Is cacao dangerous or is it a super food? Anyone who's been learning about raw foods knows about raw cacao (check out a recent episode of Know Your Food: Cacao). It's raw chocolate without all the processing and additives normally included in the chocolate bars many buy from standard grocery stores. In its raw form, cacao has different nutritional components than typical processed chocolate. Many claim that raw chocolate is filled with mega doses of nutrients, making it a super food, and therefore extremely healthy for the human body. Others claim that even in its raw state, cacao is a stimulant that taxes the human body and cacao is more like a poison than a food. I've heard murmurs about negative effects of cacao for many years, but that was always subdued by the vociferous praise of cacao.

Recently, my friend Kevin Gianni (The Renegade Health Show) spoke out about cacao and his experiences with it. Kevin is well known in the raw food community, so his words came as a shock to many people. He explained in his video (below) that he developed a rash on his stomach. After much investigating and diet changes, he came to the conclusion that cacao was causing the rash (eliminating the cacao caused his skin to clear). He also stated that cacao had been stripping his body of vital minerals. Kevin pointed out that he was simply sharing his own experience with cacao, possibly shedding some light on a subject that may need to be further investigated. He advised others to take a look at their own reactions to the food, to see if they are experiencing any problems.

Those consuming a raw food diet sometimes use a dehydrator to prepare raw food dishes. They do this at low temperatures, below the point of actually cooking the foods, to intensify flavors, reduce the amount of moisture in the dish, and sometimes to take the chill off something they'd rather serve a bit warmer than straight out of the refrigerator. There is a practice that we've seen, however, that is actually cooking the very foods were taking such great measures to consume raw! Let me share an experience I had when I first started eating raw foods, that will help explain how some of us may be cooking our foods by mistake.

In the beginning of eating raw foods, my entire family loved the Vegetable Stir-Dont-Fry I used to make (you can find that recipe in the free eBook you downloaded when you first visited our site). One day I created a double recipe so we could eat more the next day, without going through the process of preparing it again fresh. The following day I took the bowl of Stir-Dont-Fry out of the refrigerator and put it into the dehydrator to take the chill off. It wasn't warming up fast enough on such a low temperature, so I thought I'd just cover the dish a little bit to trap in some of the heat that seemed to leave each time I checked the dish and stirred it around. So, I took a plate and placed it on top of the bowl with about an inch, or two, opening.

Jim's mother, JoAnn, LOVES pasta. I'm sure many of you can relate to that---pasta is a big part of the cooked diet and just about everyone loves it. When going raw, many individuals say they just can't do it because they miss pasta too much. Well, that's no longer a problem. There is a raw way to make pasta and you are going to love it if you haven't experienced it, yet!

As a gift for Mother's Day, we sent a pasta-making tool to JoAnn along with a pasta sauce recipe we created for her (see the Paradisio Pasta Pomodoro entry). To make it easier for her to learn how to create pasta, and to answer some of the emails we've been receiving about the device we used to make the pasta, we have put together a two-part video showing how to make delicious, beautiful raw pastas! You'll learn how to use two different pasta-making devices, as well as how to use a simple vegetable peeler to create delicious noodles!

I started jumping up and down last night with excitement when I received a call saying that the bellydancing class I've been wanting to take at Khafif Studios has an opening! Yay!!!



(This will be my teacher, Berna!)

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Yesterday's smoothie was superlatively tasty, eh? It was clearly something out of Elvis' more energetic younger years, I think. You're probably wondering: "How does one follow an Elvis smoothie?!" I know ... it'll be tough to do.

Every week I introduce you to some companies or individuals I think may be interesting to you. This time, I want to intoduce you to some handy calculators that will help you monitor your daily intake of nutrients.

Take the time to meet...

Let's take a quick look at a few dessert pictures, then compare and contrast, shall we First up is a small slice of some normal pastry:

Looks sinful, right It seems to proudly display its bready crust, its gooey chocolate center, some sort of butter-rich top layer coated with lovable little bits and bobs, and a liberal sprinkling of confectioner's sugar to make the whole thing cute as a wintry scene from one of those holiday specials hosted by the claymation likeness of Burl Ives. I'm sure it's delightfully rich, too. A tad small, though, eh ? It's probably all anyone can take of such decadence without worrying about clogged arteries or putting in extra time on the tread mill for the next three days.

Just a quick announcement today:? I just pressed "send" on our gorgeously produced November 2009 e-newsletter. While we've done periodic newsletters in the past, we've now revisited our commitment to doing them regularly. So, each month going forward, we plan to send out a new e-newsletter.

And they're always crazy fun!? They're kind of like bouncing on a trampoline -- like flying, you know ? Nothing but care-free, transcendent happiness, soaring amid the tree branches, smiling ear-to-ear, gravity-defying hair flying every which way. (Okay, maybe they're not that much fun. But, they are at least generally enjoyable -- and informative!)

Yesterday's post was a little "heavy," don't you think In it, we shared a bit of the stress we were experiencing related to our pending move. There was just so much data to pore through (and yes, we're still feeling that stress)!?

At times like these, it's often good to step back, breathe, and make sure you're not ...well, freaking out -- which makes today's "Take the Time Tuesday" installment absolutely fitting, for we would like you to meet a raw foodie who goes to great lengths to ensure that your "Vitamin L12" levels stay well into the superhero range. Without further adieu, then...