Raw Cacao v Cocoa – is there really a difference?

In the words of Mr Big “abso-f*cking-lutely”

Need I say more? Ok yes, let me break it down…

Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter).  Cocoa powder (which is used in commercially bought chocolate) on the other hand is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value. On top of that, refined sugars are added to make it palatably sweet, incredibly mourish and leaving our brains craving more, making portion control almost impossible.

We know that sugar not only is addictive and that the sugar highs and lows cause our energy to plummet and leave us feeling moody. But sugar also leads to damaging changes in blood lipids (fats), high cholesterol and as world leading cardiovascular surgeons have stated, sugar is directly associated with heart disease and obesity.

On the other hand, you can get good quality dark chocolate made with raw cacao, sweetened with lower GI natural unrefined sweeteners (such as Rice Malt Syrup or Stevia) and even made with my all-time favourite coconut oil – reaping the health benefit pros and avoiding the cons. Catching my drift? Health is not about depriving ourselves of what we enjoy and its not about calories in vs calories out, but rather how those calories respond inside your body and to what benefits or damage it can do.

Raw cacao health benefits include:

  • It is rich in minerals magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese – which also makes raw cacao a woman’s best friend around that time of the month when extra magnesium and calcium in the diet can relieve PMS symptoms!
  • It contains far more antioxidants (reservatrol & polyphenol) per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries – fighting free radicals and protecting against cancer and aging.
  • It improves mood and libido – phenethylamine triggers the release of endorphins to encourage your libido, whilst anandamide helps trigger feelings of happiness.
  • It lowers insulin resistance (as opposed to the refined sugar in chocolate which studies have shown to increase diabetes risk).
  • It lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and high blood pressure – thanks to the high levels of reservatrol antioxidant which help maintain healthy levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the body, relaxes blood vessels and reduces blood pressure, and even neutralises toxin by products produced by NO, protecting your heart and preventing disease.

I just want to make a point that I don’t write my blogs to lecture you or to tell you ‘don’t eat this’ or ‘xxx is bad for you’.  I don’t at all promote or live with that kind of relationship with food. My aim is to provide you with useful information that you can use to make your own choices. My point here is –

What I love about my quest for living a healthy wholesome life, studying and working in the field of Nutrition is being able to share my knowledge with you to empower you to make educated healthy choices and changes.

Because knowledge is power and educating yourself about your body is a powerful tool to improve all areas of your life for the long term.

On that note I’m off to make a batch of my homemade raw cacao Chocolate Bark. Because Easter or not, I too love to enjoy chocolate!

choc bark


  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, softened/melted
  • ¼ cup cacao butter, melted
  • Sweetener of choice – @pureharvest Rice Malt Syrup & @natvianaturalsweetener are my go-to favourites
  • Little pinch of fine sea salt

I get all my ingredients from @thesourcebulkfoods @thesourcecamberwell

Mix and pour out onto a flat baking tray lined with baking paper. Top with whatever toppings you like (mine pictured here is pistachio, goji berry, bee pollen & coconut flakes). Freeze or refrigerate until set. Enjoy!


Happy Easter! Peace xx

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