Chocolate made with 70%-100% organic cacao, is on my top list of super foods, and I unapologetically consume it every day. If you’re one of those people who have been misled to think chocolate is bad for you, and think my daily habit is a vicious one, you need to get the facts right: there are different qualities of chocolate and of the cacao beans that produce it. The cacao I consume, which comes straight from the lush Amazon jungle, is a wholesome millenary ingredient that keeps me healthy, happy, and glowing from the inside out.
Do you think it’s a coincidence that chocolate is a way to a girl’s heart? The fact is that cacao is fantastic for the heart’s well being, because of it’s high magnesium content. Saying that it’s good for our love organ is not just a myth. According to several holistic health experts that have crossed my path, we crave chocolate when we’re anxious or sad, because of the powerful magnesium in the cacao, which relaxes our nervous system and makes us feel good and cozy inside. On top of this, cacao has a rich concentration of antioxidants and other goodies, making it a great addition to any diet. Even the Mayas and Aztecs knew this, and consumed cacao both in food and drinks, and offered it to their Gods during special ceremonies.
Peru may not be famous (yet) for it’s chocolate, the way Switzerland or Belgium are; but did you know we are the biggest producers of high quality organic cacao in the world? Next time you’re sighing over the last bite of that expensive and sophisticated truffle, chances are the wonderful ingredient that made your treat so deliciously addictive grew in the hot and exuberant Amazon jungle.
In fact, even Anthony Bourdain has visited Peru many times in search of the best cacao he could find. Together with Eric Ripert, chef at Le Bernardin, they have created a chocolate brand using our local grains, which is sold in the US (its first edition completely sold out).
When consuming chocolate, it’s best to go for 100% cacao (ie. no sugar). I eat this melted over sweet fruits such as mango or bananas (yum!), or have it with a date and a teaspoon of peanut butter, to resemble a homemade Snickers bar. Another way of including this super ingredient in your healthy lifestyle, getting all the benefits you want from it and none of the bad things that result from eating bad quality chocolate bars, is adding raw organic cacao powder to your breakfast cereal or smoothies. I sprinkle it shamelessly over quinoa, amaranth or oatmeal, add some nuts, berries and raw honey, and I have my chocolate fix for the day. Did I say this is one addiction I don’t plan on quitting any time soon?