What is Ceremonial Cacao and why it can help you balance your hormones and relief anxiety?
When I first came across of ceremonial cacao, I have thought it is a cup of cocoa drunk with intentions. I was like, huh? Ok, that sounds good but probably not my cup of "cocoa". But this didn't stop me. I knew there must be more to it, than just a normal cup of cacao drunk in a meditative kind of way, there must be more. And there was.
So what is ceremonial cacao, why is it good for your body and how it can help you relieve anxiety.
Ceremonial grade cacao is made from whole bean, organic cacao.
These beans undergo a fermentation process necessary for cultivating their flavour profile and activating certain natural compounds. The beans are then roasted at low temperatures, cracked, and stone-ground by traditional means forming a paste, that will harden up once cold and set.
Ceremonial cacao is NEVER tempered.
When we consume an unrefined form of cacao unsweetened or with very little sugar, it is a superfood, packed with beneficial minerals and neuro-chemicals that beneficially affect our state of mind. The mild bitterness of a ceremonial cacao drink can also serve to cleanse the liver or release emotions, and the alkaloid content of pure cacao boosts circulation and absorption of nutrients
Cacao Contains Many Beneficial Minerals
Consuming cacao can replenish minerals vital to our body.
Magnesium is chronically deficient in the majority of western diets, and cacao is the highest naturally occurring source. Magnesium is used in all key brain functions, especially memory and concentration. It is also beneficial for the function of the heart, acting to relax blood vessels and decrease strain.
Besides magnesium, cacao is also the highest naturally occurring source of chromium, and also high in copper, calcium, manganese, zinc, sulphur, iron, and phosphorous.
The Positive Impacts of Cacao on Mood
Regularly working with unsweetened chocolate can have therapeutic health benefits, including creating new neural pathways that change our daily experience to include more joy, love, and connection.
Cacao contains beneficial neurotransmitters and neuro-modulators already present in our brain, most notably including:
Norepinephrine - The joy molecule
Serotonin - Helps with wellbeing, and creates resistance to stress. Cacao also has MOA inhibitors, that inhibit reuptake of serotonin.
Dopamine - Gives feelings of motivation and pleasure. Cacao also has MOA inhibitors, that inhibit reuptake of dopamine.
Anandamine - The bliss molecule, it moderates pain, and is associated with the "runners high" effect. Cacao also has N-linoleoylethanolamine, the re-uptake inhibitor for anandamine.
Phenylethylamine (PEA) - Helps with excitement, alertness, attention. Gives the perception of time slowing down.
So there are many reasons you should take up drinking Ceremonial grade of cacao on your weekly chill hour or daily instead of your cup of coffee.
When Shouldn't I Drink Cacao?
I definitely DO NOT recommend cacao if you are taking any sort of mood-altering medications, such as anti-depressants with SSRIs, or any medication that works in the dopamine or serotonin pathways.
Other health contraindications I have heard of
It may cause an aggravation of acid reflux or ulcers.
It may cause breaking out when an individual has herpes.
If pregnant, we recommend not starting with cacao if you don't already have a practice with it. If you do have a cacao practice, we recommend 1/4-1/2 of what you normally intake. While breastfeeding, cacao is safe. Just keep an eye out on the baby, and see if the baby likes it or not.
How to source Ceremonial Grade cacao?
This cacao usually came in form of hard brick or lumps.
It has to be RAW and unprocessed.
I recommend searching for your health stores for ceremonial grade cacao and see what you can find.
So This is how I make my Ceremonial Cacao cup.
My cup of Cacao
1 heaped TBS of cacao (lump or grated)
3/4 cup of hot water (let boiling water sit for 1 min)
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup of coconut milk
1 tsp of honey
Method: Place all ingredients in Blender.
Pulse for about 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Pour into your favourite mug.
Drink with a smile on your face. TIP: Start with a smaller amount of RAW cacao paste and build your tastebuds to it.