PictureFancy some chocolate anyone?
Chocolate does not need to be a guilty pleasure.  Why feel guilty when you can be doing something good for yourself, like sharing in the delights of some home made chocolate.


Here we share with you our thoughts on chocolate.  We are looking even more forward to sharing the real thing in Bali soon!

Who doesn’t love chocolate?


And when it is raw, natural guilt free chocolate,  even better.


I know a lot of yogis and health conscious people out there that can eat it by the bucket load.  It triggers something in everyone you just want to go back for more.


I love making my own raw-chocolates.


Again, quality over quantity for me.  I can eat 2-3 but that is it. For some reason my digestion can only tolerate small amounts.


My favorite types of chocolate are truffles, or the plain with activated nuts.


I went through a stage putting adaptogens like astragulas, shilajit-ginseng-reishi into my mix and that gets into a whole new level of mind opening craziness!


Anyway, I will be giving a chocolate making workshop at the coming art of life retreat so watch out.


The cacao bean used to be the Mayan currency. That’s how highly it was valued!


Put cacao beans under a heavy press and by extraction you get 2 ingredients:  cacao butter and cacao powder. Put cacao butter and powder back together again, and the alchemical process makes chocolate!!


Raw, untreated, unheated cacao has high levels of triptophans!!


Triptophans effect our serotonin levels – that’s why we feel good when we eat chocolate.


Chocolate also contains dozens of mineral and vitamins, the highest of these being magnesium. Magnesium is excellent for us especially after any form of exercise, like after our yoga practice!


I always have chocolate in the house.  I make it myself.  It is really easy to have a week’s supply. I eat it all the time.


Commercialised chocolate is far from the real thing. The majority of it contains gums, emulsifiers and stabilizers, and most brands have been using palm oil too.


The level of sugar (and it’s the bad fructose sugar they use) is stupendously high, as well as flavor enhancers, these days they even replace the whole ‘chocolate factor’ with a substitute additive called PGPR made in the lab (see this link for more http://www.progressive-charlestown.com/2012/02/things-you-probably-dont-want-to-know.html)


Vote with your dollar, vote for nutrition, and eat as much good chocolate as you want!!!

I eat things as I feel like them.  For some reason I tend to feel like a piece of chocolate at the end of the day.


I have always preferred dark chocolate to milk chocolate.  I like trying different types of chocolate with bits of things in them.


I don’t eat much chocolate and I never feel like eating very much anyway. For me it is about having a small taste of something.


I have never been a person to sit down and eat a whole block of chocolate although I know lots of people who tell me they can do so with ease.   I cannot even imagine feeling like I would want to.


Maybe I have a different chemical make up? Enough serotonin naturally?  I used to be a runner and could run for hours and never have a so-called ‘runner’s high’.  I just felt a basic calm and happy.




Picture Many people ask us before we run retreats whether there will be coffee.

It’s like they think they might be doing something naughty or wrong by wanting a cup of coffee in the morning.


A part of our retreat process is to help you question these types of assumptions that can lead to feelings of guilt or shame.  We are about happiness after all!


It does not mean we are hedonists promoting everything that feels good.  We just try to help you towards a healthier line of thinking so you can make more informed decisions for yourself, that’s all.


And managing people’s coffee expectations at our yoga and raw food retreat is not hard! We drink coffee!  And, we also want to be flexible enough to try different things too.


Below are our quick thoughts on coffee.  You will see that some of us have much more knowledge than others and, perhaps most importantly, that we try not to just drink coffee simply out of habit and have had a little think about what we are doing to get to the places we are now—different places as they are!



I had a big break from coffee a couple years back when I started being 100 percent raw. My body just couldn’t tolerate it so I stopped.


When on raw food I was getting naturally  stimulated therefore coffee’s stimulating properties were almost too much to handle.


Now, since being on an 80 percent raw food intake, I have discovered the coffee bean again.  But I always question where  it comes from and how has it been processed etc.


I prefer quality to quantity.


I love it black but sometimes crave the odd nut milk latte.


I love the smell of the coffee. And I certainly have a taste for good coffee. I like trying different brews and filtration systems, at the moment I am into Flores and Toraja coffee (different regions in Indonesia). It’s a darker bean, almost black and had a more rounded earthy chocolate taste to it.


I drink my coffee black. And I generally don’t drink it first thing in the morning.


I am very aware of what its effects are on my body.


Coffee has a bad name for it because it’s addictive, can make you jittery, acidic and ‘over stimulated’. Many people ‘use’ coffee to move their bowels in the morning.


There are 2 types of coffee bean – the Robusta and Arabica bean.


The Robusta coffee is a lower grade bean produced heavily by 3rd world countries for big corporation to produce a cheap high caffeinated bean to flood the market. Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, Nestle etc. If it is Big it is using the robusta bean.


The Arabica bean is the higher grade bean, grows usually at higher altitude, and needs more refined conditions.


The caffeine content is what most people get addicted to. Caffeine effects your nervous system and your adrenals. But the most unfavouable quality of coffee is actually its acidity levels. It takes 12 cups of water to reduce the effect of one cup of coffee in your system! That’s 12 cups of water!!!


The smell and the colour of acidic urine is strong! So watch your pee and make sure you drink lots of water to dilute the effects from your body.

I forced myself to start drinking coffee when I started work to be social! I didn’t like it at first but I soon began to. I only had one cup a day.


Then one day I was not able to have my coffee at the regular time due to some routine change.


I got this massive headache that lasted all day and I did not know what it was.


I later figured out that it was this one cup of coffee that my body became addicted to. I didn’t like the idea of being addicted to something.  This was all before my days as a practicing yogi.


So I stopped for a while.  However, the ritual of a hot drink at certain times was very calming so I was just having something else like a tea or herbal tea or something.


Over time I somehow felt it was time to have some coffee again and I gradually started drinking it.  It actually gave me some sort of physiological lift.  I think it is the caffeine and it has an effect on my blood pressure.  I have naturally quite low blood pressure, which, if it gets too low can make you feel very weak and unable to do anything.  I have not had this scientifically verified or anything!  But, what I found was that without changing anything else—exercise, diet (vegetarian, a lot of it raw), that cup of coffee seemed to make a difference.


So now I drink coffee again.  I will have to look at the type of coffee now Im more informed.  You will see I am the most unrefined of the foodies here but that is where I am at.  I use an aeropress.


I remember reading Iyengar’s book, Light on Yoga, and in the beginning section it talks about having a cup of tea or coffee in the morning before your practice.  I thought, well, if Iyengar says then there you go!


However, I am always acutely aware that coffee is large source of income for millions of people in developing countries.  I know that labour conditions are not always the best for them and I hope that can be improved.


65 years after their last meeting  BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois met again, and their topic of conversation was their mutual love for coffee!