Food Feature Friday: Cacao

Happy Valentine’s Day! When I was trying to come up with this week’s post, I wanted to theme it around love. I don’t know about you, but when I think of love I think of chocolate! However, chocolate in it’s modern form is hardly chocolate at all. It has a whole bunch of ick in it, like corn syrup, hydrogenated soy bean oil, and GMOs. No thanks! So instead, I chose cacao.

Raw Cacao Beans

Cacao is, in essence, chocolate before it becomes chocolate. Virgin chocolate, if you will. And the best part? It has so many health benefits. Most people know that cacao is high in antioxidants that help remove free radicals and fight inflammation. But there’s so much more! Cacao is derived from Theobroma Cacao beans, which literally means “Food of the Gods” — how cool is that? According to Natural News, Cacao contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium, being an amazing source of the latter with 272 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. Talk about nutrient-dense! Plus, just one ounce of raw cacao has 9 grams of fiber, 36% your RDA. It’s also thought to have anti-cancer benefits, lowers insulin resistance, reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and stimulates neurotransmitters in your brain to release a euphoric feeling when you eat it. So… do you want some chocolate?

Full disclosure: I must be sick in the head or something because I cannot have chocolate of any kind (including cacao) while I’m on this anti-candida diet. I’ve been all up on Instagram with the #glutenfree and #paleo hashtags looking at all the amazing stuff everyone is making for Valentine’s Day, I want it all! I cannot wait to shove some chocolate in my mouth once this thing is gone. No shame. All glory.

Now for this week’s recipes:

Easiest Ice Cream in The World

Raw Cacao Macadamia Nut Ice Cream – Wholepromise
This looks so good. You do need an ice cream maker, but heck I may just go out and buy once just so I can make this. I have a feeling it tastes like Hawaii and Switzerland had a baby. A very, very delicious baby.

Raw Cacao Whipped Cream

Raw Cacao Whipped Cream – Health Starts In The Kitchen
I made coconut whipped cream for the first time the other night, and no only was it amazing, it’s seriously way too easy. Like, I-could-do-this-every-day-and-eat-it-forever easy. Adding raw cacao to it is probably even more amazing.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnatti Chili – The Kitchn
I had to include a savory dish. I’ve never had chocolate with meat before, but I’ve always wanted to. I imagine it’s like a porter (beer) with all that dark, smoky deliciousness. The recipe calls for cocoa powder, but you could easily just sub cacao powder in its place.

Coconut Cacao Blocks

Raw Cacao-Coconut Fudge Bites – Natural Noshing

This looks super easy, delicious, and actually quite healthy and filling! There’s minimal sugar, and you could probably sub stevia just as easily. And combined with almond or peanut butter? My mouth is literally watering right this second.

Cacao Orange Cake

Raw Cacao Orange Cake – Real Raw Kitchen

This is beautifully rustic. As a huge fan of fruit-and-chocolate flavors, especially when tangy (chocolate raspberry, anyone?) I  have a feel I would totally love this. Forever.

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