Friday, December 17, 2010

Cacao for Christmas


The time has arrived. Yesterday afternoon I made chocolate for the first time in 3 1/2 months... and yesterday I ate chocolate for the first time in 3 1/2 months! It was so fun to play with choccie in the kitchen again. I made an assortment of goodies for Christmas gifts and to have on hand during the holidays.

I admit, I was a little nervous to see what my mental and physical reaction would be to the cacao again. Immediately upon eating some, I felt fine. A few hours later I noticed the typical increase in heart rate that comes from eating cacao. By the time I went to bed my heart rate was still elevated and I had trouble falling asleep. Ok.... so let's weigh the good with the not-so-good: My stomach and gut responded fine, my head responded fine (some people get headaches and there was a point where I was getting weekly and then daily headaches which was probably from the cacao)... but a racing heart is not such a good thing. Today, I feel foggy and jittery in mind and body. So yes, I had a reaction, but in my opinion its very neutral compared to what it could have been.

Will I continue to eat it? The answer is yes, for a while. I'll continue to monitor myself and will take complete breaks from cacao a few times of year. All I know is that I cannot go back to having cacao be such a huge part of my diet.

Check out the raw choccies, nuts/seed snacks I made last Christmas for gifts. It makes my heart sing to create these goodies!

So what yummies did I make?!

Coconut Carob Truffles - carob coconut truffle and coconut truffle dipped in choccie - these are one of my favorite newest creations.

Mini Orange Goji Moonie Pies - I made these in the summer too and posted the RECIPE.

Caramel Pecan Turtles

Macadamia Coconut Turtles

Coconut truffles

Fruit and Nut Clusters

I was part of a secret Santa gift exchange with a few other Canadian bloggers this season. Huge thanks to Jess of Dairy Free Betty for organizing the event. My gift arrived in the mail yesterday from Jolene from Everyday Foodie. Despite the fact that we haven't met or even talked before, she picked such perfect gifts for me. A package Burt's Bees goodies (which I always use), a bottle of powdered stevia which is perfect because I've been experimenting a lot with liquid stevia lately and have been wanting to  try the powder, two chocolate covered coconut bars (anyone who reads my blog knows that I love both chocolate and coconut), some grapefruit foot soak, and a magnetic list pad. Thanks again Jolene!


How do you feel when you eat cacao? Is it a big part of your diet? 

Happy Holidays everyone! Only a week until Christmas!!! :)

33 comments:

Jessica @ Dairyfreebetty said...

thanks for the shout out... Love your gift!! Jolene sent me those chocolate coconut bars too and I fell DEEPLY in love!! :)

All your chocolates look amazing, I'm going to have to do some blog stalking to find out some recipes!!

Cynthia said...

I love your recipes and especially your moonie pies!! I want to make some for Christmas but were going camping and I have no way of keeping them. I'll have to make them when I get back.
What about plan old Chocolate? Can you eat that? I have not used Cacao yet because of the cost. But I would think it has a lower amount of caffeine in it. Chocolate is not a huge part of my diet but I sure love it. I'll just have to count on my family for raw goodies (hint hint Elizabeth) this holiday season!
Peace Cynthia

bitt said...

It's not a huge part of my diet, but I do use it medicinally about that time of the month. I do notice if I haven't had it in awhile I get a little jittery. So I keep it in moderation. Can you can enjoy responsibly.

Anonymous said...

These all look delicious! Is the recipe for the coconut truffles somewhere on your blog or is it in one of your books? Would love to make these for the holiday. Thanks!

Carolyn @EatWell.LiveWell.BeWell said...

I don't eat cocoa that often, but I know the racing heart from caffeine. I never drink/eat caffeine and when I do, I can feel my heart race. I love me some chai tea but not the racing heart.

The goodies look delicious.

Anonymous said...

I booked a phone consult with Denyse. I'm worried because it is by the phone ...so I hope it works out . Its very costly, so this is a big risk and step for me.
The worst for me right now in my health is the extreme constipation...any tips? Anything? And is Denyse athletic and is good fit health herself? Sometimes I'm wary of health practitioners doling out nutriiton advice , etc...when their overweight or not athletic themselves...
I hope she can give me detailed nutritional plans...I have no idea what to eat anymore....oh boy.

Holly said...

I used to eat almost a pound of chocolate a day, that was before going raw. After about 6 months raw I realized I was extremely hypoglycemic (I was blacking out and didn't know why) and that cacao was the main culprit. I haven't eaten much of it over the past 8 months or so, and when I do I get IBS symptoms a few hours later and my blood sugar goes all wacky, it takes 1-2 weeks of eating really well to rebalance it. So sad! I miss my daily chocolate! I have been exploring carob lately though, not quite the same, but not too bad. My kids like it better than chocolate, lucky duckies!

Ashley Craft said...

Cocoa makes me feel amazing!!! Calm, energized, happy, blissful... :)

Those coconut truffles look absolutely amazing!!

rawesome goddess said...

oh im so glad someone finally said something nice about the feeling cacao gives them! i eat it probably 4 times a week in smoothies...and it makes me happy.

i loved reading your post and seeing the breathtaking, beautiful pictures of your choccie treats! get it girrrrl!

Miss eco glam said...

Gorgeous! Just amazing they all look incredible! Your photography skills are just fab!

I too had a break from raw choc have had a bit and I do get reactions from it still but doesn't seem as bad - listening to body is best :)

Naina said...

To Anonymous, I suffered extreme constipation.
What has helped.
Learning of hidden MSG.
Go here (msgmyth.com)
Also, learning of the big 4 at
(DoctorJ.com)
Next learning of FODMAPS by reading
the book IBS Free At Last.
All of the above info, had much to offer me. I can now control my symptoms!!! I know what is safe for me to eat.

I love chocolate, yet it doesn't love me. I still eat it. In less, and less amounts I am sad to say.

I would like to say too. In the first four months of 2010 I went strict vegan. My constipation only worsened. I don't mean a junk food vegan either. I had zero processed goodies, no sugar, no grains. I ended up far worse on that diet.

Pure2raw twins said...

Thanks for sharing about your adventures with cacao. Lori and I hope to try to reduce our intake too. You have inspired us :)

And all these goodies look amazing! We just might have to make some as gifts...okay really for us, haha

~Michelle

Anonymous said...

I love your blog---I love reading all the recipes! I can't eat chocolate at all---I have a migraine for three days. It began with no chocolate ice cream, then progressed to no chocolate what so ever. It has been over 4 years now, so I don't crave it any more.

Erin said...

Hi - your chocolates look deeelicious! About chocolate, I do not eat it regularly. It used to be when I ate it that I would get this terrible moodiness and depression for like 2 or 3 days after. So I stopped eating it altogether for years, and stopped craving it completely. Now, since it's been like 5 or 6 years of balancing my body and working on detoxification I CAN eat it if I want to, just tried it last year to see how I would react, and it still affects me negatively. I get big dark circles under my eyes that last for a few days and it affects my ability to sleep, even if I have it very early in the day. So, I do love the taste, but it's not the best for me. I think for most it's one of those treat type things to have rarely, so that's how I treat it, last year and this year I've a little around the holidays. I do love carob, good thing or I'd be a sad lady! And I also sometimes use the Medicine Flower Dark Chocolate Flavor extract, adding that to my carob concoctions sometimes if I'm looking for more of a chocolate flavor, that combined with cacao butter really delivers for me! Thanks for the recipes!

Sparrow said...

Hi Heathy! I love the taste of cacao but whenever I eat it or even make hot chocolate with it by simply adding it to boiling water and a few drops stevia, I get terrible vertigo. Every time. I am assuming, although I have never been officially tested, that I am allergic to that, too. (Along with all the other allergies!) Green tea does that to me, also. I get vertigo so terribly that I nearly throw up. It's really awful actually. Caffeine in coffee, however, does not affect me like that or in any way whatsoever.

As for your delectable recipes, are most of those in your dessert recipe books? They look amazing and I would love to try to make them. I am intimidated, though because I wonder if I could make them look as pretty as yours!!

Lovely work, my friend! :-)

Lauren said...

I have the same reaction to cacao, I can't eat too much or have it to close to bed! Now that I am nursing I am avoiding too much chocolate, but with the holidays it's so hard and with the tempting looking treats on your blog, I am craving some!!! Mmmmm!!! XO

barefoot_and_frolicking said...

Hey Heather! Beautiful and inspiring post - I am just itching to get in the kitchen to make my cacao goodies for Christmas.

One question: how long do you usually keep your moonies and other chocolate goodies in the fridge for? I don't want to make mine too far in advance of giving them as gifts.

Also, I have to admit, my cacao intake has increased since I went raw. In fact, I used to despise chocolate!! I find nothing is better than a cacao smoothie before a workout. A great pick me up. But I've definitely had an overdose of cacao - yukky feeling, too wired. All in moderation :)

Ela said...

Lovely feeling of alignment: I'm just writing a blog right now about how I'm going to try some cacao over the holidays--but even eating a little today while recipe-testing, I can tell why it 'shouldn't' be in my diet much. It makes me feel instantly jittery and a little crazy, and then likely disturbs my sleep.
Then, I hope this isn't tmi, but if I eat it on any kind of regular basis, I end up with intense vaginal itching, like a bad yeast infection-type feeling, which goes away in a few days if I stay off of the stuff.
I don't know why I'm still so drawn to it when it has such obvious negative effects, except that it's addictive... But I'm going to play with making truffles using high-quality cacao butter and other ingreds, without the cacao powder. Need something bitterish to replace that though...
love
Ela

Holly said...

I LOVE cacao and enjoy making raw chocolates for others... oh yeah... and me! :-)

Heather Pace said...

Thank you all for the comments!

Cynthia - plain old chocolate, hehe... yes actually that is less potent than the raw stuff. I guess the problem is that I love to make my own choccie from scratch AND i have lbs and lbs of it to use up, lol.

Anonymous - no, the truffles are not in my book - they were adapted from a Sweet Gratitude book recipe.

Anonymous - so great that you booked with Denyse. She'll be able to help you - as long as you stick with her plan - which can often be the hardest part. I had constipation and it's totally healed now! Denyse is a practicioner who walks her talk - she is extremely fit - she's a runner - through the summer heat and the winter snow.

valen said...

This is what I was going to give to my mother for her birthday, chocolates. I just made some last night as a test run and they weren't good, they've never been good. They were grainy (always are) and do not look like normal chocolate like one solid creamy color. I'm curious whats in the coconut truffles as that is what I was going to make. I eat cocoa powder 1-2t 5-6 days a week in water with stevia as hot chocolate.
This year I was eating a lot of that cocoa water and eventually got an allergic reaction and had to avoid chocolate for 3 months. I would get severe stomach aches. I switch it with teas and carob now so that doesn't happen again, but the stuff is addicting that is for sure!

valen said...

Oops I just read the comment about the coconut truffles. I have the sweet gratitude book, I guess I will take a look. Been meaning to, but its not in an easy accessible place.

Jenny said...

i love that coconut bar...

Laurel Alanna McBrine said...

Those goodies look amazing - you are a true artist! Chocolate is on the top of my favorite food list - but I think I like it more than it likes me. I have adrenal issues too and I think any kind of sugary/caffeine mixture is deadly, so I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that I have to go cold turkey on it. I am not good with moderation :(

Anna said...

Wow! Look at those amazing truffles! They look totally professionally made, you're very talented Heather. I've backed off the cacao a lot personally over the last year or so. Now when i eat more than just a little bit i feel kind of funny. I still love it though, i just save it for special treats.

santina said...

WOWOWOWOWOW!!!!! These look amazing!!!! Will definitely HAVE to try making them for Chrissy!!!! Chocolate and coconut are pure heaven for me! LOVE!!!!

debbiedoesraw aka grass fed momma said...

Hi love
I do notice the speeding heart rate.. and the sleep is a bit affected. I don't eat it much anymore, in small bits when I do.
I like the idea of taking breaks.
Read "Lights out: sugar sleep and survival". Great book, really nails the sleep/food connection, esp carbs!
xoxo
loveyou
deb

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

I am a week late..haha!

But just wanted to say, glad you enjoyed your choc after 3 mos away!

I hope you have a wonderful Xmas!!!
xo

kt said...

I enjoyed drooling over your chocolate treats post. I adore raw cacao in small doses, but do feel a little loopy when I overdo it. I made your moonies the other week and fed them successfully to non-raw foodies. They were VERY well received. :)

Phoenix's Muse said...

I had a chocolate (raw) banana smoothie this morning for breakfast. :D

Frannie said...

Oh, chocolate turtles...well, everything looks so yummy.