(Chocolate recipes at end of this article.)
Very recently, I received an email condemning cooked, processed or raw cocoa beans as dangerous. The email claimed that it "greatly shortens [animals'] life span if it doesn't kill them immediately" when forced fed cocoa beans. All of that information was exaggerated and seems made-up according to my research. What animals were forced to eat raw cocoa beans that it "greatly" shortened their lives or immediately killed them?
Humans are animals. I know thousands of people who eat raw cocoa and not one has died or gotten sick from it thus far. The email claimed that no tribal people eat it yet Kuna Indians of Panama consume about 3 cups of cocoa brew daily. The email also claimed that aflatoxins (byproducts of molds), hair and rodent feces found in chocolate were highly toxic and would add to disease and early death. Aflatoxins are lowest in beans and highest in grains such as wheat, rye, corn, and peanuts. Therefore, it would be much more dangerous to eat breads, pastas, cereals, peanut butters and any manufactured grain product. The feces and hair issue is true of all almost all processed foods. Cooked and processed chocolate products are subject to industrial cooking and processes. Whole raw cocoa beans used to make raw chocolate recipes are not intrinsically problematic when eaten in moderation.
The email claimed that raw cocoa caused the most problems and was extremely addictive. When I was a cooked-food consumer, I was addicted to chocolate, cigarettes, coffee, alcohol, and speed (methamphetamines). Because I was so ill with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, angina and diabetes, I consumed chocolate, coffee and amphetamines and smoked cigarettes to produce energy. From all of that, by evening I was so jittery and nervous that I had to drink about a bottle of gin or bourbon nightly to sleep. On SAD (Standard American Diet), I had a very addicted personality and bodily need for all of those products in order for me to function.
Since I have been on my Primal Diet for many years, I have no addictions. I had many strong cravings because my body was deficient in many nutrients but I could eat several foods on my Primal Diet to satisfy those deficiencies. Since I have been making my homemade chocolate from whole raw cocoa beans blenderized with raw egg, raw fat (mostly unsalted raw butter and a little raw cream) and unheated honey, I have not experienced any addiction to it. I have eaten the mixture about 10 times yearly for 2 years. That certainly could not be called an addiction. Usually, I eat it only when people make it for me as a gift. Even though I enjoy it immensely, I have not craved it but once.
I remember when, 38 years ago, I first began eating the same combination made with raw carob pods instead of raw cocoa beans. I craved it to the point that someone could have called it an addiction. However, since carob does not have any addictive chemicals in it, it could not have been an addiction. Consider instead that my body craved all of that butter mixed with some cream, protein in eggs and digestive enzymes in honey. When my body had had certain deficiencies satisfied intensely and repeatedly for about 3 months, the craving subsided. My skin, nerves and entire body were much healthier.
I discovered many times that when deficiencies are satisfied, intense cravings vanish. Most people who crave raw chocolate to the point of wanting it daily are people who are very deficient in raw fats and the egg-proteins and honey enzymes help to digest those needed fats.
Most beans are not directly physical health-giving substances for humans. The caster (from which caster oil derives) and soy are health-damaging, especially in their raw state. Even cooked, caster beans may cause death from eating them. Commercially, soy must be chemically processed and heat-treated to prevent sickness and/or death. Fermented raw soy products are not likely to kill anyone but they are cumulatively toxic to most people when mixed with salt. Raw cocoa contains flavonoids (antioxidants), strengthens blood pressure, heart and vascular system improving circulation, glucose metabolism and eye sight.
The email claimed that theobromine, caffeine and theophyline, raw, processed or cooked were "known to produce permanent degenerative alterations in cellular protoplasm." In micro amounts, raw theobromine, caffeine and theophyline stimulate creative thought processes and do not cause diseases. The only safe bean from which to get those are the cocoa when it is raw. Cocoa beans eaten excessively may cause hunger or nausea, demineralization that sometimes results in loosened teeth and pain in jaw and around teeth, acidic and sore tongue, headaches, hyperactivity, lack of focus and clarity plus insomnia. I have only seen those symptoms when people ate 1/2 cup or more daily for several days of the chocolate mixture, undiluted in milk, cheesecake or other recipe. Some people who over-ate raw chocolate became immune to those side effects and continued to overeat it, asymptomatically.
Most people on a raw diet could consume safely about 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa beans weekly blenderized with raw egg, 6 tablespoons of raw fat and some unheated honey without any harm. Eating it only occasionally, they might benefit with increased energy, mental activity and creativity as well as the physical benefits mentioned earlier.