There is more than just money in chocolate however.
Ecuador chocolate is offered by well known companies like the Swiss Lindt Chocolate.
Ecuador chcolate helps small businesses. A new brand is Björnsted Ecuador Chocolate which consists of 70 percent cocoa, and is manufactured in the German town of Herford, which is located in the Western part of Germany.
Ecuador chocolate also helps sustainability in the Amazon.
The Kallari Association for example makes organic, fair trade chocolate and helps the Kichwa cacao farmers and artisans earn a sustainable income so they don’t have to resort to logging the rainforests or selling their land. This chocolate business is a good example of sustainable farming, environmental consideration and self empowerment, so small farmers can take control of their natural resources and use the profits to the benefit of their communities.
The Kallari Cacao farmers have learned how take the chocolate making process into their own hands by buying their own beans and producing their own chocolate bars.
Amazon farmers use farming tactics called Chakra in their native language. Cacao is planted amongst other crops, helping create a natural biodiversity.
Most of the farmers have small plots of only one acre with cacao planted amongst hardwoods, fruit trees, bananas, plantains, palms and medicinal plants and other subsistence foods.
The average cacao grove is only a small part of the overall farm but the high price for cacao and value addition of chocolate making more than doubles profits.
This reduces the temptation to allow oil or logging interests to come into their villages.
Ecuador chocolate has health benefits as well as profit potential as the article below by Jean Marie Butterlin explains.
Ecuador chocolate is also an anti-stress food, that you can eat in your everyday life!
By Jean Marie Burtterlin
Stress is just part of our everyday life and has been shown to create a lot of free radical damage, responsible for a big part of our aging process.
Some scientists are calling stress the “Insidious health problem of our century”.
However, there exists some simple things everybody can do in order to minimize the effects of stress :
– First keep a good rhythm in your sleep cycle : here in Ecuador, we are helped by the fact that we have all year round the same day/night cycle (sun gets up a 6 :30 in the morning and sets at 6 :30 at night) without any daylight savings time changes. Sometimes it is easy to forget that a sound and regular sleep cycle is important in mental and physical health. A lot of people are flocking into Ecuador because of its low stress lifestyle. That is one of the main reasons why I have moved to Ecuador.
– Then we have our anti-stress foods, which can help in our relaxation periods as well as keep serenity in all circumstances.
By nurturing out brain the right way, you will give it the tools it needs to handle its stress. To function properly, the brain needs oxygen and sugars, but “good” sugars, which means low glycemic indexes, that will let the glucose go inside the blood stream very slowly, giving the brain a constant feed of sugar, which will alleviate also fatigue, hunger and lack of attention.
One of the anti-stress foods that a lot of us will love, is black chocolate.
I have been a black chocolate fan since I was a teen-ager ; I never had a taste for the very sweet milk chocolate, but loved the bittery taste of pure 99% cacao. Being in the natural health business, I always felt a little guilty early on, when eating chocolate, because of the health culture in the 80’s, that said “chocolate is bad for you” ; little did I realize that not only that chocolate was not bad for you (if there was little sugar and contained at least 70-85% pure natural cacao), but quite the opposite! Recent research did find out that cacao contains a lot of those polyphenols and other natural nutrients that are indeed “good” for us.
Black chocolate contains phenylethylamine, an alcaloid that helps us “feeling good” that is also in LSD and morphines! Contrary to these drugs, a piece of black chocolate (containing a minimum of 70% cacao- 85% to 95% is even better) is very rich in these active nutrients and without any danger for your health.
Black chocolate contains also Anandamide, known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released by the brain when we are feeling great. Cacao contains both N-acylethanolamines, believed to temporarily increase the levels of anandamide in the brain, and enzyme inhibitors that slow its breakdown. It promotes relaxation, and helps us feel good longer.
Ecuador has one of the best cacaos in the world and is not yet very well known, except in the small world of chocolate lovers (that only eat 85%+ cacao rich chocolate). I just learned that Air France is treating its first class passenger with Ecuadorian chocolate. Ecuador cacao also has some of the highest polyphenols contents, with its all powerful anti-aging properties, which we will cover in a later post.
Food rich in glucides have also anti-stress qualities, because they facilitate serotonin production, a neurotransmettor that is a really good natural anti-depressant, and also works against anxiety. Good cereal (esp. Quinoa, another special grain in Ecuador) will help you combine balanced nutrition as well as a relief from the effects of stress by diffusing progressively its beneficial fibres, as well as minerals and all the B vitamins, that help also to improve memory. It also releases compounds into the body very very slowly.
Stress also alters the memorization process ; increasing therefore your intake of high content omega-3 foods, which help in the production of serotonin and have positive effects on memory and also relieve nervous tension. You will find theses omega-3 in oil rich nuts like linseed. For people who like fish, tuna and sardines are great sources of omega 3. Ecuador has a lot of good, cheap tuna, that you can find in every store or restaurant on the menu.
Omega-3, like certain vitamins of the B group (B1, B6, B9 et B12) have the properties to lower cortisol and adrenalin, 2 hormones that are presently high levels in persons that have high permanent stress.
Vitamin B6 is essential, because it reinforces the efficacy of magnesium (and remember chocolate contains also plenty of magnesium!) It enables the brain to manufacture GABA and serotonin, 2 anti-anxiety substances. You may find high levels of Vitamin B6 in animal liver and wheat germ, but also in lesser quantities in whole grain cereals (quinoa esp.), fish, meat and vegetables like lentils.
When in stressed conditions, always remember to eat more of these wonderful foods mentioned above!
There you have it… good taste…. good for the environment… good for health and maybe even more.
Discovery health secrets on an Ecuador Shaman Tour
Join real estate tours as well and enjoy multi tour discounts.
Dec. 4-5, 2010 Shamanic Mingo Tour (Arrive Quito Dec. 2. – Depart Dec. 6)
Mar. 19-20, 2011 (Arrive Quito Mar. 17 – Depart Mar. 21)
May. 9-10, 2011 (Arrive Mar. 7 – Depart Mar. 11)