A cacao ceremony can be a beautiful experience for the mind, body and spirit. For centuries, this incredibly powerful plant has been used by indigenous cultures of the ancient civilisations like the Mayans, Olmec and Inca. They use cacao for a variety of purposes from medicine, beverages and even to currency. Most of all, this superfood has been a central element of their worship and spiritual ceremonies.
Nowadays, people are only just beginning to discover the hidden health benefits of cacao. By incorporating it into their diets, they are seeing marked improvements in their overall health and well-being. Although there are many different types of cacao, ceremonial grade cacao is the highest quality and most potent form of cacao available.
But what makes ceremonial cacao powerful?
Ceremonial Grade Cacao is Organic
Your food's source, whether it's grown or raised, can have a major influence on your mental and emotional well-being as well as the environment. So, if you eat food that is grown with the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilisers or bioengineered genes, you're consuming those toxic chemicals too.
The first thing to know about ceremonial cacao is that it is organic and ethically sourced. This means that the cacao beans have been grown without the use of harmful pesticides or chemicals. They are also wildcrafted, as they are handpicked in their natural environment. This is important because it ensures that the cacao beans are of the highest quality and that all of their nutritional value is retained.
100% Pure Cacao
A lot of food products made from cacao beans are not 100% pure. They may be cut with other cheaper ingredients like soy lecithin, vanilla flavouring or milk powder. Ceremonial cacao is different. It is made from 100% pure cacao beans, allowing you to experience the full power of the cacao bean.
Because ceremonial cacao is made entirely from pure, raw cacao beans, it has not been processed or treated in any way, making it as close to its natural state as possible. Its unprocessed state makes it different from confectionery chocolate or even cocoa or cacao powder because the process does not damage the bean.
High in Nutrients
Research shows that cacao is a powerful heart health tonic. It can help to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and prevent heart disease. The flavonoids in cacao can also help to reduce inflammation and protect against cell damage.
Drinking ceremonial cacao provides the body with a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including magnesium, iron, calcium, sulphur, copper, potassium, zinc and manganese.
Likewise, if you are looking for a healthy drink to help to boost metabolism and promote weight loss, pure cacao is an excellent choice. Cacao contains caffeine and theobromine, which are stimulants that might assist to boost your metabolism and decrease cravings.
It's also been suggested that cacao consumption enhances the production of adiponectin, a protein involved in fat loss that plays an important role in regulating body weight, sending signals that you're full.
Improves Mood and Energy Levels
Cacao also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, sleep and appetite. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, so cacao can be beneficial for people who suffer from this condition.
Cacao also has a high amount of the stress-reducing chemicals valeric acid and magnesium, making it an excellent supplement for stress relief. Moreover, the tryptophan present in cacao can help to reduce stress and anxiety by promoting the production of serotonin (the happy hormone) in the brain.
Ceremonial Cacao Induces Profound States of Euphoria, Creativity and Connection
Similar to those experienced during meditation or prayer, the feeling of well-being and connectedness that people experience after drinking ceremonial cacao is due to the release of endorphins and serotonin. These brain chemicals are associated with feelings of happiness, love and pleasure.
Cacao also contains phenethylamine (PEA), a compound that is released in the brain when we fall in love. PEA helps to increase focus and concentration, and it also promotes feelings of excitement and euphoria.
How to Use Cacao Drink
Cacao can be consumed in many different ways—as a powder, in a drink or even in food recipes.
Use it as a Substitute for Coffee
Whilst coffee is a popular morning beverage, it can sometimes leave us feeling anxious and jittery. If you're looking for a more calming alternative, try using cacao powder in place of coffee. Cacao has a similar taste to coffee, but it won't give you the same negative side effects.
You can use it as a daily coffee substitute by combining about 20–25gms each day of cacao with around 80–100mls milk, cocoa or cream to make a hot chocolate drink. You may use water or milk, and add chilli powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves or whatever else you like.
Use it as Ceremonial Drink
When people begin to discover cacao ceremonies, they often get confused between cacao and cocoa. Both come from the same fruit, which produces pods filled with beans. Their difference is how they are processed. Cocoa powder is processed bean heated to a higher degree.
For each person, you'll need 42 grams of cacao liquor and 250 millilitres of water. Bring water to a boil and, whilst it's boiling, add the cacao powder and stir until it dissolves. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then stir till thickened. Add the sweetener of your choice and serve.
The experience of raw chocolate during a cacao ceremony may also help with emotional healing and clarity in matters of love, purpose, spiritual awareness, career advancement and personal development.
Cacao can be consumed in many different ways, including as a powder, in a drink or food recipes. Whether you use it as a coffee substitute or as a ceremonial drink, cacao is a great way to improve your mood and energy levels as well as protect your body from unwanted diseases.