Happy Tuesday everyone! I haven’t done a Tip Tuesday in a while, but today I have an interesting topic to address: the benefits and dangers of raw cacao powder.
I discovered cacao powder last December and thought it was amazing. I added it to smoothies to make ‘chocolate smoothies’ or chocolate nana ice-cream and it tastes amazing. Most people I gave samples to had no idea it wasn’t “real” ice-cream. I also started adding it to homemade baked goods such as cakes, brownies, cookies, and so much more. It’s the perfect ‘chocolate not chocolate’ to add to your foods. I also read that it’s awesome for you and is a great anti-oxidant. And not to mention way better than cocoa, which is actually just processed cacao powder. You can read my previous post about the two here.
But anyways, I recently saw someone post about the dangers of cacao powder. I was shocked and didn’t believe it. How can this thing that comes from a plant be bad for you? I am a plant based vegan after all, so everything that comes from a plant has to be good.. right?
Wrong. After hearing that cacao powder maybe isn’t the best choice for you to eat, I can now understand how people who eat animal by-products feel when people tell them that those things aren’t healthy for them. It’s like being told that your whole life is a lie. What do you mean milk isn’t good for your bones? You know what I mean? So that’s how I felt when I heard that cacao powder is bad for you.
I wanted to believe it was a lie; so badly, because that means I could keep eating it and pretend I didn’t know any different. But I don’t like to live in ignorance. So I did my research, and now I’m sharing it with you. (Just in case you wanted to know)
Cacao powder comes from the cacao bean. The raw Cacao pods are opened up, the seeds are removed, and they undergo a natural fermentation and drying process that takes up to 2 weeks and is made into the cacao powder that we eat. The Cacao bean is a cousin to the Coffee Bean. You all know what coffee is right? Highly addictive and a substance to keep you awake.
Basically what people are saying is that the substance is harmfully addictive and can cause a variety of negative health effects.
“Below are just a few of the theories circulating about the negative side effects of this raw food. Be aware that no solid scientific evidence exists to substantiate or debunk any of the claims, so if you are worried about the effects of raw cacao in your diet, it’s a good idea to discuss your concerns with a medical or nutritional professional. He or she may have access to additional research or information that is helpful to share.”
- Cacao may be an extremely addictive substance.
- Much like coffee, raw cacao acts as a stimulant, which at the least can negatively affect sleep and at worst may agitate kidneys.
- Some believe regular, long-term consumption of raw cacao may lead to a variety of health conditions such as depression, mood swings, nightmares, and paranoia.
- In high doses, cacao may act as a hallucinogen.
- Frequent consumption may cause a toxic buildup in the liver and in the blood over time.
There’s also this video right here where the man who kind of introduced Cacao into the raw food market says his opinion and thoughts on Cacao Powder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wArks4mczm4
And here’s one more link that talks about the negative effects of cacao powder: http://stirringchange.com/raw-cacao-hype-vs-science/
Again, I’m not positive on any of these things, I just thought I’d put it out there for everyone to decide for themselves 🙂 I have easily made the switch to Carob Powder which I have tried in the past and it’s amazing and tastes almost identical. There are no negative effects thus far that I am aware of from Carob Powder so I will continued to use this instead, just to be safe.
OH, also, dogs can’t have chocolate (cocoa or cacao) but people have said that dogs can have carob because it’s not related to the cacao bean. Read more about it here, or do some research yourself.