You might know from experience that chocolate makes you happy and blissful but might be wondering what it has to do with holistic health, wellbeing yet alone meditation.
First of all, let’s make clear that we are not talking about the chocolate bars you find in the impulse section of your local supermarket nor the Cadbury hot chocolate powder you used to have a kid or maybe still do. We’re talking the purest chocolate, straight from the trees’ bean to the bar.
“Ceremonial” grade cacao means it is 100% cacao, the cleanest energetic form of chocolate. It is unprocessed, the more unprocessed the more benefits! Non-GMO, fair-trade, organic, wild-harvested, and naturally grown in small-holder farms. It comes straight from the bean and goes through natural processes until it’s ground down into what is known as the cacao paste or liquor.
So now, let’s come back to why use cacao for health, wellbeing and meditation purposes. Cacao is a psycho-active adaptogen, which means the plant slightly alters brain function and helps counteract the effects of stress, bringing more balance at all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
It generally takes about 20-30 minutes after drinking cacao (depending on the purity of your recipe) to sense the effects. You may feel bliss, expansive, more gratitude, more connected inwards - to yourself, to others and to your intuition
Scientifically known as Theobroma, which means “Food of the Gods” in ancient Greek, Cacao, is a tree native to South America, which’s pods are used to make what we know as chocolate. Findings suggests that cacao was consumed as early as c. 5500 - 1500 BC by the Mayo Chinchipe culture in South America, what is today known as Ecuador. This is thought to be 1000 years before it was used in in Mesoamerica by various cultures starting with the Olmecs from 1500-400 BC, then Maya, Toltecs and Aztecs. There was no such thing as a traditional cacao ceremony back then but we know these civilizations used the cacao elixir as a revered, powerful healing food medicine for good health and even as a currency. Cacao was a sacred drink in shamanic, spiritual rituals and offerings, and was used in important rites of passages such as births, weddings, deaths and rebirths.
Cacao is a superfood, which means you get the maximum health benefits, nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for the minimal calories (yes you can consume ceremonial cacao on a keto diet in case you were wondering!). Working with cacao regularly can have therapeutic health benefits and create new neural pathways that can expand our daily experience into more love, happiness and connection. There are so many benefits to drinking ceremonial grade cacao but the key ones are as follows:
- Natural antidepressant and stress relief
Cacao triggers neurotransmitters already present in the brain to enhance mood, such as Serotonin for wellbeing, reducing feelings of stress, Anandamide - the bliss chemical, Phenethylamine - the love chemical, Dopamine - for more happiness and pleasure and Norepinephrine - the joy molecule.
- Energy & focus
Cacao contains Theobromine which is a cardio vascular stimulant that increases blood flow and gives steady energy without the jitters of coffee, as it isn’t a central nervous system stimulant like caffeine.
- Calm & Nurturing
Cacao is full of antioxidants – 40x more than in blueberries. Helps bring a sense of peace, calm and relaxation. It is rich in many minerals such as magnesium, great for the brain, memory, calming the nerves and heart function as it relaxes blood vessels and tension. Cacao is also the highest source in potassium and chromium as well as a great source of iron, zinc, calcium, manganese Sulphur and phosphorus.
In today’s day and age, this form of pure cacao is used for ceremonies and meditations to help people emotionally detox and feel more connected to themselves, so they can hear their inner wisdom, which otherwise might be clouded by the busy monkey mind, societal conditioning, limiting thoughts and behavioural patterns that all root from fear and lack. The purpose is of course to shed what no longer serves you, feel better and start taking steps towards an empowered life in alignment, peace, joy and happiness.
A cacao facilitator will create a sacred, safe space, where people can take time out of their busy lives to relax, release or call in any desired intention and “life priority” they wish to work with and on. There is no set way, practices or structure but some facilitators might use various tools such as sound healing instruments, incense, chanting, movement or breathwork to move people inwards. At the end of the ceremony, people can share anything that might have come up, revelations, insights and ask to receive further guidance and tips to continue the work, if on a one-to-one session.
How to prepare cacao – always with intention and reverence
The ceremony starts before the ceremony, when you prepare and make your cacao, so make sure you prepare her (yes her! She is a goddess spirit) with sacred intention and mindfulness instead of a rushed habit.
The best recommended product to use is the Pacari Organic Raw Cacao Paste for this. You can find out more here
- 20gr cacao as a daily dose
- 42gr cacao as a ceremonial dose. Always listen to yourself and your body. Often less is more.
- 200-250ml water or plant-based milk per person to mix or less/more depending on consistency/taste preference. You can also play around with half water, half plant milk or 200ml water and 50ml milk etc.
- Optional: add spices, herbs and plants such as a pinch of cinnamon, cayenne, coconut sugar, coconut oil/butter, rose, blue lotus, damiana, maca, ashwagandha.
- Heat your water below boiling point to not burn out the potent nutrients. Use a pot on a stove to heat the water or a kettle, ideally with temperature control. If not boil and then leave to cool down.
- Select your cacao quantity with intention. Base yourself on above measures as indicators but always trust your intuition, body and taste preference. Nurture your own intimate relationship with the cacao.
- Add any extras
- If you want to make it frothy and bubbly, pour the water and cacao in a blender or use a hand-held blender to gently blend.
About the author, Nadia Nanji
An Advanced certified Transformational Coach, Energy Healing Practitioner and Cacao Facilitator, Nadia helps modern women unlock their inner peace and power for more self-trust, so they can fulfil a purposeful life of freedom, on their terms. Her mission is to guide those who yearn for more meaning, joy and inner alignment in life.
During her Cacao Ceremony sessions, expect to clear stuck heavy energy in your system, release deep emotional blocks, allow your body to self-heal and get back into its inherent balance and harmony. A possible side effect is that you’ll feel more inner peace, relaxation and joy so that you can connect to the best version of yourself and receive insights to move forward in any given area of your life.