The Bribri Indians of Costa Rica’s secret to a long life: raw cacao
The indigenous people of Costa Rica are some of the oldest people in the world. We spent time visiting BriBri in the mountains of Talamanca. They, like many modern indigenous peoples, live between two worlds. They wear modern clothes, live in modern houses, and carry cell phones. But they still stick to the old ways when it comes to taking care of themselves. And one of the traditions they cherish the most is drinking chocolate. YES! Chocolate is good for you! In fact, BriBri drink 5-6 cups of this rich, sugar-free beverage every day and say its powerful antioxidants are the secret to its longevity.
Visit the Bribri in the hills of southern Costa Rica and spend some time with a 72-year-old woman named Ofelia. Ofelia and her family have a farm, or Costa Rican farm, where they allow cacao plants to grow wild. They do not use chemicals, organic or otherwise. When the red and yellow pods mature, they harvest the pods full of cocoa beans and take them to a large barn that is cool and dark inside and covered in chocolate powder.
Imagine the scent!
Walk into the sweet smelling barn and are greeted with mats filled with dried cocoa beans, bags filled with white chocolate filled to the brim and ready for the market, and my favorite part, little trays of raw cocoa squares flavored with things like coconut. , cinnamon, vanilla, chili peppers, papaya, pineapple, almonds, hazelnuts or wild honey. Samples are free and larger, all natural, fantastically good for you. The bars are for sale.
Talk to Ofelia and she will tell you that she does not eat anything that contains preservatives and that she never takes any medication, but only tells what she can collect in the rainforest. It will also tell you that young people don’t drink cocoa like old people.
“It is important to drink cocoa every day,” he will say.
And then he will make you a cup of traditional hot chocolate. She will take a disk made from the paste of raw ground beans, shave it to powder, and boil it in hot water. Drink and taste its bitter wealth. It’s definitely not the cocoa your mother used to make. This drink is pure and dark and has little oily cocoa butter circles floating on top. And it’s packed with heart-healthy fats and cancer-preventing polyphenols.
So this is what I propose. Try replacing your morning coffee with a cup of raw cocoa. It will give you a caffeine boost similar to coffee, but without the jittery feeling. It will also keep you from being hungry, and because cocoa is packed with B vitamins and other feel-good chemicals, it will promote an overall feeling of not-worry-be-happy.
Here’s my favorite raw cocoa hot drink recipe
MORNING COCOA RECIPE
10 oz water
2 tablespoons raw cocoa
Generous pinch of sea salt
A few drops of vanilla
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of honey
Boil the water with the cocoa and salt. Beat with a fork or whisk. Let it boil for 2 minutes or so (this will ensure that the cocoa melts)
Turn off the heat and add vanilla and cinnamon.
Pour into your favorite mug, add honey, and stir well.