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How Cacao supports with depression and mental wellness!

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

cacao antidepressant

I have listed below scientific evidence around the powerful medicinal benefits of Cacao in mental Wellness and its benefits as an Antidepressant. This is a study I had Dr Corin of Seleno Health conduct on the behalf of The Cacao Ambassador. But for the first part of this blog, I would like to share my personal experience post Christchurch Earthquakes and how Cacao literally saved my life!

About 4 months after the February Earthquake, I was thrown into a deep state of depression and anxiety. I now know I had PTSD.

I kept going deeper and deeper into a black hole, saying no to life and becoming more and more fearful of everything, I would have panic attacks in supermarkets, be incapable of knowing what to purchase and spend hours walking around the isle’s. My mind would bombard me with all kinds of negative thoughts. It was as if there was a film of grey and often black across every thought, so I could only see the worst possible outcome. I also thought very little about myself, blaming myself with heavy self judgement. I became skin and bone as there was so much anxiousness inside that there was no room for food. It was as if all my logic and ability to function in the world had disintegrated into pieces, and only the negative, the dark existed in a very dysfunctional way. I was like a ruderless boat being tossed around by my thoughts. Night time was the worst when after perhaps 3 hours of sleep, I would awaken and be victim to the worst fears and doubts. Did I have suicidal thoughts? Most definitely! I wanted and needed a reprieve, and no amount of wise words could help, or support from friends of which I had alot of, could bring me back. However the gift of my children kept me here and somehow there was a tiny thin string that kept me going. But it was only a tiny tiny thread that kept me holding on….

The thing is, with this amount of depression and anxiety, we get ourselves into such a low place, that it is almost impossible to come out. Self care, taking small steps, all are advised, alongside medication but one is so low that the reach for this is sometimes too great and the cycle keeps spinning. I just kept shrinking further and further into darkness and being afraid of the world and of saying yes to anything! In my experience medication only numbed me, and I stopped taking it after one tablet.

It was at this point that a friend gave me a book on Super-foods. I was a Master Chocolatier and worked, albeit not really given my state, with chocolate every day. In this book it listed both Cacao(the ingredient that makes chocolate) and Maca as Being super-foods and very good also combined especially as an ant-depressant.

Something connected inside. I had been given so much advise, that couldn't reach me, but something in this reached me in the dark recesses.

I made myself a promise – I would make myself a Cacao and Maca smoothie every day. I would do that one thing for myself no matter what.

And I did, and literally within 10 days I wasn’t cured but it was as if I could breath and see a pinprick of light!

cacao powder

Here is what I know Cacao does, and is supported by Maca:

Pure powerful Cacao creates space from the thoughts. We still have to master the thoughts, not believe in them, heal them, love them, but when that low, doing this without cacao is like telling someone to swim when they never have. Cacao creates that life ring that allows one to start to relax and have space from being the thoughts and the sensations of negativity and the bombardment of being at the mercy of the thoughts, and gives one a massive helping natural hand. Suddenly one is looking at the the thoughts and holding them rather then being taken by them. One can pick them up and put them down. There is more light and space and moments of quietude and hope and definitely self love. There are more and more moments of the light shining, of possibility being know, and from this place once can start to help themselves in a real way.

Taking Cacao daily was fundamental for this shift at that time in my life.

I remember my first big yes to life! My dear friend Floris called me saying she was returning to Samoa and would I come and visit her on her Cacao farm(I didn’t even know her family owned a cacao farm). And I heard myself saying yes, without considering all the possible difficulties. Afterwards I went into a state of panic but navigated through and found myself in Samoa, being taken by the Cacao trees and greater healing took place. This was massive from where I was three months previously.

cacao farmer

Floris and I under a Cacao Tree, Samoa

And now I don’t get taken by the darkness. I may wake up in a flood of negative thoughts, or a cloud of darkness, or when I take a big leap in my life, be bombarded by all the fears and doubts that could be from childhood or cultural or any negative moment in life where we planted a bomb to go off if we ever stepped over that edge again!

But I have enough experience to know that these thoughts are welcome, that with exercise, my morning Cacao and some yoga, they will dissipate and I will look back and go ‘well that was a storm in a tea cup’. Please know that that storm is all too real when we are in the middle of it. I bow down with heart break for anyone who is in or has gone through what I have experienced. And I know the power and gift of Cacao.

dried bean

Today I work in deep service to Cacao, to share Her voice, to share Her power, especially for Mental wellness. I am in the deepest gratitude for her gift every single day.

One cannot overdose on Her, and she will adjust to what the body needs.

She is a powerful tool for mindfulness, as in taking us into the present moment so we can bare witness to our thoughts rather then be taken by them. Like going into nature or surfing, She creates a space of up-liftment and positivity, and when we trust her enough, she supports genuine joy.

I am a big believer in Joy, in living a life of genuine and true joy, Of smiling no matter what, of laughing deeply and knowing the full colour of this life and this earth no matter the difficulties.

cacao face mask

Theresa and I with Cacao Face Masks, Solomon Islands

And now I consume Cacao continuously all day long! I start my day with an early morning walk either up a mountain or along the beach and half way I pick some where special and I have my Cacao elixir, made with 100% ceremonial paste, water, Maca and maple syrup, in a flask. As I drink this I give thanks for all I am grateful for and I ask her some big questions if I have them. I sit with negative thoughts, I don’t push them away, for they are welcome. Now I know they hold the seeds of some jewels I need to unpack and learn from to grow, but I only look at them when I am in a higher vibration, I don’t let their energy dominate me. For their energy is of the past, and can colour my now reality if I allow them to. They actually don’t want that in my experience. They want to be transformed in the colour of my new reality, but so often when they come to be transformed in our new light we allow their colour to be what we see with. It’s a very fine line of being the new brighter me and allowing that brightness to transform my past and not be dulled by the energies of my past coming home to be loved, as I call it.

That is why I always welcome the thoughts and the feelings but only love them and explore them when I have taken myself into a higher frequency. Einstein once said we cannot solve a problem from the same place that created it. That’s kinda what I mean!

And so my day continues, through the morning I drink Cacao husk tea, and for lunch I have a cacao smoothie, with all kinds of yummy goodies in it, from Cacao nibs, hemp seeps, oat milk, dark chocolate, maca powder, chia seeds, blueberries, hemp oil, frozen bananas, nut butter, flax seed…

In the afternoon I will munch on at least 8 roasted and peeled Cacao beans with some activated nuts and dried fruits. Dinner may contain steamed veg with cacao nibs sprinkled over it or other forms and in the evening I will enjoy a little of dark chocolate that I have made myself. Around 75% is the perfect balance of decadence and goodness!

Lately, as I embark on a bigger adventure, I have been increasing my Cacao Elixir drink to twice a day and honestly access to the fifth dimension is right there. The fears and doubts are there but they don’t hold or grip me. I can embrace feel and enter them but still know who I am..

maca root

I deeply know Cacao and converse with the trees, but knew little of Maca and Maca has helped so much, so two years ago on a pilgrimage to say thank you to Maca, I journeyed with Seleno Health to their farmers village. I harvested and spent a week in Maca’s presence.

The above photo was taken at sun rise, before anyone was up. I laid cacao beans at 4500 meters in the Andes with Maca to sun dry together. This was a profound moment of gratitude to these two powerful medicines for basically saving my life.

Sally and I post harvesting Maca

Here is the Scientific report that I commissioned Dr Corin of Seleno Health to write on the Scientific viewpoint of how Cacao supports Mental Wellness…

Mental Health and Cacao

Mental health disorders are New Zealand’s third leading cause of health loss with conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention deficit disorders (ADD) affecting a large portion of people1-4. One in six people or 16.6% of the population (650,000 adults) will experience a common mental disorder at some time in their lives that will drastically impact on the health and well-being4. Socio-economically deprived New Zealanders, women, and Māori all have higher rates of mental health-related issues4. Studies have shown that the biggest barrier to people seeking help is fear of how they will be perceived within society5. Understanding mental health can help alleviate some of the fears surrounding it and also assist to better understand how we can manage it.

Cacao anxiety benefits

When stress becomes too much for some or just when you feel overwhelmed anxiety is a mental health disorder where people feel;

· Excessive worrying or apprehension about several of events or activities

· Difficulty managing the worrying

· Three or more:

  • Restlessness or being “on edge”

  • Easily fatigued

  • Irritability

  • Body tension

  • Sleeping problems

  • Can also be associated with panic attacks and other severe symptoms

Cacao as an anti depressant

Depression can come and go, for some it can be a single episode, or others ongoing recurring episodes3. It is characterized with a depressed mood or loss in pleasure:

· Feeling down almost every day for two weeks or more

· Notably loss of enjoyment in almost all activities during this time

· Significant unintentional weight changes