Is Raw Cacao Toxic?
Raw cacao has been getting credit in the vegan (especially raw vegan communites) as a healthy food. There are reports on both it’s health benefits as well as some negative side effects that people have experienced.
I only ever write articles about things I have tried myself, so I can also give an opinion based on personal experience. Pretty much everything I have ever learned about health has come both from my own research, other people’s experiences and of course, my own experiences.
What is Raw Cacao Powder?
Raw cacao is the purest form of chocolate there is. Cocoa powder and chocolate are derived from raw cacao, which is derived from the cacao bean.
It has been touted as having many health benefits, such as a high level of antioxidants and a good source of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, copper and iron.
What I have found is that to get substantial amounts of these benefits you would have to eat a whole cup of cacao powder! Who does that? You might have a few teaspoons a day at most.
What are the negative side effects of cacao powder?
Even though it is said to be an antioxidant, it’s actually highly toxic. Animals in nature will never ever touch this bean! They can be tricked into eating it by adding milk and butter, but then they will get very sick and possibly die. This is why you are not suppose to feed chocolate to your dog.
It is from a plant similar to the coffee bean plant. It has caffeine in it and is a stimulant. It may make you feel more alert, but also addicted! Raw cacao is yes, addicting. This is why some people will surely refuse to believe it can be bad for you, that is the truth with most addictive substances.
It’s toxins are very hard on the liver, adrenal glands and kidneys. This can cause people to experience insomnia, interrupted sleep, nightmares, shakes and convulsions. Long term use can cause a high level of toxicity in the liver and blood. The fact that it is addicting, means it can cause moody behaviour, depression and angry outbursts. It can actually act as a hallucinogen similar to LSD and hashish. The native people would not eat this bean, they would just use it as a part of a psychedelic brew. One in a while in an emergency, it would be used as a medicine.
High levels of cadmium have been found in almost ALL raw cacao products! That is just crazy. Coffee and cigarettes also have high levels of cadmium. Cadmium is a highly toxic heavy metal that causes all kinds of damage to the body. It is linked to kidney disorders, skin disorders, cardiovascular disease and more!
To read about some of the studies on this go read This article at Natural News.
My Experience With Cacao Powder
Okay, now let me tell you about my own personal experience with Cacao.
I was really excited when I saw raw cacao at the health food store. I could add it into my smoothies, make banana chocolate nice cream and bake delicious chocolate vegan goodies! I hadn’t really looked into the drawbacks of this raw powder, but I had definitely read the benefits. First thing I did was make a banana smoothie with just a teaspoon of cacao. Shortly after, I realized I had a headache, but attributed it to my room being too dry. The day went on and in the afternoon me and my mom made some delicious vegan brownies. We used some cacao in this recipe. I ate them with no problem, maybe because it was cooked it wasn’t so toxic? But I did feel a bit off all day, so who knows. Later on in the night around 8pm I did an hour weight training workout. I normally always have a protein smoothie right afterwards. I use coconut milk, my vegan vanilla protein powder and usually blueberries. I decided to skip the blueberries this time and use a teaspoon of the cacao for a yummy chocolate taste to go with the coconut and vanilla. It sure did taste good. But almost immediately I got a shooting pain in my chest, shortly followed by a sharp pain in my liver. I knew it was from the cacao. Then I realized my headache in the morning was also from the cacao. My body is extremely sensitive, but in a good way. It always let’s me know when something is not right and will reject it immediately. This is just what was happening, my body was freaking out. I started to look into the side effects of raw cacao and came across many articles and many experiences stating it toxicity. Aw man! It tastes so good though! I was also wired and could not fall asleep and only slept maybe 5 hours that night.
Use at your own risk. Even if you think it does not have adverse affects on you, it likely could and your feeling the symptoms somewhere that your not taking notice of. Everyone’s body is different though, but the facts are the facts. Heavy metals are present and that is not good for anyone!
Now carob powder is a good alternative. I think it tastes amazing and has no caffeine or scary side effects!