Raw Cacao: You Can Finally Be Proud of Yourself for Eating Chocolate

Roasted Cacao BeansHi everybody! I hope the new year has been treating you well. Like a lot of people, I’m sure you came up with a few resolutions to better yourself, and I’m guessing there’s a good chance that one of those resolutions is to eat healthier, as it should be. Well, if you did indeed make such a resolution, then I’m sure that included pretty much cutting out sweets such as chocolate, which I know can’t be easy for all of you chocolate lovers.

Well, never fear because I’m here today to tell you some great news. Raw chocolate, known as raw cacao, is a superfood! Yes, you read right, a superfood. That means that consuming it is super good for you and your overall health and well being. Raw Cacao is chocolate in its raw, original form before all the processing and sweetening has been done to it.

You can easily find it in powder form or nib form, both of which we offer at The Urban Juicer as organic superfood add-ins to our smoothies. Add either one to your smoothie to turn it into a delicious, guilt free chocolate treat. For example, have you tried the chocolate version of the Liquid Lunch, our PB and banana smoothie? It’s to die for!

Now let’s talk about why raw cacao is so good for you. Raw cacao is the highest natural source of multiple necessary, very important nutrients. It’s truly amazing how much Raw Cacao is a one stop powerhouse of nutrients. It is the top natural source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, serotonin, tryptophan, copper, vitamin C, and many many other great things, in case those I listed aren’t enough for you.

I was actually shocked to learn that raw cacao powder has a higher concentration of antioxidants than any other food in the world. According to superfood expert David Wolfe, raw cacao even has a higher concentration of antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, acai, pomegranates, and goji berries combined! Wow, that’s amazing! Raw cacao covered goji berries anyone?

Magnesium is a great alkaline mineral that supports the cardiovascular system and brain. It also relaxes muscles, including menstrual cramping. Ladies of the world feel free to rejoice now that you know that eating raw cacao (not your typical chocolate bar) when mother nature is getting you down is actually really good for you and will make you feel better. Magnesium also increases flexibility, helps build strong bones, and, being an alkaline mineral, increases your body’s alkalinity.

Raw cacao contains 314 percent of the recommended daily dose of iron, a critical mineral to our nutrition. It keeps our blood healthy and fights against anemia. Iron is essential to both sexes, but getting extra iron in our diet is especially important to us women, again thanks to that “gift” mother nature brings us each month. During menstruation, we lose a lot of our body’s iron, so during that time especially we need to get extra iron in our diet. What better (and more fun) way than by eating some raw chocolate?

Tryptophan is found in significant quantities in raw cacao. Tryptophan is a powerful mood enhancing nutrient that is critical for the production of the also mood enhancing serotonin, which is abundant in raw cacao as well.  When tryptophan is cooked it is damaged or destroyed, explaining why most people are deficient. Serotonin is our primary neurotransmitter. It diminishes anxiety and improves our ability to handle both physical and mental stress. A lot less people would be depressed if serotonin levels were higher in the average person.  So in other words, a lot less people would be depressed if they ate some raw cacao. A much cheaper and yummier solution to depression than some dangerous pill huh?

So yeah, raw cacao is awesome, and I didn’t even break the surface on its vast number of health benefits. I don’t know about you, but I think this is some of the best news I’ve gotten in a long time. Not only is chocolate not bad for you, but it’s amazingly good for you! Let me reiterate though, that that rule only applies to raw cacao/raw chocolate (same thing). That does not mean it’s good for you to run down to the closest gas station and buy a typical chocolate bar. That is still bad, sorry. Just wait until you try a raw cacao bar though. You’ll never even want a gas station chocolate bar ever again. Trust me. Now excuse me while I go celebrate with a delicious, guilt free organic raw cacao bar….

Bee Pollen: We’ve Struck Gold

Bee-PollenSome of you may have heard the “buzz” going around about bee pollen (pun intended) and thought, “did you say bee pollen?” Yes, you heard right. Bee pollen, as in the pollen nectar from flowers, that yellow dusty stuff you see on flowers in the spring, after it has been harvested by honey bees. I know the idea of eating such a thing may sound weird at first, especially if you have pollen allergies, but trust me when I say you’re going to want to include bee pollen in your daily regimen.

I think bee pollen is truly one of the most amazing foods known to mankind. I would even call it the most complete food found in nature. The use of bee pollen in various societies dates back thousands of years. Even Hippocrates was a big fan, understandably so. I could write endlessly about its benefits, but for your sake I’m going to pick just a few of those benefits out, which is no easy feat considering there are so many.

Bee pollen is so amazing and complete that some say it is possible for a person to live on bee pollen alone and be healthy. I recently read about a scientific study where mice were fed only bee pollen and water and compared to a control group of mice fed a normal diet. The control mice only survived an average of 477 days and all had kidney issues typical of their breed. The other mice were fed only bee pollen and water were still healthy with no kidney issues after 600 days, at which point they were killed for scientific testing. I’m really curious to know how much longer they would’ve lived healthfully!

So, in short, bee pollen has been shown to greatly improve healthy lifespan. Bee pollen is also good for the brain, thanks to its high amino acid content. The amino acids, along with its high level of B vitamins gives you a great amount of natural energy (with none of the crash like caffeine) and helps with both physical and mental fatigue. I can personally vouch for this. Nothing compares to the wonderful energy bee pollen gives me. It makes me feel like I’ve actually gotten a full night’s sleep! Bee pollen also increases memory and concentration.

The nutritional profile of bee pollen is truly amazing. It has more protein per serving than meat, eggs, and cheese and contains all the essential amino acids (plus more!). Bee pollen is extremely rich in vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals, and enzymes. Bee pollen is truly a goldmine of nutrients.

As I mentioned before, bee pollen is also great for treating seasonal allergies, as counter-intuitive as that may seem. When you incorporate bee pollen into your daily diet, your immune system builds up immunities to pollen in the air. It is best to start introducing bee pollen into your system a couple to a few months before allergy season begins so your system will already be prepared for the onslaught of pollen it’s about to endure.

If your system has already built up immunities to pollen, it will not be affected (or will be much less affected) by seasonal pollens. If you are taking it for seasonal allergies, it is very important to buy local bee pollen so your system will be immunized against local pollens. It only makes sense. Bee pollen truly is amazing to say the least.

Now let’s address a couple of important points. Those of you who are allergic to bee stings may be worried about having an allergic reaction to bee pollen. Although I can’t promise you that you won’t, evidence seems to suggest that you won’t. If you think about it, it really doesn’t make sense that you would have an allergic reaction considering that bee pollen is just pollen harvested by bees. It doesn’t contain any bee venom.

If you want to give bee pollen a try and are allergic to bee stings it is recommended to start with a very small amount and see what happens. Just make sure you are somewhere that you can get help if you do end up needing it.

Now let’s talk dosage. For an adult it is recommended to take one to two tablespoons per day for optimal results. Because some people are more sensitive to bee pollen than others, however, it is recommended to start with a small amount and work your way up to full dosage. Start with a fourth of a tablespoon for a few days, then go to a half a tablespoon and so on. So don’t hesitate any longer. Start incorporating bee pollen into your diet asap. At the Urban Juicer we sell local bee pollen sourced from The Ed Johnson Honey Farm in Goodlettsville TN. We can always add a serving to your juice or smoothie, the perfect way to get your start in the world of bee pollen!