My passion for cacao and the creation of Made With Ananda began , when I had my first experience of pure chocolate. I was amazed with how it instantly had a positive effect on my body and well being. I was even more impressed with how this ingredient, that is mostly perceived as unhealthy, can actually benefit our health. Cacao contains an abundance of beneficial nutrients that can certainly make us healthier, happier people.
From a young age I have been fascinated with a natural based health style, from foraging herbs with my dad as a child to make potions to ease symptoms of coughs and colds, to practicing yoga and meditation for a healthier mind and body. Diet in particular has taken my interest since it holds such large influence on the state of one's health.
The way in which the foods that we put into our bodies can influence how the body functions for a positive/negative way is remarkable. Thousands of years of wisdom and knowledge has been collected from all corners of the globe, resulting in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Western Herbalism - to name a few, that integrate healing herbs, natural diet and knowledge of body and mind to aid in longevity and well being.
Whether this is your first encounter with cacao or you are a cacao guru I am pleased to welcome you on the chocolate journey!
The Journey Began...
Long ago in ancient Meso-America, the Mayans regarded cacao as a sacred medicine, primarily using in ceremony and a means to communicate with the gods.
Cacao is a valuable plant medicine that has abilities to support psychological and physiological health, by using it in a ceremonial setting it has potential to release stresses, open the heart and introduce a calm, mindful state. Also where there are no distractions, you are allowed to connect with cacao's energy, noticing the subtle effects it is having on your self. Ceremony provides a state where one can express themselves creatively by singing, dancing, playing and letting the inner child out!
The idea to start producing cacao chocolate was sparked whilst travelling through Peru, where I travelled to in order to further my knowledge on yoga and holistic health. One day I was invited to a cacao ceremony, where Guatemalan 'ceremonial grade' cacao was served in a magical and friendly environment. Part of the ceremony a meditation allows a journey to take place deep inside, where healing work can take place, releasing negative emotions and emotional blockages.
After this beautiful experience, I was blown away by how this type of cacao had the potential to taste delicious and have incredible effects upon the mind and body..Upon returning home I went on a search for the highest quality cacao beans I could find to attempt to create the same experience and share it with friends and family. I then combined the cacao with a variety of herbs to have a synergistic effect, finally adding organic coconut sugar to make the chocolate more palatable for those who haven't yet become acquainted to it's taste.
Whenever I drink cacao I try to integrate aspects of the ceremony into the experience, making sure I have enough time without distractions to sit down and mindfully be aware of the taste, texture, how my body is feeling and how the energy of the cacao is working with my self.
When drinking mindfully, rather than unconsciously drinking on the go or watching T.V, you will not only notice the differences in energies within yourself but will also be able to focus on the intricate depths of flavors of the hot cacao drink!
Benefits and nutrients
Cacao should not be underestimated, it is a wonderfully powerful ingredient that provides our bodies with an abundance of nutrients that improves our energy on many levels!
From a physical perspective cacao contains a wealth of phyto nutrients (plant nutrients) :
- Theobromine, translated to "Food of the gods" by the Mayans, it is a stimulant but doesn't effect central nervous system like caffeine
- Anandamide, known as the "bliss chemical" it is responsible for making us have a sense of pleasure when eating chocolate
- Phenethylamine, is the chemical the brain releases when we feel pleasure or fall in love!
- Serotonin, helps regulate bodily functions such as appetite, behavior, sleep and memory
- Iron, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, selenium, chromium, manganese, all support a healthy cardiovascular, nervous and immune system
- Antioxidants, has some of the highest levels of antioxidants found in an any ingredient! Helps eliminate free radicals that can build up in the body
Since it contains such a plentiful amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals this ingredient can be used as a super food, using it as a supplement, to take alongside a healthy balanced diet, in order to provide the body with the nutrients it is usually lacking.
Unlike conventional chocolate, the chocolate we produce is made with the key intention to showcase the highest quality cacao beans that have been grown by farmers striving to produce cacao in an environment symbiotically with nature.
Made With Ananda chocolate is truly made with as much care and attention as possible, from hand sorting the beans to the final wrapping in hand made paper.
Our ethics focus on producing a product that not only has a benefit to our health but also has a positive benefit on the environment due to the selection of specific beans produced using natural organic farming methods, that are sourced from fair trade estates that help farmers earn a living from farming cacao.
We are constantly working on different ways to improve our cacao products and create a beautiful chocolate experience for everyone. We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Use our Contact Us page to tell us what we’re doing right or what we can improve on.