacao. That was the first sign that lead him to begin to study the negative effects of cacao.I myself have a similar experience. I consumed cacao in small amounts as well, but unlike Jeremy, I felt the difference every time I tried it. It didn't make me feel good. A good friend of mine, doctor Fred Bisci ,a raw foodist for about 40 years, also confirmed what Jeremy and I suspected, cacao is toxic!Jeremy's findings were as follows: 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. 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 ahyuwasca and as a medicine in emergencies. Native people did not eat it as a food nor as a supplement, only for sacred use. Cacao is one of the most addictive substances known Cacao is super toxic to the liver 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 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. 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, & dizziness. 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 HashishJeremy concludes that his personal study (it took 1.5 years of him eating it to see extreme negative effects) and his friends showed him clearly the negative effects of cacao.From my study it seems that the people using cooked cacao powder had less toxic effects than those using roasted cacao beans whole and far, far less than those using whole, raw cacao beans.There are a good amount of people who have experienced the same negative affect of cacao and have changed their opinion about it being such a super food. I personally can't see anyone taking it for a long time not feeling the negative effects on some level. A big problem is, at that point so many people are already addicted to it and can't stop even if they wanted to. Very similar to the addiction people have to cooked food. They just can't except that it's not healthy for them so they make excuses to keep consuming it.Jeremy and I both feel the sadness that raw food promoters command so much public attention and use it to sell anything they can. It should be information, not products that people seek out.The bottom line is no matter what someone feels, or believes, cacao is toxic! Science will confirm it. You may be able to consume the drug cacao and not have felt any negative affects, but in time you will. Please do not wait to experience the negative affects and get off this drug as soon as you can.For those of you who say, I am always knocking someone else's glory or product, I can just reply by saying I am concerned about each individual's health. That is the most important thing to me. I know what it is like to live with disease and I want to help as many people as possible avoid it. I am so blessed to know people like Jeremy who have an open mind and continue to share the same mission with me of bringing the truth to the surface and helping others.Jeremy and I acknowledge there are many toxic things that people do everyday from using a computer, to driving a car, from drinking coffee to smoking to all sorts of wild practices and toxic substances and experiences. Each one must make a choice and it's our hope that people with power use it responsibly.Jeremy wanted me to share with my readers a warning to always study and research before promoting or selling anything. He learned the hard way. Years ago he promoted the use of coconuts because he lived in the tropics and knew the benefits well. The down side was people wanting coconuts and not realizing that the answer was to go where they grow. Instead they found a way to engage in exploitation and buy toxic formaldehyde dipped bleached nuts wrapped in plastic irradiated from Thailand. He went back and tried to dissuade people from eating the toxic nuts but they didn't seem to care. Cacao seems the same, those who want to engage with it will, toxic or not. (Once again after recently getting tons of coconuts right off the trees in Florida, I feel such a difference after eating Thai coconuts.)Jeremy's final stand on cacao is it is for medicinal, sacred and entertainment usage only, it is not a health food! My personal, final opinion is that we should only consume foods for nutritional needs, anything else will lead to disease, especially the way we overuse it!
Sacred Steve
@sacred-steve
12/12/08 11:09:12PM
116 posts
I have done all of the above...the less the fermentation the less the chocolate flavor...raw beans out of the pod are anything from bitter and plain to tart, tangy, and fruity but with no chocolate flavor.
Lemm Huang
@lemm-huang
12/13/08 12:26:16AM
13 posts
Samantha,I just finished about 8 hours of reading. Thanks again for pointing me to this awesome website. Other threads also helped me answer some other questions I have, and I too must join the rest of the chocophiles in saying that your replies are very thorough and well presented.
Volker Lehmann
@volker-lehmann
12/13/08 07:17:26AM
4 posts
Raw chocolate is not possible as the term chocolate requires minimum a roasting and grinding process. It wound then be raw cacao bean paste mixed with other things. Monkeys spit the seeds out just sucking the pulp, they can't be wrong.
updated by @volker-lehmann: 07/04/15 11:38:40PM
Clay Gordon
@clay
12/13/08 07:23:52AM
1,680 posts
Steve:Interesting cross reference to the "foods to avoid if you are on MAOI (mono amine oxidase inhibitor) medications" post. I am reminded that there are many examples of incidental heterodyne effects when combining two or more foods.One example is ayahuasca itself. It is made from two different plants - one of which is a vine - neither of which have psychoactive properties. It is only when the two are combined that hallucinations occur.From personal experience I can tell you that ayahuasca is poisonous as the first reaction your body has to ingesting it is a sincere desire to vomit. It is the practice to collect the body's "offerings" and dispose of them ritually. The hallucinations themselves (or at least the ones I experienced) have a quality I can only call crystalline. Very sharp edged and well defined, radiating with a bright internal light. The images I saw were based in North American Indian symbology (which I know much better than South American).I have been told (a family member of a close friend relayed this information to me and I have no reason to doubt it - I have no personal experience and I have done no research on this) that people who are on blood thinning medications such as coumadin and who supplement those medications with a low-dose aspirin regimen should exercise caution in the amount of chocolate they eat because cacao also has blood thinning properties. (BTW, chocolate is not alone here. People on blood thinning medications are advised to avoid many foods that can further thin the blood, perhaps to dangerous levels. Kale is among them. If I ever have to take coumadin or another of its ilk avoiding kale presents no real problem for me. Whew.)


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
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