More about Cacao

About Celeste

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Battling alcoholism for 20 years, Celeste was stuck in a vicious cycle, unable to see a way out. She likens addiction to being on a hamster wheel, feeling exhausted but unable and too afraid to stop; where the safer option is to continue running.
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Interested in attending a Cacao Ceremony and want to know more about Cacao? We answer your most frequently asked questions about Cacao.

History of Cacao

Cacao first appeared around 1500BC in today’s region around Mexico. New research in 2018 shows that Cacao domestication was likely 3600 years ago in South America (present day Ecuador).

Cacao was particularly important to ancient Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Maya and Aztecs, it was known as “Food of the gods” and considered sacred. It was used in in ceremonies and rituals, and even as currency. Marriages also required ceremonial use of cacao due to its fertility aspects.

In 1815, Van Houten developed a method to de-fat cacao and alkalise it, and this was the beginning of large scale, cheap chocolate. In 1867 Nestle succeeded in pulverizing milk, and in 1879, the first milk chocolate was produced., which marked the end of the scared medicine of Cacao.

What is Ceremonial Cacao?

Today, what we refer to as Ceremonial Cacao is Ceremonial Grade Cacao is made from Cacao paste which come from only high-quality Cacao beans that have been very minimally processed, hence retaining its nutrients. Ceremonial Grade refers to an energetic standard of how the Cacao is handed from seed to drink – with love, respect, and intent.

Resurgence of Ceremonial Cacao in Ceremonies

As humankind began to lose its way in the modern world, unaware of the essence of our soul, disconnected from nature and locked in the cluttered busy space of our minds… this Mayan legend comes to mind – it was said that when humans have completely lost their connection to Nature and Self, the spirit of Cacao will return to the world to open people’s hearts and restore harmony.

Around 2012, a new global community started to form, using Cacao in Ceremony in new ways. And today, we are witnessing the increasing popularity of Cacao Ceremonies as spaces for people to connect in a meaningful way with others and themselves.

Cacao Ceremonies are an opportunity for us to reconnect to that part of ourselves that remembers the power of gathering in community, in ritual. It also helps us to move out of the head, into our hearts.

How is Cacao paste different from Cacao powder?

Cacao Paste is more potent than cacao powder because it contains cacao butter which is a carrier fat for the beneficial compounds in cacao, allowing our bodies to absorb more of the nutrients.

Cacao Powder is processed a few steps further. It is defatted to remove the cacao butter from the cacao paste. It tends to be more popular because it is easier to stir into drinks, does not melt in storage and is cheaper. It is usually prepared with milk because it does not taste good with only water. When prepared only with water, you will find Cacao Paste to taste more nourishing.

What is the difference between Cacao Powder and Cocoa?

Both come from the same source, but Cocoa Powder refers to highly processed Cacao. It is roasted at a much higher temperature and usually supplemented with additives like an alkalizing chemical solution or with sugar to cut the bitterness.

What are the benefits of consuming Ceremonial Grade Cacao?

When consumed unsweetened, it is a superfood, packed with beneficial minerals and neuromodulators that beneficially affect our state of mind. The mild bitterness of a ceremonial cacao drink can also serve to cleanse the liver or release emotions, and the alkaloid content of pure cacao boosts circulation and absorption of nutrients. 

Key benefits include:

  • Many vital minerals, especially for heart health. Consuming cacao can replenish minerals vital to our body. Magnesium is chronically deficient in the majority of western diets, and cacao is the highest naturally occurring source. Magnesium is used in all key brain functions, especially memory and concentration. It is also beneficial for the function of the heart, acting to relax blood vessel and decrease strain. Besides magnesium, cacao is also the highest naturally occurring source of chromium, and also high in copper, calcium, manganese, zinc, sulfur, iron, and phosphorous. 
  • Multiple mood elevating compounds.
    Cacao contains beneficial neurotransmitters and neuromodulators already present in our brain, most notably including:
    • Norepinephrine – the joy molecule
    • Serotonin – help with wellbeing, and creates resistance to stress.
    • Dopamine – feelings of motivation and pleasure.
    • Anandamide – the bliss molecule, it moderates pain, and is associated with the “runners high” effect.
    • Phenylethylamine – helps with excitement, alertness, attention. Gives the perception of time slowing down. 
  • Increased energy & vitality. Caffeine is often confused with the primary stimulant molecule in cacao, theobromine. Theobromine is only about one quarter as stimulating as caffeine, and it has a much longer half life in the liver, meaning that it’s effect on the body is softer and longer. Theobromine is a cardiac stimulant, as opposed to caffeine which is a nervous system stimulant.
  • High source of antioxidants.

Will I get high from consuming Ceremonial Grade Cacao?

No. A 35-40g dose is served during the ceremony. It is supportive for a gentle lift during Ceremony, but you will not get high.

Experience a cacao ceremony, book here. Small group cacao ceremony now available 3 times a week in Tiong Bahru.

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