Ceremonial-grade Cacao | A heart opening plant medicine from what makes chocolate, almost.
"Food of the Gods"
This sacred plant medicine is so much more than something that's roasted and tempered to create decadent chocolate. I'll share all the details including:
Preparation | Dosage Recommendations & Frequency
Contraindications: The most noted precautions I have studied are in relation to the caffeine-like affects of theobromine as well as the mood enhancing properties that may interact with anti-depressants. Conditions to welcome increased awareness to, in relation to cacao, are: Depression, psychotic conditions, heart conditions, epilepsy, pregnancy. Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advise. Please consult your health care practitioner prior to consumption. This information is based on my research and I encourage you to deeply explore your own.
What is Ceremonial-grade Cacao?
Cacao is a sacred plant medicine derived from the seeds, held within the cacao fruit, of Theobroma cacao.
Theobroma: Greek meaning 'Food of the Gods'
Theobroma cacao is the cacao tree which provides us with the cacao fruit that hosts the seeds (cacao beans) that we process to make cacao paste and powder (as well as cocoa powder and chocolate).
The beverage that is made with cacao is called Xocoatl, meaning "bitter water" in the Nahuatl language, and is produced by mixing the broken up cakes (formed from cacao paste) with hot water and beating it to a foamy consistency.
Xocoatl was enjoyed in that way, with sweetening of this "bitter water" beginning when the Europeans introduced it to the Spanish court as it was too bitter for their taste.
History of Cacao
5000 Years Ago:
Humans first consumed this plant medicine as early as 5,000 years ago, as suggested by the pottery in Ecuador that had cacao remnants.
3000 Years Ago:
It has been shared that the Maya, Toltec and Aztec people prepared this ceremonial cacao beverage more than 3,000 years ago, having Theobroma cacao being widely cultivated then with the bean also being used as currency.
1502 - 1876:
Christopher Columbus took cacao beans to Spain after his fourth voyage to the "new world" in 1502, where they guarded the secret of xocoatl for nearly 100 years. It then became increasingly popular in France and the Americas began to manufacture it, followed by the creation of milk chocolate in Switzerland in 1876.
For our history reference and even more details visit Britannica.
Heart Opener | Physically vasodilates, increasing blood flow to the brain, body and digestive system by up to 40%, as well as supports the release of emotional blocks.
Mood Boosting | Phenethylamine (PEA), Tryptophan (Serotonin Production), Anandamide (Bliss Chemical)
Improves Energy | Theobromine
Promotes Healthy Digestion and Liver Function | Fiber & Flavonoids
Supports Optimal Immune Function
Increases Libido | Aphrodisiac
Emotional and Spiritual Support | Supporting feelings of oneness, deepened connection with your higher self and expanded consciousness.
Nutrients Per Serving:
Two Tablespoons (28g / 1oz) of Criollo Ceremonial Cacao Powder contains:
Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 15 grams
Fiber: 9 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Potassium: 0.5 grams
Calcium: 0.125 grams
Iron: 0.3 grams
According to experts, any amount of calories consumed breaks a fast, although the state of ketosis is said to remain as long as no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates / 30-40 calories are consumed.
3.5 grams of Cacao Powder = 30 calories, 3.5 carbohydrates
Cacao Ceremony | Sensations You May Experience & Considerations
What You May Experience:
Feelings of Euphoria
Feelings of Being at Peace
Deep Feeling of Connection / Oneness with All Things
Altered States of Consciousness
Feelings of Unconditional Love
Improved Health and Vitality
If You've Consumed Too Much Cacao You May Experience:
Things to Consider In Addition to Consuming Cacao:
Stay hydrated as the theobromine in cacao acts as a diuretic.
Stay fueled with nutrient rich foods as needed throughout your day.
Stay present, coming back to your breath and this moment to connect within and continue to be supported by this sacred plant medicine.
There is no wrong way to prepare your cacao, although your intention is essential and ensuring you do not overheat it will help retain its health benefits.
5-15g Powder | 7-24g Paste: Meditative Dose
15-35g Powder | 21-49g Paste: Deeper Meditative and Creative Dose
35-45g Powder | 49-55g Paste: Ceremonial Dose
Cacao Powder to Paste Conversion: 2:5 Ratio, 40% less powder than paste. Formulas: Powder (g) x 1.4 = Paste (g) | Paste (g) x 0.4 = Powder (g)
The frequency of your cacao consumption is based on you, your preferences, and your relationship with yourself, your health and the ceremonial cacao.
A daily practice is an option, if that's aligned for you, and one that I enjoy. (Daily Dose: 5-35g of Powder | 7-49g of Paste)
You may be called to experiment with consuming cacao daily, every other day, weekly or at any frequency you are called to. Just like anything, consistency is key, and being aware of how your body absorbs and responds to the benefits of your cacao ceremony, including its spiritual affects, will be your best guide regarding the frequency of your cacao ceremonies.
This article suggests that ceremonial doses are not recommended more than 3 times per week, although I haven't seen many other articles stating that. This likely depends mostly on your relationship with, and response to, cacao.
Powder and Paste:
Powder | Often absorbed quicker due to its lower fat content, acting as more of a stimulant and is more nutrient dense than the paste. (Like juice without the pulp.)
Paste | Higher in fat content allowing for a more gradual absorption, helping to balance cacao's stimulating properties while still being nutrient dense. (Like juice with the pulp.)
KAKAO Drinking Chocolate is where I source cacao, with reciprocity expressed at every step of its processing. I prefer the Criollo Cacao from Guatemala.
Coupon Code for 10% off FIRST orders only: ALLISON
Things to Note:
Raw is Recommended: The less additions you add initially may help you appreciate and understand how your relationship with this sacred plant medicine is.
Natural Sweeteners: If you're called to sweeten your cacao, choose a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.
Spices: When choosing your spices, be mindful of when to add them based on your desired strength and if they are heat sensitive. Some favourite additions include cinnamon, cayenne, and nutmeg.
Essential Oils: Ingestible essential oils may be added to your cacao beverage if preferred (e.g. orange).
Bitter is Beneficial: The bitter flavour of cacao holds its own benefits such as strengthening your connection with this sacred plant medicine as well as the stimulation of your vagus nerve, which supports the regulation of your internal organs and the function of your parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest).
Non-Dairy Milk: Oat and nut milks are recommended options if you choose to add milk. The ratio of milk to water is preference based with some options including using a half-and-half ratio or slightly less milk than water. *The studies on whether or not dairy and soy milk inhibits the absorption of some of cacao's nutrients is in-conclusive.
Adjust as Needed: To begin you may find yourself using less cacao, more natural sweetener, and more milk as your relationship with this sacred plant medicine grows. Trust your intuition, what your body, being and cacao are sharing with you, and adjust your recipe as you are called to, including whether you consume cacao daily or have days off in between.
Prepare in Advance: I recommend preparing your cacao the day of consumption while infusing it with your intention, although the option has been shared to prepare up to a week's amount of cacao in advance.
Use hot, not boiling water: If you overheat the cacao it will lose many of its health benefits, so to retain as much of these benefits as possible aim for 75-80°C / 167-176°F.
Warm or Cold or Sprinkled: You may experience the amazing health benefits of cacao with it served warm, cold, or sprinkled on top of your tasty, healthy meal / smoothie.
With or Without Food: Consuming cacao on an empty stomach may allow you to feel its affects sooner and allow your relationship with it to go even deeper, especially when consuming higher doses. Cacao's benefits will still be prevalent regardless though so trust what's best for you by intuitively listening to your body and being.
Customizing Your Cacao Ceremony:
The purpose of your cacao ceremony is to connect within, with your intention and with your cacao. Everything else you welcome into your practice is beneficial when it is supportive of this.
Get cozy. It's important to be comfortable during your ceremony, while allowing your position to support the flow of energy, such as sitting with a tall spine to keep your energy channels open.
Resources you may wish to incorporate in your ceremony: Music / sound healing, smudge bundles / incense / candles / essential oils, crystals / malas, breathwork, blankets and comfy clothes.
Engage all of your senses, while you prepare your cacao and while you consume it.
Sight, smell, sound, touch, taste. Feel the warmth of the cacao, the sensation of your favourite cup in your hands, of your breath, the smell of its richness, the sight - looking into your cup and noticing any messages it may hold, the sounds - of the drink / your music / the world around you / your breath, and the taste of the sacred cacao. Allow yourself to be present with, and in between, every sip.
Journal. Having a journal close by is recommended as you may wish to write down insights and reflections as they come through.
Ceremonial-grade Cacao vs. Cacao vs. Cocoa vs. Chocolate:
Raw (Meaning Minimally Processed), Intentionally Ceremonial
Pure, minimally processed cacao beans grown with the intention to be ceremonial, with honour to the traditional practices of production and consumption.
Raw (Meaning Minimally Processed), Without Ceremonial Intention
Pure, minimally processed cacao beans grown without the specific intention for it to be consumed as a ceremonial plant medicine. The flavour, scent, texture and appearance of this cacao may be reflective of this.
Processed, Without Ceremonial Intention
Cacao beans processed into a powder by pressing the liquor to remove most of the fat, often being processed at higher temperatures as well, creating a slight decrease in its health benefits comparted to those found in cacao.
Highly Processed with Additives
The mixture of the liquor with other ingredients such as more cocoa butter, milk, vanilla and sugar, to create chocolate.
Steps for Processing the Cacao Beans: