UNDERSTAND THE TERMS
Chocolate and cocoa both derive from the cacao tree and its beans, and both undergo a similar process to turn them into the finished product. In chocolate, the cocoa butter is not removed during processing. Natural cocoa’s finished product, on the other hand, has little or no cocoa butter, and is usually a powdered substance. Both pure chocolate and pure cocoa are dark and bitter to the taste. Cacao nibs are basically raw chocolate.
HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF CACAO
Therefore, in all three variations, the cacao bean is the basis. There are great antioxidant properties to raw cacao, but all variations contain a substance similar to caffeine. Many like to substitute carob powder, which comes from the pod of a tree that grows along the Mediterranean Sea, for the cocoa powder because it does not contain the caffeine. You will find, though, that even though it is tasty…it is not like real chocolate (in my opinion).
But, let’s take the desire for chocolate a step deeper. If someone is really craving a lot of chocolate, it is typically a sign of magnesium deficiency. Many times, by increasing magnesium in the diet through food and supplements, or by maintaining magnesium stores by balancing blood sugar, for example, the cravings are reduced. Large amounts of magnesium are depleted when the body needs to process high quantities of glucose.
As a side note, when I learned this nutritional wisdom as an NTP student, I went a bit overboard on the magnesium to the point where I would feel nauseated when I walked down the chocolate aisle at Whole Foods! I don’t encourage this, but it was interesting.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Janelle Johnson-Grove, NTP, MSEd, is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and professional educator who received her Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Janelle combines her passion for nutrition with her knowledge of effective educational practices to the NTA program classroom. Janelle is also the owner and founder of SageFire Wellness, a nutrition consulting practice based in Cincinnati, Ohio. To complement and deepen her wellness work with individuals, Janelle studied with the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Along with her functional an educational approach, she integrates the mind-body connection to help clients improve their relationship with food and overcome mental and emotional roadblocks to nutritional practices. Janelle’s knowledge and passion for nutrition, education, and the emotional dynamics surrounding food and food choices infuse her work with professionals, students, and clients.