People keep hounding me about hot cocoa. “It is OK to drink?” “Will it make me fat?” “Oh god… I just adore it.” These are only a few of the words I’ve been sent in the past few weeks so I guess it’s time to dive into the cocoa scene and make sense of it.
A SACRED FOOD
Like coffee, cocoa—from which both chocolate and hot chocolate is made—is one of the world’s most sacred foods. And, like all sacred foods, it is meant to be taken only from time to time, and only from the finest, purest source.
The worship of the cocoa tree began with the ancient gods of the New World. The Olmec Indians in Central America are credited with the discovery of this tree. Later the Aztecs and Toltecs—who called cocoa ‘food of the gods’—told the story of how Quetzalcoatl, the supreme god of the air, brought the seeds of the tree to earth as a gift to his chosen people. Montezuma, the great Aztec king, is believed to have downed 50 pitchers of an elixir made from cocoa each day. The drink was called ‘xocolatl’, an aphrodisiac—deliverer of strength, sexuality and vigor. Cortez, who brought it back to Europe in the sixteenth century, soon created a cocoa storm among the courtiers. Madame Pompadour gave her seal of approval to cocoa as an aphrodisiac, while Casanova claimed cocoa was the perfect tool for seduction.
Some recent research partly explains why. Scientists in California have isolated a substance in cocoa, which links into our brain receptor sites and, like cannabis, brings sensations of pleasure and relaxation. But cocoa, I suspect, has many secrets. This is only one of them which feeds our passion for this dark,seductive food and at the same time enhances our passion for love.
Cocoa contains naturally-occurring mild stimulants called methylxanthines. Theobromine is the predominant methylxanthine in cocoa. It’s believed to lend cardiovascular support and the mood-elevating properties ascribed to chocolate. Caffeine is another methylxanthine present in lesser amounts in cocoa that contributes to its energizing effect.
If you’re going to drink cocoa, only buy unsweetened organic cocoa, not only because it’s the most delicious, but also because it is the real thing—as unprocessed as possible. Avoid powdered cocoa with sugar and milk in it like the plague. Such products have none of the health-enhancing properties of the real thing. On the market these days you find all sorts of imitation hot chocolate products, which have had vegetable fats and god knows what else added to them. Avoid them. Make your cocoa drinks with water, sheep’s milk, unsweetened rice or almond milk, with natural stevia to taste for sweetening.
ONLY THE BEST
My favorite cocoa for hot chocolate is unique in the world. It’s called CocoCeps. Created by Madre Labs, it’s an unsweetened, instant, certified premium organic cocoa into which full-spectrum immune-enhancing micronized Cordyceps and Reishi mushroom powders have been added.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) is a mushroom which has been used in Tibetan and Chinese cultures as a tonic to promote energy and longevity. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is probably the most well-known tonic mushroom in the world. It is known in China by the name Ling Zhi, and revered throughout East Asia as the “Mushroom of Longevity.” Low in calories, at 20 calories per serving, all of its ingredients are organic, and the product is not only delicious; it is energy supporting, yet calming, all at the same time. I use the the wonderful Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, in English Toffee flavor to sweeten my cups. I order both products from iHerb.com the best supplier of low priced nutritional products anywhere. They ship fast and cheaply DHL worldwide. Should you ever order something from iherb.com, do use my own personal code at check out (YES 026) and they will take between US $5 and $10 dollars off the price of your first order.