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Blog posts tagged "raw chocolate"

Raw Chocolate by Sacred Chocolate: Interview with Founder, Steven Adler

We had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Adler, CEO and founder of Sacred Chocolate. In 2006, Sacred Chocolate introduced the first raw chocolate bar in the world. (Raw, in this case, means you’re taking the cacao seed—the primary ingredient of all chocolate—and not roasting it or grinding it at temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit).

What strikes us about Steven’s story is that he’s a rocket scientist turned chocolate scientist! Applying his passion for engineering, raw foods and spirituality to chocolate making, Steven, along with his partner David Wolfe, were able to create one of the finest organic chocolate factories in California and perhaps the United States. Sacred Chocolate’s commitment to create organic, high-quality, clean, healthful and tasty chocolate is impressive… we wanted to know more. Here’s what we learned, after talking with Steven.

Sacred Chocolate, Food of the Gods

ZO - All the chocolate produced by Sacred Chocolate is raw. What’s so special about raw chocolate?

SA - Raw, organic chocolate contains higher levels of nutrients than that of processed commercial chocolate bars. Milk chocolate typically contains only about 30 percent cacao; the balance of the bar is made up of milk powder and cane sugar. The chocolate industry usually calls cacao “cocoa”; but, in reality cocoa is mainly used in reference to cocoa powder or cocoa butter, which are both derivatives of the cacao seed or “bean”. Botanically, cacao is actually a nut and not a bean. The botanical name of the cacao tree is “theobroma cacao”, theobroma meaning “food of the gods”.

Most cacao is roasted over 250 degrees F for 30-90 minutes. When chocolate is cooked at high temperatures, the antioxidants are degraded, as the chemistry changes and heat sensitive nutrients such as phenylethylamine (PEA) are destroyed or diminished. These nutrients, naturally present in chocolate, or more specifically cacao, are beneficial to the human body. A lot of plant chemistry is heat sensitive, and once you start cooking things the nutrients are diminished. The idea behind raw food is to preserve the nutrients and enzymes that naturally occur in the plant or food.

Our raw chocolate has twice the antioxidant content compared to a cooked, roasted and or otherwise high temperature processed chocolate bar at the same cacao content. There was a lot of trial and error involved in mastering our process, which involves slowly stone grinding the cacao below 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This is really special.

ZO - What makes Sacred Chocolate different from other chocolate?

SA - The main difference is we’re willing to do things other chocolate makers aren’t willing to do. We are the only chocolate maker that includes the nutritious husk of the cacao bean in its chocolate. There are a lot of phytonutrients in the husks, which are normally sold off as chicken feed or fertilizer by traditional chocolate makers.

Our cacao beans are cleaned in a special proprietary manner that maintains the nutrients and allows us the ability to include those nutritious husks in Sacred Chocolate. If you look at images of our cacao beans, you’ll see they look like almonds because they are so clean. No other chocolate maker is cleaning beans in the way we are. Cacao beans used by traditional chocolate makers are dirty after fermentation and drying, which forces them to roast them and winnow away the nutritious husks to avoid microbial contamination. We’re the only chocolate maker that takes the extra time and necessary steps to make truly “whole bean” chocolate.

There’s a lot of energy, electricity and gas just in the cooking process of making chocolate.

Cooking alone causes so much greenhouse gas, it’s unbelievable. Sacred chocolate is made in a certified organic, certified vegan, certified kosher, carbon balanced, and 100 percent renewable energy facility in California. Our ingredients are always raw where possible and always of the highest quality in terms of nutritional content, flavor, and food safety.

I’m adamant about praying over the chocolate, too. This is done in a sacred space.

ZO - What do you use to sweeten your chocolate?

SA – Our primary sweetener of choice is organic, eco-friendly maple sugar. It’s sustainably sourced from Canada and the USA, and is actually four to five times the cost of cane sugar, a common sweetener in chocolate. Maple is a wild crop which makes it very eco-friendly. Maple is around 55 on the glycemic index, and it is relatively low in free fructose.

The University of Tokyo found in a lab rat study that maple was the only commercial sweetener that improved the liver function of rats. They found it didn’t put stress on the liver of the rats. The University of Rhode Island isolated quebecol in maple, which may help mitigate type II diabetes. Maple is also very high in certain trace minerals such as manganese.

We also use erythritol and inulin (from Jerusalem artichoke) as diabetic friendly sweeteners. All of the ingredients we use are sustainable, eco-friendly and of the highest quality.

According to Steven, cane sugar has caused an environmental disaster around the world because forests have been cleared on a massive scale to grow cane sugar.

Fun fact: Maple trees need to be in the ground for 30 years before they can be tapped for maple syrup and sugar.

Sacred Chocolate | Best Organic Raw Chocolate

ZO - We’ve heard there’s something special about the heart shape of your chocolate. Can you tell us more?

SA - Yes! It has a special characteristic: It’s built from sacred geometry. Each half of the heart is built out of a perfect, logarithmic curve growing at the rate of phi, which creates the perfect spirals. This reflects the Fibonacci sequence of numbers that show up everywhere in nature (conch shell, galaxies, sunflowers, etc.). That natural rhythm of life has been built into Sacred Chocolate: a good reminder to live from your Sacred Heart.

Sacred Chocolate | Best Raw Organic Chocolate

ZO - Where do you source your cacao bean?

SA - We source most of our cacao beans from a cooperative in Ecuador, known for its prized heirloom Arriba Nacional variety of cacao. We also source from Sri Lanka and Hawaii.

ZO - Hybridized cacao is causing deforestation around the world. Some people are aware of this issue around coffee, but many are not aware of the impact that commercial cacao growing is having in contributing to this agricultural disaster. What should consumers look for when buying chocolate?

SA - It’s truly a nightmare – particularly in West Africa. There are satellite images confirming all of this. Most of the chocolate industry is focused on the bottom line, in maximizing their profits using the smallest amount of land. When choosing chocolate you should make sure:

1) It’s organic.

2) It’s fair trade.

3) The cacao bean is heirloom or shade grown in a natural jungle environment. You need to talk to the company directly for this, as you won’t often find it on the packaging.

4) If you’re really health conscious, makes sure it’s raw.

Zebra Organics wholeheartedly supports Sacred Chocolate

After chatting with Steve, it’s evident that he is a smart, passionate, creative guy who cares deeply about the product he produces, the land that it comes from, the people that supply it to Sacred Chocolate, and the customers that end up enjoying these special chocolates. We fully support Sacred Chocolate’s mission to continue to produce the most exceptionally tasting and nutritious chocolate in the world.

All of Zebra Organics’ brand cacao and chocolate products are from heirloom variety, shade-grown trees that come from environmentally and socially responsible sources. One hundred percent of our Zebra Organics brand products are eco friendly, non-GMO, certified organic, and fair trade certified.

We carry some of the most delicious flavors of Sacred Chocolate; Twilight Dark Chocolate (69%), India Sunset Heart Bar (61%), Mylk Chocolate (58%) and the dairy-free white chocolate, White Passion. We look forward to hearing how you like them!

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Chocolate and Heavy Metals
Chocolate has always been a revered food but a recent review of commercial chocolate in Brazil found some chocolate has high levels of two heavy metals. The two metals examined are lead and cadmium. Scientists from the University of Campinas in Brazil conducted the study which was published by the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In the study researchers looked at 30 different brands including milk, white and dark chocolate confections.

The levels of lead and cadmium found in these products is believed to come from the soils in which they are grown. The saturation range varied by product but the all were above the safety levels recommended by the World Health Organization. The levels of lead and cadmium were highest in dark chocolate and chocolate with high cacao levels. While dark chocolate is considered to be healthier than white and milk chocolate it appears in this case they are not.

These findings are augmented by a lab testing of major raw and organic cacao products popular in the raw food community. A group known as the Forensic Food Lab has conducted its own study. According to its findings Essential Living Foods Raw Cacao Nibs are the least contaminated among those tested, you can view the full list by visiting this link. We at Zebra Organics hand select our products and our aim is to provide you with a unique selection of healthy products. We do carry a range of cacao products and we pleased to carry Essential Living Foods Cacao Nibs.

In general heavy metal pollution is something we all need to be aware of. It would be nice to believe we all live in a pristine environment but we don't. In fact the air we breath each day contains varying levels of pollutants including heavy metals. Three of the most common metals found in the air we breath are cadmium, lead and mercury and they emitted mainly as a result of various industrial activities. While the levels in the air are low they do build up in soils and the plants take them up and they enter the food chain.

In health,
Zebra Organics

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What is so special about Raw Cacao?

Have you ever wondered what is so special about raw chocolate?

Isn't raw chocolate just like regular chocolate? The answer is "No"! Raw Chocolate is a superfood par excellence and its anti-oxidant quantity far exceeds that of cooked/conventional chocolate

About 8 years ago there was a big stir in the raw food world when Davide Wolfe, a big raw chocolate fan, tried his first raw cacao smoothie. This was in Maui and since David began introducing the world to raw chocolate the world has not been the same.

There is something extra special about Chocolate and if you've ever had a raw chocolate fruit you know. There is magic in those chocolate pods. Fresh chocolate beans have a distinct violet color, which is very uncommon in foods. The uncommon nature of chocolate is also reflected in its ultra high anti-oxidant content.

Many years ago when raw chocolate was just hitting the stores, I was working for Nature's First Law. As part of the early team of raw chocolate pioneers, I conducted a lot of research into the health benefits of this super food. And, one of the most astounding facts I continued to come across was that Chocolate is an Amazing Anti-Oxidant.

Chocolate Anti-Oxidant
Yes, it is true, Chocolate is ranked #1 in anti-oxidant flavoniod compounds. Chocolate has more anti oxidants per capita than any other food! The anti oxidants in chocolate account for up to nearly 10% of its total content. That means chocolate is about 10% anti-oxidant, this is a staggering percentage, something that is rarely encountered in a food. Early on in my research I learned that the milk fats used in making certain chocolate inhibit the anti oxidant capacity of chocolate. This early research I came across was all conducted with regular cooked chocolate. They had yet to discover the powers of chocolate in the raw. The antioxidant compounds found in unprocessed chocolate include heart healthy phenols, of which chocolate seems to have the most.

Further investigation into the world of chocolate and health reveals what most of you can intuit. That is the less processed chocolate is the better it is for you. So as processing increases health benefits decrease. At the very top of the list would be fresh raw chocolate straight from the jungle, next would be raw chocolate beans and nibs and next on the list would be raw chocolate powder.
Chocolate is often associated with love and comes in heart shaped boxes, this interesting correlation pairs well with modern research. Which has noted that the anit-oxidants in chocolate are particularly good for the heart. The compounds in chocolate help to reduced blood pressure and have a positive effect on cholesterol. Now you can enjoy the heart loving benefits of chocolate in its most pure raw form when you choose either the raw nibs or raw cacao powder.

This piece was written and compiled for Zebra Organics by Mark D'Aquila, flower essence practitioner,

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Golden Bean Raw Chocolate by High Integrity Foods

High Integrity Foods brings you Golden Bean, a sumptuously raw organic chocolate bar based on the harmonic principles of the golden mean spiral. Years of research and development as a raw food chef led Matt Samuelson into the sacred world of raw cacao. His time and efforts have produced this fine product. Matt only uses the finest raw ingredients for these hand crafted bars.

Chocolate is a noted antioxidant, chocolate contains high amounts of polyphenols and flavonoids both known to assist our health in many ways. Chocolate just may contain the highest concentration of antioxidants in food, with up to 10% antioxidants by weight. Raw chocolate is also a supplies an ample amount of vitamin C and minerals. Most notably magnesium and chromium, two minerals essential for healthy brain function and blood sugar balance.

Raw Agave nectar is the product of the agave desert plant, which secretes a thin sweet, low glycemic nectar. Agave contains more fructose than glucose, which imparts sweetness but nominally effects the bodies blood sugar balance. This combination of sweetness and low-glycemic index make it a perfect compliment to chocolate's health properties.

The bar is also seasoned with organic raw vanilla bean and himalayan salt which enhances the balance of flavors in the bar. There is also less than 1% of organic non-gmo soy lecithin, this enhances the creamy texture and smoothness of the bar.

This artful bar is bold with chocolate flavor yet smooth on the palate, take a bite and you know why chocolate is known as 'Food of the Gods'.

Click here to Purchase the Golden Bean Gourmet Raw Chocolate Bar

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