LoveMade Heart(b)eating Chocolate
Theobroma Cacao is a much loved and very powerful food living up to its ancient name as the Food of the Gods.
Use of the cacao tree dates back at least 5,000 years to Brazil and the Amazon and images of the cacao pods were carved into Mayan stone temples dating back to as early as 300 C.E. A symbol of fertility, vitality and life, the Mayans revered and used cacao extensively. By 600 C.E. the Mayans had expanded their way of life and were actively cultivating crops of cacao from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Pacific Coast.
The Mayans mixed cocoa with peppers, cornmeal and other foods to create a strong drink that was used for religious ceremonies and a wide variety of medicinal purposes. This wasn’t the sweet confection we are so familiar with now, rather this was a very bitter and thick “bitter water” or xocoatl–which we derived the word chocolate from. The Mayans brewed xocoatl to treat everything from an upset stomach, low energy and libido, lowering fevers, expectorating phlegm, treating blood in the stools and diarrhea. It was also used to regulate sleep–by either encouraging it or prohibiting–a dynamic little trait of chocolate. Women used it to treat patterns of deficiency including anemia, infertility and decreased breast milk production.
The darker and more bitter the chocolate the higher the medicinal value. Once sugar and fillers are added to chocolate the quicker we move away from the healthy highlights of the cacao bean’s nature.
What makes chocolate so special?
Fabulous flavonoids – Flavonoids are what give plants their coloring. The more color a plant has the more antioxidant or free-radical-fighting power it has.
Chocolate contains ‘happy fat’ and protects against cholesterol – Cocoa butter, the satiating, delish part of chocolate is saturated fat. It is interesting to note that the saturated fat in chocolate does not raise blood cholesterol levels, unlike the fats from dairy and meat products.
Bitter flavor – The bitter flavor enters the Fire organs–the Heart, Pericardium, Triple Warmer, Small Intestines. In Asian (Chinese) medicine terms, these organs relate to relationships. The Fire organs help us interact with others, helping us maintain healthy and rewarding relationships when in balance. When out of balance, we lack appropriate boundaries–we may be too open or too closed off.
Aphrodisiac nature – Chocolate has a long history as an aphrodisiac. Researchers believe this is due in part to phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is a neurotransmitter that releases endorphins, once released these neurotransmitters give us a feeling of euphoria. Likely, this is where some of the chocolate’s addictive nature may come from. We feel more relaxed, yet stimulated, calm, and happy. However, chocolates heavy in sugar may also create an addiction to the blood sugar bump and can lead to the accumulation of damp and phlegm in the body.
Chocolate is good for the Heart and Blood – Flavonoids in chocolate help to keep blood from clotting. The effects are quite similar to low doses of aspirin. In Chinese medicine we say that chocolate enters the Heart and helps to move the Blood. This relates to both chocolate’s euphoric nature and its ability to move the Blood which releases constraints.
(Info from the blog website of April Cowell)
Here we give you the recipe of the chocolate we make at Sunshine House to nourish our hearts and souls after a long day of practice. We use pure organic cooking chocolate that we enrich with warming spices and seeds.
Preparation time: 20 mins
Refrigerating time: 2-3 hours
- 500gr organic cooking chocolate (couverture)
- 150gr brown raisins
- 150gr sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp of ginger chopped into very small cubes
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/3 tsp asteroid anise
- Some coconut flakes to spread on top
We melt the cooking chocolate in a bain-marie and when it is completely liquid we add the spices (cinnamon, cardamom, anise) and stir. Then, we add the raisins and the buckwheat and stir until they are spread evenly. Next step, we add the coconut oil. This will give our chocolate some shining effect! We put the cooking paper on a tray and keep it close by in order to put our chocolate in. Just before we take the chocolate down from the fire we add the orange zest and the ginger and stir very fast. There is a danger at this point to ruin our chocolate because the zest and the ginger contain water, and this is why need to stir fast and spread the melted chocolate on the tray right away. If something goes wrong don’t worry.. You can spread on top the coconut flakes and nobody will notice!! We refrigerate for a couple of hours until our chocolate is thick again. You can cut in pieces, or bars and serve to your friends and family pure chocolate love!!!
Chocolate is sweet and warm in nature. Chocolate promotes energy and spirit, but also as it is very sweet it produces a lot of damp-heat in the body. If eaten too much, chocolate can cause overproduction of phlegm in the body. You can balance by reducing the sugar and add drying spices like cardamom.
- Instead of buckwheat, you can use chopped nuts of your preference. For extra tasty results, you roast them first 🙂
- You can put them in beautiful jars or colorful paper and offer them as a present for thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other celebration.
We usually serve this chocolate during our Temple nights, a special time of each course, when we apply all that we have learned with our minds through our hearts, without words and books, just with our presence and loving touch in the candlelight and the sounds of soft healing music. The best company for this delight is a masala chai, a drink made from rice milk, raw honey, ginger and spices…