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….

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Chlorophyll: Not Just for Plants

leafEveryone knows that you should eat your green veggies, but do you know why? I mean we all know they’re good for us, like most vegetables, but what about green plants in particular is good for us? The answer, as you may remember from your science classes, is Chlorophyll. Just in case you can’t remember exactly what Chlorophyll is, I’ll remind you. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in many vegetables that absorbs the sun’s rays in order to provide energy for photosynthesis to take place.

The next question you’re probably asking yourself is, “but why do I need Chlorophyll? I’m not a plant.” Well as anyone could probably guess, the benefits of Chlorophyll to the human body are limitless. The most amazing aspect of Chlorophyll has to be the fact that its molecular structure is almost identical to the hemoglobin found in our blood. The only difference is that Chlorophyll has magnesium as its center atom while hemoglobin has iron as its center atom.

Hemoglobin is very important to our blood. It helps to keep our red blood cells healthy and happy. What this all means is that Chlorophyll actually helps to do the job of hemoglobin when we ingest it, and trust me, with the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) we need all the help we can get. If your blood is healthier, you’re going to feel more energetic and just better overall.

After all, your blood goes to every part of your body so if it’s healthier, every part of your body is healthier. With healthier blood, your wounds will heal faster, you will fight infection better, your circulation will improve, and the list just goes on. Chlorophyll even increases the number of red blood cells you have which increases the efficient use of oxygen in your body.

Another awesome thing about Chlorophyll is its chelation abilities. If something has chelation abilities, that means that it has the ability to bind to toxic heavy metals in the blood stream and remove them. This detoxifying ability is very important to everybody but especially so to those unlucky enough to have toxic mercury fillings in their teeth which leak toxic mercury into their system every day. Any help those individuals can get until they can get them removed, the better.

As I’ve mentioned before, most people (especially Americans) are overly acidic because of their diets. Chlorophyll is alkalizing, which means it fights acidity, and we need as much help as we can get to help combat our acidity.

Chlorophyll is also a great deodorizer, killing bacteria that causes bad breath in the mouth and throat, as well as promoting a healthier digestive tract, where bad breath originates. So the next time your breath is in need of some freshening, instead of reaching for a toxic aspartame laden stick of gum or a mint, try getting yourself a green drink. Your breath will be better, you won’t be poisoning yourself, and you’ll be increasing your overall health. All huge positives.

The best news is that it’s very easy to include Chlorophyll in your diet. Of course you can always eat your greens, but I know some of you will simply say, “but I don’t like green veggies.” Well, don’t worry. I have the perfect solution for you. Drink your greens! It tastes great, and it’s so much easier than eating them. Even people who don’t like to eat greens will be able to find a green containing drink they’ll love.

At The Urban Juicer we have a bunch of drinks with greens to choose from. They’re all really well balanced between fruit and vegetable flavor. Don’t be afraid. Give it a try. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed, and I can bet it’ll be your new favorite way to get your greens in. I know it’s definitely mine!

What on Earth is Kombucha?

CumberlandTUJWhat is Kombucha? (you say it like kom-boo-cha) This is a question I have been getting a lot lately. To put it very simply, Kombucha tea is just tea (typically black or green), sugar, water, and a starter culture known as either a mushroom because of its mushroom-like shape, or as a SCOBY, which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, fermented together. Now I know all that doesn’t sound very appetizing, but don’t be scared off just yet. Kombucha has a multitude of health benefits and tastes yummy too! What more could you want? Unlike other fermented beverages, Kombucha has only trace amounts of alcohol (around 1%) and almost no sugar because the sugar is what the yeast feeds on during the fermentation process.

The list of health benefits from Kombucha seems limitless so I’ll just mention a few here for you. As with other fermented foods, Kombucha is a great source of probiotics. Probiotics do wonderful things for the digestive system, and as everyone should know, the health of your digestive system is key to your overall health, so any step you can take to improve its health, the better. Also, if your digestive system is functioning better, you have a better chance at losing excess weight as well.

Kombucha also helps to alkalize the body and balance your inner PH level. Most people’s bodies are far too acidic due to the high amount of acidic things we consume on a daily basis. It is literally a miracle and a testament to the power of the human body that drinking one soda alone (which is insanely acidic) doesn’t make you drop dead. You’ll understand this once you learn how important the PH level is in our bodies, which I’ll write about in a future post. In fact, many diseases can only take hold in an acidic environment, including cancer. Since Kombucha is alkalizing, it helps to bring your PH level down to a healthier, less acidic level.

Thanks to some of the great organic acids found in Kombucha, such as glucaric acid, Kombucha is a wonderful aid in the detoxification of our bodies. It helps the liver expel toxins that would otherwise continue to be cycled through your body multiple times before they would be secreted. Of course detoxifying the body also helps to prevent or reverse pretty much all illnesses, including cancer. Kombucha also contains high amounts of glucosamines which help your body maintain healthy joints.

Many people have reported going from barely being able to walk to walking for miles with no pain after consuming Kombucha for an extended period of time. You see glucosamines enhance the production of hyaluronic acid, which is an acid that helps to preserve cartilage in the body. Healthy cartilage equals healthy joints, but keep in mind that in order to receive such results you must make it a part of your daily regime for a decent amount of time. Don’t expect any overnight miracles now!

Of course one of my favorite reasons to drink Kombucha is the increased energy it gives me. This is mostly due to the B vitamins found in Kombucha, and although most of the sugar is consumed by the yeast during the fermentation process, what little remains is broken down to its most basic level, fructose. Since it is already broken down to its simplest form, your body can immediately use it for energy. This basic form of sugar found in Kombucha also helps to kick start your metabolism. If you’re really looking for an energy boost you should definitely try the local Kombucha we sell with added ginger. Those two together are a powerhouse of natural energy. When I drink one I feel like I’m wide awake, full of energy, and ready to face the world!

Kombucha is also a great replacement for soda for those of us (like me) who like carbonated beverages, and Kombucha is naturally carbonated at that! If you replace your soda intake with Kombucha not only will you drastically reduce your sugar intake, but you will also be doing something great for your health. Win-win right?

Well, I could go on and on all day talking about how wonderful Kombucha is, but haven’t I said enough already? There is no excuse to not drink Kombucha. If price is your excuse (because let’s face it, it’s not super cheap) then look into home brewing. It’s surprisingly simple and inexpensive to make yourself. It doesn’t even cost you a fraction as much as store bought does. So if you’re thinking of making Kombucha a part of your regular diet, then I’d recommend making your own, which you can learn to do with a simple internet search. Now I will leave you with a couple of final tips: don’t think something’s wrong with your Kombucha if you see “stuff” floating in it or resting on the bottom. Those are the natural healthy cultures that are supposed to be there and are chocked full of goodness. Finally, don’t shake Kombucha! It’s carbonated, remember? Instead just give it a nice and gentle rock back and forth, slowly. And now that you are well versed on Kombucha, go on, give it a try!