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.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy! (Today's "My Raw Story" is also a special installment for our Diabetes Awareness Week!)

Jim here with another installment of Weird Wednesday...

Throughout the year, I go through various phases of fruit preferences. Right now, it's citrus. I eat probably four large grapefruits per day (dark reds). The darker the red the better, IMHO. I can get quite disappointed when the grapefruits are listed as "ruby red" but turn out to be just regular pink ones. I've noticed that the ones I like the most have an orangish tint to them, as though they've been left to ripen on the bush a little too long. Also, the best ones I've had this year have been from Texas. So, find yourself some burnt-looking Texan grapefruits & enjoy the blood-red bitter-sweetness!

Ever since developing a personal conviction a few years ago that following a raw vegan existence was the best lifestyle for me, I've lived somewhat in conflict with the day-to-day corporate business environment in which I make my living at the moment. As we've directly stated many, many times, we're in the process of changing all of that. But, making such a huge change takes a long time because careers are in many ways very anchoring. We may write more about that process because it's true that going raw (or, really, adopting any kind of diet outside of what most other people eat) can lead to significant changes in your life. Between Wendi and me, I think we've gone through pretty much all of them, and there's certainly value and relevance in sharing most of those things here. Today, though, I thought I'd share what I call my "$75 Salad Story."

In the business world, "networking" is among the more prevalent activities anyone does. It's pretty much always going to involve food , right? It's always a breakfast briefing, meeting a client over lunch, or attending a dinner party (complete with a cocktail hour). ?The deck is more or less stacked against you at these things because, let's face it, they're usually set up to provide what most people perceive as a pleasant experience. And, quite often, that means a certain degree of culinary decadence / indulgence -- invariably at venues that have never heard of raw chocolate or raw apple pie (which, to me, is 10x more appealing and exciting than the ubiquitous "chocolate fountain").

Yesterday was a ton of fun, wasn't it? Sam loves all of the comments, so if you haven't viewed her video, please do -- and let her know how much you enjoyed it!? For today, we just wanted to announce the addition of a permanent new button along the right sidebar of our blog. As you can see, it links to this post from a few weeks back when we first announced a call for guest raw chefs. There, you'll find the details on hosting a segment of Makin' It Monday, just like Sam did.

By the way, just last week, we passed a noteworthy milestone that we didn't mention -- our 500th blog post here at Pure Jeevan. That's a lot of raw foods coverage, right ! Well, we're really still getting started when it comes to the level of information and inspiration we're planning for Pure Jeevan -- so it's great to add new features like this now, as we're able to. Of course, once our home sells and we're finally able to move on to the next phase of our lives, we envision Pure Jeevan exploding with more content than ever before. What fun it'll be to be able to devote ourselves full-time to spreading the word about raw foods!

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those tagged with a new term, "Nadi Balance," please refer to the disclaimer that runs at the bottom of all Pure Jeevan pages. Wendi and Jim are health researchers, educators, and extreme self-experimenters; not doctors. ******

If you've been following this Nadi Balance series, you're probably as fascinated as we are with the body and the myriad ways in which we can peer into our physical health through observation and experimentation. Yesterday, we learned about a blanace being necessary in the human body between fatty acids and sterol fats. (This is but one of the many balances we'll eventually talk about under the larger umbrella of Nadi Balance.) We shared how Wendi's body was in an an extremely unbalanced state, with her fatty acids far outweighing the amount of sterol fats.

The lovely Bunny Berry (see yesterday's post congratulating her) has cooked up created an amazing and fun community to encourage others to take a 100-Day Raw Food Challenge!

So far, so good, with the mono-meal fasting for Navratri! I mentioned that I'll be sharing an almost diary-like blog entry at the end of each day, to share things with all of you. Well, today's diary entry is quite long. I do share a lot about what was going on with me before the fast, and why I haven't been around much online to connect with all of you.

How's everyone else doing? Are you enjoying your raw food journey? What have you been learning about yourselves, your bodies, and your overall health?

Here are our weekly feature categories. These are in addition to the other periodic entries we will make to the blog (recipes, news, etc.). Click any of the banners for a blog page listing all of the entries we've made under that category. (Note: Since the blog is new, as of January 2008, there aren't many of these new features written yet.)

Makin' It Monday:? Every Monday we'll share a raw / living foods recipe with you that we've either made and loved in the past, or plan on makin' sometime soon!

Today we talk about ways to lessen one's chances of developing dementia, aside from dietary changes. Other than eliminating foods from our diet that may hinder brain function, or adding foods that enhance brain function, what can we do to keep our minds sharp as we age?

The first action step you can take to keep your mind healthy is to physically exercise the rest of the body. By keeping our limbs and muscles active, we are not only enhancing the flow of oxygen throughout our bodies, we're continually working our brains, as well. Every move you make requires a message from your brain to be sent to your muscles. So, the more you move, the more you're exercising that part of your brain.

Jim here... Okay, the title and graphic, above, may be a bit silly, as are a few of the remarks I made in the video, below. But, within this rather odd piece a few hopefully noble and economical ideas exist -- especially the ridiculously simple and obvious notion about reusing glass beverage bottles. I'm embarrassed to have lived on this planet for so long and not to have adopted this fun and environmentally friendly practice much sooner.

We really do take things like glass containers for granted, when we probably shouldn't. Their ubiquity aside, it still takes a fair amount of energy and resources to make a single glass bottle. On the mass scale that they're made, they're obviously super cheap. But, if you had to start from scratch, it would take ages to make a single one, so we should at least appreciate them more and do all we can to make their continued existence as sustainable as possible.