Cocoa Or Cacao

It’s that time of year again when we all know there is going to be few extra waistline centimeters on their way. The time of year when all these studies come out telling us that chocolate is actually healthy for us (then you find out the study is sponsored by Cadbury or Nestle…).

Yes it’s Easter. And that means chocolate time. I don’t know if your family is like mine, but I tell them every year, if they are going to get me chocolate, at least get the dark stuff or even better think of something different. Chocolate is something I enjoy on the odd occasion, but there is a healthy way to get your hit without all the sugar. I’m about to tell you a way to get your chocolate hit while eating a highly nutritious food without all the negatives that come with chocolate.

Let’s start with dark chocolate. If I am going to buy chocolate off the supermarket shelf, it is always dark. The more cocoa mass the better. There one I prefer is actually 85%cocoa mass. I don’t need much as it is so rich and the sugar content is very low. There is no dairy in it like with milk chocolate, as dairy has been shown to destroy any antioxidants left in the cocoa. It’s an OK choice if nothing else is available, but still there is something on the market that is far batter, can be eaten daily without issue and tastes amazing! It’s called cacao.

Some people would tell you that the only difference between cocoa and cacao is just in the spelling. But the difference is similar to naturally occurring sugars in food and the granulated sugar you buy in a packet. It’s worlds apart.

Cocoa, which is the base of all store bought chocolate, is highly processed, heated to very high temperatures and stripped of the majority of its nutrients. You then add sugar, dairy, soy products and emulsifiers etc, you just end up with a chemical cocktail. Not really something a person interested in their health or performance should be eating.

Cacao is the raw, unprocessed and healthy version of it. It’s dried using the heat provided by the sun, left in its natural state and packed full of nutrients, minerals and anti oxidants. It has more magnesium than just about any other food and magnesium is essential for preventing muscle cramps among many other things. It really is one of natures super foods.

You can buy the beans, nibs or the powder and make your own healthy chocolate from it using another cacao product called cacao butter. The butter is just the fat from the cacao bean, another really healthy product and tastes great. I quite often add this stuff to my breakfast smoothies and if you want to really explore the possibilities of these products, head over to the Loving Earth Website for some healthy and tasty recipes. Not into cooking? You can buy their already made chocolate bars sweetened with coconut. These taste amazing! They are Australian made; just north of my home town of Melbourne and they deliver to your door.

Do yourself a big favour and check out the site, or even find a local supplier in your area if you live in a different country.

The most important thing to remember at Easter is to have fun, enjoy time with your family and whatever chocolaty treats they might give you. And, if you can sneak a run in, that might help with any chocolate based guilt.

Run well,

Chris O’Driscoll.


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