Monday, November 19, 2012

Notes Bin and Recipes, Medical Cacao


An Unusually Loaded Cacao Tree on a Rainforest Rainy Day


De-fatted cacao powder from the raw folks sometimes has a poor compound balance for ceremonial purposes… try it.  Use less as most of the butter (40-70% of the cacao weight) has been removed through hot hydraulic pressing.  It is removed commercially so that the remaining cacao can be mechanically ground much finer without melting… giving a much smoother chocolate product without the lengthy and expensive chocolate making process called conching.  Many chocolate products, like bars, have some, all, or extra butter added back for smooth texture.  I have never had cacao powder (often called cocoa) from anyone other than the raw folks that contained anything more than chocolate flavor.

'Raw cacao' is usually from South American hybrid varieties, and contains significant caffeine - too 'buzzy', no focus... but it may be preferred by those used to coffee drinking.

Cacao powder is yummy in a blended mix of 2-3 medium avocados, a ripe banana, a can of coconut milk, cardamom, vanilla, and maple syrup, pitted dates, or honey (in order of preference) for sweetening… chocolate-avocado mousse!  Thicken by adding the cacao powder last until the blender begins to create an air pocket.  Serve in a parfait or wine glass topped with a raspberry or few, or shaved coconut.  You can use my ground cacao with a slight loss of textural smoothness, but often an increase in flavor.  In this case, first blend, warm, or simmer (smoother) the ground cacao with the coconut milk.

Making Cacao Balls (bliss balls) from a coarsely chopped block of our ground (paste) cacao requires a little extra liquid to hold everything together when rolling into balls... as honey, agave, artichoke syrup, fresh coconut or ginger root (ground with everything else to release the liquid), or fruit juice... or a little oil (as nut butter, tahini, coconut oil).  Add any nuts like coconut (fresh or dried), almond, cashew, or macadamia, and seeds like sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, or peanut - consider having some part in larger fragments for looks and mouth texture (coconut too).  Add your favorite seasonings… chili (hot) pepper, cardamom and/or cinnamon, anise, clove, ginger, mint, vanilla (or extract), lemon or orange juice (or grated peel, extract, essential oil).  And then there are the raisins, dates, apricot, or other dried fruit as a component of the sweetening.  Many like a bit of salt, or use salty peanuts - salt is a recommended addition.  For sweetening, many prefer about 25% sugars by weight of cacao... less sweet, 10-15%... allow for sweet fruit like raisins, or not if you like the sweet.  Work all together or run it through a food processor adding the liquids or nut butters last, or a hand-crank grain mill (if it's not too wet).  Next, hand-mix in larger nuts or seeds for texture, or run those nuts and seeds through the processor to lightly chop and mix in at this time.  Enjoy!

More Cacao Ball suggestions:  Freshly ground flax or chia meal for mouth-feel smoothness - a electric coffee mill or blender works for pre-grinding these seeds (grind well).  Cacao nibs for crunch, or a whole bean within the ball.  Coffee brings an interesting flavor and caffeine synergy... ground or with some as whole or cracked roasted beans for the crunch [2.5 oz (71 gm) coffee per pound (454 gm) of chocolate gives a distinct but far from strong coffee flavor (50 gm for a hint)].  The coffee flavor tends to diminish a bit over a few days of time.  Other synergists are the well-known Maca, and Maya Nut (Ramon or in this part of Guatemala, Ujuxte), an emerging rainforest superfood discussed below.  White coconut shreds or flakes, green whole pumpkin seeds, and sunflower or sesame seeds look great, incorporated and/or rolled into the surface.  Mesquite powder is yummy and adds subtle sweetness.  Licorice root powder is sweet and decidedly exotic... one of my favorites.  Coconut oil mixed with other ingredients can go rancid surprisingly fast.

Cacao ball favorite flavors of many - coconut, cardamom (or cinnamon in Mexico), vanilla, ginger, chili (hot) pepper, tahini (sesame butter), coffee, and orange (grated peel of one medium orange per pound cacao - here in Guatemala the oranges are not dyed orange).  A combination/ balance of hot pepper/ ginger works really well.  Something like blackberry concentrate is a delicious addition.  Too moist, and they will be difficult to roll into balls - here the surface can be dusted with powdered Maca, cacao, or cinnamon... or sesame seeds, chopped nuts, dried coconut, dried basil or mint leaf flakes, or even vervain leaf flakes for the subtle dimensional traveler with a fondness for extreme flavors.  Another cure for a too-moist ball mix is oatmeal (rolled oats) powdered in a blender.  

By weight, 45% cacao gives a rich chocolate taste.  Of the 30 gm balls we make here, a full ceremonial amount of cacao is just over 3 balls, so be aware of overdose possibilities. Perishable additions mandate refrigeration for ball storage, tho at non-tropical temperatures they seem to keep well for several days to a week.  Vanilla: There is a wonderful mythic Indigenous story about discovered secret lovers killed by their tribe who became cacao and vanilla... so you know their balance of energy together.  In the Mexican mole tradition, Sesame (or tahini) is considered the magic 'hub' ingredient that brings the other flavors together into a synergy... try that with your cacao balls... it works!

I have a Champion Juicer and the abundance of local bananas, peeled and frozen, make the best 'ice cream' (no milk).  With some frozen pineapple or mango, and perhaps cacao drink left-over from ceremony and frozen in ice-cube trays.  A few nuts, chopped cacao paste, or peeled beans and nibs for crunch can be run through with the bananas.  Then stir in any more nuts and cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger, say... add some whole peeled beans or nibs on top.  Coconut meat, frozen or not, goes really well.

Coconut milk is delicious with cacao… with cardamom and vanilla making a fine gourmet drink… but would slow assimilation ceremonially (which might be just what you want for a day of creative activity).  One ounce (28 gm) cacao paste (try half for powder) to a pint (0.5 L) of water for a decidedly rich social drink… add one can coconut milk per half-gallon (2 L).  Drink too much and you will be up late…  The first time I took this to a pot-luck, there were 'complaints' as it was more popular than other more preparation-intensive dishes...  My favorite Guatemalan hot spring libation is to pick up 3 liters of liquid from freshly opened coconuts on the way to soak, and mix it with some unsweetened cacao drink and a bit of sodium and potassium chloride electrolyte… good for several hours of bliss without bodily imbalance.  Previously i gave a nausea warning about too consuming too much cacao when it is very hot.

Almonds are a standard addition to many Mexican chocolate products.  For funk-sional Mexican molé, a chocolate sauce that is often not sweet, work cacao with warmed nut butter and chili… sesame/ tahini the flavor-coordinating key… season with garlic, cinnamon, anise (half the cinnamon), cloves (half the anise)… sweeten with soaked raisins… thin with raisin soak-water.  I like some cardamom and ginger.  Drizzle over dinner or dip veggies… famous over enchiladas.  For this fun, hang in Oaxaca’s (Mexico) 20 de Noviembre Market after (if needed) you’ve done some inner-work clearing beliefs about sugar, so objectification from that big one is not intrusive.   [This molé is without the roasted peppers, and the usual non-olive flavorful oil addition as there is already enough oil for me… in the same way try pesto with 20% oil, remainder water… enjoy more green stuff that way.  An all-cilantro pesto has a reputation for heavy metals detox.]

If you want to remove the cacao butter from ground cacao like mine, or from finely blended beans, make your hot chocolate with hotter water (but not boiling which will disperse the butter) and then let cool in a wide-mouth container with an occasional short slow stir in the beginning of cooling; after cooling, optionally refrigerate and then lift out the solid butter.  You may re-heat, stir, and re-cool the butter in additional water to clean it up.  Some batches of cacao do not have enough butter to separate well in this way.  Re-add butter to chocolate treats, use cosmetically, or make a chocolaty fragrant medicinal salve for friends… melts at body temperature.  If your drink is going to cool or be refrigerated and you do not want the butter to separate or plug the container neck, use water less than 120°F (49°C) to soften the shaved cacao.  Or refrigerate the container on its side to avoid the plugged neck… not all cacao has this much butter.  A customer in a local restaurant once got up and left offended without paying when served a cup of my cacao as hot chocolate, because of the butter droplets floating on top of the brew… a first meeting with real cacao…

Cacao is an excellent synergist… most known is combining with psilocybin mushrooms.  In southern Mexico, there is much on historical, anthropological, and contemporary usage.  Cacao is rarely used by the Ayahuascara... they tend to separate themselves from the cacao shamans. I have met many who use cacao to extend the deeper portion of the journey - take the cacao about 30 min before you would begin to surface from those depths.  As cacao has significant MAOI's, some take cacao mixed with Aya to reduce the DMT degradation in the stomach.  Some use it next day for the recovery and integration.  In general, larger amounts of cacao taken with Ayahuasca or Peyote, or about an hour later, can add significantly to the purging, and few Indigenous teachers use it that way, but a number of westerners do.  Many use cacao with very low doses of a psychedelic in an expanded insight / microdose way... take the cacao with the microdose, or 40 minutes later.  A full dose of both a psychedelic and cacao together, with 40% more psychedelic-saturated blood pumping around your system from the cacao, can easily be overdose!  Try 1-1.3 oz (28-38 gm) or less, and consider using less psychedelic until you have your own experience.  A note: the medical literature will tell you that taking stimulants or MDMA (Ecstasy) with MAOI's can lead to a serious high blood pressure crisis.  The MAOI's in cacao come with a vasodilator, and do not cause high blood pressure.   

I have used lower doses of cacao late in the day topped off with some caffeine drink as needed for 18+ hour-a-day automotive driving.  Central American roads require a good focus!  We are 36 hrs of driving from the Texas border.

Cacao is often combined with other superfoods, notably Maca.  For me even better is with Mucuna pruriens, especially a concentration like that from Ultimate Superfoods.  Regular Mucuna, try Agape Tea Company and let me know.  

Growing together in the same ecosystem, cacao synergises extremely well with Ujuxte/ Maya Nut/ Ramón (Brosimum alicastrum) – from the largest canopy tree in the Central American rainforest and a staple food of the lowland Maya before they became corn planters (barely discovered as a superfood) – check out Maya Nut Institute  http://mayanutinstitute.org/  for one of the most needed and cleanest rainforest and people saving environmental organizations around.  You might have to come to Guatemala for some (update, Maya Nut Institute now has an international distributor)… the roasted-to-brown nut tastes a bit like chocolate, or coffee… tremendous smoothie ingredient, notable for its available calcium, tryptophan, high antioxidant content, and low glycemic index, etc.  Rico as a minor component in any baked good… bread, cake, muffin, brownie, and my favorite chili corn bread.  I brought down a mill from the States, and we will soon be shipping finely ground smoothie-grade Maya Nut as we do the cacao.  I suggest you will feel more from this in a smoothie than an equivalent amount of Maca!  A supreme synergist with cacao, and they grow together in the same ecosystem, the Maya Nut as canopy and cacao as understory.  The Maya Nut provides a connecting base to support and stabilize all the cacao upward expansion - it is by far our favorite synergist / superfood to mix with cacao.  I have seen many an energetically sensitive person who would normally quickly down a cup of cacao, get about half-way through a cup with a couple rounded teaspoons of Maya Nut in it... stop... and settle into deeper energetic presence.

Cacao is a wonderful facilitator with today's tantric/ goddess temple pathways.  The increased blood-flow and almost double tissue oxygenation from cacao assists with sensitivity and sensation, the focus/ connecting qualities help you feel and stay with the movement of the energies and with your partner, and the heart centering pulls those energies upwards.  With ‘bottom up’ tantric practices where sexual energies are to be elevated through all your issues into other realms... consider also using cacao to partner with your own higher-dimensional existence and invite that presence to transform and open the energetic pathways in a ‘top down’ tantra you may find both ancient and in easy harmony with today’s so-available magic.  …The root will party right along.  Then invite your ‘terrestrial mother’ up to unite with the ‘celestial father’ you’ve brought down... in your heart.  Overflow with the progeny of their divine mating.  Know self as a luminous lantern in a pillar of divine light.  Engage your partner from this elevated resonance, knowing that your energies can be guided to similarly entwine. I usually find some wanting to be 'instant cacao shamans' when guiding this at a tantric temple. 

"Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t need an appointment."


"The divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food." Hernando Cortés, 1519

A raw chocolate commercial site with many references and abstracts:  http://sacredchocolate.com   

Another site covering the psychoactive compounds in cacao:  http://chocolate.org 


Medical Cacao

A good discussion of what removes the goodies from commercially processed chocolate and the effect of real cacao on the heart and cardiovascular system from the American Heart Association:  http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/116/21/2360 

A scientific resource link from an industry promotional organization:  http://worldcocoafoundation.org/topics/human-nutrition/  

You might like checking out this somewhat more approachable paper (also available from the above link)http://www.medsci.org/v04p0053.htm   This paper offers quantified research on the comments of the western-trained medical doctors in the Panamanian hospital system in the San Blas Islands Autonomous Territory.  Doctors who in 15 years had not seen a heart attack, strokes and other cardiovascular problems are almost unknown, cancer is low, diabetes (with overweight native American white flour and sugar eaters) is 39% of normal, and blood pressure is low even at advanced age and high-salt consumption... all this in a population that has double the old folks, as many Kuna’s work on the mainland and later in life retire back to the islands.  I read somewhere that the hospital has an Electrocardiograph (EKG) Machine, in many years never removed from its original shipping wrapper… they never needed it among thousands of Kunas. 

Another paper reported that for Kuna's using their traditional cacao, the death rate from heart disease is less than 8 percent and cancer kills only 16 percent compared to Kuna's using commercial cacao on the mainland. The two populations were matched for age, weight, and a number of other factors that might affect heart and cancer risks. 

From a well-researched medical standpoint, cacao with the active compounds protects the cardiovascular system: it reduces high blood pressure, improves vascular function, reduces platelet reactivity, improves insulin sensitivity, and is anti-inflammatory.

The medical scientists have noticed that after decades in a mainland environment with commercially processed chocolate and whatever one would say produces the above ubiquitous maladies, they receive the full benefits, even late in life, after they return to the islands and to regular consumption of traditionally processed cacao.  All the medical/ scientific buzz about chocolate began when someone noticed these high-salt-diet islanders do not have high blood pressure.  The early studies determined it was the cacao and not genetic.  The Kuna’s drink 0.9 ounce (25 gm) of their cacao a day, I believe.

The Cacao Spirit suggests to me using 2 doses per day at 10 gm each (15 gm for the first few months) of my cacao to receive the full medical benefits.  As reported in several papers, it takes a week or so for the effects to build, as with high blood pressure.  This amount, according to medical journal papers, will remove the deposits from arterial walls over several months so there is nothing to break loose and cause that kind of heart attack or stroke.

A note: with all the scientific study of the Kuna’s generations of traditional cacao consumption, I have not seen any negative effects reported in the literature.  The Kuna’s do not live longer than anyone else; they die from the results of AIDS, infections (like malaria and tuberculosis), long-term internal parasite complications, and accidents (tho not auto, no roads in the San Blas).  The medical scientists have noted that most of us do not live in an impoverished tropical environment with the same prevalence of such infectious disorders, and over the past decade they have been looking into cacao.

I know several folks completely off their high blood pressure medication with regular lower-dose cacao use... cacao works where several prescription medications together do not.  [Its effectiveness builds over time from regular use. A first use of 10 gm will reduce blood pressure for only about an hour… single local measurement.  Again, try 10 gm (15 gm for the first few months) 2 times per day of my cacao to start with.]  There is also much in the scientific literature about cacao lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol... that the increased blood-flow to the brain (first results from Mars with their 50% strength chocolate showed a 30% increase in blood flow to the brain with one cup) may delay dementias like senility and Alzheimer’s... that cacao increases skin resistance to UV radiation/ sunburn... slows tooth decay... and some about cacao as a heavy metal chelator, binding and removing them from the body.  Cacao in regular use seems to make the blood clots that cause strokes rare and, with the extra blood flow, to keep skin smoother in advanced age.  If you are an older person (say over 50) or have a history or genetics for heart or cardiovascular problems, consider reading the available scientific papers… you may also find that certain cancers, like cervical, are almost nonexistent in populations with daily traditional cacao use.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen are considered to be a long-term liver damaging problem with large doses of caffeine.  The Cacao Spirit tells me this is not a problem with cacao, and i have seen nothing in the medical literature to suggest it.

Considerable scientific research has used special cacao provided by M&M/Mars Company who developed and patented a process for this cacao after the early medical research in Panama with the Indigenous Kuna and their cacao.  You can read all about their Cocoapro chocolate (missing 50% active compounds) on their website… they add a bit of this cacao to M&M’s (now 97% missing, formerly 99% missing), and to Dove Dark Promises (95% missing).  If you eat about 15 Promises (and don’t get sick), you will get about the buzz from a Lindt (Swiss) bar (80% missing).  Mars does not sell their 50% chocolate as such… they recognize it acts like a pharmaceutical drug, even though it has half the strength of much chocolate 200 years ago.  Mars does not believe that consumers like the taste of real chocolate, and they have no intention of significantly altering their products.  They have some products made with Cocoapro... see their site.

Cacao for Depression

I have seen cacao experienced as a miracle by folks in depression.  Even with severe clinical depression, they may immediately drop taking their medication.  I warn folks having these results that they have 4-6 weeks in which to process the beliefs and situations underlying this enforced retreat within... and if they don't... the depression will return and medication will again be necessary.  At times the revelation can feel like enlightenment, and it is difficult for such people to believe the depression will ever return.  Note that while MAOI's, such as are in cacao, are used as anti-depressants, they Do Not mix with SSRI's, and can be a problem even days after anti-depressant dosage is stopped.



Getting off SSRI’s - anti-depressants and anti-psychotics


Getting off these meds will be a commitment and profound journey.  I have seen folks do it, but basically you have to find your own way... there is no formula.  The beginning depends on what your dose of SSRI is, compared to the range of doses given for the meds you are on.  The idea is to begin to taper off the SSRI's and 4-7 days later begin taking a little cacao. Too much cacao and you will get a very painful migraine headache (from the MAOI's in cacao).  A good weigh scale will be needed.  

The cacao will help replace what the SSRI's are doing, but since they work in different ways one can't do a direct replacement - that would be a disaster.  As the SSRI dosage drops, the issues you are using it to suppress will surface and must be worked with or failure is guaranteed.  If you are willing to allow the process, layer after layer of what has been held down can be moved through.  The cacao is actually going to assist things in coming up... and then assist in working with them... so if you are not in for that adventure, i wouldn't bother.  I suggest Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now book to help you understand the "pain body" - as that is what will be coming up.  On YouTube there are many Abraham-Hicks and Bashar talks on depression.  These are highly recommended.  Blessings!  Going through problems as the training path of a healer.



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 several 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 commercial varieties common in the raw market have a lot more caffeine than the Central American varieties we sell, and i do not consider it suitable for the lil ones. 

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 is ideal 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.  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 far more active compounds than are in the Hershey or Cadbury type chocolates.

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.”


Over the years we have heard many reports, and there are some mothers who have been using our cacao, for autism and ADD, as it works well as a focus enhancer.  Significant positive behavioral change, especially in interacting with others, is usual.  Many children will take a lightly rounded teaspoon of the chopped cacao block (about 5-7gm), no sweetening, in the mouth - and like it.  Let us know your experiences.  Thanks!

3 comments:

  1. My greatest gratitude to you, Keith, and to the Cacao Spirit, for your informative posts. Reading them made a significant difference in my life. (I would elaborate, but it would be too long to read...~.~)

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  2. endless gratitude for the blog post... but surprised that there is no mention of cacao and clinical depression. not sure about it myself, whether cacao could be called an antidepressant or not... but for me, from my experience, it has seemed to remove the roots of severe long-term clinical depression. (or rather, has helped me do the internal processing of those roots... its a bit unclear; it just happened automatically when i started with your cacao a few weeks ago.) in other words, ive never been able to be off of my ssri's for this long without the depression creeping back in. so, thanks for the chocolate, sir!

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  3. Keith, I too want to give thanks for your sharing of these insights, tips, and wisdoms gleaned from years of experience and sensitivity.
    I come back to re read, learn and assimilate the depth of knowledge here, and I always find a smile in my heart for the gift that this sight is to us all, at this time.
    aloha
    red

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