Sacred Chocolate: Raw, Stone-Ground, Organic & Vegan > Sacred Chocolate Media & Articles > Interviews > Ten Questions for Sacred Steve
1. Describe how you and the raw and living foods lifestyle met.
I had a huge "aha" moment when reading Chapter 10 of Anthony Robbin's UNLIMITED POWER in 1993. His information about vegetarianism, juicing, breathing, and food combining led to much reading and self-experimentation which finally led me to the conclusion that raw foods are optimal!
Hanging out with David Wolfe, reading his book, Naked Chocolate, and knowing that I wanted to start actually making a raw food product to sell on my own website www.sacredchocolate.com. It seemed nobody was making a traditional raw chocolate bar at the time in 2005 (even though the market was sporting many delicious raw truffles and the likes), so I went to work on the idea, since raw chocolate was the latest raw food buzz! Part of my inspiration was seeing the huge potential in the future of raw chocolate. Raw chocolate could be the coffee replacement of the future for those who want to absolve themselves of a coffee addiction! Also, I was especially inspired to bring Love and Gratitude back into food manufacturing, assuming it once existed there in the past! Sacred Chocolate® is actually part of a much grander vision known as Sacred Foods, whose mission is to completely revolutionize the food manufacturing industry in the world by bringing love, gratitude and higher consciousness into food manufacturing!
Raw chocolate is chocolate that is made by grinding raw, unroasted cacao beans at low temperatures (below 120 degrees F) to keep all the nutritional qualities naturally occurring in chocolate intact. Cooked chocolate is chocolate made from roasted cacao beans. Roasting temperatures and times typically vary from 250 to 350 degrees and 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the desired results of the chocolate maker. Then grinding temperatures can usually reach temperatures significantly higher than the 120 degree F upper limit of what is generally considered raw. Raw chocolate is extremely high in naturally occurring antioxidants. Raw chocolate also has zero trans fats. As we know, cooking greatly reduces the antioxidant content and likely creates trans fats. For example, the Sacred Chocolate® Ginger (57% Cacao Content) recipe was lab tested and found to have zero trans fats and an ORAC (antioxidant value) of 343 (analysis) compared to say a cooked dark chocolate bar of an ORAC value of around 100 (ORAC values of most berries are in the 50 to 150 range in units of umoleTE/gram). The Sacred Chocolate® 100% Whole Bean bar should test out in the 600 to 700 ORAC range when it finally gets tested! Typically, processing temperatures of raw chocolate are below 120 degrees F. Sacred Chocolate® is made from bean to bar at temperatures below 115 degrees F--GUARANTEED. Some ingredients, however, are not raw regarding Sacred Chocolate®. For instance we use Organic Maple Sugar which is not raw, although we hope to use a raw maple sugar in the near future when it becomes available. Other sweeteners are also in the works! Also, some of the essential oils we use are not raw, and it is unlikely that the vanilla bean we use was cured below 120 degrees F, but we have not been able to verify that fact. Typically, the vanilla flavor is acquired by curing at temperatures above 120 degrees F. Luckily most traditional chocolate flavor comes from fermentation and not roasting-the Cacao God smiled on all raw foodists when he created the cacao bean! However, there is still a fundamental taste difference between raw and cooked chocolate similar to the taste difference between raw and roasted almonds, which for some people takes some getting used to. Some people ask why we use maple sugar instead of agave syrup, since most people consider agave raw (although this fact is debatable depending on who you talk to and the agave syrup source; other than honey and tree sap, it is difficult to find in nature a clear raw syrup which will not ferment). There are a few reasons Sacred Chocolate® uses maple sugar instead of Agave Syrup. For one, it is very difficult to make a bar that does not melt easily using agave syrup. Another reason, is that we feel that Maple sugar is more sustainable ecologically than Agave-nothing is cut down and maple promotes old growth forests. Another reason is taste. The bean we use is a fruity criollo variety from Ecuador and the maple boquet seems to add a lovely flavor dimension to the fruity bean of Sacred Chocolate®. Maple sugar allows us to easily become certified VEGAN, which we are. Typically, the entire cane sugar industry uses BONE CHAR as a filtering agent in the processing of cane sugar-you read that correctly, animal bones! Finally, although not as low as agave, maple is still relatively low on the glycemic index at 55. Most people who are sugar sensitive have reported that they do not "spike" after eating Sacred Chocolate®! Once, as I was starting Sacred Chocolate®, I spoke to a shaman and vegetarian chef of many years, and he said that he felt maple sugar was "best on the blood". Maple is relatively high in the minerals manganese, zinc, and potassium compared to honey and agave. Interestingly enough, in the mid 1990's it was popular for many of the top raw food chefs to use maple syrup in many of their recipes. It wasn't really until around 2000 did Agave gain popularity amongst the raw food crowd because of the belief that it was healthier. Whether or not it is healthier is debatable in my opinion and definitely depends on the individual.
The reason for the price difference between Hershey's and Sacred Chocolate® is the cost of ingredients and the time it takes to make a bar. Sacred Chocolate® uses the finest raw and organic or wild-crafted ingredients we can find. Also, we make our chocolate slowly by hand in small batches. We make what is known in the chocolate industry as Artisanal Chocolate. We pay attention to detail and we pray over the chocolate. Sometimes it takes up to month to make a bar depending on the recipe! Our chocolate is slowly stone ground the old fashioned way with lots of love and gratitude. Hershey's on the other hand is not organic and they are highly automated. They can produce a bar in a fraction of a day! Most chocolatiers use steel to manufacture their chocolate bars which results in steel particles in the chocolate that they then have to extract with magnets! We built our factory from scratch to cater to the high end raw chocolate world. You won't see statements like "made in a facility where milk, soy, nuts, shellfish, etc. are present" on our packaging! We go the extra mile to make sure we are making the best product possible that is still economically within reach of those people who are discerning and willing to make an investment in their health and taste buds! For example, one EXCITING development that will be complete this year is our custom mold project which will allow us to use molds that are made with a special food grade material that is completely devoid of all known toxins. For example, for the most part, the entire chocolate industry uses chocolate molds made of POLYCARBONATE which is gaining a lot of press lately since it contains two known toxins-PVC and BISPHENAL-A. In fact, these chemicals are so toxic that there is legislation being proposed in many states such as California and Washington that is banning the use of polycarbonate in all children's toys, baby bottles, etc. This is a major concern that the Federal Government has known about but has largely ignored and it is now up to the states to take matters in their own hands and pass legislation ensuring the safety of people and especially children. This is just one example of why someone has to pay a little extra for Sacred Chocolate®. Beyond that, people who are really chocolate connoisseurs know that the finest bars in the world (and these are cooked bars using cane sugar and many times not even organic), typically retail for about $7 to $15 dollars for a 2 to 4 oz bar. At $9.99 each for 2 oz, Sacred Chocolate® is priced appropriately.
I think people typically (but not always!) look guilty when admitting to being a chocoholic for two main reasons: 1) They believe in the idea that all addiction is bad, which may or may not be true. And/Or, 2) they have grown up believing that chocolate is unhealthy to eat, which in the case of cooked milk chocolate is mostly the case, if eaten in frequent or relatively large amounts! Most things are relative, and moderation and common or sometimes "uncommon" sense must prevail so that one does not go insane trying to balance everything or figure everything out. The wonderful thing about Sacred Chocolate is that it is the healthiest guilt free chocolate commercially available today. The main reason for this is because Sacred Chocolate is raw (except for items discussed above), and certified organic. Also, Sacred Chocolate is made with a lot of love, gratitude, prayer, and careful attention to detail. If one wished to dive into the details on why raw cacao and raw chocolate is a super food, the best resource for this information is David Wolfe's book, Naked Chocolate, which goes into great details on the extremely complex chemistry of raw cacao, and how that chemistry is altered when the cacao is cooked or roasted or otherwise processed at high temperatures. Cacao is very high in magnesium for one thing and most people are deficient in this mineral since most people do not eat enough leafy greens. Cacao is definitely not a leafy green substitute, but it definitely helps in the area of magnesium! Cacao also contains certain chemicals such as anandamide and PEA, which are "bliss" chemicals associated with the euphoria brought on by chocolate and accentuated by raw chocolate. Theobromine, which is related to caffeine, is a more mild stimulant than caffeine and is also known to be good for the circulatory system since it relaxes smooth muscle tissue and dilates blood vessels. The addictive qualities of chocolate have been more linked to the cooked dairy and refined white sugars typically present in the average chocolate bar, which are not present in Sacred Chocolate®. One of the things that really makes Sacred Chocolate® stand out in the area of "The Healthiest Chocolate Ever", is that when we make our Heart shaped bars (signifying the love that goes into the chocolate and the benefits that chocolate has on the circulatory system), we use THE WHOLE CACAO BEAN, SKIN AND ALL! David Wolfe once asked Laurel Steinhice (a famous channeler http://www.lightsourcegroup.com/ ) about Sacred Chocolate®, and the entity channeled said that the skin of the Cacao Bean has properties that promote the growth of stem cells! Of course this information has not been verified by government agencies, but it was enough to inspire me to include the skins of the cacao bean in every Sacred Chocolate® bar! Furthermore, some Sacred Chocolate® bars are downright "medicine". For example, the famous AMAZONIAN bar has over 20 Amazonian herbs present in the bar! This bar will take your tongue for a real roller coaster ride! Always remember, the key to Sacred Eating is Eating without Guilt! No matter what you eat, do so with massive humility, gratitude, prayer, and love! Become intimate with what is about to become intimate with you!
What gives my job meaning is knowing that I am making the world a better place to live. I know that I am bringing greater consciousness, more sensitivity, greater humility, greater strength, more gratitude, and greater love to humanity and the planet by doing what I am doing in creating Sacred Chocolate®. Most if not all of the sales reps that work for Sacred Chocolate came on board because of their affinity for Sacred Chocolate® and its mission. I guess when it comes to changing lives, I must offer just a few of the multitudinous testimonials we have received over the last few years from our customers: (see Testimonials)
My Best Day Ever in terms of food is simple. I eat whatever I want, in whatever quantities I want, and at whatever times I want to! I have total peace around food and diet! I eat with joy, zest, humility, gratitude, connection to the Creator and Mother Earth, consciousness and Love in my Heart. I am grateful for the experience of being able to eat and to nourish my body in fun and healthy ways! I never make an accounting of what I eat, and avoid making a lot of mental decisions about food and diet. I follow my Sacred Heart in the area of what to eat and when and listen to my body on how much to eat. I never label myself as a "something" foodist. Some of my favorite super foods that seem to show up in a recurring pattern in my life are fruit and vegetable juices, products from the bee hive, and of course, Sacred Chocolate®! Here are some of my other regular favorites...My favorite fruits are Mangos, Durians, Rolineas (when I can get them!), Peaches and wild blackberries. My favorite nuts are Coconuts, Pecans, Cashews, and Pistachios. My favorite leafy greens are spinach and parsley. My favorite salad herbs are tarragon, marjoram, and oregano. My favorite grains/seeds are oats, rye, millet and quinoa. My favorite legume is red lentil. My favorite roots are yam and ginger. My favorite seaweed is dulse. My favorite spicy herbs are garlic, and the various Tai and Indian spice combinations such as curry, chai, etc. I love SPICY things! My favorite wild greens from the hills of Marin County are wild sweet onions and "sour" grass. My favorite animal products are raw duck eggs, raw milk, and fresh sashimi. I love making amazing raw salad dressings! I also love making the most amazing raw milk shakes ever! Plus, I love gourmet raw foods prepared by a great raw food chef-who doesn't? Yay!
Sacred Chocolate® has a few goals. The first is the marriage of Super Nutrition and Super Taste! The second is educating the public that raw chocolate is a super food beyond belief which can be regularly eaten in moderation! The third is that Sacred Chocolate® is a sacrament that actually positively helps grow and evolve the consciousness of any individual who consumes or comes in contact with it! Even if only the slightest subtle epiphany is experienced on any spiritual, emotional, mental or physical level, the mission of Sacred Chocolate® is complete for that individual. The highest mission of Sacred Chocolate® is that it become another tool that one can use to help the soul unfurl yet another petal and blossom! You can hear this in more detail at this online interview link.
Sacred Chocolate® won a bronze medal at the 2007 International San Francisco Chocolate Salon on a point based system (see Awards) for best organic chocolate, and just won BEST organic or fair-trade chocolate at the 2008 International San Francisco Chocolate Salon (see Awards).
My favorite flavor of Sacred Chocolate® is the mint. All our flavors are online: www.sacredchocolate.com. Our latest recipe which will be announced soon is "Immuno Mushroom" which contains many medicinal mushrooms. Some other recipes on the drawing board are the following: A coffee recipe, an Almond-Hazelnut recipe, a recipe specifically for diabetics which will be sweet and have ZERO glycemic index, a Chai recipe, a Hot Pepper recipe, a lemon recipe, a curry recipe, a rose/floral recipe, and a few others floating around in my head! I am still working on my honey recipe and white chocolate recipes as well!!! The only places you can get these online currently to the best of my knowledge are www.Sunfood.com, and www.SacredChocolate.com. Sacred Chocolate® is also available in certain retailers, restaurants, and yoga and healing centers around the world. Yay!!