The following is an interview with Steve Adler, creator of Sacred Chocolate. It was conducted at the Raw Spirit Festival, where Steve presents his chocolates each year.
Mike: I'm here today with Steve Adler of Naturaw (www.Naturaw.com). Thanks for joining us today Steve.
Steve: Thank you Mike.
Mike: Tell people a little bit about what you're into because you're well known in the raw foods movement and in the chocolate enthusiasts' circles. What is it exactly that you do?
Steve: I do a couple things. One is I make a product called "Sacred Chocolate," which is the best chocolate being produced in the world right now. We're doing things that no other chocolateer in the world is actually doing. I'm also the founder of an online e-Commerce business called "Naturaw.com." We sell nutritional supplements, raw food items, information, weightlifting equipment, etc.
Then also I'm a minister. I'm an ordained minister in Spirit is Church out of Sedona. It's kind of a church without walls, which is inspired by the works of Glenda Green. I'm really interested in helping people access more love in their lives by learning how to be the love that they are and accessing that through their sacred hearts.
Mike: I'd like to talk about your chocolate products. What is unique about what goes into them both nutritionally and vibrationally?
Steve: First of all I want to talk about the vibration. That's really the most important thing. Vibrationally we do things so that the most amount of love and care that we can as human beings is infused, is put into the chocolate. What I'm doing is I'm actually praying over the chocolate whenever I sun gaze especially. Those are my special moments of praying over the chocolate.
I actually do a mantra where I'm visualizing and praying for manna to materialize in the chocolate as it's in the machines. I'm talking about the manna that you hear about in the Bible. That manna has materialized in our day and age. There have been many examples but one in particular that sticks out in my mind is a stigmatist brethren saint in the Greek Orthodox Church in India.
For decades, during Easter her devotees would witness her bring manna right out of thin air. It would fall down on the blanket in front of her as a crystallized rock candy that tastes like honey. Then she would give it out to all the people there.
I actually pray for that to materialize in the chocolate. There's a lot of love. There's a lot of prayer. There's a lot of intention that goes into the chocolate.
The ultimate mission of Sacred Chocolate is that when somebody eats Sacred Chocolate they're going to have a spiritual evolution in some way, shape or form. They're going to have an epiphany. Their third eye will be opened. Their sacred heart will be opened more. It could be very subtle but that's the ultimate goal is that Sacred Chocolate actually becomes a sacrament.
Mike: What kinds of things do your customers talk about experiencing after they begin to intake your chocolate and this vibration that you're talking about?
Steve: Well I will tell you one thing. We have been at the Raw Food Festival and it's amazing the response. People keep coming up to me and saying "Wow, you know there's lot of chocolate here, but there's something about this chocolate. I keep coming back. It's the best here. It's the best here." They keep telling me that. Then it was really confirmed by a clairvoyant who came up to me, and I don't even know this woman.
I did not even know she was a clairvoyant. She came up to me and she said she immediately got in my space and said "There is something about this chocolate. I can feel the vibration. I can feel the love in this chocolate. I don't know what it is but there's something. This is by far amazing." Then she told me she is a 30-year clairvoyant. People love the taste.
Another mission of the chocolate is to marry gourmet chocolate, the best tasting chocolate in the world with super nutrition. The way we're doing the super nutrition obviously is cacao is extremely high in antioxidants, as we know. The way to keep those antioxidants intact is to use a low temperature process because obviously antioxidants are very heat sensitive.
We have special custom machines that have been designed by me where we have temperature control systems monitoring the machines with temperature sensors so it's electronically monitored. The chocolate is being slowly ground down very slowly over many days at a low temperature. Currently I have those machines set at 114 degrees Fahrenheit so the chocolate never exceeds that temperature. I could dial it in at any temperature.
Manufacturing practices of a typical chocolate bar
Mike: With other chocolate products on the market, the typical chocolate bars, what kind of temperatures are they exposed to?
Steve: Well, first of all if you're talking about just general chocolate like say for example a high quality chocolate. I'm not picking on anybody but just pick one, like Green & Blacks. They're a respected organic chocolate out of England, which is very flavorful.
First of all, they're roasting the beans. They're not using raw cacao beans or cocoa beans. They're roasting the beans, and so right away they're exposing the chocolate to temperatures anywhere from 250 to 350 degrees typically for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.
That's the first thing. For economic efficiency they want to process that thing into a chocolate bar as fast as possible. They're not going to let that thing grind down for days and days and days over stone.
They're using high tech machines, milling machines, using stainless steel and they're just pumping it out. I cannot tell you as a chocolate industry expert what their milling temperature is set at.
Is it set at 100? Is it set at 200? I could not tell you. One thing I can tell you is that little particles of stainless steel show up in the chocolate and the way the chocolate industry deals with that is they use magnets to pull the stainless steel out of the chocolate.
Mike: That's crazy.
Steve: Yes, that's a regular practice.
Mike: I heard about an issue. There's one person out there who is saying that raw chocolate has some element in it that you should not be eating long-term. That's the first time I had ever heard of that. Are you familiar with that criticism? What do you know about that?
Chocolate's health effects are not black and white
Steve: Yes, how would I respond to that? Well you know what. First of all I will just say one man's meat is another man's poison. Anything done in moderation is usually okay. You can basically mentally justify anything.
Absolutely, most foods are "toxic" to the human body. How do those foods become detoxified? Well your detoxification factory, which is your liver, as we all know.
Now whether the intense complex chemistry of chocolate, which is one of the most complex chemistries on the planet – whether that's going to affect you in a positive way or a negative way it's hard to make a generalization about something like that. Everybody's unique chemistry is different.
I will give you just a simple example of how different we are, especially with chocolate. I've noticed that for whatever reason chocolate has the biggest difference on the biochemistry of women as opposed to men compared to other foods.
For instance when I'm talking about chocolate with a woman it's like there's a physiological response right there and she has not even eaten it. It's like she gets almost like happy and giddy. Her face lights up. She gets excited. With men it's like "Yes I like chocolate," but they don't go into like some sort of altered state about the subject. That just shows you the difference between men and women.
Okay then of course there are individuals. We all have different blood types. We all have different allergies. To answer that question in a positive way I'd say test it with your body. It's hard for the mind even in ten lifetimes to understand what three thousand million years of biological evolution has accomplished through the development of our intestinal tract.
Cacao and sweetener sources
Mike:Can you talk about some of the other key ingredients that you use in your formulations?
Steve: Absolutely, currently in all the bars we're using the cacao out of Ecuador from SKS Farms. It's coming through ELF. They're the sole importer right now of that product, Essential Living Foods. They're the same cacao beans that Sun Food Nutrition is using.
You see them in whole foods throughout the nation. It's that cacao that we're using in all our bars. We're actually in the process of working on another deal with another source of the same high quality cacao. That will be exciting for me because I will be able to do some blending.
Really the key to superb chocolate flavor is in the blending, as the top chocolateers already know. Of course, there's a lot of single origin stuff and that in my opinion is kind of more of a marketing gimmick than otherwise. Of course, some people like that just single flavor.
Another thing that we use is organic maple sugar. I get a lot of questions in the raw food community especially about that. It's like well maple sugar is cooked, right and is that good for you. Why are you doing that, etc? There are many reasons. The first reason is maple sugar tastes great. One of the missions of this chocolate was to make it taste exceptional.
Out of all the sweeteners that I could use to make a traditional chocolate bar, not a truffle, not something that's moist and stuff like that. A traditional hard chocolate bar, all the ones I surveyed maple sugar was by far the best. You smell maple sugar it smells like you're in a Canadian forest. Literally it's like a bouquet of flowers. It's amazing. That's one reason.
Another reason is totally eco-sustainable. You're not cutting down jungles to plant cane sugar fields. That was a high buy thing. There are other subtle reasons as well. One is we could get the product certified vegan. It's very hard. None of the vegan certifiers will touch you if you're using cane sugar because the cane sugar industry uses bone char as their filtering agent.
Mike: Is that right?
Steve: Absolutely, as a result bone char particles end up in the cane sugar.
Mike: I had no idea.
Steve: The maple sugar industry uses diatomaceous earth as a filtering agent, they have tested it a million times, and no diatomaceous earth shows up. Somehow the filter is different. It just does not get it through.
Mike: That's fascinating.
Steve: The vegan certifiers will certify it vegan and that was another reason. Another reason is just kind of on a spiritual level. I brought this to a man that I respect. He owns a raw food and vegan restaurant in Oakland. He is like a high priest and food scientist. This person is amazing.
I brought the chocolate to him. He asked me what are you sweetening it with. What is the sweetener? I said maple sugar. He goes oh, good, good. Maple sugar is the best for the blood. That was like another confirmation. There are many confirmations.
Now we're working on a raw maple sugar. Raw maple sugar is possible. You can freeze fractionalize, distill the sugar out of the water and you can do other things. You can do special evaporative processes to do it. It's just a matter of capital. We're an upstart small entrepreneurial effort, and when we get the capital we will venture that.
Another thing that we're doing is we're looking at other sweeteners. We're right now experimenting with an organic, supposedly raw, coconut palm sugar out of Southeast Asia.
Mike: I've never heard of that.
'Raw' is an unregulated term
Steve: It tasted great. They're saying it's raw. I don't know that until I jump on a plane and go check it out. I'm not going to call it raw until I actually see because for instance the word "raw" is an unregulated word in the United States unlike the word "fresh." If you put "fresh" on a label that product has to comply with the definition of the food labeling laws of what "fresh" means and there's a definition for what "fresh" means.
During the whole scare in the mid-90's once everybody started flash pasteurizing they could not use the word "fresh" on the label anymore. See I used to be an unpasteurized juice junky in the early 90's when I got into raw foods back then. The thing is you have to be careful because when you see the word "raw" even though it's marketed "raw" it could mean anything. To the food manufacturer raw could mean 160 degrees.
If you see raw turbinate, raw cane sugar, raw whatever none of that's raw in the way a raw foodist thinks about it. A raw foodist has made an attachment of the definition that raw means under 110 or 115 or whatever. That's one thing to note. Another sweetener we're looking at is honey.
Now it's very difficult to get that in because it's so … I think the term is hydroscopic, correct me if I'm wrong. It means that it attracts water. You can dehydrate honey to taffy and in a couple weeks it will become honey again.
The same is true with agave syrup because agave is what? It's from a cactus. The enzymes are such water grabbers and chocolate and water don't mix. You cannot really make a chocolate bar if you've got water in there.
Mike: Well I hope you keep us posted on what you have coming out. It sounds really exciting. I'm looking forward to these sweeteners. They sound really interesting and your product line, your chocolate product line is fascinating.
Steve: Thank you, thank you. I just want to add that the chocolate is certified organic by CCOF. It's certified vegan by Vegan Action. It's certified kosher and it's certified Halal by the… I forgot the acronym but it's like the Islamic National Food Association. Please forgive me I have not memorized the long name of that organization. Soon it will be certified fair trade at least for the variety that we're using out of Ecuador.
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