I have been putting on a few pounds recently. It’s not my fault. I managed to lose about 10 pounds by dieting and exercising before my holiday in early June, so I could show up on the beach and maybe not feel so self conscious. I didn’t make much of a difference of course, seeing as the mate I was on holiday with is a bronzed hairless Greek god and I, despite losing ten pounds, am a pale, hairy, ginger monster, so I still stood out like a sun burnt sore thumb in a fluorescent vest. But now my other flatmate keeps bringing out sweets at 11pm at night. Last night it was sweet pop corn, the night before a couple of boxes of jaffa cakes, you get the picture. So I was looking for sweets that maybe are not so bad to consume, because I don’t want those extra pounds back.
Cacao beans, aka food of the gods, black gold, seeds of gold, is the origin of all chocolate based goodies out there. However, cacao beans themselves are rich in antioxidants, natural anti-stress chemicals, anti-depression chemicals and even Arginine, “nature’s Viagra”. Unfortunately, processed sweetened chocolate, which is what you get in most snacks, is fatty and sugary and definitely not what you want to be snacking on all day, and most of the beneficial substances have been lost during processing. But sometimes you just have to have chocolate.
So why not try raw cacao beans or raw cacao nibs? There are other forms of raw cacao beans that can be used in cooking and snack preparation (raw cacao butter, raw cacao paste), but that all takes time and I need to find something I can have on the go or when the only effort I can make is going to the kitchen and opening a cupboard. You can have the raw cacao beans with their skins on for extra iron, however they are quite bitter if unsweetened. On the upside, you can eat them whole on the go, a light snack that provides you with energy and all the aforementioned beneficial elements present in the cacao bean.
There is a way of eating cacao beans that takes away some of the bitterness and retains all of their goodness, and again does not require you to prepare them yourself, so all you need to do is eat them. The raw cacao nib is prepared by kibbling the beans at a very low temperature. The result is a slightly more cooked flavour given to a sweet that is still healthy.
Now I haven’t had a chance to stop at any of the health food stores and have a look for cacao beans and cacao nibs, but they are available on line after a quick search. Happy chocolaty snacking all