By TL Grace West
Those of us who adore chocolate are pleased with more and more research showing health benefits of eating chocolate: especially raw, dark chocolate.
Cacao is the name of raw chocolate while cocoa is the processed version, meaning it is heated above 75 percent. When heating cacao some vitamins and minerals are lost. There is a whole raw food community promoting a mostly raw diet for optimum benefit from all foods (davidwolfe.com).
On Ocracoke, Debbie Wells (known as both the founder of the Back Porch restaurant and a mixed media artist) and Kathy Koss (owner operator of Southern Rain a garden design business in Chapel Hill) have created Graffiti Rose Raw Cacao Bar. While interviewing both women, I was inspired by their commitment to hand-make in small batches these delicious, nutritious and affordable bars for our small community. I was able to watch Debbie make a batch (eight bars) then taste the incredible result. The chocolate flavor burst on the tip of my tongue.
“The flavor is best when the bar is room temperature–70 to 75 degrees,” Debbie said. I experienced the gentle increase of energy without the sugar rush of other chocolate bars and subsequent crash. The coconut sugar used in Graffiti Rose bars has a low glycemic value of 35 compared to cane sugar’s value of 68. It simply tasted delicious and a little bit goes a long way.
Here are some specifics about the nutritional benefits of the ingredients in a Graffiti Rose Cacao bar (see nurtitionnews.com for more info):
- Raw Cacao Powder: While taking my long test for my National Certification for Massage Therapy, during my breaks I would eat a square or two of chocolate containing raw cacao powder. In my research I learned that it is the theobromine which is a bitter alkaloid similar to caffeine (but not addictive) that is responsible for increasing blood flow and stimulating cognitive function and improving memory. I passed with flying colors. More recently, when I developed asthma and high blood pressure, I liked seeing that theobromine has been shown to reduce asthmatic symptoms and lower blood pressure.
- Almonds: low cholesterol, a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium, Manganese an a very good source of vitamin E.
- Coconut oil: cholesterol free (an alternative to butter).
- Maca: an adaptogenic herb from Peru that helps your body adapt to stress, assists hormone health and has the added benefit of being an aphrodisiac!
You can purchase Graffiti Rose Raw Chocolate Bars in the Community Store, the Variety Store and Zillie’s Island Pantry. In Chapel Hill, look for them at the Healing Earth Resources on Franklin Street and at Carrboro Acupuncture.