When considering cacao versus cocoa, most people shrug and say, “It’s all chocolate to me!” But is it really? Get cozy with your chocolate and find out more!
What is the deal with cocoa and raw cacao? Isn’t it all just a form of chocolate? The truth is no. Going to the store and picking up a milk chocolate bar isn’t the same as drinking a shake made with raw cacao. The nutritional benefits of chocolate are widely known, but does that mean more people are still eating processed chocolate?
What is Cacao?
Cacao refers to any food products that come from cacao beans – the seeds of the cacao tree. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. By using the cold-pressed technique, it preserves the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (which is used to make cacao butter).
What is Cocoa?
Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. By roasting and using heat, it denatures the nutritional benefits of the cocoa bean by reducing the enzyme content.
Raw Cacao vs. Cocoa?
When it comes to food products, anything raw will have a more diverse nutritional profile. Anytime you heat food, it changes the structure of the nutrients and thus, decreases the bioavailability of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are still intact.
Raw cacao powder has a higher antioxidant level and has many health benefits.
How to Use?
1. Smoothies – add 1 tablespoon of raw cacao with banana and almond butter for a delicious afternoon treat
(NOTE: If you're having trouble coming up with a smoothie recipe for raw cacao, check out our free Sunwarrior smoothie eBook right here.)
2. Brownies/Fudge – since cocoa is already roasted, it is better for baking purposes. Use it in baked treats like brownies or cookies. Make sure to look for a good quality unsweetened organic cocoa powder like Camino.
3. Raw Desserts – use raw cacao to make a variety of delicious raw desserts like a chocolate cheesecake!
4. Hot Chocolate – use raw cacao instead of cocoa or the conventional hot chocolate packs for a healthy warm cup of hot chocolate
5. Chia Pudding – adding raw cacao to a chia pudding gives it a creamy chocolate taste and boosts the nutritional benefits.
6. Sprinkle over fruit – dust some chocolate powder over your next fruit salad for a delicious and filling snack
7. Homemade chocolate “ice cream” – you’ll never have to buy processed ice cream again! Using frozen bananas, add raw cacao powder and blend until thick and creamy.
8. Homemade granola bars – drizzle your next batch of granola bars with a chocolatey treat. Mix raw cacao with some nut milk and drizzle away!
9. Healthy truffles – roll homemade truffles in cocoa powder
10. Chocolate pudding – mix avocados with banana and raw cacao for an upgraded pudding