The healthy benefits of cacao

Chocolate, or Cacao, has been around since ancient Aztec times.  This delicious seed was considered sacred and was associated with fertility and love.

So what’s the difference between Cacao and Cocoa?

Raw cacao is the unprocessed bean that is used to make cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is processed and some of the natural fats have been removed.

While modern day chocolate might not be considered a health food, the beans form the cacao tree contain powerful antioxidants and is a rich source of iron, zinc, vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium.
Cacao promotes mental well being through the production of endorphins. It also acts as anti-depressant by raising serotonin levels. Cacao is considered a complete food.   So where commercial chocolate is packed with white refined sugar and pasteurized homogenized milk, cacao is packed with great taste and great nutritional qualities.

Try raw cacao in your smoothie, you can use it in your sweet baked goods and one of my favorite ways to get my cacao fix is in pancakes!

Michele’s Cacao Cakes

1 cup whole grain unbleached flour

2 TBSP raw sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. vanilla

1 cup water

1 TBSP coconut (or other good quality vegetable oil)

1/8 cup raw cacao nibs

(Sometimes I also add chopped pecans or shredded coconut!)

If I am in a hurry I mix the dry ingredients the night before and add the oil and water in the morning.  You can make these healthy delicious pancakes in 10 minutes or less.  Only problem is people may want seconds.

~Michele Fife

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