Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About the World's Greatest Food (Anglais) Broché – 1 février 2005
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Theobromine - Firstly, chocolate has stimulants (most people erroneously think is has substantial caffeine, which it does not) - chocolate has an analogous alkaloid, called "theobromine" occurring predominantly. It is a strong stimulant alkaloid with an effect on the nervous system, particularly the heart. The cardiotoxicity of this alkaloid has been established in carnivores (cats/dogs), and to a lesser extent in humans with sensitivities to it. The effect of this alkaloid may be enhanced by the substantial magnesium content of the chocolate. It may not be suitable for all people.
Tannins - Raw chocolate is rich in tannins, responsible for the bitterness of the chocolate. Tannin in high concentration will behave as an anti-nutrient, binding up and preventing the absorption of proteins and minerals in the digestive tract. It also adversely affects the kidneys in high amounts. Raw chocolate has a very high tannin content, more so than some tannin-rich fruits (such as the skins of jaboticaba), which are recommended to only be eaten in small quantity. Does this rule of potential tannin toxicity not apply to chocolate?
Surplus - Lastly, and partly from having grown cacao trees myself, is the observation that chocolate can be a surplus crop in many areas of the world. Theobroma cacao bears continuously and prolifically from trees that are surprisingly easy to grow in appropriate climates. Commercially, raw cacao beans are available at bulk wholesale relatively cheap. (Yes, even the organic ones.) Why do we see disproportionately high prices on raw chocolate products? To me, this means the public is paying high retail prices, based on this rather aggressive "health food" marketing we see - a situation which to me suggests a veil of pretense (though perhaps inadvertent) concerning the whole ordeal. Somebody is making a very high profit off this particular commodity. I don't think it is the cacao farmers / growers, either. I think a good skeptical pause is warranted.
This book is nonetheless rich with interesting information about the chocolate species. What is the point of this review? I have nothing against the authors, whose work I do enjoy. In fact I do eat a lot of raw foods myself (though not because of any ideology), being a tropical fruit grower and researcher. I think the lesson to learn here is we should respect certain foods for what they are, and not worship them for the energy and enthusiasm they impart. This is a key marketing strategy used pervasively nowadays- the idea that whole foods which make you 'feel good' are healthy and 'good for you.' Chocolate fits that bill indeed. Obtaining good health is, in actuality, a subtle endeavor, and "feeling good" is not a reliable or informative gauge for determining a food's overall virtues, or necessarily the state of one's health.
How many foods / substances out there make us feel good, only to burn us out faster? Thus, I stress caution, and encourage all people to research their health interests as much as possible. Hopefully, you see my point.
As a trainer and motivator, I know first hand the power of raw chocolate and how it can affect mood and energy levels. I use it as my "secret weapon." Raw chocolate is one of the most potent sources of magnesium--a mineral that is essential for muscle function, bone growth and overall wellbeing. Since--depending on where you get your information--60-80% of all Americans are deficient in magnesium, it seems that raw chocolate could be the perfect fit to re-mineralize the population.
Lack of magnesium creates sluggishness, mood changes, and in-the-dumps feelings. Raw chocolate can bring balance to your system and bring you out of the fog.
This book also identifies other fantastic qualities of this superfood that enhance mood and stimulate your body for optimal health!
Kevin Gianni, NCSF-CPT
Author and Personal Trainer
The history lesson of raw cacao was interesting reading, and the glossy book is filled with great color photos. I learned that all chocolate is derived from the cacao bean, which of course grows on the cacao tree. The caocao bean is also the staple diet of the Oompa Loompa. Raw cacao is natural and healthy food that one can enjoy in it's natural state and reap many health benefits, including weight loss, while eating delicious treats. I have lost 28 lbs so far including these recipes in my diet.
I would recomend it to those transitioning to raw food for sure. The chocolate del diablo hot drink is delicious and spicy, and I use the chocolate sauces all the time. I actually bathe in them. Just kidding. The cinnamon rolls are delicous. The raspberry berets are so cute and good. Violet's violent end pie is absolutley delicious. There is even a recipe for raw chocolate bars~ with almonds! I could go on and on.
The writing is very entertaining and informative, with a charming bit of english wit and phrases sprinkled in, and Shazzie's and David Wolfe's passion and research for thier subject is evident. An excellent book. Well worth the price.
The book has chapters dedicated to: legends and history of chocolate, chemical composition of cacoa, myths and beliefs about chocolates abilities, rumors and urban legends about chocolates, chocolate and health, and a huge collection of chocolate recipes. The legends, especially the historical ones, are very interesting. They tell the legends of how cacao came to be as told by the various native tribes of South America. They also chronicle the history of cacao as it is used as money in South America, traded with European explorers, brought back to Europe, and eventually made into the chocolate we know today.
While the information is there, it is sometimes unsubstantiated. For the most part it is either referenced or believable, but some of the claims are a little far out. For example, in one page the authors explain how chocolate is good for the heart because it contains magnesium. In the next paragraph, they authors write that chocolate opens the heart center on a metaphysical level. Magnesium is science, chakras are a different realm.
The recipes look really great, and the photographs are beautiful. However, most of the recipes require kitchen gadgets that some people do not have (like myself). You must have: a food dehydrator, a juicer, a food processor, a blender, a spice/coffee mill, and a hand blender. I have a blender. Of the pages and pages of recipes, I think I found two that I could make with my limited gadgetry. So, unless you are equipped with the gadgets of a raw-foodists kitchen, do not expect to be able to make all these recipes.
Also, there are occasional places in the text when the authors jump around randomly, inserting quotes with no transition, including long quotes from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" without apparent reason, etc.
And finally, the authors also talk about themselves a little too much. They tell all about their experiences with chocolate as though it is a personal journey, and I guess for them it is, but for me, I'm just trying to read about chocolate.
Despite all this, it is still overall informative and worthwhile.
The writing; well, I didn't buy it for the writing, I bought it for the info.