Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cacao Preparation and Use


2 Gallons (7.6 L) Ready to Serve


Chop a block of our ground ‘paste’ chocolate with a large knife into fragments about 1/4 inch (6 mm) or smaller in some dimension, so it softens easily in hot water.  OR… a few cacao block chunks quickly pulsed at high speed in a blender will give you usable fine cacao that dissolves easily in hot water.  Blend it too long and it will begin melting and stick to the blender.  Use too much and the top layer will not be ground as the lower cacao sticks in the space around the blades.  A chopstick is handy for digging out the slightly stuck cacao around the blades.

Weigh our cacao…
0.3-0.4 oz (8.5-11.5 gm) for dreaming or lucid dreaming taken mid sleep cycle;
1/2 oz (14 gm) cacao for very sensitive, or some long-term cacao drinkers;
1 oz (28 gm) of our cacao for a meditation or creativity assist;
1.2 oz (34 gm) for mild aerobic activity like yoga or dancing;
1.5 oz (42.5 gm) for my normal ceremonial dose;

to 2 oz (57 gm) for an upper-limit (first time Not recommended) ceremonial dose, especially if you have a large body.  Note that about 5% of average drinkers will get nauseous (sick) from this much bitter if they consume this much at one time.


A one-pound (454 gm) package of our cacao does 10 2/3 ceremonial doses at 1.5 oz (42.5 gm).  I know of ceremonies that went wonderfully with 16 to 20 people per one-pound block (23-28 gm per person). 


Water: Per person, use 4 US ounces (120 cc) water for a thicker 'Mayan Potion'… to 10 oz (300 cc) for a much more liquid drink, more or less as you wish….  Heat water (no need to boil… try hot enough to barely keep a finger in it).  

Flavoring: 


· Chili/ red/ cayenne pepper (a traditional synergist) for a good tickle… more if you like, less if you don’t – finely powdered cayenne does not need to be strained.  The chili is traditional and the circulation warming helps get the cacao into your bloodstream… but isn’t mandatory.  On a vibrational level that red-warming-stimulating translates as a spiritual accelerator (from the plant spirit medicine literature). 
· Cardamom (or Cinnamon, the Mexican preference)
· Ginger, goes very well with the chili
· Vanilla, often considered the perfect partner… add vanilla extract at the end.  Tonka bean (not legal in USA) gives a similar essence
· Salt, many like a pinch
· Or whatever you like… spices, essential oils/ extracts (suggest lemon, orange, almond)... or powdered superfoods (chlorella, moringa, maca, maya nut our favorite)   
· Milk, animal milk interferes with the absorption of active compounds in cacao... veggie milks, especially coconut, are loved by many

· Sweetening, while many experienced drinkers use no sweetening at all… if your taste has been perverted by the consensus reality belief that bitter is bad and sweet is good… help yourself to your favorite... it will not affect the energies.  Cinnamon or Licorice Root Powder add sweetening.
 

For making one or 2 cups for personal use without a little latte battery powered milk frother (works great!, but they don't last very long), put the chopped cacao (and any chili powder, cardamom, cinnamon, etc.) in the bottom of a coffee mug and add just enough very hot water to wet it.  Mash into a thick paste with the back of a spoon, adding more hot water in small amounts, working until smooth.  Add more water to your preferred drinking consistency.  Add all the water at once and you will be chasing lumps without a little whish or frother.

Here is our favorite tool for making a few cups of cacao.  A quality whisk has been re-shaped by bending with 2 pairs of pliers to fit flat-bottomed into a cup or mug.  It is rolled back-and-forth between the palms of both hands and quickly incorporates the hot-water softened chunks of cacao with the powdered ujuxte, cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, and chili.  A normal rounded whisk will work almost as well.  A few seconds of rotation and there you are, froth and all:






For a pot-full: Water is weighed or measured into the pot with a bit extra for evaporation, and heated to just finger ouch... the cacao is weighed and added to the hot water, and is thoroughly whisked to break-up the heat softened chunks.  After it has 'dissolved', everyone's portion is weighed into their cup… stir the pot or pouring pitcher often.  Flavorings can be added to pot or individual cup.  

Weigh Scale recommendation from experience: The durable Escali digital kitchen scale has a long time-out and uses inexpensive or rechargeable AA batteries.  Scales using coin cell batteries... batteries are expensive, short lived, and the short time-out (making batteries last longer) is frustrating in use.  For travelers, you can use 5-6 rounded teaspoons of finely chopped cacao as a full dose, or the American Weigh Scale Blade 1kgx0.1gm uses AAA batteries, which we used for 6 months all over Europe. Scale, batteries, and box total 5.55 oz (157 gm).

With the current state of high energies, I am using 1.5 oz (42.5 gm) cacao with 4.5 oz (133 cc) to 8.5 oz (251 cc) water per person given at one time as a full ceremonial dose.  I pour out the cacao and water total on a weighing scale which makes it easier to serve a bit less, or more, at the request of experienced drinkers.   For us with slightly larger cups than many, 1.5 oz cacao + 8.5 oz water = 10 oz which is really easy to measure out for someone who, say, wants 2/3 of a regular dose (that would be 6.65 oz).  Easy.  When we are traveling with the often smaller cups of others, we often use either 4.5 or 5.5 ounces (128 - 156 gm or cc).  The smaller amount of water makes a really delicious slightly thick drink many prefer.

Everyone in my ceremonies stirs in optional sweetening and concentrated hot-pepper ‘tea’ (or powdered hot pepper) to taste.  Drink it slow or fast as you feel. 



If you are using nibs (broken pieces of cacao bean) from the raw folks, try the same amount or more, as the most common Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Brazilian, Indonesian, or African nibs are 10-70% weaker than our Guatemalan cacao.  You will have to finely blend (in a blender) the nibs with a small portion of the water, or chew them finely as bean fragments do not melt in hot water.  If you are using finely powdered cacao from the 'raw' folks, try half the amount (by weight) as most of the butter weight has been removed through hot hydraulic pressing.  The raw powder seems to be much more variable in ceremonial suitability than the nibs… try it.  You can also expect such hybrid cacao varieties to have a lot of caffeine... too 'buzzy', no focus... for us.

Contraindications:  Those who need dietetic detox, or are toxic (as with an intervention like chemotherapy), may become nauseous 5-6 hours after a large dose, as the bitter stimulates the liver… if so drink water!  Those into fasting or raw diet may overdose on regular ceremonial quantities.  Lower doses may also be needed for some (but not all) with low body weight or those who regard themselves as sensitive, such as to drugs or energies... this could be physiological or belief system based, or both.   

Heads Up Note!:  Many antidepressants do NOT mix with the tryptophan and MAOI's (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) in this cacao… Google your medication! – I have seen some ripping migraines, and it could be worse.  Most need to be on a large dose of antidepressants or anti-psycotics, or a mixture, to get a headache.  Heart conditions: cacao increases heart rate significantly (15-20%), and is a vasodilator, opening blood vessels, increasing flow, and reducing blood pressure if it is high.  Go easy at first with very low blood pressure – tho it is rarely a problem (for most, cacao increases low blood pressure)If you get migraines from coffee, be cautious with cacao, tho I rarely see a problem with our cacao.  

A larger or full ceremonial amount of cacao combined with intense aerobic activity or a high-heat hot spring/ tub/ sweat/ sauna could make anyone nauseous.  Dancing is fine!



Cacao in Pregnancy and Breast Feeding

Sources:  The local gringo midwives who work with the indigenous midwives have told me of traditional uses of cacao.  Over the years many people in pregnancy, lactation, or as moms have asked me about cacao use and i have asked the Cacao Spirit for info.  Along the way several MD's and a metabolic researcher - biochemist have added to my understanding.  Several 'cacao moms' have contributed… some, both moms and kids, are quite psychically or intuitively aware. 

Most babies, in or out of the womb, do really well with mom taking it, and we know of many awesome 'cacao children'.  About 1oz (28gm – 2/3 of a ceremonial dose) in the first 2 trimesters, about 2/3oz (20gm) dose in the last trimester. There are a few fetuses and breast-fed babies that don't like it... it is not a problem, but they will let you know so start easy and find your place with it.  2/3oz (20gm) while breast feeding until it is clear how the child reacts.  This is for our cacao, which is stronger in active compound content than others.  Half these amounts for the commercial 'raw powder’.  Those mostly South American, African, or Indonesian commercial hybridized varieties common in the raw market have a lot more caffeine than the Central American varieties we sell, so you may not consider it suitable for the lil ones. We know many children, of all ages, that enjoy cacao, often without sweetening.  Dosage is generally dependent on body weight.

Although cacao is classed as a stimulant, many, especially those given to meditation or contemplation, find they go deeper and quieter with cacao.  Same for most babies through the milk.  Try it and find out.  A smaller amount of cacao 2-3 times a day may be your preference for pregnant or lactating women.

Cacao in Guatemala is an Indigenous midwife standard for women (and midwives!) exhausted from a lengthy birthing.  It is also used as an effective treatment for postpartum depression.  We also have reports of cacao as being wonderful for morning sickness.  But if someone went into premature labor, it would be blamed on the cacao by the medical profession.  Someone who does not have testing skills for dosage on an individual basis will need to stay on the conservative side.

This reported from: Early Human Development (vol 76, p 139)

“The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and “positively reactive” – a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter.

And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who abstained.”  This study was done in Europe and so used chocolate with somewhat more active compounds than are in the Hershey, Mars, or Cadbury type chocolates (where they are less than 1% of traditional cacao according to the Mars candy company).

From an MD about the above: “…it must alter the brain neurochemistry and set the baseline neural wiring to a much more favourable experience of reality for the baby and I guess it incorporates it as it's learned expectation of 'reality' from then on.”


Spiritual chocolate is fatal to dogs, parrots, and horses, (cats have half the sensitivity so also fatal) who genetically lack the enzyme to metabolize theobromine (a caffeine related compound that is the principle stimulant in cacao)…  Few dogs will eat straight cacao, but I know of dogs that died after getting into the pan of brownies made from this cacao.  What happens is that the heart beats so fast it is vibrating... but not pumping blood.  

Also, I see cacao nibs appearing in trail mix… while a great trekking nourishment, the vasodilation in extremities could be a life threatening complication in heat-loss hypothermic situations – an unknown here, I do not know how well the body could override this and restrict capillary flow.

Until you know cacao, I emphatically recommend drinking no more than a 1.5 oz. (42.5 gm) ceremonial doseSome, but not all, with low body weight - take less.  Those needing dietetic detox or those clean and raw, take less first time - the level of acceptable stimulation will guide you.  If not about liver detox, hours later nausea is usually overdose - it is intelligent feedback from your body and your teacher.  Early nausea is usually a message… I talk about messages under Using Chocolate for Spiritual Purposes and under Emotional Detox.  


Ingesting more than 2 oz (57 gm) of this cacao is unnecessary and undesirable for almost everyone.  In my experience, often but not always, 5-7% of people given 2 oz (57 gm) of this cacao all at once, or 0-5% drinking this much within an hour, will become nauseous enough to vomit.  [I also know a few folks who can consume well over 200 gm of cacao in one day and be just fine... my limit is about 40 gm.]  Cacao is naturally self-limiting as higher doses soon produce nausea (any bitter in sufficient quantity is emetic).  Some folks came to the door a few years ago suggesting I supply free cacao for testing to see if cacao can be used in the way that the purging with some psychedelics is a natural part of the cleansing process… conclusion… all you get is sick.  The hard way to do a liver cleanse.  Inner work while nauseous doesn’t go very well, either…

One ounce (28 gm) per person is enough for many inner activities and can easily bring on deep emotional release.  Certainly sufficient for open-heartedness.  Everyone is different.  Many have experienced emotional release or immediate energetic blending with the Cacao Deva from munching one bean or from the first sip.  You know you have a cacao partnership when She smiles with you in this way.  I know several experienced cacao users who are quite sensitive to both energies and psychoactive substances who use about 1/2 oz (14 gm).  

Using about 20 gm or more is excellent to assist any group to go deeper and easier... concepts are more easily understood and at the same time the rational mind is more out of the way.  A beautiful group energy often emerges - i have had so many glowing reports from many different modalities and facilitators - this is really growing!

Spiritual books are more deeply understood with some of this kind of cacao in the system.  We hear that studying highly technical subjects is easier and much more is understood and retained in memory.

A ceremonial dose taken after about 5-6 pm (17-18 hrs) may have some awake late, unless you are tired from emotional release… although the occasional person can nap on a full ceremonial dose (it is called resistance).  I have done many evening ceremonies beginning 6 pm (18 hrs) or later and it is fine for most everyone, especially if sufficient water is taken afterward.  If you allow your density up, and then block its release, expect a ‘chocolate hangover’ the next day until the energies dissipate or you get them repressed again.  It is just energy… it has to go somewhere.  

You will have 30-40% more blood flowing to your brain with this cacao… no pharmaceutical drug does this.  Your skin will have almost double the oxygenation… touch is different if your intent or heart is involved.  The heart connecting and the extra genital blood flow also contribute to cacao being called an aphrodisiac.

Many can feel it immediately (energetic blending with the Cacao Spirit), and all are getting a buzz in 20-30 minutes.  Full effects in 45 minutes without a full stomach.  Deepest effects last 4 to 5 hours...  Those with a completely empty stomach will notice a more rapid assimilation.  Some prefer taking a full dose as two portions, several hours apart, or just as you begin to taper from the first ounce or less – workable for day-long focus holding.  An activity like hiking or all day creativity... take the cacao with a meal to spread out the assimilation.  I have people begin drinking water about halfway through a ceremony.  Important: dehydration headache, including next day - drink water!  Some find larger amounts of cacao to be gently laxative 4 to 7 hours later… this is normal. 

I have been offering some vervain 'tea' as an optional addition to the cacao in ceremony for some time now, and there is general agreement among those familiar with cacao that one feels the energies much faster.  A well-known medicinal herb and local small-white-flowered weed (European adventive of disturbed soil) here that i have found to be an excellent spiritual synergist with cacao... I value this addition.  Just before ceremony, a small bunch fresh from the garden goes into the blender with water, and is strained and served, to be added to the cacao brew after any sweetening is dissolved (it is going to cool the brew).  If you purchase vervain as dried leaves or powder, use a rounded teaspoon of the vervain per person made with the water that you're going to use for the cacao, let steep (with the dried powdered hot chili pepper if you are adding it that way), strain to remove the particles, reheat if it's not warm enough to soften the cacao, and then add the cacao.  In a couple minutes when the cacao is soft, whisk to break it up and then add any sweetening you are using.  Vervain is a bitter plant so some do not care to add it to the already bitter cacao.  [Most of the vervain (Verbena officinalis is the European type species) in shops in North America is blue vervain (Verbena hastata) as it is more common and much easier to collect... it works just fine.]

"Vervain helps to attain a deeper understanding of what occurs on the fourth dimension and how you interact on such a level, particularly with energy patterns that are formed on this other dimensional plane before they come into physical existence. ... When vervain is used, many processes of interdimensional energy transmission, reception and utilization take place. ... Individuals who understand manifestation or work with creative visualization will benefit by using vervain. ...give you greater understanding of your world, how to coexist with other levels and work in many ways on the fourth dimension. ... Attunement to such higher energies affects psychic gifts and energy on the purer, undefined level of the intuitive process. ... In Lemuria... It was seen that, in mankind's future, the full understanding and vision of interdimensional energy would not be easy.  The devic order associated with this plant was assigned to aid in this understanding, and the plant willingly took on this stimulation and focusing of energy from other dimensional levels."  The Spiritual Properties of Herbs by Gurudas


“the blue vervain has been wonderful addition for my journey work….you speak the truth about this plant medicine my friend and I’ve tried many varieties and this IS what you say it IS and talk about on your website…it’s an extremely powerful friend to work with in these times and I send much gratitude to you and the work that you do…”  a shamanic user

We have also been adding a common edible garden weed, Galinsoga or Gallant Soldier (Galinsoga parviflora) to the blended Vervain lately... really like the subtle high opening.

Cows milk is said (i have seen it in scientific papers) to block intestinal assimilation of flavanoids, perhaps more… the Cacao Deva says no…  If you want that flavor, use vegetable based milk.  In my public ceremonies it’s simply cacao in hot water, with concentrated chili-pepper ‘tea’ and a choice in sweetening available for individual addition.  A spoon incorporates the sweetening and helps keep the cacao particles in suspension while drinking.  For some... vanilla, cinnamon or cardamom, ginger... as extract or powder... for sure!

Whole beans or pieces (nibs) will not melt in hot water… chew well or use a blender.  Blending works best with less water to produce a thick liquid… then add more ingredients if smoothie making, or pour out the thick liquid and use additional water (it can rinse the blender) to thin the thick blended chocolate for hot or cold drinking.  Beans alone without water do not grind well in a blender or coffee mill... as soon as they warm the cacao butter melts and everything sticks before being finely ground.  Try freezing them and then blending and let me know… my freezer isn’t cold enough to do it… If you want an easy powder from our cacao blocks, quickly 'powder' chopped cacao dry in a blender or electric coffee mill, and remove before it heats and melts... try it.

Simmering a cacao brew lightly for a few minutes will produce a thicker, richer, and smoother drink with more dispersed butter and fewer settling dregs.  I also find that with such boiling, the consciousness effects are a bit milder.  The Kuna boil their cacao for an hour or more; I never tried that.  Because of the increased thickness from even brief simmering or boiling, consider the greater amount of water mentioned above.  Allowing normally prepared cacao to sit a day in the refrigerator, and reheating (slowly or it will scorch) in a heavy-bottomed pot will yield a much smoother brew, as well.

Go easy on the caffeine or coffee in the hours before a ceremonial amount of cacao... too buzzy, no focus.  Coffee and cacao as mocha is fine… but a poor combination in ceremony.  Most South American varieties of cacao seem to have more caffeine than native Central American varieties (north of Costa Rica)... some prefer that for physical activity and workplace or automotive driving focus holding. Myself and many prefer the lower caffeinated Guatemalan varieties i sell for inner work or shamanic journeys... your choice.

Fasting before a ceremonial dose is not necessary – and I don’t recommend it for first-timers as an empty system may accelerate assimilation and bring on bitter-related nausea.  Normal or light eating a few hours beforehand is fine.  Cacao acts as a food… few miss eating if using cacao over a usual mealtime... unless they eat food for emotional reasons.  

Taking cacao on a food or liquid occupied stomach, or with food, will slow assimilation - which you might want sometimes.  This works well with something like hiking, dancing, or long hours of focused creative or productive activity.  Cacao has long been considered a marvelous trekking nourishment (although the vasodilation might lead to extra heat loss in hypothermic situations).  Reminder: headache, including next day - drink water!  (The theobromine in cacao is diuretic, and was in the Pharmacopeia as a diuretic for diabetics many decades ago.) 

Taking a small amount of cacao just before sleeping (try 0.3 oz/ 8.5 gm to of my cacao - to 10 gm) will help you remember your dreams… I find it works better than alcohol or caffeine which are sometimes recommended for this purpose (I first saw this from channeled Seth in the 1970’s).  My suggestion is to drink enough water to awaken to pee in the middle of your sleep time and then take the previously prepared cacao as you return to bed for the later stages of sleep, when you are more likely to be remembering your dreams.  There are some scientific papers on the benefit of cacao in preventing tooth decay and mineralizing the tooth surface enamel (better than anything else known)… so perhaps drink it unsweetened.  A dandy facilitator for lucid dreamers! I get many thank-you's for this one!

I have had several tell me that they take a small amount (8-10 gm) of cacao on sleepless nights, as they then deepen beyond the surface 'monkey mind' issues... the energies move... and they fall asleep.  [You could take the cacao with Maya Nut (an emerging superfood - mayanutinstitute.org) - with its significant tryptophan content.]  This experience is similar to many with a meditative or contemplative focus who say that 'stimulant' cacao calms and deepens them.

For something like Kundalini Yoga, with its active component, try 1.2 oz (34 gm).  I have served the cacao for several yoga teachers and the feedback from ‘chocolate yoga’ has been wonderful!  Our Aussie friends at chocolateyoga.com.au buy it hundreds of kilos at a time.

With the significant heart-opening qualities of cacao, I receive regular inquiries about using cacao for a dinner, party, or gathering such as a wedding or gallery opening… and often as a complete replacement for alcohol (which works as a social lubricant through suppressing fear).  I have had delightful reports - a blessing for weddings!  For those who want to foster heart-centered connecting in this way, I recommend (amounts of my cacao) 1.3 oz (37 gm) to 1 oz (28 gm) for an older crowd, taken after the volleyball or any intense aerobic activity… time it for an active period of 5 hours… activities such as driving are no problem.  If using cacao powder from the raw food folks, try it first to make sure your brand has the proper energy and qualities… and use about half the weight as the cacao butter has been removed.

And more on that heart-centered wedding or opening:  Drinking this much cacao in the evening will have many sleeplessly awake late, so try an ounce (28 gm).  Taking with food will slow assimilation and prolong the active period – which works well for early afternoon drinking.  Monitor carefully to prevent overdose with second helpings... let everyone know!; use much less for children; and consider coconut milk, cardamom/ cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla.  Those who take coffee, say after dinner, will get quite the synergistic stimulant buzz… unless someone is in withdrawal, serve decaf.  You must check for heart conditions and for use of prescription antidepressants (where you may want to be able to Google the particular medication for contraindication with MAO Inhibitors - MAOI's). 

A very few people have very deep sleep experiences following a ceremonial dose of cacao - up to a day and a half - where sometimes non-stop dreaming is lucid or partly so.  Angela nicknamed it 'Sleeping Beauty Syndrome'.  This is similar to cacao use by some Indigenous peoples who use cacao for conscious other-dimensional journeying.  Have fun!

Another fun trick for those who like to nibble on cacao is to put some cacao in a clear plastic bag, and put that bag in a black plastic bag in the sun to melt it.  When melted, roll the cacao thin while still in the bag with a round bottle or such.  After cooling, the thin cacao can be easily separated from the bag... cacao chips!  The different texture enhances the flavor, and you could add herb and spice powders to the cacao before melting.  A favorite snack, so watch your dose as overdose will make you really nauseous from too much bitter...another great snack is one cacao bean and one almond eaten together.

With thanks to Angela and Jonathan, there is a Facebook page called "The Cacao Tribe", that is our public Facebook presence.  https://www.facebook.com/CacaoTribe  Click 'like' to join.

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous post. I'm going to start with a small drink and test the waters, see how it goes. I've been taking cacao daily now for 3 months and love it. I've also done quite a bit of cleansing and would love to do this. Thanks for sharing all this detail.

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